ASX-listed Data#3 (ASX:DTL) has officially opened its new headquarters in Brisbane, spending $3.7 million to fit it out.
The integrator made significant investments in technology to support a more mobile workforce. The new headquarters has no dedicated offices, and features secure high-speed wireless access throughout the building; follow me printing, which allows staff to walk up to any printer with a card reader and select the document required for printing; a presence system has also been put in place that helps find staff when needed; and electronic document storage and management to substantially reduced the dependency on paper.
“The objective was to create a flexible environment that supports an activity based work model to support many different ways our people work each day. Our offices are our mobile phones, our brief cases, lockers and our next work space,” Data#3 managing director, John Grant, said.
The new environment contains a variety of quiet spaces, meeting and collaboration areas, video conferencing and social spots.
It also meets green credentials with movement sensitive lights across meeting and quite rooms as well as the office space to help reduce its environmental impact, and also features a green wall of living plants.
On top of this it also has its own internal café where visitors or staff can work from and flexibility with furniture to reconstruct work places into different forms.
“The design provides long-term growth and can accommodate changes in technology, our business structures and work patterns,” Grant said. “We’ve got a mobile environment that’s collaborative, and we’ve got flexibility.”
In November, Grant indicated Data#3 was going through five real estate moves. Besides the new headquarters, it also completed a new Perth facility and a warehousing and configurations centre in Sydney, and is the middle of putting one in place in Victoria. It will also be conducting a similar fit out with its North Sydney base.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development, Andrew Fraser, said Data#3 was the sort of corporate embodiment the economy required for the future.
“We need to comprehend that companies like Data#3 that have made investments ahead of the curve, are in fact the real story of the economic future of this state,” Fraser said.
Fraser indicated IT played an integral part of the economy destiny of Queensland into the future.
“One of the things that you’ll find in dynamic growth economies such as Queensland's is that the role of IT is magnified for a decentralised state like ours,” he said. “For many companies, their business continuity plans are an interesting document that not many people know about, but when their building in accessible they really find out their resilience around what it takes for their enterprise to keep running. Some companies have come up short in those plans, others that have invested in their IT platforms, have been better able to respond.
“Some of the lessons from the Queensland flood are about the role that IT can play in terms of facilitating the normal wheels of society functioning when something is as easily overcome as geography.”
Key points in Data#3’s 34-year history:
- Data#3 made its humble beginnings as a software business out of Graham Clarke’s garage in 1977. At the time, it was called Powell Clarke and Associates.
- Current managing director, John Grant, joined the business in 1982, when the business was 16-staff strong and today that figure stands at 975.
- The name, Data#3, came into place in 1984. In the same year, it started getting involved in the hardware market, acquiring typewriter retailer and support agency, Allbrand Typewriter and Office Machinery. It also ran a separate healthcare business, Info Health, which was later sold to Baxter Healthcare. At its peak, Info Health installed software covering 60 per cent of private hospitals across the country.
- Within two years, it moved from developing software for resale, into selling software from global providers such as JD Edwards and SAP.
- It embarked on a selling PC maintenance contracts, which Grant said generated $1 million in cash and learnt an important business lesson – cash is king.
- In 1995 and 1996, Data#3 expanded beyond Brisbane and entered into the Sydney and Melbourne markets.
- A year later, it listed on the ASX at market cap of $11.3 million. It was one of three listed IT companies at the time.
- The tech boom, four acquisitions in three years, loss of financial visibility while it merged the businesses over nine months, the tech crash, all contributed to the company’s experience and the changing course of its business, Grant said.
- This year, revenue is approaching $700 million with a market capitalisation of $225 million and now operates from nine locations across Australia.