ARN: Can you describe your business?
McGrath: We are software integrators. Our main role is business process engineering and project management.
Does your company have a special area of focus as an integrator?
We were in the mainframe area until we made the transition to Windows. Last year we moved into e-commerce solutions and Web technologies because that is where the market is heading. Recently, we made a decision to move into knowledge management (KM) as we've seen there is an increasing demand for corporate communications and management of information. Although Web technologies have helped, there is a huge amount of knowledge floating around, especially unstructured stuff. We continue to find organisations that accumulate valuable data which they don't utilise so we have been investigating KM in an attempt to find a solution we can provide to customers.
The adoption of KM technology for our clients will require a culture change but IDC estimated the KM market will be worth $US3.4 billion worldwide by 2002.
What type of customer do you cater to?
Mainly the plant nursery retail market and market research sector. We have just picked up a large scientific organisation and a travel wholesaler and another in the finance sector.
What differentiates your company from others in the same field?
Defining what our difference is as a small player has been a challenge. Our biggest problem has been to define in which direction we want to go. That is why we have chosen KM. We want to become specialists in that field.
We recognise we need a couple of ingredients to maintain market share: to be experts in a certain technology, which our clients expect; and to find a focus that suits our skill-set.
Until then, we were just another IT consulting company and we recognise we can't continue to grow like that, we can only earn a living out of it.
Which vendors do you partner with and why?
Microsoft and OzEmail are the two major vendors. We have evaluated a number of KM packages, which I would rather not mention at this stage, and are now negotiating VAR agreements but as yet they have not been finalised.
What do look for in a vendor partnership?
Good training and support and we want to tap into their marketing muscle to jointly develop a marketing plan. And with an area like KM we need their skills for early implementation.
We will of course build those skills ourselves but it's an area where expertise is rare in Australia so we will have to rely on the vendors.
Where does your company excel most with its business methodologies?
In our relationships with our clients. We don't believe that being professional means you have to be impersonal. The feedback we get from our clients is that they get on very well with our staff. We try to maintain a high level of delivery and, on the project management side, we make sure everything is discussed and is clear up front. It's important to keep control of the project.
What are the key buying motives amongst your clients?
Previously, Y2K and now the coming GST. Most have had trouble finding somebody who can do the work for them. It's a matter of being known in the marketplace.
What are the major challenges facing your company?
Keeping abreast of the technology and differentiating ourselves in a competitive marketplace.
What is the major inhibitor to business development?
Having a profile that people are aware of and as a small player it's hard for us to compete against the bigger companies.
What piece of advice would you offer to other IT integrators?
Stay in step with technology, specialise and ensure your clients have options.profileRealm Information ServicesBased: St Leonards, SydneyStarted: 1996Staff: 6Turnover: $700,000 to $1 millionGrowth: 100 per cent each year