• Andrew Bridge and Nathan Bligh.
Credit: Informatech
    Andrew Bridge and Nathan Bligh. Credit: Informatech

In a time when government has slowed defence money to a trickle, Canberra-based ICT SME Informatech is on a roll, its turnover up by more than 20 per cent and its work mostly unhindered by challenges of hiring skilled workers.

As well, the veteran owned and operated company has notched up an impressive array of business awards.

In November, Informatech was ranked 22nd in the Australian Financial Review’s list of Australia’s 100 fastest growing companies, and named ACT Growth Company of the Year in the Telstra Business Awards 2024.

 The company's turnover is forecast for around $60 million for FY2023-24, up from $48 million in FY2022-23.

These achievements have emerged from a business which started out with a vision that it would be doing well when it reached 10 employees.

“It grew crazy quick. Two years ago, we were at 50 people, a year ago we were at 150 people and this year we are 200 plus,” Nathan Bligh, Informatech CEO and co-founder, told ADM

“Growth is the goal for us. I have always said we want to be a like the big companies but better.

“We want to be a big company that can support Defence in multiple different aspects and support government in multiple different facets and projects. To get there we need scale.”

Informatech started out in 2015, founded by Bligh, wife Amanda and fellow RAN Officer Scott Cleburne, initially offering specialist ICT testing services at a level above what other organisations were offering.

The company is based in Canberra, with presence in every state except WA and Tasmania and in every territory.

“We have built a business where we sub-contract to larger defence primes. There’s about 30 that we support. There are some smaller ones as well. We work directly with defence and other government as well,” he said.

In defence, the company does work for every Service, the Defence Digital Group, Joint Capability Group, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and the Australian Signals Directorate.

Bligh acknowledged that IT consulting was something of a dirty word across government these days.

“But we are the good guys so it’s OK. We are working on 37 different defence projects at the moment, and we have done 90-100 defence projects in total over the past nine years,” he said.

“We focus on IT technical skillsets predominantly – test and evaluation, systems engineering, things like that. We have branched out into some of the less technical but still important disciplines like project management and procurement.”

Bligh, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer is stepping back from the CEO position which will go to General Manager Andrew Bridge. Bligh will take on a board of directors role, devoting less time to operations and more to strategic planning.

In this era when Defence and just about every defence company and all the other companies across the economy are desperately seeking skilled personnel, Informatech encounters almost no such issues.

“We actually don’t, and I think that’s one of the reasons we were so affluent through Covid. We had the ability find the people where others didn’t,” he said.

“We do 360-degree recruitment. We don’t have a HR team and we don’t have a sales team. We have what we call business development managers. They will go out and identify opportunities and build relationships with customers and potential customers. When they identify opportunities, they also do the recruitment and hiring for those opportunities.”

Bligh said these managers knew the customers, their needs and their price points and constraints.

“They also have a background in candidate recruitment and selection so they can fit the right people to the right jobs.”

Informatech markets itself as a premium provider so doesn’t employ new graduates, directly sourcing those with suitable skills through their networks, organisation such as LinkedIn and through personal referrals.

“For that particular problem, we have identified a relatively good solution. It’s not perfect. We miss some every now and again. There are certain specific skillsets that we struggle to recruit for but on the whole, the engine works pretty well.”

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