Brisbane centre to stay: Mincom CEO

Summary:Mincom's trimmed headcount has put it under the microscope over the last year; however, the company's CEO Greg Clark has said that its Brisbane research and development centre "isn't going anywhere" and that a slimmer employee base didn't mean reduced capacity.

Mincom's trimmed headcount has put it under the microscope over the last year; however, the company's CEO Greg Clark has said that its Brisbane research and development centre "isn't going anywhere" and that a slimmer employee base didn't mean reduced capacity.

The beginning of last year had seen the company lay off 100 workers as the financial crisis sank in its claws.

"Coming into 2009 with the financial crisis looming just like every sensible software firm in the world, we trimmed some headcount," Clark said. "There's a substantial amount of our revenue from the mining sector and the commodities prices were obliterated at that period of time. So we had some restructuring activities."

A smaller number had also been shown the door later in the year. The company had also "booked some efficiencies" over the last few months.

"Mincom has delivered some efficiencies through process improvement in the software development area of Mincom and this results in a small amount of headcount reduction," Clark told ZDNet.com.au.

New management with experience in software development had been put into the company, according to Clark. This had resulted in purchases of systems from vendors such as IBM to help with testing automation among other tasks.

"We definitely have had some efficiencies on how we develop our products. We've brought in some different product development processes. We've brought in a substantial investment in tools. For some of the laborious parts like testing and testing validation," Clark said.

Efficiencies meant working better, which meant angling for big deals were definitely on the cards, according to Clark. "We're very focussed now on our mining products, our asset management products and our field worker enablement mobility products. We have tried to streamline everything at Mincom against those missions for the industries that we serve," he said. Mincom has recently done very well in utilities and resources, the exec said. It had also just won what he dubbed a "substantial" deal with Defence.

Offshore resources were used for low tech functions, he said, explaining that the company had moved from an outsourced model to an in-sourced model. This had meant movement of jobs from the outsourcer in India to in-sourced positions in Kuala Lumpur. However, he stressed that the number of offshore jobs in low cost geographies had not increased under his aegis. There had been around 100 jobs in India and there were less than that in Kuala Lumpur now, he said.

Not having some of the labour force overseas was competitive disadvantage, Clark said. In tenders, Mincom was asked how much of the help desk work was overseas and given that, what savings would be passed on.

"It's a fact of life that you have to have an element of low cost labour. Australia is a first-world cost basis, especially with a 92 cents exchange rate," he said.

However, that did not mean that all jobs would be done overseas. He doused fears that the company's Brisbane research and development centre would be drained of people.

"Mincom is still committed to the same set of products from the Brisbane development centre as it used to be," he said. "We are extremely committed to Brisbane as one of our centres of competency and a substantial amount of the intellectual property built up in the employee base in Brisbane."

Topics: Software, Emerging Tech, Government, Government : AU, Tech Industry

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.