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Saturday, 27 November 2010 14:51

Technology One pins growth hopes on UK


Despite a sluggish start to its UK adventures, courtesy of the twin evils of the GFC and strong $A, Technology One founder and executive chairman Adrian di Marco still believes it will deliver significant growth for the company in the next five years.

Last week the Brisbane based technology software and services company released its annual results for the year to the end of September which had revenue up 11 per cent to $135.8 million. After tax profit rose 14 per cent to $17.8 million.

Mr di Marco said that at present about 80 per cent of the company's revenues came from Australia with the remainder from New Zealand, Asia and the UK. But he said the latter was 'where the big growth will come.'

The company currently has two UK offices which it set up three years ago along with two in New Zealand and one in Malaysia which sell its suites of software which are tailored for a range of key vertical sectors (pretty much all sectors except for retail, distribution and manufacturing).

Its customers are mainly large enterprises with revenues up to $10 billion - although the sweet spot is nestled among companies with revenues in the $300million-$1 billion range. Although Mr di Marco acknowledged that there was a limited number of companies of that scale in Australia he said 'I still see comfortable growth in Australia for the next three to five years.'

Beyond that the UK would take on a far more important growth engine role. 'The UK is the next for growth. It's important to us for the next five years.'

The company is also rolling out new products - targeted at asset management and customer relationship management to fuel demand.

Besides expanding its geographic reach and product range, the company is intent on becoming a serious player in the cloud computing space and is presently redesigning its entire product range to optimise it for clouds. The first modules of the cloud targeted systems - called C2 - will ship at the end of 2011 according to Mr di Marco.

He said the redesign was important as where the product 'was designed in the past for thousands of users it now needs to be for millions.' The cloud he said was 'about huge scalability.'

'You've got to get rid of unnecessary middleware. (Microsoft) Exchange and Citrix have no place in the cloud.'

Mr di Marco said that the company was totally reworking the software stack, wanted everything in its software to be able to run native in the browser, and also support a wider array of devices. Although he did not rule out developing device specific apps in the future - at present the company is focussing on a browser based access to its cloud suites he said.

Large scale research and development is not new for the company which has been a consistent investor in local R&D. In the year to the end of September it spent $27.2 million on R&D which is conducted in Brisbane. Of its 800 staff, 350 are developers.

Although it's working on the software the company has yet to decide which company might host the cloud offerings, although Mr di Marco said he had talked to Telstra and CSC. The ultimate decision would be determined by what customers indicated they wanted - and that might include Technology One setting up its own data centres to offer the service in the future he said.

'It's a bit uncharted this stuff - but we are trying to get into cloud early. In the enterprise space we are early,' he said.

The advent of the National Broadband Network is recognised by most cloud vendors as an important spur for enterprises adopting more cloud based services and Mr di Marco is no exception, noting that 'It is fundamental to have this high speed.'

He's not entirely without reservations however.

'The question is do we have to spend $40 billion on it? We definitely need to do something - but are we doing it the right way?'

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