Australia’s Olikka charts a different course to triple-digit business growth

Olikka is derived from a Swedish word meaning “different,” and this Melbourne, Australia-based systems integrator takes pride in its distinctive strategy for growth and success. According to Michael Pascoe, managing director, Olikka made the decision to focus primarily on solutions from Citrix and Microsoft, to the exclusion of other vendors such as VMware, for two main reasons. The first is competitive differentiation. “We believe the future is brightest for Citrix and Microsoft in our target areas of mobility, desktop, datacenter and cloud, and we are betting that they will be the winners in the enterprise, particularly in VDI and hypervisors,” he said.

Citrix and Microsoft success in the enterprise space supports Olikka’s mission of helping organizations automate management of their IT environment. Because the automation process calls for significant financial investment, the company targets mid-size to large enterprises with 300 or more software licenses.

The second reason for limiting its partnerships is Olikka’s market positioning as a specialist SI. “We’re a young, small company aiming to become a large SI, and we believe narrow-casting our expertise and partnerships is the key to success,” said Pascoe. Targeting a limited slice of IT and focusing on solutions from Citrix and Microsoft are allowing Olikka to become “really, really good” at these technologies. In turn, specialist knowledge and skills cut out many generalist competitors and appeal to customers looking for true experts.

Educating through experience

Olikka is different in another way: its founders have a background in systems integration and began by providing services, only later branching out into reselling because customers wanted a one-stop shop. “Because we implement solutions, not just resell them, we can provide knowledgeable advice to customers about whether to upgrade to a new version of a product or adopt a new solution.”

In particular, Olikka educates customers about today’s Citrix solutions as enablers of true business mobility. Pascoe explained, “Some organizations think of Citrix simply as Citrix Virtual Apps or remote desktop access, and of course, the company now has a different value proposition. This situation presents a great opportunity for us to expand customers’ horizons and implement more-comprehensive solutions.”

Leveraging the combined value of Citrix and Microsoft

He continued, “We have years and years of experience in traditional desktop management, as well as remote presentation and virtualization of desktops, which is a key reason why we chose to partner with Microsoft and Citrix. However, unlike some partners that separate their Microsoft and Citrix practices, we add value by integrating these two streams, particularly in VDI.” Olikka can help customers decide whether to transition to a centralized, virtualized desktop environment or find a suitable mix of traditional and virtualized technologies.

One example is Olikka’s solution for Wyndham City Council, a local government authority in Victoria, Australia. “We recently completed a deployment of Windows 7 to Wyndham’s desktops using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. Our strategy for this rollout involved decoupling applications from the desktop OS and moving them onto the Citrix Virtual Apps platform, where they are available for remote mobile access and can easily be assembled into both physical desktop or virtual desktops. Wyndham illustrates the value of our combined Microsoft and Citrix expertise in designing and implementing a tailored solution.”

Supporting early adopters

Olikka’s close relationship with Citrix, particularly the local sales team, enables the company to assist customers that want to quickly adopt the newest product enhancements. Loscam, a provider of returnable package handling (RPH) solutions such as leased pallets, which operates 15 offices across the Asia-Pacific region, uses most of the Citrix stack and is always anxious to move up to the newest advancements. For example, Pascoe believes Loscam is one of the first customers to adopt XenDesktop 7. “Loscam is a great story that combines three elements: the customer’s openness to new solutions, Citrix innovations and our technological expertise,” he said.

Accelerating a merger

The company has also provided virtualization solutions to address classic customer challenges, such as how to accelerate the merger of an acquired company. For Lend Lease Group, an international real estate construction and management firm headquartered in Sydney, Olikka designed a desktop virtualization environment featuring Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix ADC to expedite extension of the company’s standard operating environment (SOE) to Abigroup, a construction firm acquired in 2011. By delivering a virtual desktop to Abigroup staff, Olikka was able to shorten the operational merger transition time by two-thirds compared to local implementation of corporate apps and services, while reducing complexity and interruptions to users and the business.

Interestingly, Olikka’s work with Lend Lease began not in Australia, but instead with the company’s US location in Georgia. Olikka completed a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops implementation remotely, and later expanded its relationship with Lend Lease to include the Sydney operation.

Strong partnerships support business growth

Olikka has achieved 100 percent year-over-year growth since its founding in 2011, and was recognized by BRW magazine as being a Fast Starter: one of the top 100 young Australian companies in terms of revenue. “We attribute this in part to our culture – we operate like a modern, forward-thinking software startup, emphasizing agility, speed and teamwork,” Pascoe said. “But it’s clear that our strategic focus on Citrix and Microsoft solutions and our close relationship with both partners are also playing a critical role in Olikka’s growth and competitive differentiation.”