ARN: What products and services does Sundata offer?Kakanis: Probably our two main brands are IBM and Cisco. Basically, what we do is solve our customer's business problems. It varies dramatically from providing infrastructure or platforms for their business applications to providing them with the ability to extend their businesses to the Internet.
Most of the customers we've got have a traditional business model and are coming to grips with how to use the Internet to increase their competitive advantage. What we provide is the ability for our clients to use the products to improve their business. [Our job] differs in degree depending on whether the client has its own technical expertise. For example, if a client has an IT department with 10 people, we provide different services to a company with no IT department.
What are Sundata's key business strengths?A high level of customer satisfaction. What it translates into is a high rate of repeat business. We've also independently surveyed our customers and found 75 per cent of them rated us as very good to excellent in regards to technical support, sales and the administrative functions of the business. We have always had a focus on applications solutions, so even when we roll out infrastructure we understand the business issues driving the project, which leads to a more successful project. We've also got a great team - we invest a lot in skills training for all of our staff.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?In the current environment there is a lot of consolidation with mergers and takeovers, but we've remained an independent business in that environment. Our clients value that - they can deal with the partners directly if they need to.
We're big enough to provide a comprehensive solution but not so big that we lose sight of the client's importance. People like buying from people they like and they know. We get a lot of our business through references from other customers.
Describe your client base.
Our client base is almost exclusively medium-to-large corporates. We're not in the SOHO [small office/home office] market. We understand we don't compete at the large enterprise and government level, and we know that where we are competitive is with companies that value a combination of services and products.
What areas of technology are you keeping an eye on?There's probably two main skill areas we're investing in at the moment.
Business-to-business e-commerce [is one area], because that's where a significant amount of growth is going to occur in the next two to three years.
The other area is in network convergence, where data, voice and video will all converge into a single technology solution. We believe it's a significant growth area and it's one we already have skills in.
What are your plans for the next couple of years?We want to continue our rate of growth while maintaining or improving the strengths of the business. We're developing some software: a shrink-wrapped business-to-business e-commerce solution which will have an international focus, rather than just domestic. We may be looking for outside equity to grow that opportunity. This software product will take our business into intellectual property as an asset, which will change the profit structure of the business.
What do you see as the business issues currently facing solutions providers?Attracting and retaining great staff and, secondly, continuing to strive to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Number of staff: 24
Annual turnover: -$8.5 million for the current financial year Growth rate: 40 per cent Services: -Network integration and applications support. www.sundata.com.au