Longtime OneNet general manager Roman Paljk has joined fellow OneNet alumnus Markus McIver to lead the local expansion of Virtuoso, a UK-founded IT support provider specialising in the Microsoft cloud.
Virtuoso is headquartered in South Quay, London, but was founded by two Kiwis, one of which was McIver, the company's CEO, who moved to the UK in 2009. The other co-founder was Greg McCallum, the company's CTO.
Virtuoso was set up in 2011 and has since grown to about 50 staff in the UK and New Zealand, the local contingent largely acting in a support capacity for UK customers.
However, McIver has since made the move back to New Zealand from the UK and now plans to enlarge Virtuoso’s presence locally beyond its traditional support function, building out its service delivery capabilities.
This is where Paljk comes in.
Paljk had previously been heading up local cloud computing specialist OneNet as general manager, a role he had held since 2012. Indeed, he had been at OneNet in various roles for over 16 years when he left the company in July this year. It is understood that OneNet owner and director Michael Snowden has taken on management duties in Paljk's absence.
Over the years since McIver left OneNet in 2010, he and Paljk had kept in touch. When McIver returned to New Zealand with a plan to build out Virtuoso’s business locally, Paljk stepped in to help out, taking on the role of Virtuoso managing director for New Zealand.
“We’d worked together in the past and always maintained a great relationship and, over the last 10 years, had always mentioned if there was ever an opportunity to start the business in NZ we’d be keen to get involved,” Paljk told Reseller News.
Why ramp up Virtuoso’s local presence now? Well, Microsoft’s move to build its first data centre region in New Zealand was certainly a compelling draw card.
McIver was in the UK when Microsoft decided to ramp up its data centre presence in that market and saw first-hand the impact it had on businesses in the region. As a Microsoft cloud specialist, it also meant a lot more work for Virtuoso in the long-term.
Now, it is fully expected that the establishment of the local data centre region in New Zealand will have a similar effect on businesses in the local market, and Virtuoso is gearing up to make the most of the resulting opportunities.
"New Zealand is...a big market, there are lots of businesses here, and that’s why Microsoft is building its data centres here,” McIver told Reseller News. “For ambitious Kiwi companies wanting to go offshore, we can provide the services for them in both places.”
The irony of Virtuoso plying its trade with local companies wanting to expand overseas is that the cloud specialist is taking the reverse route: starting up overseas and expanding into New Zealand.
But from McIver’s perspective, it makes perfect sense.
For Paljk, getting in at the ground level and starting a new business in New Zealand was appealing.
“I like winning the deals that we’re not really supposed to win, and OneNet was at a scale where, apart from the very top end of town, we weren’t really the underdog,” Paljk said.
Now, the focus is on the small- to medium-sized business segment, and onboarding customers in that space – something that is expected to accelerate once the local Microsoft data centre region officially opens up.
Despite the local tech talent crunch, Virtuoso has started hiring engineers to kick-start its delivery capabilities locally and plans to hire more headcount over the coming months.
“At the moment there’s a war on talent in the IT space, but I think we’ve got a really good value proposition,” Paljk said.