Minister opens Australia’s largest commercial software R&D facility

Queensland Minister for Public Works and Information and Communication Technology, Robert Schwarten, officially opened the largest Australian-owned commercial research and development (R&D) facility for enterprise software and TechnologyOne's (ASX: TNE) new international headquarters yesterday.

The official opening of the new offices in a Six Star Green Star rated building in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley is part of Enable2010, a nine-day showcase of the city's innovation credentials featuring a number of events and announcements.

It also represents the consolidation of three offices of the publicly-listed software company, which has offices across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Asia and the Pacific Rim, and will provide the space needed for the development of a $150m project codenamed ‘Next Gen'.

The Minister congratulated TechnologyOne Executive Chairman, Adrian Di Marco for building an international company, which had doubled in size every four years, from a shed in Brisbane, mentioning that Hewlett Packard had started in a garage.

He said the fact that TechnologyOne's first employee was still with the company was proof that it was a great company to work for, adding that this was a huge benefit to Brisbane as it helped to attract and retain talented people for the city as well as export dollars.

Adrian Di Marco said the move will see it continue to deliver advanced software solutions that meet the changing needs of its customer base.

"The $12 million, 6.700sqm fit out was designed to improve collaboration and innovation for the company's 350+ software developers, who represent some of Australia's best technology talent," Mr Di Marco said.

"Our facilities need to be at the cutting edge to attract and retain the best IT talent in the country and to compete effectively in the global software market."

Mr Di Marco said he was passionate about ensuring the R&D centre was based in Brisbane.

"Brisbane has so many advantages; we saw no reason to move to Silicon Valley, Europe or India to compete on the international stage.

"We export our software internationally and every day it successfully competes against alternative offerings from the world's biggest software companies: Oracle, Microsoft and SAP."

Mr Di Marco said he believed a creative, productive workforce needed to maintain a healthy work/life balance and the headquarters included features such as a bike centre, a large ‘Village Green' communal kitchen with games area, a wellness room, and nearby facilities for sports and fitness pursuits.

The company also provides other perks such as free breakfast daily and Friday afternoon drinks.

Mr Di Marco said the move to the new R&D centre would allow the company to commence the development of its next generation of enterprise software.

"At a projected cost of $150m, the project - codenamed "Next Gen" - will embrace leading edge concepts and emerging ‘start-of-the-art ‘technologies," he said.

"It will follow the success of TechnologyOne's Connected Intelligence platform, released in 2005, and now used by more than 800 of Australia's largest corporations, government departments, universities and utilities providers."

The TechnologyOne success story began 23 years ago at the front of a hide processing plant in the outer industrial Brisbane suburb of Hemment, with no venture capital and a grim-looking future.

Today, the company services seven key vertical markets and is one of Australia's largest and most successful publicly-listed software companies.

"I started this company in 1987 to build software that would compete with the world's biggest software companies by harnessing Australian talent and innovation," Mr Di Marco said.

"Our company now has revenue in excess of $140 million per annum, and the success of our strategy is such that we have been doubling in size every four years over the last 16 years.

"I firmly believe that much of our company's success over the years can be attributed to our ability to tap into the talent, innovation, passion and enthusiasm of our young people. Our new R&D facilities will further enhance this and will underpin the next stage of our growth."