On Active Service: Hands-On Systems

The Hands-On approach

ARN: How would you describe your business?

Clewett: We're an organisation that specialises in providing accounting solutions. We develop applications which are designed to fit specific customer requirements and we also have a number of fairly generic applications. Our main focus is on integrating Internet applications and accounting applications.

What type of customers do you tend to cater to?

Small-to-medium businesses.

What differentiates your company from others in the same field?

We're a very technically strong company. We've got a good depth of skills in both the accounting and the technical area. I think we are in a position from which we can provide organisations with a fairly comprehensive solution.

Which vendors do you partner with?

We work closely with the organisations that supply our accounting software. Navision is one of our lead products. It is typical of the sort of applications that we work with and also exemplifies the sorts of partnerships we have with the organisations that supply our accounting software. We also have partnerships with products such as Giwa Financials and Sybiz.

What do you look for in a vendor partnership?

We find that vendors we have worked with for a number of years come to trust us with the opportunities they come across and as a result we have a fairly close working relationship. Often we get given the opportunity to handle some fairly interesting clients and develop applications for those particular clients.

What new or emerging technologies offer the best opportunities for your company?

The Internet has provided us with a lot of opportunities. We see the developments we're doing for Web sites and e-commerce, integrating the three accounting packages that we work with, as being a major growth area for our organisation in the next couple of years, and we've been focused on it for some time. We haven't really had the opportunity to look at too many other technologies.

We have two major strengths: one is that we can develop e-commerce and Web applications, the other is that we're able to use the Internet with VPNs to provide medium-sized companies with Australiawide solutions that are quite cost-effective, the sort of thing that really wasn't available even two years ago.

What are the major challenges facing your company?

One of the real challenges we're facing is finding extremely innovative and hardworking staff. The challenge is always one of having adequate staff resources to cover all the opportunities which arise.

What are the main inhibitors to your business development?

Organisations like ours are probably not as effective at marketing as they could and should be, because our main emphasis has been on our technical capability rather than on getting the message out to the marketplace. That's probably one of the things that limits our growth.

What piece of advice would you offer other IT integrators?

We've benefited from working with Microsoft SQL as one of our primary products for accounting, and having competent people that can work with that product and develop applications around it. I'd say to most other organisations in the same sort of area there are great benefits to be obtained from working with SQL products where you can give organisations complete reliability with storage of data.

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