As the capital city of Australia, Canberra houses opportunities for channel players focused around government, defence, hospitals and universities.
ARN senior journalist, Julia Talevski, speaks to partners about some of the opportunities and challenges Canberra-based IT services providers are facing this year.
Darren Stanley - COO and deputy CEO, Citadel Group
“We have heritage in managing complex and highly-secure environments such as defence, health, hospitals and universities.
"Part of the reason for buying software and services company, Kapish, for $17.5 million earlier this year was to build our capabilities across three main software suppliers for managing documents within Australia.
"We have Objective Corporation and Sharepoint capability, but we didn’t have HP Trim capability and needed to augment that space so that we could be seen as an independent provider of choice to any local, state or federal government requirements for information management - particularly those with high-security requirements within Australia.
“In addition, big data and analytics also continues to be a focal area for us going forward.
“We will also continue to develop our strong information management and assurance pedigree, and expand our capabilities across federal, national, state and local government. Our other focus is on developing our e-Health credentials.
“We are already a major provider of laboratory information systems and telehealth solutions and our focus is to continue to provide an integrated e-health solution or a range of solutions to the health industry. We’re also possibly looking to acquire within the health space.
“In Canberra, one of the challenges many organisations face is around remaining focused on the industries and core competencies, which for us is securing information management around complex environments.
“But we’re no longer just a Canberra story - we have offices in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. Having that geographic footprint across the country is important and as we develop our services and products, a number of our Australian customers want those products to be available internationally as well.
"Primarily this is around our Cloud-based services because a number of our products are enabled to be deployed as a white-label service."
Allan King - Managing Director, Infront Systems
“Infront Systems is preparing for a break out year after three years investing in and engineering for our new Cloud first strategy.
"In support of this transition, we have developed a broad set of IP across advisory, Cloud and managed services to help our customers close the innovation gap that exists between business expectation and current IT capability.
"We are passionate about delivering hybrid Cloud without compromise. We’re focusing on integrating best-in-class technologies with native Cloud services to deliver the innovation needed to grow our customers’ business without compromising on security, governance or control.
“Our three biggest challenges involve: developing the skills necessary to evolve from a systems integrator to a services integrator; aligning our Cloud brokerage framework with a slowly evolving API economy; and adjusting our business model and compensation plans for subscription based services.”
Stuart Kilduff - Managing Director, Oobe
“Our top priority this year is extending our reach into the end user computing space. Traditionally, we have been a Citrix partner and focused heavily around their components.
“As we have evolved, we have identified significant risk to our deliverables and customer outcomes by relying on third parties to deliver the supporting infrastructure especially when they don't have experience in Virtual end user platforms.
“In the past three years, we have focused on adding to and strengthening our capability in the Microsoft stack so that when we deliver a solution we know that it works.
“This has thrown up great expansion opportunities for us beyond Federal Government resulting us in opening an office in Brisbane earlier this year and starting a scoping exercise for Adelaide and Melbourne locations.”
Richard Brown - Managing Director, Cogito Group
“Cogito Group protects the authentication methods used to access information through the use of identity-based technologies. We have a number of Federal Government clients in Australia and recently started exporting our services to overseas government agencies.
“There is no doubt digital technology has introduced new ways to connect and collaborate. When you get it right, it opens up new products and services to customers and drives greater efficiency and engagement with them.
“This also opens up a complex range of issues that need to be addressed particularly around data privacy, security and control.
"We know that while connections to digital services and technology grow and become more sophisticated, data generated by those connections will be a challenge to manage and protect.
“For example, the Internet of Things is fast becoming a critical component, bringing together devices, people and services into chains of data and the main challenge is the Internet of Things not becoming the Internet of ‘Threats’.
“Our priority is offering ways to manage these threats and ensuring our clients data protection. To this end we have developed, Jellyfish, a complete and integrated cyber security command and control platform, which we offer it through as an as-a-service model which allows organisations to realise better and constant innovation at lower costs, enterprise level protection at costs that make it accessible to organisations of all sizes.”
Joe Kelly - General Manager, DAMsmart
“We are continuing to focus on breaking down the barriers for organisations to digitise video and audio content that lives on physical videotape, audiotape and film. This means we have to be agile in our ability to respond to all kinds of content collection needs. It also means we need to hold a diverse skill set servicing new and old technologies.
“Our primary concern in the near future is getting better connectivity. The creation of high-quality video and audio files means we are generating large datasets.
“Our objective is to bolster our file-based delivery capabilities and enable greater levels of project collaboration with our customers over the net. And critically, bandwidth is key pillar in the expansion of our managed archive services.
“We are currently constrained by our access to economical, high-volume fibre networks. The services exist in Canberra, but as a small business the current price tags associated with these services just don’t make it viable.
“We have had success in recent years exporting our services. In 2015 we won the ICT category of the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards. Again, big bandwidth would increase the effectiveness of our services for overseas customers ultimately opening new opportunities that will benefit the local economy.
“The growth of our export service means we are keen to see Canberra airport expand as an international hub. The archives that we digitise often have significant cultural and commercial value, such as the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s video collection which we were contracted to preserve.
“If Canberra can facilitate international flights, it means the collections don’t need to be routed through Sydney. This takes one long road trip out of the transport loop, shortens the delivery times and reduces risk.
“Our other key focus is the growth of our team. As we grow, tapping the Canberra talent pool presents challenges. We need a reasonable specific narrow skill set.
"The instability of government diminishes that attractiveness of Canberra as place to live and this reduces our access to skills."
This article was originally published in the June issue of ARN Magazine.