From a standing start just three years ago, CTO Group has rapidly evolved to be a force in consulting to the federal government in Canberra but has its eyes on business farther afield, says founder Greg Sly.
“There’s been a lot of change with the new [federal] government and we’ve been aligning our strategy with the changes in machinery in government,” Sly says.
“I see our business in Canberra growing by the order of 50 percent next year, and I want to take our model that seems to be unique into the Melbourne market where we’ll be focused at enterprise.”
Sly attributes the consultancy’s 173 percent revenue growth to smart, “highly capable” people and a business model built on the ICT mantra of ‘plan-build-run’. CTO Group provides strategic advisory and risk assessments, ICT project implementations and specialist support and operational services.
“I find our offering of not just supplying bodies but proper consultants that deliver to an outcome is something that the market is grabbing hold of. The days of big recruitment contracting companies just supplying 10 bodies to a department are dwindling.” Growth next year will come from branching out of CTO Group’s core public sector work, taking its model to enterprises in Melbourne and deepening its involvement in the Sydney market. Sly says the organisation could nearly double its staff in a year if he executes to plan.
While CTO Group can be rightly proud of reaching $5.8 million in 2012-13, Sly says the best is yet to come. Based on current performance, he expects sales to knock on the door of $10 million next year.
Sly says much of the activity in public and private sector will revolve around the three ICT megatrends – data, cloud and especially mobility: “The business is getting on with mobility and IT needs to catch up”.
Like other CRN Fast50 listers, Sly found opportunities in new governments upending inter-generational arrangements with hallowed suppliers. The vigour for ‘cloud-first’ initiatives, the Privacy Act and thirst for productivity dividends provides rich seams of opportunities, he says.
Sly is proud of two milestones that CTO Group passed this year. Starting from a position where it supplied consultants to other systems integrators, CTO Group has taken ownership of big projects including one that will generate $2 million revenue on completion.
A related but slightly fuzzier milestone was Sly’s ambition to craft a brand synonymous with quality advisory services to fuel these engagements. Sly says the metrics are necessarily qualitative but include clients no longer poring over individual consultants’ resumes and trusting instead that CTO Group will provide equally top notch and vetted talent on every job.
Supporting growth over the next three years will be Sly’s redoubled focus on account management, governance and staff development.
He says lone consultants are already responding, approaching Sly seeking to work in the organisation.
“Eighty percent of success is turning up,” Sly says. “You have to turn up to your customers and have regular engagement and you have to turn up for your staff. And if you can’t, you need an extra layer to ensure you never fall down.
“You find the problems quickly, you are proactive and then you don’t have any issues.
“[This year] has been a big investment phase, but for 2014 my message to my staff is we are kitted up ready to go.”
Federal government and enterprise
Consulting, project delivery, ongoing maintenance