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Internet spurs services growth

Internet spurs services growth

ARN: How was your company started?

Kuperholz: I started the company in 1990 providing integration services primarily in UNIX platforms, and the development and sale of value-added software products in Australia and Europe in English, Dutch and German.

From there the company developed into extending its services onto the Novell and Microsoft NT platforms and we concurrently developed a successful videoconferencing systems division and helpdesk solutions provider. With the greater introduction of PCs to the desktop, replacing dumb terminals, we developed expertise in the area of developing standard operating environments and desktop applications.

When the Internet started gaining momentum in 1994/5 we already had four years of extensive experience working with corporate e-mail systems and thus extended that into providing Internet gateways for these e-mail networks. In 1995 we decided to build our own Internet service provider called Planet Internet, to gain hands-on experience with the Internet, and divested ourselves of the major shareholding in Planet Internet in September last year. We thus find ourselves uniquely positioned as a systems integrator with more hands-on experience than most companies could claim.

What products and services does integration design offer?

Complete turnkey Internet-related services. We do everything relating to the Internet: connectivity, security, encryption, e-mail, e-commerce, Web development (Internet and extranet), hardware, software and Internet-related services.

We do comprehensive local and wide area network design and development and deployment, LANs and WANs, in addition to comprehensive support outsourcing.

Also, we provide technical telephone support from 6am to 7pm weekdays and also provide 24 x 7 support on critical equipment, either full or partial outsourcing.

We do cradle to grave - we fix problems on the phone, remotely or on-site, and that involves hardware, software and also third-party warranty and support contract maintenance.

In addition we do corporate conduct management - that's providing software tools for organisations to be able to implement automatically their corporate conduct policies regarding the use of electronic mail and the Internet. Issues such as protecting companies from defamation, libel, sexual harassment and racial discrimination and loss of confidential information.

Security services involve the implementation of firewall technology to protect against hackers or people who do not or should not have authorised use of networks, both internally and externally.

This includes helping with the development of security policy. We will advise on how to put together a policy, what it should contain, tools and how to enforce the policy.

We don't push any particular platforms; we are vendor neutral and work with all the key players. We either continue with what a company has been happy with in the past or make recommendations based on key purchasing criteria such as support outside of the CBD, timely response, upgradeability, market dominance and particular features a company may need.

What proportion of your business is services as opposed to hardware?

Services accounts for over 60 per cent of our revenue.

How much of a focus is on the networking side of your business and where is this going?

Networking accounts for the bulk of our hardware and software revenue, but about 35 per cent of our services revenue.

We see that as having a healthy growth following Y2K. At the moment a lot of companies are very focused on Y2K and basic Internet connectivity.

Post Y2K they will start to address upgrading of networking to higher bandwidth networks and this will come about through growing interest in virtual private networking, centralised application server processing, multimedia rich applications, voice over IP, e-commerce (company to company) and telecommuting.

What are the company's key business strengths?

We have well-trained staff, we're a very dynamic company and we've got a very strong company culture. We've been strong on empowerment of staff and our company motto is that our staff come first and our customers come second; we've embellished that in our corporate culture for a long time.

We've got a diverse range of skills but we still know when to get external support from other specialist companies. We have also had a blue chip customer base since our inception in dealing with customers from Australia's top companies.

What is your attitude to partnering?

We strongly support it and we've had a lot of support partnering with the world's top 10 IT companies on a regular basis as well as some of Australia' top IT companies on a regular basis. We are very cognisant of our own limitations, but at the same time we are extremely innovative and not afraid to accept and carry risk by being innovative in the way we integrate proven products in a manner which are a first.

What areas of the industry are you keeping a close watch on?

Voice over IP, emerging telco carriers, and desktop facilities management and ASPs.

How would you describe your company's management outlook?

I mentioned earlier that I'm very big on empowerment.

I've got a management representing each facet of the business and I work hard to ensure the key business issues are decided democratically.

What is your five-year company outlook?

To become a high-profile Internet services and integration company.profileIntegration DesignBased: MelbourneFounded: 1990Staff: 32Turnover: $8 million in 1998/99 financial yearGrowth: 28 per centServices: Complete turnkey Internet related services including security, encryption, e-mail, e-commerce, Web development (intranet and extranet), hardware, software and Internet-related serviceshttp://www.idesign.com.au


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