It’s also been a year of awards.Co-founders and joint CEOs Robert Sussman and Lance Fanaroff each walked offwith Entrepreneur of the Year awards (Sussman for the Absa Johnnie WalkerEntrepreneur of the Year Award, and Fanaroff for the Business TopcoEntrepreneur of the Year). The company was named the “Innovation throughTechnology” winner at the annual Business Topco National Awards and is afinalist in the Emerging Entrepreneur category of the South African Ernst &Young World Entrepreneur Awards*.
In 2001 Sussman and Fanaroff investedR300 000 of their own capital to start the business, which designs, implementsand manages ICT infrastructure for clients. “Our goal when we started was tobuild an annuity-based IT business, and while the company has grown and openeddifferent divisions along the way, the core of that model remains the same. Sothe fundamentals of Integr8 have allowed the business to endure the tremendouspressure that transactionally-based IT businesses have felt during this toughtime,” says Sussman. This is undoubtedly true, butinnovation has also played an important role in giving the company the kind ofcompetitive edge that puts it head and shoulders above its competitors, in goodtimes and bad. One of its key assets is the Integr8 Nerve Centre which allowsthe company to connect to all of its clients across the world.
Through it Integr8 staff can providecall centre and support services, and monitor multiple clients from onelocation – all of which results in significant cost-saving and massivelyincreased efficiency. It’s allowed the company to reach beyond South Africa’sborders without having to set up operations in other countries. Fanaroff says that the companycontinually assesses global trends and products to see how they might beadapted for local market needs. “Because we understand business, notjust IT, we’re able to pre-empt the needs of clients and build new products ordesign new offerings that meet these,” he says, citing the company’srecently-formed Integr8 Rental as an example. “Companies currently find themselves in theposition where they can’t afford the capital outlay required to own their ownIT equipment, but they can now rent these assets from Integr8 Rental,” explainsSussman. Today, Integr8 is the largest BEE privately owned ICT infrastructuremanagement company on the African continent. “Looking back, it’s been aphenomenal year,” says Sussman, “Looking forward we are perfectly geared toconsider strategic acquisitions that will enable us to compound our growth evenfurther.”
*Winners announcement still pending at time of going to press.