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Case study - Acumentum


  • Web development
  • PCs: 38
  • Locations: 1


Acumentum had recruited a replacement in-house IT technician in plenty of time for hand-over. The new technician resigned five days after handover. All of the company’s IT system knowledge had walked out the door.


Acumentum realised that outsourcing IT support to an expert team would reduce total IT costs and significantly increase IT support cover regardless of annual holidays, sick leave and staff turnover.


Acumentum increased service levels to their web customers with IT support around the clock, saved over $30,000 per year in IT support, and the enhanced bottom line enabled Directors to sell the company profitably several years later.


Acumentum was a successful web development company in Melbourne that had been growing for many years.

As a specialist in business processes and online decision-making tools Acumentum was staffed by IT-savvy web engineers.

Support for Acumentum’s own IT systems had always been managed in-house and as the company grew this function grew to become a full-time IT technician position costing at least $60,000 with on-costs each year.

Acumentum provided specialist consulting services to customers during normal business hours, but if a client’s website went down at 3am and the problem was related to one of Acumentum’s servers, rapid IT support was critical.

The business problem

“Acumentum had a good in-house IT technician. He had grown with the company and had been in his current position for four years when he was offered a larger role at another company. Acumentum immediately placed an ad on Seek to replace him,” says Russell Yardley.

“As a cutting edge web development company we hired smart people and encouraged them to grow. It was great for our customers, it was great for our business,” says Russell Yardley.

“In retrospect, one of the side effects was that our IT technician was a technical enthusiast who loved us having the latest and greatest. We encouraged that but I later realised it meant that when we had a challenge we always seemed to try to solve it in the cleverest way. That wasn’t always the fastest and most efficient way – and sometimes it was overkill from a business perspective.”

“We had no complaints though and we were supportive when he gave us plenty of notice that he was moving on to a bigger role.”

“We found a replacement through Seek and he started in time for a handover with our old tech before he left. We thought we were fine. Then five days later the new guy resigned! He had been hedging his bets while interviewing for another job. We were furious and we were left high and dry. All of our in-house IT systems knowledge had walked out the door!”

Outsourcing IT support

“We were frantically advertising on Seek again when we were approached to consider outsourcing our IT support. The sums were an eye opener. Our in-house role had provided an average 200 days a year support.”

“The outsourcing package we looked at offered 255 days support for roughly half the cost of our in-house position.”

“I was stunned. 25% increase in coverage, 50% reduction in costs, and access to much broader expertise.”

“We immediately logged on to Seek and cancelled the job ad. The outsourced team came in and brought a wealth of expertise in how other organisations of our size manage IT. They implemented standard operating environments to make future support calls faster and easier. They helped us implement better systems, and the speed of response was astounding.”

Business benefits for Acumentum

“To be honest, I was shocked when things settled down after that transition that we found we actually only needed onsite tech support 4-5 hours per week.”

“Our old approach of having someone always available in-house was counter-intuitive. We had received excellent IT support for about 200 days per year, once you took out weekends, annual holidays, sick leave and public holidays. One person in-house is never available around the clock all year. With outsourcing, we had help at the end of a phone immediately every day, and someone to visit onsite when needed.”

“The speed to resolution of most problems was just so much faster. If the technician didn’t know the answer they could turn to their whole team for advice and assistance, something we never had before. And as a business owner growing the business for future sale, I just kept coming back to the 25% increase in coverage with 50% reduction in costs.”

“When I later sold Acumentum, I got to know Combo through my role as Deputy Chair of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). I walked into their office and saw the huge monitor on the wall showing jobs in the queue, jobs cleared today and so on. I was blown away by the efficiency. No rapidly growing small to medium business can afford that level of expertise in-house. Outsourcing enables you to focus on growth, not IT.”