Three Business Units, One Focus on Innovation

Saxons Group

From its humble beginnings in a Sydney home office in 2006, Saxons Group has grown to serve over one hundred public and government companies throughout Australia. It now covers three core businesses and a strategic group, enabling an end to end IT implementation, training, service and support for small to medium size businesses.
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Saxons Group provides IT solutions, IT Training and Corporate Training Facilities with current locations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Each business unit of Saxons Group has a different outreach and focus.

Saxons IT Solutions works to keep small to medium businesses in a competitive environment through technology. By working with a host of technologies to provide flexible and scalable systems infrastructure, Saxons IT Solutions focuses on collaborative support approaches and core innovation standards.

Saxons Learning Solutions is a leading provider of technical and desktop training for organisations. As a Microsoft Silver Learning Partner, Saxons Learning Solutions offers industry recognised courses taught by certified industry-leading expert trainers. Clients use Saxons Learning solutions to attain certifications, maintain professional relevance, increase their staff efficiency as well as their understanding of operational systems, or to identify skills gaps. Other certifications for VMware and Cisco and CompTIA are also provided at Saxons Learning Solutions’ facilities.

Saxons Training Facilities offers Corporate Training rooms that enable customised room set ups and technologies to maximise learning. Group sizes ranging from eight to one hundred and twenty attendees can be accommodated for events ranging from corporate training to seminars or offsite meetings. The company’s computer labs were constructed to provide customised solutions specified by clients. Each computer lab was designed with to the room fibre optic internet connection, reducing downtime for the clients. Saxons Training also provides training rooms with flexible layouts for interviews, events, arbitration and mediation, planning sessions, project launches, corporate presentations and training or off-site meetings.

Angus Gill, Marketing Manager for Saxons Group spoke about the company, its growth and how the three business units work together on a separate basis, while sharing essential information.

“Individually, each business maintains a strong market position with their unique offerings,” says Mr Gill. “When applied in a cohesive manner, the three business units provide a range of business solutions and, working in unison, Saxons Group has the ability to assess, upgrade and support company IT systems while, at the same time, assessing a client’s IT efficiencies through IT training of staff on multiple levels. The documentation of the change process administered by both the IT and Learning arms can then be reported on and managed through end user training in any one of our national locations.”

Headed by Marshal de Saxe for the past eight years, Saxons was started in a home office in Sydney. Mr de Saxe had a vision to expand the company, leading to new locations in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. From noticing the increasing demand for computer labs, the company then began offering Microsoft training to existing clients in 2012. This helped the business quickly grow and become the third-largest Microsoft training partner in Australia. As the company grew to multiple locations, the need for a skilled in house IT team was apparent to serve both businesses and clients. After growing on a referral basis, this company began operating as Saxons IT Solutions.

Mr Gill explains that one of the main reasons for the success of Saxons Group over the years is its commitment to delivering exceptional customer service and solving problems for its clients. “We constantly put ourselves in our client’s shoes to stop and think, ‘what’s in it for our client?’ Solving for the client does not mean giving more away for free, it means delighting our client with phenomenal service and real value. To do this, we have a value chain that helps us to make decisions that ultimately ‘solve for the client.’” This value chain consists of favouring the team over self, the company over the team and the customer over the company. “This is a fairly simple proposition and we find that the ease of explanation means ease of understanding. It’s an altruistic approach and we’re proud of it.”

Historically, classroom style training was the only method of training that Saxons Group provided. With the technical advances, the market embraced VILT to allow training anytime, anywhere, on any device. While held in high regard for its convenience, he said the company was looking to improve the process. “However, without the interaction and power of group discussion and collaborative learning, the knowledge retention resulting from this type of online training was comparatively low.”

In order to combat this low level of learning, Saxons employed a hybrid of both online and in-person training. Known in the industry as Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT), this method allows students to access training environments online with support and guidance from a trainer. “The benefit of this was more guided training with greater learning as a result, without impacting business as usual,” shares Mr Gill.

