The urge and curiosity to kick start his own business played a significant part in what inspired Robert Bassat to kick start IT services company Advent One in 2000.
Bassat spent many years at IBM prior to fulfilling his business quest, and still maintains those business relationships today.
“I thought I’d give it a try. I was always intrigued by people that had succeeded in business in the 80s and 90s, I thought I was living in a sheltered environment working for companies,” Bassat told ARN. “If you surround yourself with good people, success comes easily, it’s an area where I’ve always been fortunate. I’ve achieved nothing on my own.”
Based in Melbourne, Bassat and a small group of employees laid the foundation of what Advent One is today, reputation in tact.
“There are still a couple of employees that have been here for 19/20 years,” he said. “The company itself is owned by the employees and they get a chance to buy shares, invest in the company. I like employees to say they work for themselves, among a group of partners.”
One of the most important factors in business, besides effectively managing cash flow, is working with the right people.
“We’re very fortunate to have good people,” he said. “I’ve never been technical myself, but if you have a community of employees, customers and partners - it all comes down to culture.”
Jon Ossip joined the company as its CEO in May last year, stemming from Oracle, with Bassat taking a step back from day-to-day operations as executive chairman of the company. Advent One has about 55 staff spread across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
“What we look like to the market today, is very different to what we looked like to the market 20 years ago,” Ossip said. “But one thing that remains constant is the company’s values and having a company that is owned by the people, empowering them to be successful and leading towards successful outcomes.”
Ossip pointed out that Advent One’s value-add, business integrity, and committing to deliver to clients, are some of the most important focal points for the company.
“We’ve diversified since our relationship with IBM, but we still remain fiercely loyal - we didn’t switch horses mid-race, so if IBM lost a deal, we lost as well,” Ossip said. “We became respected for that. We can safely say that the reputation we forged in our early days, still sticks with us today. Partners do recognise our loyalty and admire it, and they know they’re in safe hands when they’re dealing with us.”
Ossip said the company partners with some of the best technologies, but what makes Advent One different is its business values, innovation stemming from its strategic partnerships with Red Hat, IBM and NetApp; and overlaying that with the smarts within the organisation.
“Innovation in itself isn’t a differentiator, but it’s what you produce that sets you apart, coupled with your values,” he said.
Ossip hinted its growth plans involve strategically expanding its presence in NSW and South Australia, and diversifying its technology stack as a preeminent hybrid cloud service provider, and dabbling into the big data space.
“What we’re finding today that our background is very relevant, more so than it was a couple of years ago. We’re not born in the cloud, we started 20 years ago - the cloud really wasn’t a thing,” he said. “Our relevance to our clients today is coming into its own now, by virtue of the state we’re in with hybrid cloud. What we found, and what our clients are telling us, is that not all workloads are suited to the cloud. It’s a journey.
“We’ve got a robust business and we’re able to withstand financial fluctuations, and the business climate we’re in today, is not without its difficulties, but we’ve not stood anyone down and I’m so proud of the people that I work with.
“The collaboration that you get when people are part of something, part owners of the company, is very powerful - you can’t buy it.”