Linking business and IT

Linking business and IT

ASG co-founder and CEO, Geoff Lewis, is an advocate for strengthening the relationship between business and IT. He caught up with ARN to discuss the Western Australian services company’s beginnings, Australia’s place in the international IT fi eld and his love of surfi ng and AFL.

What was your first job?

I worked for Westpac for nine or 10 years in its IT department.

Did you always want to be in IT?

I finished school and didn’t want to go to university so I joined the bank. I did an aptitude test and was suitable for IT, so I went into the computer room. The shift work also meant I could go surfing. I started as an operator, then became a programmer and database administrator. I then went to London where I worked for a subsidiary of Barclays Bank as a database administrator. I came back after a year off and started working for WA Health as a database contractor. They outsourced this to CSC so I went to CSC and eventually started ASG Group.

What made you decide to start your own company?

I, along with ASG co-founder, Stephen Tull, were both working at CSC and saw an opportunity for a services-led company to provide an alternative. Customer interaction suffered because the two sides had no real ability to be candid, open and honest about where they were at. I never anticipated the business would become as big as it has. We wanted to be a company that provided services. We started getting demand for our services from other customers, which we couldn’t do ourselves, so we told them we’d fi nd people who would do it for them and managed things. Customers were looking for responsiveness. I don’t mean doing what you’re told, but being proactive and honest about the situation. They needed somebody to tell them ‘guys if you don’t upgrade this system here and spend the money, you’re going to have problems’.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

I think the biggest achievement is creating a real alternative to the multinationals. The fact that we’re able to bid for contracts in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth is an incredible feat. We’re seen as an IT outsourcer that can bid for the Office of Shared Services in WA, the Department of Education in Victoria, Department of Infrastructure in Canberra and Qantas in Sydney.

What’s your focus for the next 12 months?

To bring our pipeline opportunities to fruition and work out what we can win and then be successful. We have a huge pipeline, but it’s a lot of work to do it. We’re keeping the business growing by helping our people develop and bringing in quality staff to keep things moving.

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