His approach to ditching geek stereotypes is hiring the right staff and believing in the three Rs — reliability, responsiveness and relationships.
“Applying those three principles really does help us to shake that [geek] image and a big part of that is having a team of communicators who are not going to talk tech. I think that’s consistent with the industry as well.”
Hunt says the IT industry’s attitude to the SME market has changed in the past eight years.
“We’re a small niche in the whole industry, so we focus on the small to medium business market. Back in 2000 this was one of the opportunities that we identified, as it was not a well-loved section of the industry. There were lots of small businesses that were crying out to be looked after and have some better IT systems and processes.”
He says vendors are now interested in the small business market and want to help the company. Fisheye is an HP reseller and Microsoft partner, adding that customers now see IT as being critical to their business rather than something additional.
The company has 10 employees made up of technicians, office staff and support people. He says the name Fisheye was chosen as it was so memorable. “It gets us away from the whole concept of being unapproachable, scary and technical.”
Fisheye’s services include business IT support, mobile office support, unified communications, cloud/hosted services and home office support.
Its latest service, which Hunt is keen to grow, is helping IT departments with sustainability.
“We’ve got a growing number of services for IT departments within big businesses, and for other resellers, providing specialist ‘green’ IT services. We can help out with energy audits, procurement strategies and [setting up] ‘green’ offices.”
He adds that the tougher economic climate brings opportunity for Fisheye.
“We’ve got some strategies around that and the big one is looking to save people money. We’re aiming to sell [‘green’ IT services] more and more.”
The company has an Auckland focus, as Hunt believes close relationships and reducing energy costs are important. “It can often be quite hard if we’re trying to have those relationships long distance. We find there is enough business out there locally for us. One of our differentiators in the market is sustainability, so we’re trying to reduce travel and energy.”
This extends to using energy-efficient Smart cars and scooters to get around the city.
The company does not need to do much marketing, but gets involved with events such as the annual Ponsonby market day. “We’ve decided to become involved to put our face out in the local community. It was about letting people know about us and that we’re offering solutions for their home, such as linking digital media.”
Operating on Ponsonby Road has social and business advantages too. “Having clients who can actually come out and see what we do for them is great. When you have events, people want to come as they can go out up the road afterwards so you get better turn outs,” says Hunt.
He wants to help develop a Ponsonby business community that embodies sustainability principles in its values. As well, he is planning to build relationships with other IT companies.
“We’re really keen to foster communities across various industries. But we’re also working with Microsoft and a couple of other IT companies to support the development of a small-business IT community to encourage greater partnering, and lift the credibility and understanding of our industry to customers.”