Over a decade after its launch, Auckland-based Theta Systems prides itself on the fact that its very first customer remains on its books. “We have an enormously loyal customer base,” says CEO Steve Saunders. ”Having customers for such a long time is a testament to our success.”
“We’re a very dynamic company and we’re in a unique situation.”
Theta was born in 1995, as an information technology consultancy teamed with Oracle. Saunders says it has progressed since then to become a Microsoft-certified partner and an IBM partner, as well as continuing its partnership with Oracle.
“We work heavily with our partners. Our latest partnering with Microsoft has provided a very exciting opportunity for us; we have already generated sales with Microsoft in the first six months.”
Theta mainly operates in the energy sector and Genesis Energy is a major customer.
“We’re currently focused mainly on the Auckland region, primarily because most of our customers are domiciled here. We have a number of significant customers in other industries as well,” says Saunders. “There are many opportunities in the South Island as well as overseas, and it’s a part of our strategy to explore that market. We’re planning to move in to Australia as part of our long-term strategy.”
There are about 40 people working in the company’s Auckland office, with several workers working at clients’ sites and out of the office.
Saunders says Theta runs an associate model and there are about 75 associates at any time working for the company.
“Having associates rather than employees gives us flexibility and the ability to source the right people in the market. We can bring in people with the right skills and maintain the intellectual property.”
Three of the major shareholders work at Theta, something Saunders says benefits the company.
“With some of the largest shareholders working here, there’s a mix of respect and the acceptance of ability that comes with that responsibility. It’s leadership rather than control.
“I’m very enthused and excited about working here, and I think most of the staff feels the same way.” Saunders says he gets to work at around 7.20 every morning, and will often spend more than 12 hours in the office.
“The company really captured my imagination when I started here about ten months ago,” says Saunders, the former University of Auckland chief technology officer. “This is a great place to work and we have lots of fun. This place has energy; people want to come here to work. Harnessing that energy is easy because we work with professional people who want to be here. There is no clock-watching, it’s all about output and productivity, and this place has a bubbling enthusiasm.”
Saunders says the plan is for Theta to grow both organically and through acquisitions. “The forecast for us is very positive — the New Zealand market still has growth potential.”
Theta’s plans for the future, he says, include moving into consultancy and business intelligence.