MICHELLE MELBOURNE – GENERAL MANAGER / DIRECTOR INTELLEDOX: What I see as
our key to exporting success, and from my perspective, it’s about what I do
every day and it’s supporting the team, supporting our team to be
So I want to give you a little bit of a behind the scenes road
map to our company and why we’re successful in exporting and why we care about
exporting. I want to focus on the multitude of pain and challenges that we’ve
had to overcome in achieving me being able to stand up here and say to you that
we’re a global software business, because technically we’re not really, we’re
not Microsoft or Adobe or anyone like that, we’re just a Canberra software
company that has managed to export to 10 different nations. Look software is
actually dead easy to export, there’s really nothing to put in the post at all,
you just sort of give people access online. So I’d highly recommend it as an
opportunity, you’ve got no stock control, nothing goes off, nothing gets lost.
So this brings me back to my point is that everything that I do is about finding
the clients and delivering the services, and supporting our team.
I just want you to look at that slide for a minute. My role as general manager is to ensure that we can achieve the company’s vision of aggressive growth whilst maintaining what we call a lean team. So we don’t want to grow our team, we want to do more with less like everybody does. So I’m the coach for the team, I stand on the sidelines and work out what their problems are, how they can fine tune their performance, what’s missing, what we need to do to be better. I ensure that everything is in place for them to be successful.
So there’s 26 of us in our team, so not small, not large, and it’s a bit of a magic number, it’s the number that I’d like to maintain us at. There’s 10 women in that team which is really awesome, and quite rare for a software company.
The characteristics of the team are long term, so long term they stay, incredibly clever, very, very smart, highly educated people here in Canberra. Loyal, stable, and the other one is that they’re incredibly restless, so they really, really want to succeed which is awesome.
Over the years we’ve developed unique processes, hence my analogy there to the Galapagos Islands, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with any of those creatures, but they’re found in one small island off the coast of Ecuador, and our organization is a little bit like that. We’re young and we’ve developed our own processes which is really unusual.
I foster a culture of continual improvement, and these guys know that they can do anything. The average age of our team is 30, young and experienced, but innovative and enthusiastic. We have a multicultural team with over 10 nations represented within that 26 people. Some of the challenges with that is that sometimes these guys misinterpret a business context, there’s some nuances there, but the positive of that is that they can provide contrast and a fresh approach and certainly in some of the markets that we’re working in, they can provide a really, really strong understanding of the local culture.
We’ve had some really disruptive staff cycles over the years, some difficult HR issues and been influenced by people who take us off course. So in order to overcome all of these problems we knew we needed to surround ourselves with people that were more experienced than we were. Seek wisdom, seek help. It’s really interesting, seek wisdom was the name of the song for the high school that I went to. If I could sing you a rendition of that now that would be funny. But it’s amazing how that resonates.
So we’ve set up a really strong board of directors, we have Australia’s most successful technology entrepreneur as our chairman, Peter Kazacos, he sold his company to Telstra for $333 million a few years back and he’s guiding our ship. Now we could not achieve what we need to achieve without the leadership of someone like that. It’s a stewardship role and advice and he’s fantastic.
We have a really strong director of sales with expertise in our international markets, and we’ve achieved something that’s really exciting for us in the last 12 months and that is international investment, so we have a private equity partner that has enabled us to really go hard with a sales and marketing led strategy inside our company. So we’re a technology company and it’s taken us about 15 years to figure out it’s not about the technology, a bunch of smart technology guys have had to reinvent themselves and realize it’s about where you put it, what you say about it, it’s not really about how it works. So that’s been a real big challenge for us is to just change that thinking from a technology company.