It is wonderful to see the world starting to shift in a more positive space post-Covid-19 and see businesses bounce back after what was an incredibly challenging year in 2020. We are pleased to see these positive changes in the business of our partners, and hope this change continues across the Asia Pacific region. In this edition of the Mitrais Newsletter, we are shining a spotlight on our long-term clients, our team and on Business intelligence tools. We hope that you find our selection of articles interesting and informative.
While many of Mitrais’ partners are large and long-established companies with a long history of augmenting their internal software development teams with near-shore developers, it’s always great to hear the stories of newer organisations in growth mode who are taking advantage of the same model to increase their velocity. Read about our clients, Alpha Companies Group, whom we have been working with since 2019 and how they are adapting and evolving in an ever-changing market. Mitrais is proud to be part of their success.
Business Intelligence Tools offer incredible value to organisations in providing insights and analytics for common activities, allowing businesses to make the right, data-driven decision. The team at Mitrais have recently completed a thorough evaluation of some of the best tools on the market, including Power BI, Google Cloud BI and Zoho Analytics, to assist our clients in choosing the correct Business intelligence Tool for their own specific requirements. Please download and read through this White Paper, and of course, if you had any additional questions, our team would love to help you.
Finally, we would like to shine the spotlight onto Mike Page, our Sales Director in Queensland. Mike has had a long and winding career with Mitrais, in a number of different roles and through different stages of his career. We love working with keen staff members like Mike to develop their career and help them explore different facets of both their work life and personal life through their time with Mitrais. Mike has always believed that “If you work hard and keep your eyes open for what really ignites your interest, then follow that. Do not feel the pressure that the first career you select will be for life” and I think that’s a wonderful sentiment for us all to take with us in our work-life journeys.
Enjoy this edition of the Mitrais newsletter.
Alpha Companies Group – Challenge the Market
While many of Mitrais’ partners are large and long-established companies with a long history of augmenting their internal software development teams with near-shore developers, it’s always great to hear the stories of newer organisations in growth mode who are taking advantage of the same model to increase their velocity.
A perfect example is the Alpha Companies Group. Established in 2006, Alpha Car Hire started out in Brisbane as a family-run car hire business with just 3 staff and 15 cars. Though they were initially a small player in the market, the founders truly believed that they could challenge the market and deliver their customers a great product at a better price, and they were right! Since then, Alpha has expanded to become a national provider of car hire, car finance and airport parking services. Alpha Companies continues to grow, employing more than 100 staff and managing a vehicle fleet of over 3500 vehicles. They are still just as passionate about their purpose.
In 2019, Alpha’s management team had already developed a plan to upgrade their software systems to enable their strong growth trajectory by providing even better solutions for staff and online experiences for customers.
Striving to challenge the market by helping their customers save while having an awesome experience with Alpha, they have embarked on a digital transformation leveraging technology to make smarter and faster data-driven decisions to support their goal to grow the fleet to 10,000+ in the coming years.
Having had experience successfully partnering with us in past roles, a key member of Alpha’s management suggested Mitrais might be a good fit for the job.
Mr Rex Kelly, General Manager of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) for the Alpha Companies explains. “It was clear that offshore technical services provide a competitive rate when compared to sourcing local talent, but we needed more from a partner” he said.
The solution that Alpha had in mind was not just an out of the box one. They needed to be able to receive and process user registration data from their website, have that data available to their analytics system, integration with third party services in order to manage operations efficiently, generate and store documentation, and automate customer interaction utilising SMS and email communications. A high degree of technical sophistication was required, and the ability to create and maintain a transparent high-trust relationship was a must.
Mitrais delivered for Rex on these criteria. “Mitrais initially provided very useful technical advice and resources to develop integration between our required systems” he says, “and they were able to supplement that with detailed analysis of the financial requirements relating to our products and services”.
“Most importantly, Mitrais continues to provide quick response times in resolving technical issues supporting the day to day operations of our IT” says Rex.
We are excited that the project Mitrais is involved in is helping Alpha continue on the path to success, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship between us as we work with them to continue their strong growth.
As part of our internal system development effort, Mitrais has conducted a thorough evaluation on some of the best Business Intelligence tools on the market, including Power BI, Google Cloud BI and Zoho Analytics.
This evaluation gives points to selected criteria where the weight of each criteria is determined by the importance of that criteria and attempts to compare them with one another. It is designed to assist our clients in choosing the correct Business Intelligence tool for their own unique requirements.
