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Adelaide's Blackbird IT branches out into NSW

Adelaide's Blackbird IT branches out into NSW

Hired Steve Purse as its NSW state manager.

L to R: Ben Corbett; Kate Stefanoff and Brendan Rose (Blackbird IT).

L to R: Ben Corbett; Kate Stefanoff and Brendan Rose (Blackbird IT).

Credit: Blackbird IT

Adelaide-based managed service provider Blackbird IT has expanded into Sydney following strong growth in the past 12 months. 

The company has hired Steve Purse as its NSW state manager. Purse previously spent 12 years at Core Technology Partners. 

The move interstate comes as the company secured significant project wins this year, one in particular with Light Regional Council in their document management project. 

Blackbird IT business development director, Ben Corbett, said it had a great engagement with Light Regional Council and took stock of the opportunity to enhance their current records management system using their current Microsoft Office 365 subscription, rather than the software they were using, which was costing $40,000 per year. 

“They weren’t satisfied with their records management system, it was overly clunky, really expensive to run and the platform wasn’t progressing anywhere,” Corbett said. 

“Local councils deal with billions of records from elections to marketing brochures. There’s a whole spectrum of different classifications of records and depending on the specific classification, the council has to keep them for a certain amount of time, and manage the disposal.”

Corbett said it engaged with a consultant to review governance and compliance, while it worked through configuring Office365, making much more efficient use out of Sharepoint. Eventually, the council will leverage PowerBI to work the data they’ve collected. 

“The PoC was a huge success and we worked out what was and wasn’t working, and the next step is using PowerBI,” he said. 

“We wanted to teach them how to use it themselves and get the best experience.”

Blackbird IT, which was originally called LeetGeek, was rebranded in 2016. The company was initially founded by Richard Stafford as a geek clothing company in 2007 as a side hustle. 

“Stafford used to be an IT manager at a design agency in Adelaide and as a bit of fun, set up this t-shirt side business with LeetGeek on it and slogans like “Word to your motherboard,” he quipped.

A couple of years later, Corbett, who arrived from the UK came armed with experience as an IT manager for a visual effects studio in London. 

“My CV was very niche in the film tech industry and with all my references in the UK, it was a hard slog,” he said. “I had confidence in my own ability and had ambitions to start my own company. I thought I would just apply for any job, no matter what it was, and while working there, I was planning to get my business off the ground.”

Desperate for a job, he applied for a junior role with Stafford and 45 minutes into the interview, they realised their ambitions aligned towards what they wanted a company to look like. 

“I always thought if I could create a business, it didn’t matter how much you’re earning, if you’re miserable when you come to work, it’s not a great outcome, and you want it to be a great environment,” he said. 

“In the middle of the interview I told him I wasn’t interested in the job, I don’t want to be his junior,  but we should be business partners. After a few beers, some red wine and a long chat, he thought about giving it a go.”

Corbett said the business started out focused on the Mac and PC integration space and used his Linux integration and networking skills. 

Now with 44 staff, the company is seeking to expand with more consultants and Sharepoint specialists. Key partnerships include Microsoft, Sophos, HPE, Apple, Veeam, VMware, Citrix, Jamf, HP and Lenovo. 

Clients span across professional services, accounting, legal, engineering, construction, manufacturing, education and a growing portfolio in local government.

With its renewed brand and new office space, key company scheming sessions are often in-hand with its own specialist red wine, aptly called ‘Definitely Red.’

“Like many of us MSPs, the pandemic has been a blessing and a curse. The amount of work has increased, but the frustrations and logistics of getting stock is really frustrating,” he said.


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