“This improved the learning environment in difficult locations and caused better information retention and higher scores among participants, but we saw the chance for a more client focused approach.” In the pursuit to facilitate learning and participation and increase adoption, group discussion software with social networking service Yammer was added, as well as Lync, which enabled instant messaging between the learning group members. This gave students the opportunity to post questions and comments onto the group home for all the students to see as well as answers from the instructor to individual students. This solution enabled highly effective training and learning from virtual site group discussions, reducing training time.

“This development was important for Saxons as it allowed us to adapt to the changing training landscape. Furthermore, it demonstrates how we strive to solve for the client, and through this commitment, have innovative solutions for end users to benefit from.” Saxons Group won a Platinum LearnX award for developing Yammer Enabled VILT for its clients.

This dedication to innovation is based in its four core values that are aimed at driving company behaviour that centres on client satisfaction: performance, openness, opportunities and relationships. “We measure performance and outcomes,” Mr Gill says. “Individuals are given tools to achieve their targets but, equally, individuals are held accountable for achieving their targets. We help our staff achieve their target and perform their duties with the right training, guidance and support. We expect from our staff exactly what our customers expect of us: a timely, intuitive interaction delivered in a professional manner.”

He states that open communication and seeking opportunities are additional factors for the success of the company. “We need communication that is timely, open and honest.” The company encourages regular meetings to create a platform for informal conversations and allow employees to speak freely. It encourages the exploration of different possibilities and risk taking.

As the company endeavours for competitive advantage through innovation, it welcomes all new ideas and approaches. “We are very lucky to have a sales force who don’t guard opportunities. We are open with one another, which has a flow-on effect allowing us to deliver the correct outcome for each unique client situation.”

Relationships, both internal and external are another contributing factor to the overall success of Saxons Group’s operations. “We aim to capitalise on our diversity [of experience, education, training and styles] and collaborate as one team to generate synergies for our differences.”

“A wealth of knowledge across the business allows us to be adaptable. There have been many instances where staff have tapped into the internal knowledge base of the wider group offering to solve a client’s problem.” The company avoids a technology, sales and marketing divide by thinking as one group with one end-to-end offering. As a result of the approach, despite the three separate business units of IT, learning and training, the company doesn’t have information silos.

Saxon’s leadership team treats employees as internal customers with the same high expectations of experience and service as its external clients. Mr Gill also credits the leadership team for encouraging an environment of collaboration. “Our leadership team recognises the importance of making our people feel valued. More than monetary rewards alone, we understand the importance of connecting with our people on an emotional level to enable them to feel valued and, ultimately, to thrive in their role.”

The company views on relationships extend to its external clients. “We view relationships as true partnerships, and we understand that delivering great customer service requires more than being friendly and professional.”

He says that the company’s competitive advantage comes from adding real value. Saxons gives clients information or products that they need while making them feel valued. “In today’s world of transparency, it’s important to differentiate through emotional connections. We try to differentiate by having our clients and vendors and suppliers think ‘Wow, weren’t they great to deal with!’”

Today, the three businesses are launching into the next phase of growth, with a new office in Perth and a stronger group offering. Saxons Group is set to provide a solution which is unrivalled in the professional services space. Other future plans include creating a skills assessment portal to reduce disparities in communication and keep management aware of issues.

With a dedication to innovation in training and certification, Saxons Group has been involved in successfully training clients and organisations for nearly a decade. Mr Gill feels the company has a bright future so long as it remains dedicated to its principles and values.

“Technology is now so consumable and ingrained in life, that users expect the same level of intuitiveness and usability from the work applications as they do at home in their consumer lives,” says Mr Gill. “The complexity and power of enterprise level IT functions casts a bit of a disconnect for end users over the various software interfaces, capabilities and usability. Customising systems and allowing them to be supported in a hybrid environment means that there is a fair onus on organisations to ensure that their staff can use their systems effectively. We try to mitigate this risk as much as possible by providing a solution which not only addresses the business problem but also solves the problem from a user perspective.”

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November 19, 2017, 11:06 PM AEDT

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