Provoke charts course for offshore expansion

Provoke charts course for offshore expansion

Local Microsoft partner Provoke plans to establish offices in Australia and the US in a move that will grow staff numbers and boost turnover.

CEO Mason Pratt says the most likely locations for the offices are in Melbourne and Redmond, Washington, where Microsoft is headquartered.

“[Australia] has a similar market and a similar culture and it is lower risk than perhaps the UK or Asia,” he says.

Pratt also says there are revenue opportunities his company could explore by having a physical presence on the West Coast of the US.

“We’re in the process of setting up an office and are registering a company in the US now,” says Pratt, adding registration should be complete within weeks.

The company’s proposed US and Australian offices will capitalise on three key market opportunities; the development of custom applications, SharePoint and the cloud. Pratt expects the overseas expansion to add 50 percent to the company’s turnover. He did not provide figures on what the current turnover is.

Provoke currently has 50 staff in its Wellington office and set up an Auckland office in 2007. Its aim is to have 50 staff in Auckland too.

The company wants to build teams of between 40 and 50 staff in offshore locations as well, and Pratt says this will be done by hiring staff in Australia and the US, along with temporary relocation of some New Zealand staff.

Provoke’s growth is not only geographical, with Pratt having recently created SpiderLabs, a research and development company spun out of Provoke Solutions.

“[Provoke is] primarily service-based and we are constrained by the number of hours in the day,” says Pratt, adding that working on tailor-made products for clients often leaves no time to develop new products. “One of the revenue streams we can see is in building touchscreen applications, for example.”

The company is still in early stages and Provoke staff currently sub-contract to SpiderLabs. It only has one full-time employee at present though more hiring is planned, as well as giving Provoke staff the opportunity to join the new company. SpiderLabs has already delivered an application to a large corporate customer and the application is now in final testing stages, says Pratt, with another two applications in development. The company’s website is also still under development.

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