How IT benchmarking saved Irish Government €4.5m

12 Aug 2010

Three successful IT projects in the public sector have resulted in cost savings of €4.5m using benchmarking technology from home-grown firm Origina. Tomás O’Leary is Origina’s managing director

THE Government has been accused in the past of not using local technologies. What has Origina done to unlock State investment in IT?

Our company specialises in a couple of key things, primarily deriving value out of IT. The term we use is ‘making IT the hero’, but ultimately what that really means is to make IT really deliver value: from a technology perspective, a process within a business or people within a business.

We specialise in what the industry calls infrastructure – the plumbing, data centre, the hardware, critical applications. In the public sector as well as other sectors, it is about identifying areas to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

What are the key areas that businesses and State bodies can cut back on to make savings?

Simple things like software licensing costs and the over- provisioning of hardware. We are seeing huge growth in virtualisation, increased bandwidth, cheaper bandwidth and cloud computing. All of those things together are offering people the ability to make radical or minor changes to release costs from IT infrastructure.

That’s what we did for three public sector bodies and we estimate €4.5m was saved.

In recent years you announced 60 new jobs and you’re being advised by Enterprise Ireland on exporting your business model. What are your expansion plans?

In the traditional IT infrastructure, companies would have taken technology from large US firms and resold that locally.

We may say to companies you don’t need to invest in any technology, but the real value for us is that creates a genuine link between us as an Irish company and our client. We’re not there to sell them the next generation of technology they can buy off the internet.

Our value is to genuinely assist businesses and organisations with what they do and this is a model that can be quite easily exported because its intellectual property is not linked with any third-party organisation.

Part of the reason many Irish companies haven’t grown overseas is a lot of European markets require you to have a presence. But because our consulting business allows us to manage IT remotely we have people managing systems in data centres in the UK, the Caribbean and the US.

What is the competitive landscape like for the kind of business model you are offering?

It’s about purpose, ambition and having a strong business model. For us to grow the business and for Ireland Inc to be successful you need more organisations that can grow on the ground here but use technology to provide value to overseas customers.

What we’ve identified over the past 18 months is an opportunity for helping businesses and State bodies to benchmark their IT expenditure, identify savings and make those savings.

The only competitors that we’ve come across from a benchmarking perspective is the analyst firm Gartner.

Every year for the last five years we have seen growth in our consulting and managed services divisions. We derive up to 60pc of revenues through services.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years