Data#3 looks to grow business smarts

Data#3 looks to grow business smarts

Queensland-based integrator, Data#3, is pushing its skill base up the value chain in a bid to future-proof the business. The company has embarked on a two-year plan to shift from technology focused sales towards business-oriented solutions. CEO, John Grant, said the restructure was necessary to ensure it met customer demand.

"We have to stay at the front to remain relevant and competitive," he said. "Based on our customer surveys, and analyst and vendor information, we believe customers are now seeing ICT as more strategic and aligned to business imperatives. It's a real shift. The way we are responding to that is to transform from an expertise to solutions-oriented proposition."

Data#3 staff will now tackle customer sales through 16 solution areas, such as unified communications, security and mobility. In its enterprise infrastructure business for example, products will be incorporated into business continuity, ICT governance, information lifecycle management and consolidation offerings, rather than IBM mid-range technology or server consolidation.

All offerings will incorporate multiple products from its stable of vendors. Data#3 spent the past three years improving capabilities around four key vendor partnerships: Cisco, Microsoft, HP and IBM. Grant said it would now realign training dollars towards nationally recognised professional certifications.

The company has also changed its staff remuneration policy to reward multiple technology sales. In its full-year financial report to June 30, Data#3 noted cross-sell revenue increased by 45 per cent.

"It's not going to happen overnight, we're going to spend a lot of time on this," Grant said. "It will do one or both of two things: maintain our competitive position to win our fair share of business, and/or give us a higher margin to offset rising staff costs."

While not the primary motivator, the reinvestment into staff would also help address the acute skills shortage facing the market, he said.

"We all know it's a tough market in which to attract and retain staff," he said. Data#3 is one of several integrators pinpointing business sales as the key to sustaining growth.

Other players, such as Dimension Data and Southern Cross Computer Systems, have also built strategies around an organisation's business objectives, rather than technology pain points.

In a recent survey, IDC found soft skills, such as communication, vendor management, business and IT alignment, and people management, as one of the top 10 priorities for corporate customers. Other IT skills hot in demand include security, database management, networking, enterprise applications, and project and services management.

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