The tyranny of distance is something that’s not lost on IT service providers in the Northern Territory, with all partners having a good handle on how to operate a business in remote areas.
Yet finding qualified staff remains an endless challenge, with diversifying service offerings one way to keep on top of customer demand in the region - ARN investigates.
“We have a long history of supporting business and government in the region. CSG listed on the ASX in 2007 and were the only publicly listed company headquartered in the NT at the time.
“Growth is always high on our agenda and in addition to supporting our traditional print business, we will be focusing on growing our technology as a service offering, which includes subscription based solutions such as desktop, communications, display, digital signage, video conferencing, storage and back-up.
“CSG is bringing world leading technologies to the NT for the first time which business in the region will benefit from.
“We’re also looking at launching our footprint into Singapore and possibly other Asian regions in the coming years and we see Darwin as a great place to grow our Asian operations from.
“There are many changing challenges within the industry and it is always important to stay ahead of trends and understand where industries are heading. But we look forward and focus on what our customers want instead of focusing on our competition.
“The print industry has become increasingly commoditised and businesses are printing less. Finding great staff is always a challenge but we recruit and retain by fostering a strong work culture.
“We have moved into a new office to support our growth and are optimistic about our future in the region. We offer a set of solutions that add real value that I don’t think our competitors can match.
“Darwin has been an important region for us and it will continue to be so. While we now much bigger than we once were with offices across all regions of Australia and New Zealand we always remember where we came from.”
“We’re a traditional channel partner that focuses on offering cloud/ hosted services, we’ve got our own mini data centre which features high availability and is replicated between two different sites.
“Our core business is focused on managed services for commercial organisations based primarily in NT, but we did open our first interstate office last year in Brisbane. We are also a traditional reseller in the sense that we supply software licensing and hardware procurement.
“We’ve also got Gold certifications with a number of vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, HPE and Lenovo, and we’re also a VMware enterprise partner.
“Since starting out eight years ago, we have now have 47 staff in the business, encountering the highs and lows of the NT economy. In fact, we first set out to build our business with or without the help of the NT government.
“Prior to starting Area 9, we felt there wasn’t an enterprise- grade organisation in NT that was focused on anything but the NT government’s business, which represents about 60 percent of IT spending in the region.
“Up until that point, the key players in the enterprise market were really focused on securing large contracts with the NT government, and no one was really offering enterprise grade value added services into the commercial sector, because it wasn’t deemed to be big enough, but that has changed in recent times and we set about building an organisation that can deliver quality, managed outsourced services to councils, education, healthcare, legal and financial services markets.
“We attract most of our customers through word of mouth.”
“eMerge ITS was formed in 2007 and offers a complete suite of IT networking services. Some of the top priorities for our business this year involve systems integration in our own business to ensure seamless interaction between accounts, service and remote management toolsets; and an electronic records management system.
“We’ll also look to implement an effective CRM system, while also growing our own profitability in 2016/17 by 30 percent. Another part of our strategy is to also help transition customers away from on-premise hardware.
“eMerge ITS has an office in Katherine, Northern Territory (NT), and has a good handle on what challenges are faced by operating a business in remote areas.
“Some of our main issues and challenges are about attracting and retaining staff, competing with ever decreasing margins coupled with expectations of higher levels of service and the ever present uncertainty in the ICT environment.”
Tropical Business Solutions
“We started 10 years ago and back then we were just a straight ‘break/ fix’ type of company. Since then, we’ve changed into more of a managed service provider but we also broke out into three main areas – our core IT business, communications and an administration arm to business, which is a big point of difference for us in the Territory.
“Those three main areas work well together in providing a complete solution to the SME clients that we have in the area.
“One of the main issues we have in the Northern Territory is getting our SME clients to understand the importance of their technology in their business, from their platforms right through to their business applications. Clients don’t really put an important focus on it than they probably should.
“We’ve been working on doing a lot of content marketing and educating our current and potential clients as much as possible.
“The communications part of our business is relatively new and it’s something that we’re focused on and we’ll continue to develop in the next few months to gain greater market share in the area.”