The Frame Group's Brad Ferguson talks to ARN
What was your first job?
My first job was part-time after school pushing trolleys and packing groceries at the local Safeways. It was good grounding and certainly taught me the value of money earned.
My first full-time role was as a trainee electronics engineer for Electronics Design and Manufacturing. I was the company's first full-time employee. The owner literally ran it from the garage at the back of his house. I think we took a risk with each other - although his was certainly the greater at the time. The company grew and became quite successful and I was fortunate to have somebody who provided me with one-on-one mentoring. I certainly gained an insight into the vision and drive needed to produce results and I also learnt to always question how it can be done better.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
I think like everyone else: by accident. I was always interested in computing; from when microprocessors were first released. I moved from my first job to Telstra where I was able to get a cadetship, which helped with the study payments. It was there that I got involved with telecommunications, starting with PABXs which were just moving into the processor control. IT was starting to make a presence in the workplace; I saw the fax replace the telex and the first PCs and digital phones appear.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I was offered a job at Lend Lease whilst at Telstra. It had just started a division specialising in providing technology solutions. It started small and was dynamic in a dynamic time. I began to learn the management and financial skills which have enabled me to be involved in the start-up of two successful companies [Communications Design and Management Pty Ltd and The Frame Group]. I have also been fortunate to be surrounded by partners who share a common vision.
What do you like about your current job?
Two things mainly: the ability to set direction and see the results (the love of building things and seeing them work); and working with the team we have at Frame. They are innovative and vibrant and it drives me on to greater accomplishments.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
There are a number of things I look back on with admiration but I am certainly proud of what has been attained at Frame in our commercial achievements as well as the internal systems and processes that we have built over the last five years. Whilst we can always do better, Frame is continually improving.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
Apart from the system cutovers at 2am, I think it would be IT promoted for IT's sake and business drivers and benefits not being considered.
What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?
The ability to access relevant information anywhere, anytime and driving business efficiencies from it. Most people will relate this to mobility but it's far more wide-ranging than that and encompasses more than just using a PDA for email and calendar. It includes platforms such as presence management and rich Internet applications to allow any information to be directed to and accessed securely no matter where you are.
Frame began investing in the capability to both understand the potential benefits and build the necessary application and integration skills a while back. I think we were about three years too early. We have now started to see demand increase. I believe over the next 24 months, businesses will realise the efficiencies that can be gained by the ability to fully mobilise their workforce and we will see an increase in the platforms and applications to enable it.
What is the main focus for your company this year?
Frame is a company which understands the commercial goals of our customers and presents solutions that drive efficiencies and meet those goals. Whilst the company will continue over the next year to build additional capability in areas of business strategy, converged solutions and data centre facilities, I am passionate about the ability to aggregate and access information from anywhere and across multiple sources to enable intelligent analysis and informed decisions. Some people term it convergence but in fact it is far more reaching than that. Our work on AFR Access and people counting technologies demonstrates this power and we will continue to expand business solutions that leverage this.
What do you do when you are not at work?
I enjoy spending time with the family, catching up the odd documentary and watching a movie. I do have a passion for ships and cruising, which I try to indulge on most holidays.
What places have you visited whilst sailing the seas?
I've been on more than 20 cruises, including the Panama Canal, South America, the Baltic, Alaska and Asia.
Do you like gadgets?
Of course, doesn't everyone? Although I must admit I have contained it over the last couple of years. However, there has been a proliferation of wireless everything for our home, and oh, that new intelligent toaster?
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I had a passion for sound systems in my early days, but not so much now. I was heavily into recording music and wanted to become a recording engineer. Before I finished school, computing really began to evolve and my interests in that area became greater.
What is your biggest ambition?
To see Frame continue to grow through innovation and diversity into a respected brand and market leader