Customers Come First

Inside story

Brennan IT is a force to be reckoned with in the mid-market IT space. From infrastructure services to unified communications solutions, the IT services and integration company seems to have a finger in every pie.

The company currently has about 200 staff and in 2009, it placed 21st in BRW’s Fast 100 list which tracks the fastest growing SMEs judged by annual revenue growth averaging over three years.

This year, it took out the Mid-Market Market Reseller of the Year category at the 2010 ARN Awards.

Brennan IT was founded 13 years ago by Dave Stevens, a former pro-cyclist from Melbourne who thought he would find a more lucrative career in IT at the age of 22. He thought correctly.

Stevens graduated from a university IT course and did his time selling PCs at computer shops before deciding to get his network engineer certification. He went on to become an IT contract trainer working with technologies from vendors such as Microsoft and Novell.

In 1997, he had an idea.

“Whenever I was doing a course on Windows NT or Novell, half my classroom was full of professional network engineers and industry guys,” Stevens said.

“The other half was corporate secretaries, CFOs and accountants from mid-market companies that had networks dropped on them by suppliers that were just installing servers and PCs.

“None of the real business requirements for the mid-market were met.”

He leaped at the gap in the market and started Brennan IT with some business partners and one employee in the upstairs bedroom of his house in Balmain, Sydney. That didn’t last long and three months later, he leased a small office in the CBD.

“We were pretty ambitious about the business and thought it was going to grow so we wanted the credibility of it being in the City,” he said. “We also wanted to have sales people on-board to drive growth for us.”

Stevens cashed in on his IT industry connections and the first new customer Brennan IT landed was the ASX albeit was for a small contract to migrate the client from one operating system to another.

Demand from the mid-market organisations continued. Being one of the first to tackle that market segment obviously helped Brennan IT’s position.

“There was no competition when we started, which was great as we got to define our own market,” Stevens said. “A lot of the products we produced and the way we sell things had never really been done before.”

While there has been an increase in competition in the mid-market space, Stevens is content with Brennan IT’s considerable head start. It still enjoys the challenge of delivering enterprise-grade outcomes with mid-market budgets, he said.

“These companies have the same system requirements as corporate companies,” Stevens said. “They often have very complex networks and the same systems, such as enterprise resource management [ERP] and customer relationship management [CRM] systems, but without a significant budget or massive internal departments dedicated to rolling that out and supporting it.”

The integrator is currently making a big push with cloud computing. Stevens is confident the technology is a good fit with the mid-market.

“It is the right way for the mid-market to compute,” he said. “On a whole, it brings tangible benefits. We rollout the solution and can be held accountable for delivering the outcomes we promised.

“It helps build trust relationships with our clients and it’s a great positive perpetual process.”

Stevens maintains Brennan IT doesn’t really have a ‘secret to success’: It just keeps customers at the forefront of its thinking when trying to meet their business requirements.

“I think that is a pretty straightforward recipe and I don’t think we have done anything more complex than that,” he said.