To achieve his mission of helping businesses build a closer partnership with technology our Managing Director, Andrew Johnson, founded IT Partners in 2000. This means that on the 29th of March this year, IT Partners is officially 20 years old!
In recognition of this milestone, we had the opportunity to sit down with Andrew and gather an insight into some of his greatest learnings, successes and best pieces of advice from over the last 20 years.
1. How did you establish the concept for IT Partners? And how did you know it was the right idea?
“I was studying at University which was giving me little enjoyment. I decided to start my own IT consulting business and thought why not do this rather than attend University.”
We have to remember this was back in the day when people were attending University without Google! What a horrible thought.
Andrew also emphasised that he didn’t necessarily know that it was the ‘right’ idea but “saw an opportunity. PC’s were arriving on people’s desks and they didn’t know what to do with them.”
2. What was your mission for IT Partners from the outset?
Interestingly this has changed very little over the last 20 years, with Andrew highlighting that from day one our mission has been “To always make things better, our clients are always at front of mind. With a core focus on how technology can be utilised to improve business.”
3. What is unique about IT Partners and what do you attribute our success too?
Andrew was quick to highlight the people who been involved with IT Partners over the last 20 years, stating in his response, “The amazing people who have come along for the journey. At the end of the day it’s a business about people.”
4. What have been your biggest highlights and learnings over the last 20 years?
IT Partners has been very privileged to work alongside some incredible clients. With Andrew emphasising that the most significant highlight has been seeing “The success of our clients, some amazing growth stories and having the opportunity to work with award winning firms that are making a real difference in the Waikato region. To name a few, seeing the sale of Simcro to Datamars, and recent award recipients BBC Technologies, Greenlea Premier Meats, Tomkins Wake and Urban Homes.”
It has been “particularly satisfying seeing the growth of companies who are not only capitalising on opportunities in the Waikato but who are now operating on the world stage.”
When discussing his key learnings, Andrew simplifies this concept by stressing that one “must always keep learning, this is why as a company we encourage a heavy focus on professional development. I had the opportunity to attend courses at Harvard which was pretty cool.”
5. What are your success habits?
For those new to this concept: Success habits provide you with the ability to discipline yourself, to master yourself, to control yourself, and are often the most important qualities that you can develop as a person.
Andrew identified five of his key success habits, “Regular levels of high intensity exercise, planning the week, having a backup plan in place, having time to conduct follow ups after meetings, and being very clear on what I need to achieve that day or week.”
6.How did you build your team and what did you look for?
Although this is highly debatable, Andrew believes he “Built it by accident, looking for great people.”
When asked to define a ‘great person’ he stated, “A can do attitude, makes things happen, aspires and motivates, good communicator, works well under pressure, doesn’t suffer fools, and doesn’t sulk.”
7. What are the key factors that contribute to effective leadership?
Through Andrew’s response it is evident that there are many relevant factors when it comes to leadership, such as “Having an understanding of all the dynamics at play, particularly with the team. Being really clear about what you want to achieve. Working out the motivations of all parties and making sure they have the appropriate resources available. And of course, removing obstacles.”
8. What do you see as a leader’s responsibility in the wider community?
An integral part of the IT Partners culture has always been a strong involvement and commitment to the local community. Andrew places emphasis on “the power of mentoring, this includes providing guidance to both IT Partners interns and individuals outside of the company. Further to this, the Waikato is our home, it’s our community and one we like to be involved in. We are proud to provide both internet support and sponsor local initiatives such as community events.”
9. What’s next for IT Partners?
Again, people were at the core of Andrew’s response, “We want to continue working with amazing clients and attract and retain amazing people.”
10. If you had one piece of advice for a young entrepreneur, what would it be?
Andrew’s gem for start-ups is to “Really understand why someone is going to buy off you. Too many people come up with great ideas but forget who the buyer is and how they are going to find them.”
We also asked Andrew a few fun questions!
11. What is your favourite book of all time?
Given that Andrew reads multiple books each week, there have obviously been thousands to choose from. However, he was very complimentary of “Jim Collins work, Good to Great.”
12. What are you currently ‘geeking out’ over?
At the moment Andrew is “Really liking Windows Hello facial recognition” to log into his computer.
13. What is the best app you have on your phone?
“Undoubtedly, Oura ring.”
There is an abundance of key takeaways from Andrew’s experiences over the last 20 years. One things for sure is that there are many learnings to be had from sitting down with entrepreneurs and leaders in our community.
In Andrew’s words “Always remember the importance of people and the professional relationships and network you build, don’t be afraid of hard work, and never put a cap on your goals or aspirations.”
We look forward to continuing to work alongside our amazing clients and team as we progress into the next 20 years of IT Partners!