Customer Stories

SMX Sparks Email Joy

SMX News Spark


Spark is New Zealand’s leading digital services provider with the ambitious goal to ‘help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world.’ Their services cover telecommunications, mobile network, ISP, and ICT.

The Situation

Spark have been on a long journey of refocusing to support the local economy and ensuring the best service possible for their customers. In 2017, this ethos culminated in the decision to move their email server back to New Zealand from Yahoo! in Australia. 

Spark Home, Mobile and Business CEO, Jason Paris, explains, “After a positive nine year relationship with Yahoo, we decided to transition our Xtra email service to SMX, a New Zealand based provider.”

Spark were also keen to improve the speed, security and reliability of their email service while also ensuring quick issue resolution if it arose. 

Adding to the gravity of the project, Spark had a very tight six month timeframe to meet and the move involved almost 1 million email accounts, of which all addresses and stored emails had to be retained. 

The Solution

Luckily, deciding who to use to migrate, host and manage the 800,000 email accounts was an easy decision for the Spark team, “SMX is one of the leading cloud email providers in New Zealand and we were confident in their ability to bring customers’ email data back home, safely and securely.” notes Paris.

The Herculean effort required to complete the project was well planned.  SMX CEO, Ian McDonald explains, “The project was split into three phases of work: customer permission, SMX service commissioning and finally, migration.”

From September to November, Spark focused on gaining permission from customers to bring their data across. 

During this time the SMX team focused on ensuring the security of customer information was maintained, designing and planning the infrastructure needs, testing and retesting the migration processes and aligning customer communications with each phase of the migration. 

Then, in December and January, while the rest of the country was relaxing at the beach, the SMX team were busy setting up and commissioning the software and servers for the migration into the state-of-the-art Takanini data centre. 

The final phase occurred from February to April when the SMX team ran the actual migration process, which ended with customers having their email set up in the new, New Zealand-based mail system.

The Results

Paris’ comments speak for themselves, “From an overall perspective, the migration project went well. We moved more than 800,000 email accounts containing 1.4 billion messages, safely and securely, in the timeline we originally committed to. This has been one of the biggest IT migration projects in New Zealand’s history."

“While we know a small percentage of customers experienced issues both on the Yahoo side and due to migration activities, the large majority of customers had a seamless experience as we migrated their email to the new platform. 9 out of 10 customers had a smooth transition with only 12% of Xtra customers contacting Spark during the migration with a query about email – and nearly all these customers had their question or issue resolved during or following the first contact they had with us. Only 0.1% of customers had an issue that took multiple attempts to fix.”

Finally, Paris commented, “The migration did have some challenges, particularly when dealing with Yahoo. It’s great to complete the transition away from an email provider who’s been dealing with big issues on a global basis, and has kept us very much at arm’s length, to an email partner here in New Zealand that operates with real transparency. Thanks to our partnership with SMX, we have brought email home – and our customers are benefiting. They now have a faster, more secure and more reliable email platform, based in New Zealand.”

Babbage Consultants

"I’ve not worked with any other company quite like SMX. They are easy to work with, reliable and my confidence in them is high. I recommend SMX to anyone."
Alan Courtenay, IS & IT Manager