Gold Coast's IT Leaders scaling up after VPD Group telco entrepreneur buys in

Gold Coast's IT Leaders scaling up after VPD Group telco entrepreneur buys in

IT Leaders partners Luke Briggs (left) and Jason Deacon (right).

More than three years after selling IT provider VPD Group to Spirit Technology Solutions (ASX: ST1) for $14 million, Luke Briggs has taken an equity stake in Gold Coast-based managed services provider IT Leaders with plans to rapidly scale the business over the next five years.

Briggs, who co-founded VPD Group with Jason Wade and briefly joined Spirit following the sale of the business in mid-2020, has come out of ‘retirement’ to become a partner in IT Leaders with managing director Jason Deacon.

Deacon reveals that he and Briggs now share an equal partnership in the business, which they are ‘pushing forward together’ with a five-year plan to accelerate revenue growth.

“We’re already on track to almost double revenue this year and the same again next year,” Deacon tells Business News Australia.

“Until now I have kept the business at a comfortable size with a core team of about 10 staff over that whole period. Luke brings to the business the biggest piece that was missing from the business and that’s not only his skills in sales but also to build a sales team.”

Deacon acquired the IT Leaders brand in 2016 to add to his already existing IT company LCIT, bringing together two companies that were established in the same year – 2003.

More than two decades since founding, IT Leaders is now undergoing another key evolution, shifting from a technician-driven sales model to a more strategic, sales-centric approach, mirroring Briggs’ successful strategy at VPD Group.

“We have now added the experience of someone who with VPD Group has led a managed services provider of our size, grown it to 100 staff, and managed to navigate the hurdles and obstacles that go with that,” says Deacon.

“When we decided to build VPD Group, we took a very sales-centric model to the market and applied it to IT,” says Briggs, who in the past has worked for the likes of IBM, Xerox and NBC at ‘very high levels’.

“We 'productised' all our offerings at VPD and the business grew out of sight.”

The business partners met last year after Deacon was introduced to Briggs and sought insight on how he scaled VPD Group.

The entrepreneurs conceded they are poles apart in personality and style.

“But in terms of ethics, ethos and values, we found a lot of alignment,” says Deacon.

“Now that Luke has joined IT Leaders as sales director, together we are setting up the company up for a rapid growth phase over the next five years.”

IT Leaders provides a broad range of IT support and managed IT services, as well as cloud computing, cyber security, internet connections and VoIP telephony solutions.

“We have taken a new approach to marketing the business and the services we offer,” says Briggs.

“Whereas previously IT Leaders had a serviced-based model, we are now delivering a full offering that takes charge of our clients’ IT needs. We’ve become a one-stop shop.

“What usually happens in IT is a business gets a phone system from one company, a managed serviced provider for desktops, a photocopier from another company and internet through Telstra – by doing this they have no single point of support and no one wants to actually work together to correct the clients issues.

“What we are also doing is building a managed security services provider to include a security layer that allows medium-sized business to be in line with the essential eight strategies needed to protect against cyber threats.”

While businesses are currently reining in costs, Briggs still sees IT as an essential expense that most larger organisations in particular need to maintain to facilitate growth.

“If you are serious and want it to grow whilst keeping your costs under control, then you have to invest in your IT,” he says.

“Technology helps drive your business forward and this is the big difference with small and medium business compared to large enterprises.

“The large enterprises already know they are going to invest a certain amount into IT to drive efficiency for a better outcome and a better work environment which is important to them.”

Deacon says IT Leaders is ‘acutely aware’ of cost-cutting currently under way amid the current business downturn.

“Businesses will start downsizing and looking at ways to cut costs and we already know that a company with 200 people has an IT team of two to five staff, depending on the type of business,” says Deacon.

“But by using our services, they can have access to more specialised skills than they can get from a small team. There is a huge opportunity for us through this downturn to grow the business and also to help our clients save money.”

Deacon notes that while the business has extended its reach to include clients along the eastern seaboard, it still generates most of its revenue from its core Southeast Queensland market.

“That is likely to change as we continue to grow, and now we have a clear path ahead to achieve this,” he says.

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