IT firm grows its Wellington footprint

18:59, Jan 20 2013
BRAIN STORMING: Sarah Heal, left, and partner, Grant Margison, blur the lines of work and family life, with whiteboards at home for instant business planning.
BRAIN STORMING: Sarah Heal, left, and partner, Grant Margison, blur the lines of work and family life, with whiteboards at home for instant business planning.

Family-run information technology business Information Leadership is expanding its operations in Wellington, where 60 per cent of its clients are.

The Christchurch-based business hired nine new staff in the capital during the past year at its Woodward St offices in Wellington's CBD, where half of its national staff members work.

Sarah Heal and partner, Grant Margison, started Information Leadership in 2004 to focus on managing documents, records and information to meet Public Records Act requirements and consult on change management.

The pair, who, together, are parents to two children aged 10 and 3, both had backgrounds in business, information management and IT. Starting out with two clients, the firm had now worked with 150 companies and revenues reached $3.5 million last year.

"I like making order out of chaos. You hear the phrase information management and think that's someone sitting away in an office sorting things out but what it's really about is helping people get value from the tools and resources they've got available so they can get away from customer distractions, use the tools they've got to be really productive and have a good time when they come to work in the morning," Heal said.

Business dramatically changed in 2007 when Microsoft released its Sharepoint program that allowed multiple people to collaborate on documents in a "more flexible" way. Some clients approached Information Leadership with questions about how to best use the programme and if it was best for their business so they began helping people with implementation and user adoption.


The firm also developed its own products to work with Sharepoint. Smart Folders, that manages large quantities of files such as case files for projects or personnel files, is one of the most popular.

About 70-80 per cent of clients are in the public sector but Information Leadership also deals with education, polytechnics, health companies, Crown research institutes and legal firms.

This year, as well as expanding its Wellington operations, the firm plans to launch a "significant" new version of its records management program.

"This is a very big deal for us. We came out with Version 2 a few years ago and that's done pretty well but the feedback we've had from customers is it could be even easier and simpler to use, so we've had our top record keepers and Sharepoint developers working on it and we're very proud of it," Heal said.

"In September 2011, a chap called Ian Morris, ex-Microsoft, joined us in Wellington. He's got huge credentials and knowledge so with Ian on board we were able to get really serious in Wellington . . . we're still hiring."

Heal said the couple did not put a strong line between work and family life, with whiteboards for brainstorming and business planning lining the walls of their dining room at home.

"We try and manage it so that we're not both travelling at the same time. We've got amazing people we work with. We're both very regular exercisers and that's really one of the keys to keeping sane if you run a business and a family - you have got to have some outlet outside of that."

Contact Jazial Crossley
Wellington business reporter
Twitter: @msbananapeel