Managing director Mason Pratt says Provoke’s decision to open an Auckland office last month was driven by demand from customers there, who have been asking it to expand to the city for some time.
“Provoke was set up six years ago to fill a gap in the market where you just had traditional technical shops and high-end design set-ups. No one had a user-centric design focus, building solutions on Microsoft technology.”
The demand for these kinds of offerings in Auckland has increased over the years, says Pratt. “There is no one offering the same sort of services as we do,” he claims.
Expanding to Auckland is not the only sign of Pratt’s management prowess. Last month he received the New Zealand Institute of Management and Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year award for the central region. In November he will compete against the winners from the northern and southern regions for the national award.
One area Provoke wants to tackle in Auckland is opportunities around Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server. “There is a huge demand for Sharepoint in Auckland. We want to position ourselves as the number one Sharepoint developer in Auckland and Wellington.”
While the company considered servicing Auckland from Wellington, it decided a local presence was needed, says Pratt. “Sending staff up from Wellington would have been too risky and the progress would have been far too slow. We needed someone on the ground with local knowledge and networks.”
Bringing this local understanding is Robert Benson, who was appointed to head the Auckland office.
Benson was formerly managing director at Theta Systems and says he has been following Provoke’s progress over the last few years with interest.
“I’m excited at the prospect of bringing this young and vibrant organisation to the Auckland market.”
Provoke’s value proposition is all about innovation in a business context, he says. “Combining user-centric design, with the best technology and the best people enables us to deliver real business benefits that traditional solution providers can’t.”
Pratt says Benson is the ideal person to set up the new branch as he built Theta Systems into a successful service company during his time there.
In addition to Benson, the company has two other employees in Auckland, and Pratt says this number will grow at a steady pace. “We will slowly build up capacity from a customer-facing perspective.”
Over the coming six months Provoke will focus on transferring skills and replicating all its methodologies and processes to the new office.
Provoke has 40 staff in Wellington, but has outgrown its premises and is looking for a new location double the size of its current offices.