The 'ARN spotlight on' series explores partners operating in the local channel landscape right around the country, from Cape York to Hobart, Byron Bay to Fremantle and beyond. In this edition, we focus on South Australia and Adelaide-based solutions integrator and managed service provider (MSP) Akto.
Most things in life move in cycles, and Sam Loveridge, co-founder and CEO of Akto, has brought this into the essence of how the solutions integrator operates — by utilising his success from a past win to power future success.
Starting from square one
Akto was formed from the minds of Loveridge and chief technology officer and fellow co-founder Chris Wood, following on from managing the solution architecture department at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. That, he said, was the catalyst.
“When you're delivering the advice, understanding businesses, looking at their problems and then giving them recommendations, that worked really well when everyone was there," he said.
"But as soon as you leave, watching those things collapse became really shallow. What's the point of giving advice if it doesn't actually get followed through?
“Both Chris and I, we looked around and thought, 'Well, there's got to be a better way,' and obviously sticking around to implement the advice and help the next stages was key to what we started Akto to do.”
Part of starting Akto up in Adelaide was due to Loveridge hearing time and time again that there was a lack of assets in the local area.
“Every time you talk to a customer and ask them about what's going on with their platforms, their number one complaint was that they could not get local resources in Adelaide,” he said.
But it’s not just Adelaide that Akto serves, but the whole of the country.
“For us, our underlying primary driver for all of this stuff is grow resources where the customers are, and that's nationally, not just Adelaide, but obviously Adelaide presented an obvious problem to solve initially," Loveridge said.
“Likewise, if we were working in Geelong, we'd look at people in Geelong, Bendigo, Newcastle – wherever they may be, so that is critical to customers to get local resources.”
From the start, the business began with just the two co-founders. Six to 12 months later, they brought on Gordon McAlister, a close professional colleague of the pair, who ended up as chief operating officer.
Over time, this ballooned further and expanded its way up to 10 people, most of which joining the business over the last 12 months.
Following its co-founders’ past experiences, Akto started out servicing higher education facilitates, universities, financial service businesses, credit unions and banks – what Loveridge refers to as his bread and butter.
Since then, the solutions integrator has ventured into servicing governments at local and state levels, as well as utilities, aged care and manufacturing.
Climbing to the peak
Relying on one of its initially targeted verticals, one major success for Akto has been its work with Flinders University through the establishment of an integration platform and setting up best practices.
Read more on the next page...