For many business owners, the garage is not only a space for your car and tools; it also serves as a place for beginning a business.
The original founders of Data#3 (ASX:DTL), Terry Powell and Graham Clark, began that way in 1977. However, back then it wasn’t called Data#3 – that name came into place in 1984. It was formerly known as Powell Clark and Associates (PCA).
At the time, the company mainly dabbled in software consultancy and specialised in developing and implementing applications for SMBs. The business established itself as a top supplier of IBM systems for the healthcare industry, particularly hospitals.
CEO, John Grant, joined the organisation in 1982 before it acquired typewriter retailer and support agency, Allbrand Typewriter and Office Machinery, in 1984.
“Data#3 continued its software business and that included a number of initiatives,” Grant said. “We had a joint venture with a major pathology firm in Queensland and developed applications for the pathology arena, and also developed hospital management systems. We had over 60 per cent of Australia’s private hospitals running our systems.”
Since that acquisition and the launch of the IBM personal computer, the company took up PC reselling. Throughout the years, Data#3 stepped into the Asian market with a Singaporean presence and started joint ventures in Malaysia and a couple of other Asian locations around its hospital management software.
Around 1991, Data#3 got out of creating software and sold the private hospital and healthcare business to a US multinational, Travenol, later known as Baxter Healthcare. The company moved into reselling global software brands and now provides software licensing and asset management solutions from major vendors such as Microsoft.
“We decided that building software for resale was something that was too expensive and our access to market was too small,” Grant said.
Not long after the decision to depart from software reselling, the integrator formulated a joint venture in 1992 with Sunrise Computing, which was later acquired by Powerlan, to provide systems and software to the whole of Queensland government. Five years later, Data#3 became an ASX-listed organisation. Grant recalled there were very few public IT companies at that time.
“We needed a platform for people to get more equity in the business including our own people and we needed to make sure that we could get funding for growth,” Grant said. “We were pretty early to list before the dotcom boom and bust, but we nonetheless rode that rollercoaster.”