After completing his science degree at the University of Queensland, Adrian Di Marco was an ambitious graduate who thought that joining multinational companies would set him up for life -- but all that changed once he was on the inside.
Di Marco, who is head honcho and founder of Queensland-based enterprise applications provider TechnologyOne, said that after working with the multinationals, his expectations of them became completely disillusioned.
"I saw just how inefficient they were, and how poorly their whole model worked, which is still the same model today.
They build the software in Silicon Valley or in Germany, and then throw it over to Accenture and IBM
to implement it, before getting a third party to host it," he
"It's a very fragmented business model, and it's fundamentally flawed."
Adrian Di Marco, TechnologyOne founder and CEO (Image: Supplied)
then decided that joining a local company -- and going the other extreme -- would perhaps be a different story and experience.
But taking that leap didn't meet his
"When I started working for local companies, they were just as talented, if not more talented, but they didn't have the ability to market themselves," he
Having worked in both extremes, Di Marco saw there was an opportunity to take what he
had learned to start what would eventually become one of Australia's largest enterprise software providers.
"I think it was the frustration, but the opportunities I saw as well.
I saw that if we could build and apply software in Australia, we could do it better than the multinationals, and have a better business model," he
first warmed to joining the IT industry after helping his
brother, who at the time was studying engineering at university, with programming one of the first digital computers.
Now, after 26 years in the business with TechnologyOne
, Di Marco
said the company's story is still the same after all these years.
said the focus of the company has been, and will always be, about using technology to get a competitive advantage to transform.
When asked how the company fares against the big guys, Di Marco
said it is right up there, if not better.
noted that TechnologyOne
is only a handful of companies he
considers as being early adopters of the cloud and software as a service.
However, starting the business, especially during the early days, did not come without hurdles.
said that like most startups, the company faced issues concerning cash flow, profitability, and moments of uncertainty when it came to paying wages.
The impression that Di Marco
left on McTaggart led to him providing TechnologyOne
with initial C capital funding, and he
continues to be a major shareholder in the business today.
"We did what people thought we couldn't do, which was build enterprise software here in Australia," Di Marco
But success did not happen overnight, with Di Marco noting that it has been a bit of a waiting game.
During the early days, the company frequently lost business to international companies.
But patience persevered; Di Marco
said the company is now picking up business that it initially lost.
added that a large part of the business is currently focused on replacing old systems created by its global competitors, Oracle and SAP
, mainly because customers have realised that these companies are not able to provide a streamlined service -- a huge satisfaction for Di Marco
During 2014, the company replaced 15 former Oracle
and SAP systems
with their own.
said this is because the "gloss has worn off" the multinationals, and businesses are beginning to rebuild within the cloud.
Even though the company is publicly listed -- and has been since 1999 -- Di Marco
said its future growth will rely on doing the same thing over again, but better.
expects that this will help deliver a 15 percent to 20 percent growth rate annually for a "long, long time".
also firmly believes that remaining an Australian company is invaluable, but is concerned that it may not always be, given it is a public company.
"I think it'd be sad to see it not remain Australian.
I think in Australia, we should protect our Australian company," he
Upon reflecting on this, Di Marco
said more needs to be done to support the Australian tech industry, which he
believes is at a disadvantage because the playing field between local companies and multinationals is not level.
suggested that Australia needs more companies like TechnologyOne
that act like hubs for smaller Australian technology companies.
will continue to grow by partnering with smaller companies before deciding whether to acquire them.
said that at the end of the day, these smaller companies will be joining an "Australian ship".