STATE3 pumps up product development push
- 01 October, 2020 14:00
STATE3 turned to a refreshed product development push when the pandemic disrupted its growth plans, and now the company is making a play in the domestic government sector as it works to once again focus on its ‘grow-up’ phase.
According to the software and professional services provider’s co-founder and sales director, Tania Armstrong, the disruptions caused by COVID-19 paused STATE3’s growth but did not entirely stunt it.
“We have been incredibly lucky to have the terrific support of clients such as Airways, PGG Wrightson Seeds, Lincoln University, Southern DHB, Silver Fern Farms [and] Waimakariri District Council,” Armstrong told Reseller News.
“The pandemic interrupted several implementations and required us to pause that work for several weeks. However, we did not lose any clients during this time and were able to onboard several more,” she added.
One of the main changes for STATE3 amid the pandemic disruptions was the uncertainty that impacted the company’s growth ambitions and the decisions from several clients trialling STATE3’s services as to whether they would lock-in those services on an ongoing basis.
“We chose to roll with it and focused on product development during this time,” Armstrong said. “This meant that our dev team could achieve considerable leaps and bounds in product delivery and get great feedback [and] validation through online Teams meetings with our clients.”
Perhaps the largest change for STATE3 during the height of the disruption caused by the pandemic revolves around looking at an international push. Armstrong and team have now pivoted on this and have focused on local and central government work.
STATE3 grows up
STATE3 has been firmly in ‘start-up’ mode for the past year, according to Armstrong. But the company is now in ‘grow-up’ mode, a setting that is accompanied by the need to scale, partner and expand.
While the timing might not have been ideal, with COVID-19 hitting during the company’s ‘grow-up’ phase, STATE3’s growth plans don’t appear to have been derailed.
“In year one we purposely slowed our growth to ensure that the direct clients we work with would be able to inform decision making on the direction of the STATE3 roadmap,” Armstrong said. “We have had excellent validation from our clients, and now the focus is on growth and continually delighting our wonderful client base.
“Business priorities include a concerted marketing review, recruitment, delivering to our roadmap and moving into the government space,” she said.
On the technology front, the company’s priorities include further development of its STATE3 Online offering, including extending the current contracts module to include budgeting, a new risk module and further leveraging of Azure technology to create further value.
The Christchurch-based Microsoft Silver Partner specialises in working with clients to create a single tenancy in Microsoft Azure and then provide professional services. These work through a streamlined implementation process before automating updates to ensure the client organisation retains a current, up-to-date technology state.
Armstrong and product director Basil Buwalda founded the company as part of a drive to enable organisations to take the delivery of a current technology state — something often needed prior to large changes — and create an “elegant solution” that will continually keep the information up-to-date with the possibility of being used again and again.
“We are about helping organisations problem-solve without the added stress to the wider IT team,” Armstrong said. “Most organisational change needs to be enabled by technology so it makes sense for us to ensure that if you capture a current state once, it can be used again and again to solve problems within the organisation.”
Making the most of change
STATE3’s mission to help organisations problem-solve puts it in a good position to meet the market in the areas where its needs are greatest. So, perhaps it should come as little surprise that Armstrong and team anticipate customer spending to accelerate in the coming months, as organisations move large projects forward.
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Indeed, STATE3 is seeing large projects in transformation continuing, a push to consider robotic process automation (RPA) in areas of manual risk and a push to streamline or reduce duplication of solutions within an organisation.
“This makes sense as, while many of our businesses have moved forward, there is still a requirement to account for every dollar and they are looking to ensure that no stone is left unturned,” Armstrong said.
This is unsurprising, given the current need in the market for businesses to be prudent while also being able to ensure the delivery of goods and services in a way that customers require.
“I don’t think companies will get away with a complete stop to technology projects and many of our clients are seeing a push to get things completed earlier which is really encouraging,” Amrstrong said.
With the right technology setting, organisations may actually be able to capitalise on key opportunities going forward, especially in a country as adept at innovation as New Zealand.
“There will be opportunities to take a ‘number 8 wire’ mentality to a challenge that has come from the pandemic whether this is embracing ongoing options to work from home or something more exciting like a total revisioning of areas of their businesses,” Armstrong said.
“Also, New Zealand’s reputation as being a high-quality provider of goods and, moreso, services, and even how we have worked as a team to minimise the impact of COVID-19, really stands us head and shoulders above many other countries at the moment.
“Our businesses need to capitalise on this spotlight and use it to their advantage to showcase,” she added.
With this in mind, it makes sense that, according to Armstrong, the key attributes of a successful tech provider post-pandemic will be flexibility and creativity.
Other keys to success revolve around the ability to continue providing remote implementations, support and account management, and for partners to work with clients to ensure that they understand how their markets are changing and how to best support them.
Risk management is another area ripe for opportunity, with many organisations finding themselves with a need to manage risk across all parts of a technology ecosystem.
Moreover, there is a push to understand the ‘cost to serve’ of particular functions or locations, and a need to reduce the number of duplicate technologies.
“If businesses are needing to scale back to weather the impact of COVID, then they need to understand what the impact will be to technology at a store, location, function or business activity stops,” Armstrong said.
“Likewise, if they are on the acquisition trail to buy a distressed asset or looking to merge a company, then doing a proper technical review needs to be completed, so they know what they are actually buying. We can help with both ends of that spectrum and many points in between.”
Given these conditions, it is a time for technology providers to step up and provide more value, more support and more insight – not less.
“New Zealanders reward loyalty from their providers, and for the most part it’s there with some of our middle-sized players,” Armstrong said.
Reseller News Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the New Zealand market attempts to reposition for growth.