As A2K Technologies’ CEOs reflect on the first 12 months of their merged business, they discuss why the merger was necessary, and how the organisation is evolving in response to shifts in technology.
The evolution of A2K Technologies
A2K Technologies was formed in February 2013, following the merger of AEC Systems, KarelCAD and ADA CADPartners. The company operates under the leadership of joint Chief Executive Officers Fari Fanaeyan and Paul Laycock, part of the former ownership of AEC Systems and KarelCAD respectively.
Fari explained the merger arose from the challenges created from technology shifting from perpetual licences to mobility and the cloud.
“We brought the businesses together because as our suppliers, such as Autodesk, brought more products to the market, we needed more expertise and more technical people to service our customers. Much of this involves integrating Autodesk solutions with other technologies they need in their business.”
Paul added to this, “We recognised the expectations of our customers are even bigger than the changes in the market. And we realised that without combining our specialists together, we could never meet these expectations.”
Both Paul and Fari acknowledge that when they started in the industry, their businesses were supporting one or two products. Now, Autodesk provide over 100 products, which demands a broader skill set to support the tens of thousands of customers they now have respectively.
“With a larger team, we’re now able to close almost every Support call in the same day it’s created. As separate organisations, that was very difficult to do when you consider the spread of products and the specialised knowledge required for each one,” said Paul.
Partnering with our customers
A2K’s aim is to not only supply products, but to partner with customers to provide industry-specific technical expertise, allowing the organisation to become the trusted advisor for the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing industries across Australia and New Zealand.
“Our customers have the same challenges we had; being scalable, keeping costs low and delivering on time. By bringing our resources together, the quality of the people we can now attract to A2K from the industry has really enabled us to put the right people in place to help businesses with these challenges,” Paul said.
“Furthermore, we’re continuing to expand; we’re growing our Technical team, we’re growing our Services (i.e. Training) team, our Sales team, and our Products team. And the benefit of this growth is we’re able to bring in different expertise to change the way we’ve been doing things. This team is number one in the world in our sectors, in terms of technical expertise and being able to take real solutions to the marketplace.”
Innovate, innovate, innovate
A2K works in industries where innovation is critical. The company approaches innovation in terms of looking at today’s available technologies, challenging the norm to understand these in the context of industry challenges, and then looking at how the technology can be developed to meet these.
Fari said customers now rely on A2K’s research and development to identify their business requirements in today’s technical landscape.
“Our customers turn to us to look at how the technologies fit together for their specific needs, rather than attempting to do it themselves. That is what A2K can offer now that we couldn’t before as separate entities.
“I think the biggest challenge for our customers is how to transform what they’re doing in their business, to what they want to be doing in three years’ time. Our position has changed to a place where they’re not looking at A2K as a supplier, but now as a business partner and trusted adviser who can digest today’s technology and innovation, to actually make it work in their business.”
The year ahead
Reflecting on the year past and the year ahead, Paul believes “2014 will be far different from any other year, and that’s incredibly exciting. We now have a higher calibre of consulting and sales staff to actually solve our customers’ problems. We’re ready to help our customers take advantage of mobility and the cloud to perform the same tasks that were once tethered to dedicated workstations.”
Whilst A2K is proud to be the number one team of Australasian Autodesk channel partners in terms of technical experience, Fari said there is more depth and breadth to A2K’s offering than some customers realise.
“A2K is more than just an Autodesk Platinum Partner; we’re also an Adobe Partner, a Microsoft Gold Partner, and we’ve grown our relationship with HP to provide hardware matched to our customers’ software needs. All of these partnerships allow us to provide a better service and be the one contact point for our customers’ technology challenges…and we continue to take on new partners who we feel will add value to our customers.”
Paul added, “We are also proud of our consulting, traditional training and eTraining solutions. Not to mention the strength of our relationships with industry associations to develop industry standards. Furthermore, we’re adding the ability to make e-commerce transactions via our website in early 2014 because we understand when you want something now, you want it now.
“We’re here to provide an overall solution to this marketplace. With A2K’s products, services and high-end consulting, we really are a one-stop-shop. When our customers think of technology, A2K can support it.”
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