At the ripe age of 22 and fresh out of university, Jamie Warner set up eNerds, a Sydney-based outsourced IT services provider. Now, nine years later and aged 31, Warner has grown eNerds from just one single employee to a team of 16. The company was recently listed for the second year in a row on the BRW’s Fast 100 and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Warner set up eNerds in 2000, enticed by the freedom of running his own business. “I was motivated by the desire to do my own thing and bring my own ideas,” he says. However, it wasn’t all smoothly sailing, as Warner launched eNerds right after the dot com crash. With a combination of youth and optimism on his side, Warner did not think of the risks when he entered the IT market at the time. On reflection, Warner admits it was a tough time to get into business, but he didn’t let that stop him. “At times of a crash, it can be a good time to enter the market and provide affordable services others aren’t,” he said.
Warner was determined he could fill the gap in the market when it came to delivering IT services. In spite of all the risks, the dot com crash passed and Warner’s enthusiasm and vision paid off.
eNerds offers businesses IT support, maintenance and consulting services in areas including disaster recovery and email solutions. They also have their own proprietary systems NerdDesk, NerdMon, NerdReport and NerdControl and in 2007 eNerds moved into web hosting.
Today, eNerds mainly works mainly with SMEs and companies that have 10-300 employees and want business continuity, cost containment and maximum IT system availability. Warner hopes to further expand their target market as eNerds grows and eventually make the business nationally recognised.
For now, small businesses are proving to be a buoyant market with more turning to outsourced IT providers. Warner believes this is a viable and growing trend. “Outsourcing complements internal resources but also provides a company with the assistance needed,” he says. According to Warner, through outsourcing, SMEs can still get top range IT systems and the support they need without breaking their budget.
The IT industry presents a plethora of opportunities, but its ever changing environment and constantly updated technologies also presents a challenge for eNerds. For Warner, there is a need to train staff to ensure their skills are up-to-date with the latest trends. The eNerds staff are usually retrained on a yearly basis and individually. Warner has also hired TAFE graduates in the past as he says they are given valuable training and skills.
It is because of this influx of graduates into the company that Warner describes eNerds as a “graduate organisation”. “Our average employee is 24 years old,” says Warner. “We’ve built our business around Gen Y. They often get maligned or a bad rap, but in our case its unjustified. Gen Y has proven to be a major part of our success.”
Aside from Warner and his brother, the entire eNerds team is made up of Gen Y employees many of whom started off at the help desk and have since risen through the ranks. Staff loyalty is important at eNerds and Warner lists high staff retention rates as one of the business’ biggest successes. Warner places a strong emphasis on his staff and simply says, “without them nothing would happen.”
When it comes to his staff Warner stresses the obvious importance of IT technological skills but also communication skills.
“Our customers are the foundation of the company,” says Warner. “Using communication skills without IT jargon is essential to help clients with their technological queries and ensure the best customer service experience.” This emphasis on customer service is where Warner likes to differentiate eNerds. “We’re not that different from our competitors,” says Warner. “But it’s the way we provide our service that makes the difference. We have a mantra here: service, passion, success. It’s all about facilitating customer need.”
eNerds has proudly received various accolades and awards over the years. They were listed on BRW’s Fast 100 two years running and were runners up in the ARN IT Industry Awards. Warner says the awards are a form of recognition and work to further enhance eNerds’ credibility in its competitive industry. “They’re one of our successes,” says Warner. “But they’re not as important compared to the long standing relations we’ve formed with customers who have been here from the start and the loyalty we’ve experienced with our staff.”
Warner attributes eNerds’ success and growth to three elements that he says are not taught at university. He offers them to other businesses: “It’s always important to have vision and tell everyone who will listen about it,” he says. “With this, know the systems in place and consider your capacity or resources.”
For more information about eNerds, please visit https://www.enerds.com.au/