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The Collective

A decade in Canberra, a decade of life lessons

The Collective
Time flies when you’re having fun, and this sure rings true for KJR’s Canberra Collective. It’s been over 10 years since KJR expanded to our nation’s capital – so what better time to reminisce on the challenges, changes, and lessons that have allowed us to successfully leap into 2020?

An unconventional Collective

The ACT Collective had something of a humble start. Our headquarters being nothing more than a three-bedroom apartment, consultants would work and stay there as they flew in and out of Canberra while we aimed to get our foot in the door. This arrangement didn’t last long – as client requirements grew, so did the team. Soon enough, the apartment was abandoned.

“It became nothing more than a really expensive post-box.”

Andrew Hammond, KJR Canberra

Today the ACT Collective continues a unique approach to their work environment. With no formal headquarters, working on-site with clients or collaborating at cafes has facilitated equal levels of productivity for the team. This has also given KJR Canberra a diverse culture which sees General Manager, Andrew Hammond dropping in and out of client sites, using his van as an office in between.

Long-term culture

Our culture has a special sauce that connects us in all regions – but being spread across the country means each Collective has their own way of doing things. This is a large part of what keeps members of our Collective around – and in Canberra the culture is clearly distinctive. Due to the longevity of our Canberra team and the continuity in the management and senior consulting team, KJR is uniquely positioned in Canberra as a highly trusted technology partner.

“The KJR team in many ways is a like a big family and we complement each other’s skills, help each other out when needed and share lessons from our successes and failures within the team.”

Tracey Rawlinson, KJR Canberra

Growing trust

As many Canberra-based companies may know, a presence in ACT usually means working with Federal Government agencies. It took a lot of time and networking to establish the foothold we’ve sustained today, but the backbone of our Canberra growth has come from the Collective’s ability to form positive relationships with new clients and partners.

Through new unions and partnerships, we’ve proven over a long time that we can deliver high quality services. In more recent years this has led to new opportunities providing strategic advice to larger Federal Government agencies as well as Tier 1 and 2 Systems Integrators.

Size doesn’t matter

Canberra is small. We all know it. However, what they lack in size, they make up for in passion. The ACT Collective is a powerhouse for really making a difference to Australian life. Often the projects we work on, particularly with high-profile clients like the Federal Government, will make a difference to those around us. Small changes with the big tech behind them are making life easier for Australian citizens.

“We can trace everyone we have on-site back to someone in the community we’re making a difference for.”

Steve Casa, KJR Canberra

Partners for life

In many aspects, we’ve grown-up with our customers and partners. From initially providing a ‘bum on a seat’ through to collaborating with clients, we enhance capabilities in areas we have expertise. We are also innovating and expanding opportunities with our partners for their clients. As we’ve evolved alongside our clients, we’ve made strides together resulting in an increased willingness of system integrators to affiliate with us when they need testing, assurance, governance, Cybersecurity and DevOps capability services.

Broadening tech horizons

Initially focusing on software testing assurance and technical testing delivery the Canberra Collective has organically expanded into new lines of business outside of KJR’s traditional service terrain. Keeping up with evolving tech, we’ve adapted and have provided expertise in Business Analysis, Architecture, Advisory, Cybersecurity, DevOps Coaching, Project Management and Application Support services to our clients – who keep coming back for more.

“We’ve emphasized working with other areas within the delivery team to improve quality and reduce risk more collaboratively.”

Maree Christensen, KJR Canberra

Cybersecurity has become more relevant to our clients through the slow but steady move towards cloud computing. With heightened awareness towards cyber-attacks in organisations, penetration tests and ‘ethical hacking’ have become so common they are now a standard practice with each client.

Buzzword bingo

RPA coding services, machine learning and AI solutions have all made advancements, becoming mandatory areas of focus for organisations alongside the long-lasting stay of cloud computing. With the digitisation of most assets in the corporate world it’s no wonder our Canberra clients are requesting more of their data be stored online.

With those that thrive, of course, come buzzwords that haven’t reached their expected heights… yet. Notable examples include the Smart City movement and the Internet of Things, which failed to make as big of an impact in the IT industry. Although some trends have become major focal points in tech, it’s up to our consultants to identify which trends have staying power and which will struggle to make an impact.

Understanding Federal Government

The pressure to keep evolving as a business and outpace growing technology is strong. Still, it might not always be in the best interests of the client. As governmental and system integration services affect public amenities, the Canberra Collective has recognised the need to prioritise solutions to deliver optimal experiences for public. Finding the ‘sweet spot’ between providing the most optimised processes for users and the risk of not executing deliverables on time due to heavy use of legacy systems has proven to be a challenging but crucial element of collaborating with government clients.

The next ten years will involve a lot of juggling – whether it’s governmental changes, ensuring services that affect publics will meet expectations, and adapting to rapidly escalating technology. We’re not worried though – the Canberra Collective has shown time and time again that they can handle the heat.