Gary Ganis, Powerlan's director, talks to ARN's Mark Jones.
How did the company come into being?
Powerlan was established by Theo Baker seven years ago. He was employed by Memorex Telex at the time, got a little bit frustrated and decided he would go out and offer professional services in the way he would like to offer them. He started delivering computer services and PCs in Sydney.
What are you company's key strengths?
We focus our strengths in seven key areas: consulting and integration services; client support services; enterprise monitoring services (one of our strongest areas); application development (which includes electronic business enablement); technology training services; recruitment contracting; and outtasking and procurement services.
What areas of the industry are you keeping a close watch on?
E-commerce, e-business and the advances that are being made in those areas, and the ever-decreasing margins in the procurement businesses. We are really looking to see what the vendors are doing in that marketplace.
Also what is interesting to us is the industry consolidation. There is a lot of South African money coming into the country.
How are you responding to these industry changes?
Our strength will continue to come from the delivery of quality service and we will continue to grow from it.
Are you worried about vendor trends towards direct deals?
Not particularly. Since we provide added value in a lot of areas outside of procurement, we are typically delivering a solution based on services. What will happen is our customer will ask if we can provide the product as well.
What component of your business is based on services?
Services represent in excess of 60 per cent.
What are your key business strategies?
Increasing our focus on our e-business strategy, with regards to automated workflow and order processing. We want to make sure we can offer a range of services and quality of service on time, but we also want to make sure access to those services is easy.
We need to make sure we communicate that effectively to our customers.
What do you consider is the greatest threat to your company?
Providing a poor service to our customer then losing them. You can't afford that to happen because we don't have a huge turnover of customers. And those we have we like to keep.
What is your attitude to partnering?
It's very important. As the market continues to consolidate, you will find different companies have different strengths. We work with companies such as Telstra, Advantra, IBM GSA and see ourselves as partners, rather than head-to-head competitors with outsourcers.
There are instances where we will deliver the services together and we have no problem with that. We quite look forward to working with them in that light.
How would you describe your management outlook?
We are not over-managed. We like to appoint and allocate responsibilities. We need to keep a very tight-fisted approach with regards to process, but for the execution of those strategies, it has to be up to the teams.
We have learned a lot from the merger with Integrated Network Solutions (INS) recently. I think it has been a very good melding of the businesses.
Also, [former NSW premier] Neville Wran is now our chairman, and he adds a lot to the management team with regards to the legal requirements and compliancy issues of our business, and he will do a lot more in the future.
What is your five-year company outlook?
I can safely say we will be floated on the Australian Stock Market within the next five years. We intend to have a larger national and regional presence. We intend to open offices in New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Perth and Adelaide in addition to our existing offices in other Australian capital cities. We want to become an international player.
Head office: Lane Cove, NSW
Staff: 220 nationally
Turnover: $50 million
Growth rate: 117 per cent (average)