Hub Hyde Park members Solentive have spent 25 years creating solutions through custom software, helping their customers solve their problems and grow their own businesses. With a long history in the tech industry, Solentive has needed to remain innovative to survive and thrive.
Rebecca Swinfield, Chief Operating Officer of Solentive, talked with Hub Australia about the company’s development and future.
Who is Solentive, and what’s your history?
Solentive is a custom software company that started as a traditional software engineering firm. Over the last 25 years, we’ve added QA, consulting, architecture and more, so we now see ourselves as an end-to-end provider. We’re helping our clients make better decisions through the execution of unique software.
We’re a systems integrator and custom software provider, and also do product consulting including a rules engine – it’s about helping our clients make better decisions through those products and services.
What inspired Solentive?
It started with a love of psychology and technology and merging the two together. Our founder, Kareem Tawansi, went into those areas before AI was the ‘thing’ it is today – he loved psychology and helping people, and technology. He applied for a Masters of Cognitive Science – they scrapped it due to lack of demand, whereas nowadays there are many degrees that teach AI.
We’re very innovative in that field, so find we’ve done a lot of things before they become mainstream. We’re a reasonably small company of 25 employees, which is part of why we use Hub’s coworking space.
What inspired Solentive initially was converting mainframes to PC’s – then we went to web and mobile, and now AI and everything that comes with that.
What are the goals for the future of Solentive?
We’re working on our strategy around future-proofing the company in terms of technology, with AI machine learning. Solentive is an end-to-end solutions provider, from UX to development – we specialise in health manufacturing and utilities, combined with education, but we can work across different industries as well. I think finding the niche and main way we can make an impact is always a bit of a challenge for us.
Our future is the same goal of keeping people innovative. Our ‘why’ is taking the friction out of people’s lives through technology, so anything that is along that vein is what Solentive is about.
How do you find new clients?
We get a lot of our clients as a result of our marketing, as well as through repeat business –
roughly 70% of new projects we have are existing and repeat clients.
We’re not quite big enough to do full advertising campaigns, but we find great results from word of mouth, networking and referrals.
What makes clients keep coming back?
Often projects fail because of lack of funding, lack of engagement from a decision maker, or the customer not necessarily understanding their objectives correctly. We’ve got a wide experience around what not to do, meaning we help our clients make sure they do it the right way. We take on the risk, so our clients don’t have to.
Read more: How to Make a Great First Impression
Why did Solentive choose Hub as a coworking space?
We had a traditional office for years – it always involved a lot of maintenance and expenses. We found that moving into Hub Hyde Park has helped us to save on costs compared to when we were in a traditional office.
It also gives us the opportunity to expand and grow – if we have a large project, sometimes with the agile methodology we’ll have our clients work with us on site. Coworking means we are able to hire a bank of desks for the length of the project and work closely with them.
Being in Hub also frees up our time and energy, letting us work on the business rather than having to run an office – there are so many things, like watering the plants, making sure there’s milk in the fridge, tea in the pantry. Here, all that is done for us, and the variety of breakout spaces help us to be quite creative.
What we do is innovative, and we want our staff to be inspired – being in beautiful surrounds with great breakout spaces is good for that.
Read more: How to Choose the Best Coworking Space
Does the Solentive team get involved in the learning and community events?
We’re always here for wine down on a Friday afternoon, as well as some of the Lunch and Learn sessions. A lot of the team get involved in the community Mixed Bag Lunches, and the wellness programming, like the Yoga classes.
We have a big push on culture as a small company – in the past we would try and do all those things ourselves. We’d have a discount gym membership, a running group, all-hands on a Friday, and try and eat together regularly. All the planning and organising for these events got taken over by Hub, which has an added bonus of our staff getting to mix with other members as well.
Where do you see Solentive in five years?
We’re definitely growing in the AI and machine learning space. There’s opportunity in blockchain and smart contracts that we’re looking into, as well as continuing with systems integrations, UX, and future-proofing the services we already have.
If you’re part of an innovative company looking for a space to grow your business, save money on a traditional office, and offer great events and community to your team, book a tour at one of Hub Australia’s sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane.