Thursday, 16 June 2016 14:40

MYOB opens innovation centre


MYOB celebrated its 25th birthday yesterday with the formal opening of its new innovation centre in Richmond.

As previously reported, MYOB quickly outgrew the Glen Waverley premises it has occupied since 2013.

Since it was proving difficult to attract developers to the eastern suburbs, the company decided to relocate engineering and development to Richmond – close to the city, and home to a number of other tech companies and co-working spaces such as LaunchPad.

The transformation of what was a largely derelict warehouse in December 2015 into today's MYOB innovation centre symbolises what is happening to business in Australia, MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said. Yesterday's industries such as clothing manufacture are giving way to those of today, which are, in turn, forming a basis for the future.

"That transformation is happening," he said, and between 1000 and 2000 of Australia's most talented software engineers already work in the square kilometre surrounding MYOB's new premises.

In 20 or 25 years "Silicon Richmond" will be "one of the most vibrant corners of this industry", Reed predicted, thanks to the cross-pollination resulting from this density of talent generating new ideas and new companies.

MYOB engineering team strategy manager Paul Greenwell told iTWire that the proximity to other companies means it is able to host meet-ups about once a week. "We couldn't really do that in Glen Waverley."

But internal communication is also important, so MYOB made a big investment in technology to support collaboration among staff working in different locations, such as one-button connectivity between meeting rooms at the company's various sites.

The previous proximity of support and development teams at Glen Waverley had proved valuable (for example, it was immediately obvious to developers when a new release resulted in a flood of support calls from users), so measures were put in place before the developers moved to Richmond to ensure that the right conversations were supported by the right technology, he said. Furthermore, key staff from Richmond regularly visit Glen Waverley, and vice versa.

The move is already helping talent attraction and retention, he said.

Greenwell also mentioned the "energy" in the new building, observing that each time MYOB refurbishes premises it does a better job.

"The new office space in Richmond reinforces MYOB’s investment to local technology talent," said head of people and performance Alla Keogh.

"The office houses over 200 of the company’s engineering and development employees, in a centrally located space amongst other leading creative technology hubs. This has enabled MYOB to attract talent from all areas of Melbourne, and has opened up its talent pool to those living in the CBD and value working closer to home. The location and fitout are both drawcards, in a part of Melbourne that is fast becoming a technology and innovation hub.

"We wanted to create an inspiring, contemporary, technology hub for our people to collaborate, innovate and interact that reflect our values, brand and unique culture."

The office features a mix of open-plan areas, a variety of spaces for quiet work or small meetings, more formal meeting rooms, a wellness/prayer room, a mothers' room, and a "garage inspired" area used for meals, quick coffee meetings, games and down time, team meetings, meetups and hackathons.

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While welcoming guests to the formal opening, Reed noted that in 25 years the company has grown from three to 1300 people, and its 1.2 million clients constitute half of all businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

"I feel privileged because I've been lucky enough to have been on half of that journey," he said. Reed joined MYOB in 2003.

Guest of honour, Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer, congratulated MYOB on reaching the 25-year milestone, and noted the benefits it has delivered to small businesses. "Australia's story is really the story of small businesses," she observed.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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