TechnologyOne founder and executive chairman Adrian Di Marco has been in the local tech scene long enough to know that turning a good idea into a real business is hard work in Australia. However, 25 years since its inception the ASX-listed software company has not only cemented a place for itself in the market but has made a habit of going toe to toe with bigger global rivals.
From its humble beginnings in the car park of a Brisbane-based hide re-processing plan TechnologyOne is now one of Australia’s largest listed software companies, with 800 staff across multiple locations. While that sounds impressive the outfit is still a small fish in a big pond inhabited by the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and SAP.
But Di Marco says the company is more than capable of punching above its weight and it all comes down to accountability and the strength of its products
The company posted an eight per cent increase in revenue to $77.3 million for the half year to 31 March, with initial license fees increasing 18 per cent to $18.4 million, annual license fees jumping 16 per cent to $25.4 million and consulting services ticking up nine per cent to $21.3 million.
Equally pleasing is the fact that the company continues to steal market share from its bigger rivals.
Earlier this year TechnologyOne announced it had secured 38 customers in deals worth more than $16 million, since the launch of its pre-configured sector-specific “One” solutions in late 2010, replacing multi-nationals Oracle and Microsoft at a number of sites.
“It’s all about having a business model that is right and we have a good one. We build [our solutions], we market them, we implement and we support them,” Di Marco says.
“We take total responsibility and that means we control the whole chain.”
Di Marco contends that Oracle and SAP’s reliance on third party organisations, such as Accenture, to implement their software solutions leads to plenty of headaches for organisations.
“The model they have is so broken that their products are falling behind.”
The next big stepping stone for TechnologyOne is cloud computing which Di Marco reckons will take some time make its presence felt in the Australian enterprise space, especially as issues around data sovereignty are resolved.
“We think it will happen but it might be slow and that’s why we are getting in early,” Di Marco says.
“We are working with Amazon, who will be our partner in this.”
Di Marco is quick to add while the TechnologyOne’s Cloud will be powered by Amazon; the underlying responsibility of forging the relationship with customers will be the number one priority.
The marriage of top of the line technology and building a close customer relationship lies at the heart of TechnologyOne’s success. The company has been delivering profits for about 20 years and has paid dividends for the last 16 years. Not bad for a company that couldn’t rustle together enough capital to get started two decades ago.
Di Marco managed to get a helping hand from a former custo7mer,J.L. Mactaggart Industries, but he is disheartened by the fact that things haven’t gotten any easier for Australian tech entrepreneurs.
“We have harnessed the innovative and creative spirit of Australia at TechnologyOne” Di Marco says.
The problem, according to Di Marco, is one of perception where we don’t believe in our technology and products. It’s something TechnologyOne has to deal with on a daily basis.
“When we go into a bid we always start as outside runners to get into the shortlist, once we do we usually end up winning the contract,” he says.