Perth-based Microsoft partner Inspired IT has opened a new office in Dunsborough, Western Australia, joining its other offices in Perth and Manila, Philippines.
Inspired CIO Matt Seeds told CRN the new office, which opened in September, was one of three steps he’s taken this year to maintain “uninterrupted” revenue growth in the face of scarcity. skills and rising operating costs.
“We’ve seen 50-70% revenue growth every year since we started the business in 2016… our primary focus is to maintain the same level of growth and service,” Seeds said. Inspired IT was 21st in last year’s CRN Fast50.
The Dunsborough office follows Microsoft Office 365 specialist’s Manila office opening in February and hired its first business development manager (BDM) this year, Seeds said.
The Customer Pipeline: Networking, Product Expansion, New BDM
The Dunsborough office has only been ‘soft launched’, and most of the team’s 20 staff will remain at Osborne Park headquarters for the next few months, while Seeds and BDM Luke Wenman ramp up demand in the southwestern region.
“We’re going to build a little presence… And then the plan is to hire one to two people there.”
“A BDM is a big step forward for us and having someone who is 100% dedicated to building relationships and finding the right customers to partner with certainly takes a lot of the pressure off me.”
Seeds said customer growth was “partly through SEO” but mostly through “word of mouth, customer referrals and networking.”
“As a company, we always go out and talk to people. And we get referrals. Again, it’s just a matter of converting those opportunities and integrating them into what they need.
The seeds also “assist[s] a lot of industry events, and I’m just trying to learn at those events or just to meet people and start building relationships.
“A lot of them are local events, and it was great to be part of the CRN fast 50. And I’m part of an entrepreneurial organization, which has also been very beneficial, I guess, for personal growth.”
Seeds said that while there has always been “constant customer demand for a decent 365 deployment specialist”, Inspired IT was also aware of how that demand was becoming more complex and how to broaden and adapt the company’s offers.
“Many companies are now further along in their journey with 365, such as Teams, Teams Calling, SharePoint, OneDrive, Intune, DLP to name a few.”
Last year, Inspired IT bolstered its unified communications offerings by striking a deal with Perth-based vendor R-Group International to resell its white-label Microsoft Teams solution. The solution offers call integration to customers without capital investment or the need to hire new specialists.
Seeds said meeting customers’ evolving security and compliance needs was another priority the team kept top of mind.
“Security is definitely becoming a bigger conversation and for us it’s about having a solid foundation of security within our managed service, which I think we’re doing, and then finding the right partners to complement our services. and the requirements of our customers.”
“Security is a constant threat, and I’m seeing a lot more conversations around compliance as a service.”
Manila office helps address skills shortages and rising operating costs
Seeds said the launch of the Manila, Philippines-based office in February helped “address rising salary costs in Australia” and the national shortage of technical skills.
“It’s access to a different skill set and kind of a resource, which we didn’t have before or couldn’t source locally.”
“And also, I guess from a cost standpoint… a lot of companies are doing it [recruiting offshore employees to work remotely]and it can kind of help and to be honest it’s been great.
Inspired IT had budgeted for growth from six to eight employees by the end of the year. Seeds said Inspired IT “also used an element of recruitment agencies, LinkedIn, Seek and apprentices in partnership with Microsoft: giving young people a chance”.
“We hire on values and we can help develop technical talent, which I’m very excited about,” he added.
Seeds said inflationary pressure and a shortage of skills on Inspired IT were only half of the concerns. He was also concerned about the risk it posed to the growth of his clients.
“With rising interest rates and inflation. To me, that’s certainly a cause for concern. Because, like, money isn’t as cheap as it used to be.
“Finding qualified personnel, not only in our sector, but in all sectors, is a problem… If our customers are not able to find qualified personnel, it means that it has an impact on their growth.. If our customers are growing, that means we’re growing as well.”
Seeds said he supported recent government initiatives to increase skilled labor migration.
“I certainly think raising the migration cap is a good start…Because it [the skills shortage] affects everyone; each business.
In September, the government announced plans to raise the permanent migration program cap from 160,000 to 195,000 in 2022-23, allocate $36.1 million in additional funding to expedite visa processing and expand labor rights of international graduates.
“At the end of the day, you want people to be here full time. And it’s certainly a good start to bringing people to Australia. Australia has grown.
“I went to a partner event recently, and they talked about the skills shortage in our industry, and I think we’re going to be 330k short by 2026.”
“So something has to change to bring these people in. It’s going to be interesting over the next two years.”