Mixing business with services

Mixing business with services

Phil Howson, Sunrise's managing director, talks with Mark Jones.

How was your company started?

It was formed 15 years ago when I established the business in Brisbane. I had lived in Sydney and thought there was an opportunity here and I liked the lifestyle.

There were many [State] Government contracts in place at the time so it literally forced us into the corporate market.

What products and services does Sunrise offer?

Over the last 12 months we've become part of Microsoft's Partner Program and we have embraced Office 2000 and Windows 2000 and are developing our expertise in these.

We are a Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centre, Direct Large Account Reseller and we've gained Partner status under Microsoft's PPM program.

Why have you focused so heavily on Microsoft?

We needed to get into services. We all need to be looking at services-type work. I think the product is becoming a little less important, but that doesn't mean totally unimportant. You read about that in the paper every day and from my perspective we are getting off our butts and doing something about it.

What proportion of your business is services as opposed to hardware?

I think it's fair to say it's early days. I would expect within 12 months it will be 50/50.

How much of a focus is networking and where is that going?

We have always had some skills. At this point, we're within three or four months of basically doubling our infrastructure team.

We see that in Office 2000, and potentially the Windows 2000 rollout, there will be some huge opportunities for us.

What are your company's key business strengths?

Quality staff. We have also embraced Microsoft's Solution Framework approach to projects and rollouts as a methodology of doing business. We've embraced that internally. The MSF goals are to deliver more successful projects through a team-oriented approach with better business milestones and streamlined processes. We also have a large training centre here in Brisbane and can train up to 100 people a day.

What is your attitude to partnering?

Very, very strong. In fact, I partner with our biggest competitor here in Queensland, Data#3. We set up a joint venture four or five years ago called Queensland Desktop Services. I think it's fair to say it was fairly novel at the time, but it is very strong today. We have two key points of business, one with Queensland Education and one with Queensland Health.

Why did Sunrise and Data#3 decide to partner?

We decided we both had skills to bring to the client, high degrees of interest and experience in working with the client and we actually discussed the potential with the client and they were very happy about it. It was not something we surprised them with. They were very encouraged to see some collaboration between IT parties here.

What areas of the industry are you keeping a close watch on?

Would you be surprised if I said the Web and e-commerce? Because of our application development team we are very Web-centric. We have actually established a beta site, E-Shop, and will be launching that publicly before Christmas.

How would you describe your management outlook?

Employ good people and empower them and let them go fly.

What is your five-year company outlook?

I want to make Sunrise irresistible to our clients so when they think of doing business in Queensland we are foremost in their minds.



Based: Brisbane

Founded: 1984

Staff: 85 plus 120 contractors in its new recruitment businessTurnover: $58 million annuallyGrowth rate: 20 per centServices: Network and desktop services, Microsoft services, education

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