Established in 1997, SuperChoice Services is Australia’s leading employer superannuation payment clearing house. Over the past few years, the company has transformed its IT infrastructure into a cloud-based, distributed micro-services payment, data and messaging platform that is being extended for other uses – such as offering employers an easy way to pay salaries and salary deductions.
Can you briefly describe a current or recent IT project and how partners helped you deliver it?
Last year we migrated all our infrastructure to the public cloud, while changing database technologies and rolling out DevOps. With that level of change we needed some major injections of new skills, experience and resources. It was a rare opportunity to re-think our entire infrastructure environment and we didn’t want to be constrained by how it had been done in the past. We used several suppliers to inject new thinking and expertise, and provide some reassurance about what we were doing.
How does SuperChoice select its IT suppliers and partners?
We look at several factors, but the most important is demonstrated capability in their key areas of interest, followed by a partnering attitude. We need to work with people who are prepared to understand our issues, recognise our strengths and can work with our areas of relative weakness. As an SMB, we aren’t going to make a partner rich, but we are a market leader in our segment of financial services and we can innovate in ways that large organisations find difficult.
What does an IT supplier or partner need to do to impress you?
You’ll impress me if you can demonstrate a depth of expertise, that you’ve listened to our needs and respond in a way that closely meets those needs.
What do suppliers or partners do that annoys you?
My two biggest complaints are providers who don’t listen or try to understand our context, and those that say they can do everything. I don’t need a standard pitch or to spend time trying to explain our issues, only to have a generic or standard response. Equally, no-one can do everything, so be open about what you do well and the areas you don’t cover. The gaps mightn’t be a show stopper, but we’d rather play to your strengths and work together to address any gaps, just as we expect you to do with us.
What advice would you give to any IT provider wanting to work with you in future?
I’d say to be clear about your capabilities and where you can add value, to recognise our strengths and try to leverage them, while not over-emphasising the areas we aren’t strong in. It’s also good if you recognise our tendency towards enduring relationships.
We are a market leader in our segment, so our partners can leverage our credential value and ability to try new products and services against the need to be flexible commercially.
Will your use of IT partners increase in the future?
I think it will and I expect that to be a general trend. Technology is becoming increasingly complex and requiring greater depths of expertise, so as an SMB with limited resources and budget, we can’t be good at everything. We need to work with organisations that can supplement our capabilities and I think this will only increase over time.