Where Mike Page ended up in his working life with Mitrais today has been a long and winding road from where he started, as he believes that ‘your passion will find you’.
Mike was born in Brisbane to a Welsh father and English mother who had immigrated in the 1950s. His father was an analyst for IBM for many years, who had travelled worldwide in that capacity before helping found a successful grocery retail chain and developing their automated inventory control system. In the years following his retirement, his father lectured on Inventory and Stock Management at the University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Mike’s mother was a registered nurse who elected to be a full-time mother once he was born. She continued to work as a calligrapher for many years as Mike was growing up attending various schools in his childhood, culminating in Church of England Grammar School and QIT.
Perhaps, surprisingly, given his father’s background, Mike had no real interest in pursuing a career in IT during his schooling. “While we always had primitive computers at home (this was the 1970s, well before the first PCs were produced) including TRS-80s and Commodores and I enjoyed coding for basic games for them, I was much more interested in other things,” he confessed.
On leaving school, Mike enrolled in a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree at QUT (then known as the Queensland Institute of Technology or QIT), largely based on the subjects studied at school rather than any particular passion. But he changed to a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in marketing and advertising after one year. People are often surprised that, given his career, Mike did not start with a degree in IT or Computer Science. The answer is simply that neither of these degrees existed in 1979 when he applied for university (and he probably wouldn’t have chosen them even if they had).
Following university, Mike ended up working with an organisation specialising in Organizational and Procedural Review (what would now probably be called Business Process Re-engineering or Management Consulting). The large amount of data generated during projects made manual statistical analysis cumbersome and unreliable. So, he was asked by the management to investigate the established mainframes and very new Wang VS minicomputers that the organisation had available to see if these could be harnessed to produce the results of Time and Motion analyses quicker and more reliably.
The successful adoption of these systems led him to eventually become a Novell Certified Netware Engineer (as Novell LANs, in turn, replaced the Wang Systems). He taught PC networking for a time, learned programming languages, and ended up with an ‘accidental career’ in IT, much to his father’s amusement.
In addition to a person who is something of a science ‘nerd’ and a keen reader of non-fiction, most people who know Mike are aware that he spent most of the ‘80s and ‘90s playing in various bands in Australia. He considers himself very lucky to have been involved in the music industry during its halcyon days when almost every hotel and club in Australia hosted live bands 5 or 6 nights every week. He travelled widely throughout Australia and was lucky enough to play with some great musicians (some now relatively famous) who he still counts as friends. It was also through music that he met his lovely wife of 29 years, Donna.
While he doesn’t play much professionally any longer, Mike still plays mostly bass and spends time building and modifying instruments and equipment. “My sons are also keen and talented musicians who started playing in Kuta nightclubs weekly at the age of 14, so our house still contains more guitars and amplifiers than might be considered “healthy”” he said.
Mike’s initial contact with Mitrais was in the early 2000s as the IT Manager at FinancialLine (now Modoras Wealth Management), where he was responsible for the design and development of one of the first distributed wealth management systems known as Evolution using a Mitrais team. The Evolution project was not without challenges but was ultimately a successful one for both FinancialLine and Mitrais.
Mike formed a friendship during this period with David Magson, Mitrais’ former Group CEO, who was then Chairman of Mitrais. In 2006 he was surprised to be contacted by David asking if he would be interested in a 1-year consultancy with Mitrais in Bali, helping review and evolve the development processes and acting as a Senior Manager under Maria Lantu, the then VP of Software Development. Mike and his wife decided that even though they had a young family of identical twin sons, who were 8 years old at that time, and that the Bali tragedies were still fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a great one-year opportunity, nonetheless. So, they packed up their furniture into storage and flew to Bali.
Moving to Bali with his family seems to have been a catalyst in his career choice. After a time, Mike was appointed Mitrais VP Software Development in 2007 and remained in that position until 2014, when his sons needed to relocate back to Australia to pursue tertiary studies. At that point, he regretfully resigned from his position at Mitrais and went back to consulting in Australia, only to have David reached out to him again in 2017. He was delighted to take up the role as Sales Director for Queensland, which he has undertaken since.
Mike has always believed that “If you work hard and keep your eyes open for what really ignites your interest, then follow that. Do not feel the pressure that the first career you select will be for life.”