Following Avanade’s appointment to the 2011 President’s Club for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ARN caught up with Avanade Australia Country Manager, Jeyan Jeevartnam, to talk about the company’s position in Australia and its plans for future growth.
So could you tell me a bit about Avanade and what it does?
Avanade Australia Country Manager, Jeyan Jeevartnam: Avanade is a jointly-owned company between Microsoft and majority holder Accenture. What we do is work with clients from a systems integration consulting perspective and anything to do with Microsoft’s platforms and technologies.
The areas that we focus on are CRM and ERP systems based on Microsoft technologies, including the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform that we implement for clients.
Microsoft also offers a business intelligence (BI) suite and in the collaboration space there is SharePoint, and we work with clients in those spaces. In the infrastructure area we deal with Exchange. The difference between us and other partners is that we tend to work with the tier-one clients, and the 35 large customers that we have in Australia focus on the above areas.
How does Avanade see itself expanding in Australia?
JJ: We had a very strong FY11 in Australia, with solid revenue growth of over 20 per cent in services in the Microsoft space. We’ve also had strong growth in our profitability. Our growth focus has been mainly based on CRM and BI systems, desktop transformation, and collaboration with SharePoint. Our focus customers from a growth perspective are broken down by industry.
Our resources sector has been growing off the back of the resources boom in Australia, and we’re very strong with large banks in the financial services sector. From a public sector perspective, we tend to focus on Federal Government and not so much in State Government. So the focus on specific solution areas and industry focus clients has kind of been the growth platform for us in FY11.
We’re looking to take advantage of that in FY12, as we believe the resource sector will continue to grow, and it’s not just mining companies but also energy companies and utilities. We believe that certain agencies in the public sector domain and Federal Government space will continue to grow strongly. We’re also taking a big bet on the ERP platform from Microsoft called AX, and we believe there is opportunity for us to grow in that space.
What challenges still remain in the way of growth?
JJ: The biggest challenge is getting skilled people, especially onshore in Australia. The good thing is that we run a hybrid model, and we tend to work on large, complex projects as opposed to maintenance and applications support. Because we are a global company and operate in 22 countries, we mitigate the skills gap through multiple means. Once we get good people here, we can also leverage our offshore expertise from India and run a 50/50 on- and off-shore model. With the GFC spreading around the world, everyone wants to come to Australia, so it’s a great opportunity for us to embrace and bring them in, and leverage their skills in the process. While the Microsoft platform is robust and enterprise ready, there is obviously a lot of competition out there and we have to articulate the value to clients and show a return on investment. So the challenge for Avanade is to differentiate ourselves in the market and convince customers to go with us.
Avanade was recently named to the 2011 President’s Club for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. How did this come about?
JJ: They look at a number of metrics of key partners in Australia who work with clients in the CRM space in implementing major projects, and more importantly from a Microsoft perspective, partners that have have been able to increase Microsoft's own CRM market share in Australia. They have metrics that they use to measure the success of a company, and based on those metric and what we do in the market place, Microsoft decided that we were their partner of choice for FY11.