ARN: How was your company started?
Allardyce: I was working as a customer services manager for a mainframe manufacturer and noticed there were many instances of mainframe clients spending a lot of money on network infrastructure and not being supported professionally. So it seemed like an opportunity for someone to do that, which is why I started Beethoven. We're not really a box flogger - services form the majority of our revenue.
What products and services does your company offer?
We do a lot of work with security, like designing and installing security systems such as firewalls, messaging security and antivirus solutions. There is also a strong focus on our network control centre. We proactively manage networks remotely, providing our clients with a real benefit in that many times we will know there is something wrong with the network before the client even experiences any downtime. Quite often we can fix it before there's any impact to the client's business. We're also a Cisco premier partner and we have strong skills in WAN design, which simplifies our customer's moves into linking their remote locations together. This also includes the integration of voice and data. In addition, we work with Citrix, with strong expertise in Citrix Winframe and Metaframe for thin client solutions.
Who are your clients and what specific requirements do they have?
We tend to focus our business on what are typically called medium-sized businesses, which tend to have somewhere between 50 and 500 seats on their network. We don't have a vertical focus but much more of a broad cross-industry focus. Clients of this size have a unique set of problems and we have the skill sets, processes and procedures to work very well with them to complement any in-house skills they may have.
How has the business developed since its inception?
We've grown the business organically, so profits have been ploughed back into fund growth and development of new areas. The network control centre was all funded internally, for example. We're at the very early stages of talking about a merger with a public company which would mean we could develop more rapidly, because of access to capital.
What is your vision for the future?
We see ourselves becoming one of the dominant players in our mid-level marketplace. While we're a significant player today we're not dominant. In the next two to three years we will look to take on that dominant role and move forward.
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service and there are incentives for our employees to provide high levels of customer service and satisfaction. Engineers can receive bonuses based on the level of customer satisfaction they receive and we carry out a customer satisfaction survey on every interaction with a client.
What areas of technology are you keeping an eye on?
The Internet is obviously an extremely significant factor in the future of our business. We believe it is going to change the way business operates. Certainly medium-sized businesses, that target of our services, will need to develop Internet processes and procedures in order to maintain their competitive edge.profileBeethoven Computer ServicesHead office: MelbourneEstablished: 1994Staff: About 80Turnover: $12 million for 1999/2000Growth: Between 30-40 per cent annuallyServices: LAN and WAN design, LAN and WAN rollouts, desktop support, 24 x 7 helpdesk, remote network management centrehttp://www. beethoven.com.au