When it comes to explaining IT, if you want someone who will call a spade a spade, it’s best to ask a builder.
“A good IT company is no different to a good bricklayer – you need them!” said Simon Malesev from Champion Homes.
Champion Homes were one of First Focus’ earliest clients and both businesses have grown strongly together. “A 15-year partnership speaks for itself,” said Simon. “I used to do a lot more IT, but as we’ve grown over the years, more and more has been outsourced to First Focus.”
Best known for their award-winning duplex, knock-down and rebuilds and estate developments, Champion Homes operate across the Sydney, Central Coast, and Wollongong regions. Connecting staff between their 40 strong Hoxton Park head office, display home locations, and on-site supervisors, is both challenging and critical.
“Mobility with flexibility is how everyone needs to work today. We embraced that many years ago and have kept going with it. What used to be on pen and paper is now on iPads and iPhones, which is how we want them to work now. Keep it all digital, keep everyone connected,” explains Simon.
Champion Homes were one of the first to embrace the move to the cloud. With another team in Manilla plus staff on the road locally, moving their core systems to a hosted cloud platform was the best way to bring their operations together and collaborate effectively.
“Then once we knew we could get fibre here, we put in VOIP for our phones and introduced Office 365,” said Simon.
‘It’s led to more improvements in productivity and mobility, with the biggest advantage being less downtime.’
More recently, the major IT project for Champion Homes has been developing their CRM and mobile software. Future plans include introducing customer and supplier portals to further open up the business and provide greater access to their jobs.
“I’ve built our bespoke software myself with a developer, but the system architecture I leave to First Focus. I say this is my intention, these are my plans, and then we sit down and have a discussion about the best way to achieve it,” said Simon.
Explaining why the partnership with First Focus has lasted so long, Simon emphasised the reliability of the service experience.
“We’ve had big outages out here and First Focus have been fantastic. We’ve had the whole head office taken out by a lightning strike a couple of years ago. The guys were straight out and had us back up within a day.
‘I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my data and my network,’