Young Entrepreneurs 2010: Scott Jones

Young Entrepreneurs 2010: Scott Jones

IT Leaders has signed off on its largest cloud computing deal to date for around 200 PCs with world-wide training organisation Priority Management as it gears for 30 per cent growth in FY11.

According to IT Leaders founder and general manager Scott Jones, the cloud computing space will generate solid revenues as businesses start cottoning on to its benefits.

“There have been more opportunities with cloud computing and educating businesses as to how that can help them. There are not many individuals around that know how to do it. We have spent close to $250,000 on setting up infrastructure just in the cloud space,” he says.

“We also launched an entirely new division in cloud computing which has drawn a fair chunk of cash to get it started. We are now one of only a few IT services providers that own and operate its own cloud infrastructure, on Australian soil, with Australian expertise.”

Jones set up IT Leaders with $10,000 of his savings and has since diversified his product to be at the forefront of the industry. R&D funding has been attained through government tech incentives and rebates, but growth has largely been organic.

“The last 12 months has had a lot to do with consolidation and managed services and we have re-designed some of our products and massaged those more for different markets,” says Scott.

“We did a hell of a lot of refining with our processes. We got away from growth and refined the business, now we’re looking to upscale again. We continue to increase the quality of our services, which increases the cost. The number of companies prepared to pay for high quality IT services has significantly reduced over the last 12 months. There are still plenty, but we need to hunt harder for them.”

Brisbane is the new hunting ground for Jones, where he’s seeking to tap into organisations with 30-150 seats.

“Brisbane is where we see our next growth phase, there’s a big difference in the local economy up there compared to the Gold Coast,” he says.

To help absorb expansion, Jones has set up a HR arm called Leading Recruitment to cater to the mid-tier IT firms in the private sector. IT Leaders will hire three more staff in as many months, but candidates had better sharpen their skills before applying.

“Only one (candidate) in 45 is worth hiring,” says Jones.

“The business will have an Asia focus, where highly skilled people are looking to come out to Australia.”

Jones’ strict hiring philosophy transcends across all areas of the business and is one of the reasons he has not franchised.

“I have thought about franchising every year for the last eight years, but the issue I have is with ensuring quality, as every network is different. I’d be way too picky,” he says.

In conjunction with business partner Anton Harrison-Kern, Jones has also developed Stream Leader – an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, kind of a step-up from a CRM. The product will target the construction, manufacturing and trade industries to better organise often dated business systems.

From the service side, IT Leaders staff responded to 18,000 maintenance requests or queries from the company’s automated ticketing service in 2010.

“To manage that, you need refined processes,” says Jones.

Scott Jones
IT Leaders

Age: 34
Business Est: 2002
Staff: 15
Growth: 10 per cent
Turnover: $1.9 million

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