South Africa

Cape Town tech talent the answer to Australian resource shortage

DURBAN - When Roobix, an Australian-owned MarTech agency, acquired Titan Digital two years ago, it wasn’t immediately clear Titan’s Cape Town-based production team could be a viable solution moving forward.

"Roobix essentially acquired the assets of Titan in a fire sale and three weeks following the acquisition, Titan went into administration as such was the nature of its debts," said Roobix Chief Executive, Melissa Strutt. 

Roobix is headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, and services only the Australian market. Prior to the acquisition, Roobix had no offshore production. 

"In the early period post acquisition, the Cape Town operation didn’t appear viable, there were significant cultural issues, and the leadership based in Cape Town was ineffective," said Strutt.

She added, "We had a period of significant turn-over that was necessary to embed a culture of excellence". 

Fast-forward 15 months and Strutt calls the Cape Town-office the ‘jewel in the Roobix crown and the Cape Town colleagues are now the key differentiator.

Roobix is benefitting in more ways than one from its investment in South Africa. Strutt believes the quality of digital graduates coming out of Cape Town universities is second to none, giving Roobix the ability to scale without the constraints their Australian competition face.

“There is no denying the margins are attractive, but it’s actually the availability of technical resources in Cape Town that provide the greatest benefit,” said Strutt.

"It’s impressive watching the customer satisfaction results roll in from our team 9000 kilometres away… to know the offices are so well aligned and our customers are this happy is something we’re all very proud of," said Strutt. 

While Strutt concedes there were initial teething issues, she believes the key to the company’s sharp turnaround in Cape Town is its local management team.

Strutt said, "We empowered our local Cape Town managers, set clear expectations, and put systems and processes in place - from there things got back on track very quickly. What’s been achieved is a significant credit to our local Cape Town leaders". 

This year, Roobix will further expand its operations into eastern Australia and expects its Cape Town team to grow by more than 20 percent. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE