After 18 years working in the document management sector of the IT industry, Mike Ross decided it was time for a change, to build his future on his own company.
Last year he bought the customer list of a small company whose owner was moving overseas, and established Holistec Systems, initially to operate as a reseller of IBM servers and Hewlett-Packard desktops.
“I also had in mind Sugar CRM (he is now the New Zealand partner) but nothing else in particular,” he says. “However, I knew the 40 customers I inherited could be a springboard into related items.”
The past six months have been frantic. First, he partnered with Ruckus, a high-end multi access point wireless system, which is suited to the likes of hotels and apartment buildings. His first sale was to the venerable Wellington Club, for members, guests and staff. The latest is to a newly established Wellington firm of lawyers and mediators, Clifton Chambers.
Sugar CRM, meanwhile, is going “gangbusters”, he says, with 15 customers. So much so, that he has entered into a joint arrangement with the Ministry of Social Development to bring to New Zealand in April Clint Oram, a co-founder of Sugar, who will present on the virtues of commercial open source.
Holistec has entered into an arrangement with the Automobile Association, whose Smartfuel card allows registered users to accumulate fuel discount points when they shop online at partners such as Unichem, Firestone and Hammer Hardware.
So far, 920,000 people have signed up for Smartfuel cards, thus providing a significant potential customer base.
“We’ve become their national online IT retailer,” Ross says. “We provide a shop window to distributors such as Ingram Micro, Exeed and Datastor, who offer value-add services such as installation and maintenance to online customers.”
Holistec has also become the outsourcer for Fuji Xerox’s small business managed print, a service which until now had been offered only to the high end of the market.
Focused on the $900 to $2000 price range of printers, Holistec has a website that monitors usage and automatically sends out toners or provides service when due.
From launch last July, Ross has grown the company to 10 staff, which he expects to double over the next year.