Ascention Services is one of the rising stars in data management, developing unique solutions for some of the largest collectors of data in the country. From Insurers to government departments, founder Dan Cox and his fellow executives Kate Razzivina and Laurence McGann have built a data powerhouse.
The Sydney-based systems integrator operates Australia wide and has offices in Crows Nest, Melbourne, Canberra and Auckland.
Ranking second in the 2020 CRN Fast50, the company achieved revenue of $11.1 million at a growth rate of 344 per cent and Cox told CRN that there are three main principles Ascension focuses on which sets it apart from its competition.
“We're known as the clean data experts,” he said. “We want to unlock and unleash the data value that organisations have tied up, and the ability to get the right information to the right people at the right time.
“Number two, we look at empowering our clients' staff, we really want to make sure that we upskill, educate and transfer the knowledge that we have to our clients.”
The third differentiator, according to Cox, is Ascention's focus on return on investment and total cost of ownership.
“I believe it's the same coin, just different sides. We have to make sure they capitalise on their investment in the technologies which enable them and also make sure that their total cost of ownership for the life of the solution is actually at their expectations and meets them.
“When we start a project, we sit down collaboratively with our clients and mark out the KPIs and metrics that we need to meet, then we go out and try to achieve those.”
In terms of technology, Cox pointed out that there were a lot of technologies going into Ascention’s data management solutions. These include data quality, data lineage, data intelligence, master reference and metadata management among others.
“Every organisation has its own story that it wants to exhibit. Just like a director of a movie, they've got a theme or story that they want to tell.”
Cox said Ascention Services didn't necessarily specialise in any one industry because the company deals with a common theme across all large organisations, complexity in data systems.
“Whether there are multiple different sources or systems, or their needs are very complex to actually produce high-quality information," he said.
The company’s main vendor partners are all highly specialised database companies including Tibco, ASG, InterSystems and Atacama DB.
Ascention counts a number of tier-one financial services institutions among its client base as well as in government, specifically defence, intelligence and policing.
IAG was one such customer which Ascention was able to assist with the rollout of a reference data management solution across the organisation and covering all the insurer’s different brands.
“Reference data management centralises control of data that's reused over and over again,” Cox explained.
“So if you look at one of the websites that you go to for an IAG quote, the information that comes from those dropdowns is centralised. Previously, it wasn't, it was all different spreadsheets for each of the different websites.
“Each person would be responsible for uploading, maintaining and updating those. So it was quite comprehensive and complex. Being able to pull that back into a centralised repository where there's workflow around that and proper approval processes, and automated integrations in between all of those websites makes it a much more efficient and sophisticated process.
“So now IAG has been able to eliminate a lot of their cost structures around that. That was quite a successful project, being able to increase their efficiencies and go to market.”
When asked what were the main factors which contributed to Ascention Services' growth in 2020, Cox boiled it down to two factors.
“One is the trust that we have from our clients, and number two is our leadership team. We want to be known as transparent and honest with our clients, and be able to give them value. If we can't give them value, there's no need for us to come on-site and be able to do anything, we want to be able to make sure that they receive something of value from us," he said.
“With that, in mind, the honesty, integrity and transparency of our culture set out to go get leadership that understood that and wanted to be part of that.
“With Kate Razzivina and Laurence McGann, we set out to achieve that corporate culture and really give our clients value for their money.”
The company recently developed its own product called Citizen 360, an analytics tool which assists governments and citizens with the ownership and management of citizen data. This coupled with expansion into the South East Asian region are where Ascention’s focus will be in 2021 and beyond.