Opmantek CEO Danny Maher explains why AI developed Down Under is now running in 178 countries.
Hi Danny. Let’s get straight to it … What’s your global point of difference?
We’re the only software in the world that can discover, audit and intelligently manage anything at any scale. That makes us very popular with IT teams and managed service providers* across all industries — the bigger the better.
*Companies that remotely manage a customer’s IT infrastructure or end-user systems
Your blurb also describes Opmantek as a world leader in IT infrastructure management. In simple terms, that means …
On the infrastructure management side, our software is a key system used by IT operations teams across all industries — it acts like the dashboard of a car and tells them how fast everything is going and lets them know when something is faulty. It even predicts future faults, and that’s a big part of the AI.
The longer you run our software, the smarter it gets — it learns about your IT Infrastructure and starts to automatically manage it better and deliver better information to the IT operations team.
Can you give us an example?
Imagine a telecommunications company when your local internet services go down. Our software would tell the telco why and, more importantly, it would allow the telco to avoid that outage in the first place by detecting or predicting the fault before it affected services.
On the audit side, our software discovers and audits everything connected to a network so that IT operations teams can manage the related risk and compliance — if you don’t know what’s out there, you can’t manage the risk associated with it. It answers questions like how many Oracle databases are installed? Which laptops have not been seen for 3 months or more? Do we have any devices that are running software with security issues connected to our network? Are we compliant with the standards relevant to our industry?
Opmantek is based on the Gold Coast [Queensland, Australia], which is better known for sun and surf than tech. Why did you choose to set up there?
Our choice was either San Francisco or somewhere in Australia. If we weren’t going to be in San Francisco, I didn’t think it would make a lot of difference where in Australia we were. I had built a tech company out of Sydney previously and sold it, so it was tempting to go to Sydney. I had also lived in the US tech world previously, but wanted to stay in Australia. In the end, the Gold Coast City Council put an economic attraction proposal to us and we decided to set up there.
It’s been a great place to build a company and we have never looked back — exports are our main market so it doesn’t matter too much where in Australia we are.
Can you tell us how you got into the export market?
98% of our sales are export sales. In the last 12 months, almost every country in the world has had an implementation of our software. Even the Vatican uses our software.
Software is one of the easiest things to export — we do not even ship a CD or user manual, it’s all digital and delivered over the internet.
If a client spends $1 million on our software, they receive a licence key from us via email — that’s all. That’s a great way to build an export business fast and with minimal capital at risk.
Congratulations on Opmantek winning the Regional Exporter Award at this year’s Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards. How did it feel to bring home this award?
This is our fifth year in a row that we’ve won a Queensland export award, and we’re very proud of that.
Our software is implemented by a new organisation somewhere in the world every 6 minutes, and it’s been a thrilling ride. We see ourselves as modern-day explorers and hope that our success can help the next generation of companies from Queensland and Australia — we love getting together with the other exporters and celebrating what we have achieved and learning about the achievements of others.
We are great contributors to the innovation ecosystem and have been the driving force behind the Gold Coast Innovation Hub, which is set to have a $3 billion impact on the Gold Coast economy.
In 2017, you were also the Australian Exporter of the Year for Digital Technologies. Did you see any business benefits flowing from that national win?
When organisations outside of Australia decide to purchase from an Australian company instead of a local provider, there are often key decision-makers who have to stick their neck out to make it happen.
Being named Australian Exporter of the Year makes it much easier for those decision-makers to justify working with you, and gives them a lot of comfort. The export awards also add credibility to the company in terms of attracting and retaining staff and, interestingly, they also help Google’s search algorithms and improve your search rankings.
Any big export goals for the coming year?
We will be launching our AI-driven cloud services, which will make all our products easier to consume.
We have an enormous amount of intellectual property (1.5 million lines of code), so it will be exciting to get that into the cloud and have its power unlocked in an easy-to-consume (ie trial, purchase and implement) manner. It’s going to change the way IT operations teams operate around the world, as the AI and self-configuration technology within our software will mean they will be able to deploy in a matter of hours, not months.
We also have some major announcements around robotic process automation (RPA) to help companies in risk and compliance management — all clever stuff but easy to deploy.
Our game is always about improving IT operations through intelligent software that is lower cost, more flexible and easier to use. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be using that intelligence to make the technologies easier to implement, trial and procure — and that will be the key to our export growth.
I’m sure the thrilling ride will continue …