Across the table in tailored chinos, exposed ankles and a plain black t-shirt, Noel Allnutt sat back, paused and took a deep breath.
Having raced to the 2016 finish line, the co-founder of next generation technology start-up Solista assessed a year of spectacular highs.
“It was our coming of age year,” said Allnutt, in his striking northern English accent. “All of our hard work and commitment really started to pay off.”
Founded in 2013 with the vision of bringing new and emerging technologies to the Australian market, the Sydney-based business excels across cloud, data infrastructure and cyber security, providing professional services and technical advice across the country.
“We have started our transition out of the start-up phase with a number of customers coming back to for assistance with a second or third project,” Allnutt added.
“This was real validation that our strategy is sound, we are on the right track and stimulating our clients pace of innovation.”
Despite making serious start-up strides in 2016, the entrepreneurial touch is not lost on Allnut and co-founder, Daniel Fuller.
“We dress how we act,” he explained. “We’re very much a jeans and t-shirt type of company and customers appreciate it because they don’t feel like they’re being sold to.”
Yet ironically, selling is what sets Solista apart, with a team of eight meeting with over 850 organisations in three years, demonstrating an appetite seldom seen at the larger end of town.
“We’ve won over a good percentage of the early adopters, but the majority have indicated that they would wait to see how that technology would perform in the market before making the investment,” Allnut explained.
“Having now proven ourselves in delivering those solutions, with customer testimonials to verify the benefits of working with us, we are now in a great position to deliver to the broader audience.
“We have the tools and experience to seize this opportunity and differentiate against the traditional resellers as customers look to adopt a new way of delivering IT.”
Specifically, Solista’s point of differentiation lies in the company’s ability to execute large scale and tactical projects powered by next generation technologies.
In partnering with challenger vendors such as Nimble Storage, Veeam, Pure Storage, Rubrik, Vormetric, Zerto and Actifio to name a few, Solista is seizing the moment in financial services, health and real estate, with plans in place to hit the wider market in 2017.
“Our customers know what they are going to get and what we stand for,” Allnut said.
In drawing on his previous channel experience - having worked for Westcon Group, StorageCraft and Enterprise Data Corporation locally - Allnut said providing a “significant ROI” remains an essential element of all Solista projects.
“Our customers are very quickly realising cost and productivity gains, whilst eradicating IT infrastructure as a bottleneck to innovation,” he added.
“We are dedicated to the plug and play enterprise and the simplification of installation, support and service contracts.”
For Solista exists in a universe were old mentalities still continue to dictate the rules of engagement, as resellers replicate, intimate and ultimately, stagnate.
“It’s quite a stark contrast to the approach taken by many of our competitors,” he said.
“I think the opportunity lies with the organisations that have not yet taken the plunge with the newer, disruptive technologies. So we need to continue to create value with that technology, but on a wider scale.”
Looking ahead, scale remains key for Allnut as the team continually looks beneath the covers to extract the next best thing in technology, and crucially, serve it up on a plate to hungry customers.
“You encounter different challenges in small businesses but we have a chance to make a difference, to challenge and to have fun,” Allnut said.
“Our challenge is getting this message across to the right talent. The major consultancies and integrators are competing for the same tech dollar as Solista and they have the resources to throw at hiring talent.
“We need to be smart and on board people who believe in the long-term vision, it’s not easy to uncover those gems.”
Yet in forging an enviable reputation for unearthing unknown and disruptive new technologies, finding such gems is second nature to Solista.
FOUNDED - 2013
HEADCOUNT - Eight
KEY TECH - Storage, backup and disaster recovery, copy data management, cyber security and cloud
KEY VENDORS - Nimble Storage, Veeam, Pure Storage, Rubrik, Palo Alto Networks, Vormetric, Zerto and Actifio
KEY CUSTOMERS - Financial services, health, and real estate
This article originally appeared in the December issue of ARN magazine - to subscribe, please click here