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Bullseye was an independent digital agency for a decade until STW Group took a 50 per cent stake in the business exactly a year ago. According to its founder and chairman, Jim McKerlie, a veteran of the IT landscape in Australia who still owns a significant slice of the business, the organisation has always been more than a simple content provider or digital marketing specialist – Bullseye’s focus is on leveraging technology across a business in order to transform it.

“We’re not advertising, not marketing, not simply providing technology solutions – but enhancing a company’s ability to achieve its goals by leveraging technology. And we focus on building a solution as opposed to getting paid for analysis of the problem,” says McKerlie.

With just over 100 people on its books the company’s headquarters is in Sydney – but its development powerhouse is in Indonesia where it has offices in Jakarta and Bali, managed by McKerlie’s son.

“We started out being software engineers (in Indonesia)– but now have a design team, content team, editing, video production – a whole suite of digital skills up there.” He denies that the offshore team was established just to save money. “Clearly there is a lower salary base – but when you add in the layers of overhead that gets washed away pretty quickly

“There were two significant things when I made that decision – one, take Indonesia, it has 300 million people – if we put out an advertisement for someone we will get 100 applications where you get two here.”

He also believes that the Asian presence has helped the business secure work in the region. And while the company was originally shy about trumpeting the fact that a lot of the design and development work would be performed offshore, it now showcases that capability.

“Clients want to know they will be dealt with in a cost effective manner and Bali is a terrific location if you take clients up there and strategic partners and run training, everybody loves it. “

Asked if the merger with STW has affected the culture that Bullseye had developed McKerlie claims that they are a very hands-off partner, and instead of merging organisations, tend to create ecosystems which feed off one another. “We informally and formally share opportunities – that’s very healthy. There haven’t been a lot of other changes.

“There’s no edict coming down saying ‘you’ve got to wear blue shirts and have red phones’ – there’s none of that, just get on and do it.”

STW was also interested in the Asian footprint that Bullseye had carved itself.

“We had made the decision to push into Asia – they wanted to push into Asia – we had a beachhead – all set up and registered in Asia – and in Indonesia that takes a long long time - we are working with them actively in Asian opportunities – it felt right and made sense.”

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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