Sliced Tech: Competition can bring out your best

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This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Sliced Tech: Competition can bring out your best

Fast-growing companies can go in many directions after a successful year. They can hire new staff, sign up more customers or expand their product set. Last year’s CRN Fast50 winner is doing all of the above, while making sure its customers still come first.

Sliced Tech made a name for itself in Canberra racking up big name government customers with complex security and compliance needs. In September, Sliced Tech made headlines by nabbing a $5 million contract with the Clean Energy Regulator from services giant Fujitsu.

So what’s Sliced Tech’s secret to beating the big guys? Chief executive Jason McClure says competition is one of his company’s biggest advantages.

“One thing we have to do to compete with much larger players is continually innovate and find new ways to add value. As a result, we’re constantly bringing new services to the market,” says McClure.

Sliced Tech isn’t expanding too far out of its realm as a managed ICT and cloud services partner. Business intelligence, big data-as-a-service and a secure Dropbox-style service for government customers are some of the new areas they are investing in.

“I think we were the first company to offer big data-as-a-service to government at a classified level. We won our first contract in April last year to deliver a big data platform. We’ve since won two other pieces of work. A couple of them with another partner to deliver big data and business intelligence services,” says McClure.

McClure says Sliced Tech is also growing a professional services offering into a separate business unit focused on design, architecture, transitioning and on-boarding customers to the cloud.

Finding talent

Working out of Australia’s capital isn’t always easy for partners. While finding new work isn’t currently a challenge for Sliced Tech, hiring staff to complete those projects has sometimes tempered growth, McClure admits.

“In Canberra, the IT market has a shortfall in quality technical staff to meet all the demand for some major projects. The growth in the past has exceeded our ability to find quality staff, which has led to that slowdown last year because we were busy trying to recruit in preparation for future growth and also deliver our current projects.”

Government work makes up about 75 percent of Sliced Tech’s business. There’s room to expand by signing up new customers, but McClure says current customers will always come first.

“The challenge for us is that we’ve always got a good core customers base that we want to keep satisfied, so we will prioritise our efforts in ensuring our current customers come first and then we’ll utilise any leftover capability to pursue new business.

“That’s put us in really good stead, but that does also mean that I limit the resources made available to go pursue new verticals because my focus is on getting customers’ trust. I need to make sure I repay that trust many times over.”

Pictured: Daniel Hoffman, Julie McClure and Jason McClure (Sliced Tech)

Fact file:

Head office Canberra, ACT
Established 2011
Key executives Jason McClure, Daniel Hoffman, Julie McClure
2015 growth 192.03 percent
2015 revenue $3.9 million
Headcount 20
Top vendors Canberra Data Centres, Fortinet, Dell, Redhat, Microsoft

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