30 years of innovation – The Sundata story

The year was 1986 and the business landscape was vastly different. P.C.s had only been on the market for about four years and email wasn't ubiquitous; you relied on telephones and letters or, if you were lucky, fax machines.

The term I.T. entrepreneur didn’t really exist and the term “start-up” wasn’t common at all.

The idea of people starting companies, floating them and making lots of money wasn’t the thing to do in the I.T. industry.

In fact, the industry was only a few decades old, which was nothing compared to accounting or engineering which had been around for thousands of years.

At the time, I and a few colleagues had I.T. expertise and we came to the realisation that I.T. businesses were out of touch with what customers were wanting. And we knew we could do a much better job.

That was the vision behind the inception of Sundata.

Thirty years on and we've continued to serve our customers with solutions that deliver the outcomes they want. And that's in the face of unprecedented innovation in the technology and I.T. space.

Change has come thick and fast

I remember going to a presentation in the 80s where a futurist said that one day we’ll all carry something the size of a tennis ball on a chain around our neck and that will hold all the information in the world.

When we heard that prediction, everybody was saying, “You’ve got to be joking”. The projection he put to us was so fanciful that no one believed it.

In my early days in the I.T. industry, the first substantial sale I made was a 370mb disk drive – that’s megabytes, not gigabytes. It was the size of a large commercial fridge, took nine months to get delivered and cost $75,000.

Fast forward to today and my phone has more power than that. There are USB sticks with almost 100 times the capacity of that disk drive.

There aren't many industries which have seen a dramatic change in what you get for your money and that's why I.T. and technology have become so ubiquitous.

If the aircraft industry had followed that same trajectory, you'd now be able to fly to New York from Australia in minutes and it would cost you 28 cents.

That’s something that’s taken for granted in I.T. No other industry has had to cope with an increased density of technology and value for money for what that technology delivers. And it's not going to change anytime soon.

Adapting to change

So how do you stay ahead of the curve and at the forefront of your industry while everything is transforming at such a rapid pace? At Sundata, we have built our approach to change around two key principles which underline how we operate.

Principle 1 - Change is a constant 

When I read about people not coping with change in other industries, it almost perplexes me because change in I.T. is a given. The people in our industry just live with it every day of their lives. It’s hard to fathom an environment where things don’t change.

You need to realise that this exponential rate of change is guaranteed and have that as a foundational idea so you will be better prepared to deal with it.

Principle 2 - Customers demand improvement

Some of our customers have been with us for 30 years and are maturing and growing and that has meant a consistent demand for us to improve how we go about our business.

Today, we’re not dealing with somebody who has 10 staff; we’re dealing with companies with 2000 staff and if we do something to their I.T. environment, it’s potentially affecting the productivity of 2000 people.

That puts the onus on us to recommend the right solutions, make valuable changes and provide dependable support.

When it comes to the way we work, I used to think, “This is how you do business, this is what everyone does.”

Then over the years, it became apparent that this wasn't the case. We’ve had feedback from both the customer and supplier sides to say the quality, integrity and energy we go about things is not common.

If a client has a need, we are there to give them the best possible support, whether something needs resolving, debugging or tweaking. Week in, week out we’ll go the extra mile to get it done.

That’s what we’ve been doing for 30 years and what we’ll continue to do in the future.

For our 30th birthday, we've put together a quiz where you can find out which famous I.T. Game Changer you're most like. Are you more like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg?

Take the quiz here and go into the draw to win a Nintendo NES Classic Edition.

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