Vision of provincial bliss pays off for Tauranga company

Being based in the Mount has its pluses, company head says

For the staff of Mount Maunganui-based software developer Vision Software, the dream of a short commute to work and lunch-time swimming is a reality.

The company has 32 staff at Mount Maunganui and an office in Sydney with three staff.

Vision Software was founded in 1988 and develops and sells software for managing commercial property portfolios, as well as software for managing veterinary practices. On the commercial property management side, clients include Air New Zealand, The Warehouse, the ANZ, National and Westpac banks and Wellington City Council.

Although Vision Software finds it hard to compete with Auckland wages, the skills shortage hasn’t affected the company too much, says chief executive Mike Dennehy.

“[But] it’s starting to become more difficult to find staff as we are growing,” he says.

Like many other development companies, Vision Software has found some of its staff from overseas. Half of the staff are female, although all nine developers are male.

A couple of years ago some clients were reluctant to deal with a provider based in a provincial location, says Dennehy. But this is now less of a problem.

“Today, it doesn’t really matter where you are,” he says. “We could do with better broadband though.”

Happily, he might not have to wait long for this. Last month TelstraClear told Computerworld that it is spending $50 million on building a wireless service in Tauranga in 2007. The wireless service, called Unplugged, will provide a landline replacement to about 100,000 Tauranga businesses and households, giving them access to mobile telephony and broadband.

It is currently testing to determine where to place its transmission towers, says TelstraClear spokesman Mathew Bolland. The network will be denser than a conventional mobile network, in terms of the number of antennas, he says. That means it should be able to deliver high speed broadband.

“We are still working towards finalising who the vendor will be.”

He believes that Mount Maunganui will be included in the service.

“Exactly where [the service] reaches is something we can determine once we know what our network map is going to cover,” says Bolland.

Vision Software has managed to thrive and grow from the Mount, says Dennehy, and he hopes that the company will “get away with” having the headquarters outside of Auckland.

“We love living here, and we would like to [live and work here] for as long as we can,” he says.

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