Despite facing floodwaters that caused extensive damages to its office and forcing a temporary relocation of staff, Brisbane reseller, Sundata, has emerged to celebrate its 25th year in business.
Recently, Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, attended a cocktail event at the Sundata South Brisbane premises with more than 100 guests from the local IT community, clients and staff.
The company, which has been managed by owners Kon Kakanis, Matthew Parker and John Hutson since its began in 1986, only recently had its final renovations completed in time for the milestone.
Sundata managing director, Kon Kakanis, spoke to ARN about the company’s achievements, challenges and future plans.
What is the role that Sundata plays in Australia?
KK: We’re a medium-sized reseller integrator looking after primarily corporate clients and their IT infrastructure requirements.
Could you name me some unforgettable memories you had over the years?
KK: There have been a few of those. Some of the bigger ones were the lead-up to Y2K and the Brisbane floods in January that inundated our office. I think the other thing that’s been fairly consistent is the significant amount of change we have to deal with every year.
What were some key challenges faced by the company?
KK: From our customer side, it is about understanding the latest in both technologies and in paradigms, and being able to make sense of that for our clients. On the other side, providing an environment for clients that is both attractive and challenging so that you can keep staff satisfied and wanting to work with you.
How did you pull through from the floodwater disaster you faced last year?
KK: Like a lot of people in Brisbane who were affected, we had a lot of support from employees, families and friends who just turned up and wanted to help. Once we knew that we were being flooded, we had a very high priority that our customers should not be affected. So, our highest priority was the continuity of our business operation as far as the customers were concerned. We were out of action for approximately a day and once that was in place, we actually stepped back and looked carefully at the best way to get the office back cleaned up, back into shape, make sure the staff weren’t affected and that the business could continue as if the flood hadn’t happened.
How long did it take the company to emerge completely from the ordeal?
KK: In terms of customers, we were offline to them for about a day and a half. To get the physical repair and renovation finished, we only managed to complete that about two weeks ago – there was the insurance discussions, getting hold of tradespeople in Brisbane, etc. For the last few months that has been difficult.
What does the 25-year milestone mean for the company?
KK: For those of us working here, I guess it has just crept up on us but, I think the main thing I get feedback from the customers and suppliers is that it says there is a lot of substance about the business in terms of its depth and resilience in such an environment that faces such constant change. We probably underestimated how well regarded we were.
What has 25 years in business taught you?
KK: One thing 25 years in business has taught us, is that resilience helps you overcome most obstacles, and certainly with the support of our staff, clients, families and government assistance for flood victims, we have emerged stronger than before.
What are some of your key plans for the next 12 months for Sundata?
KK: At the moment we are very busy with helping our clients understand what the cloud means for them because it means different things to everybody that you talk to. It means a change to the traditional reseller business model and we just want to make sure that we see that as an opportunity rather than as a threat.