A pure play IBM strategy is paying dividends for solutions and services company Certus, which is the first company in Australia and New Zealand to achieve a “best-of’the-best” ranking from the international professional services industry research firm SPI Research.
Certus grew at an average rate of more than 40 percent per annum for each of the past four years. This fiscal year, its growth leapt by 75 percent, due largely to two acquisitions in Australia. The acquisitions are Software Traction, which specialises in Rational sales and services, and Focus Strategies Solutions, an analytics company.
“They’ve increased our revenue streams by around $A25 million,” says Certus CEO Brian Allen.
Total revenues are around $A70 million, with 160 staff working from offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland and Wellington.
The SPI Research annual benchmark report spans 177 key performance indicators. The PS Maturity Model is the industry leading performance improvement tool used by more than 5000 service and project-oriented organisations.
Allen says professional services firms around the world are keenly interested in the benchmark because it provides a robust method for them to measure themselves against their competitors.
“Our strategy is to grow both organically and inorganically,” he says. “We’re growing by around 30 percent annually organically, and the rest is by acquisition of best-of-breed IBM pure play companies.
Earlier acquisitions were Utility AP and EOS, a collaboration and portal company.
“We believe our pure play strategy has a lot of runway,” Allen says. “The model certainly works for us in Australia where we needed to go for growth.
“New Zealand is IBM’s smallest market. Australia is significantly larger, and that’s not just by population.”
More than 60 percent of Certus’ staff are based in Australia. Allen says that proportionate growth will continue and that, eventually, the company will probably establish its head office there.
More than 60 percent of the company is owed by working executives, with a 30 percent cornerstone shareholding held by private equity company Ascot.
Allen says IBM products are particularly hot in the business analysis and information management areas. “We’re getting very good growth out of process solutions like Maximo. There’s also a lot of increasing activity around IBM’s social business offerings.
“The key to all this is the pure play strategy, offering an end to end IBM strategy with a broad range of services, rather than customers having to deal with niche providers.”