Westbourne IT expands operations in Auckland
Westbourne, an IT solutions provider based in Ireland, opened its Asia-Pacific office in Auckland in September 2014 with eight staff and quickly grew the number to 20. By June 2015, Westbourne leased additional office space to accommodate up to 24 more staff, as new clients came on-board.
Westbourne, founded in 1994, provides a full range of IT services – from advising and improving a company’s network and systems, and re-selling hardware and software, through to data storage and professional services. Much of the staff’s time in Auckland is focused on a major pharmaceutical client based in California with its people working through Asia and in other parts of the world.
So why didn’t Westbourne locate its Asia-Pacific office closer to that client? “We considered various locations – Japan, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland – and in looking at the right time zones it come down to Melbourne and Auckland,’’ says Darren Leahy, Westbourne’s Chief Operations Officer.
“I initially thought it would be Melbourne with its bigger population – before I visited Auckland (in June 2014). Auckland was definitely more business friendly. Melbourne was very much in a rush and people didn’t spend the time to find out how our company worked.”
“One day in Auckland and I met lots of people who were willing to help us set up the office. The office costs was slightly cheaper than in Melbourne but not a whole lot. In Auckland I was able to develop longstanding relationships and that’s what is important,’’ Leahy says.
Westbourne’s first point of contact in Auckland was Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED): “They gave us practical advice about establishing the business here and office location, and directed us to the right people to talk to. They were an ear for me. I asked questions day and night and they would come back with the answers within 24 hours to help us make decisions.”
“Even now we regularly meet with ATEED and draw up plans. They are still helping with introductions, and getting me involved with networking and events such as the World Cup Cricket and Volvo Ocean Race Stopover. Settling into Auckland has been seamless,’’ Leahy says.
Because Westbourne provides multi-lingual technical support, the company first considered establishing satellite offices in places such as Japan, Singapore and New Zealand or Australia. But Leahy soon realised that Auckland was truly multi-cultural – “I just had to walk down Queen St’’ – and it had a pool of skilled staff. Westbourne easily recruited the people it wanted.
COO Darren Leahy explains why Auckland was the right place for their Asia-Pacific hub: Westbourne IT expanding operations in Auckland
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