Business intelligence specialist Stellar Consulting is on a roll of late.
The company, which was launched in 2008 in Auckland, was recognised in late October in the Deloitte Fast 50 index as New Zealand’s 28th fastest growing company.
It was also a finalist in two categories in Westpac’s Auckland Central Business Awards, held on November 2. The categories were Best Emerging Business and Excellence in Service Delivery.
The company has built up its business over the last four years with an emphasis on vendor neutrality and keeping customers happy. Since its founding, the company has grown from its four founders to a staff of 25, and while headquartered in Auckland, has started to move into the Wellington market, as well as a few regional markets in the North Island.
“We all came from multinational corporate backgrounds,” says Grant Broadbent, managing director and cofounder of Stellar. “A lot of those companies are driven by quarterly sales and the need to sell tin. There's nothing wrong with that. But we wanted to do it differently where we were more flexible, more able to fit into our customers requirements and structure our deals and projects along their needs and not based on margins.”
Stellar is an Oracle gold partner, Microsoft silver data platform partner, and a SAP partner. The company tends to build on what its clients already have, Broadbent says, and it is not averse to suggesting a competing solution if it is what Stellar sees as necessary.
“There was a gap in the market for a truly independent, agnostic company that had no invested interest in the sale of software and hardware and could sit across all the mainstream technology,” he says.
Still, because of the prevalence of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft databases, Broadbent says that is where Stellar’s expertise lies. Stellar also works with niche software providers, as well as hardware vendors when the need arises.
“We’re working with a company now that needs to do sales reporting so its sales staff know where they are in the month against their targets and their current environment doesn’t support that,” he says. “So we're saying they need to do a daily refresh to keep track and that’s going to require a substantial hardware upgrade. They just don’t have the performance.”
Broadbent comes from a sales background, with 30 years experience in IT, having worked for Oracle, Prism Solutions and EMC, among others.
“When I started out in the late 80s you might as well have been selling snake oil,” says Broadbent. “BI was expensive and there was big education you needed to do as part of the sales approach. People still see it as reporting hanging off the back of applications. But the market has generally matured and commercial organisations now see it as a must have.”
Broadbent says anyone considering launching into their own reseller business needs to “work on delighting the customer.” To his thinking, this includes delivering at or above expectations.
“That takes good resource planning, good pricing skills, and good expectation management every step of the way. Just gear it so the customer is happy and you will get repeat business.”