[head]Small fish in a big pond
Thomas Duryea (TD) is one of Australia’s IT success stories. Born from humble origins when a group of university friends decided they could do it better, the Melbourne-based outfit is now one of the fastest growing companies in the land. The four founding members - Andrew Thomas (CEO), Micah Smith (National Practice Manager, Enterprise Information Systems), Evan Duryaa (Director, Cloud Services) and David Stagg (Principal Consultant) - sat down with MATTHEW SAINSBURY to talk about its highs, lows, and future goals.
Matthew Sainsbury (MS): What was the genesis for TD?
Andrew Thomas (AT): All four of us knew each other because we were all studying Systems Engineering and Science at RMIT, and towards the end of the degree we were out freelance consulting into a number of different integrators around Melbourne. During that time, we recognised a couple of key opportunities, and most of them were based around client needs and deficiencies in the companies we were working for. Out of that we had a few chats over beer back in the late 90s, and in simple terms decided we could do it better – and really founded the company essentially on those two core areas – relationships both internally and externally, as well as technical excellence.
MS: How did the company look originally?
AT: Very early on we took an office immediately on Southbank, which very shortly thereafter became the West End car park, as we were boarded out on a demolition clause on our landlord's contract. Early on we were very much resting on the reputation of the four founding partners. We all had relationships with a number of clients around Melbourne and Victoria. For the first year it was essentially us out there individually consulting, and gradually bringing it under the Tomas Duryea banner. We were working very much around the desktop automation space – back in the day working with Windows NT 4, doing a lot of centralisation and standardisation of that desktop platform using products such as Novell Zenworks and some of the early Microsoft offerings like SMS.
MS: How did the company start its growth path?
AT: We grew almost cautiously and very organically for the first four or five years as a purely consulting-lead business without product drag. We were working in the infrastructure space with Microsoft and Novell technology – specifically in platform rollouts and desktop transformations, identity management, and it was very much growth based on the back of referral. We recognised four or five years ago the opportunities that were being driven by virtualisation – especially what VMware was doing with the evolution of its product set, and it drove us to start to partner very closely with VMware in the early days, and pilot some implementations with clients before the technology had gained any mainstream trust.
At the same time we recognised we really needed a centralised storage platform, so we began to build a relationship in the same way with EMC – and those two were our foundation relationships following the evolution of working with MS and Novell. We focused on building those in the same that we would with building our clients, and that’s been a catalyst for our growth into the market. So we had incredible support from VMware and EMC in the early days and that’s been a springboard for growth for us over the past four years.