Sector: managed services
From his early days at secondary school in county Clare, Justin Keatinge had a passion to succeed in business and always knew he would ultimately become an entrepreneur.
After graduating from the University of Limerick in 1991, he started his working life in the IT department of ESB.
It was here that he met John Mullen and together they went on to found Version 1 in 1996.
Establishing themselves as specialists in Oracle solutions, Justin and John built a reputation in this niche market and steadily grew and diversified the business to the success it is today.
The company has focused on helping organisations to deliver real business benefit through IT, demonstrating that rather than simply being a cost, IT can be an enabler that in tough times can help clients to become more competitive, enter new markets and drive business success.
Identified as a leading Irish company in the IT services market in the IDCís 2010 IT Trends and Expenditures in Ireland survey, Version 1 now has its sights set on catching the big three in IT Consultancy: HP, Accenture and IBM.
Managing Director, Justin, is acknowledged as the driving force behind the companyís exponential growth: from a base of two people in a small Dublin office and Ä60,000 revenue in 1997, Version 1 today has 265 employees based at offices in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
Under his leadership and direction, the firm has undertaken a strategy of organic growth and key acquisitions to become an organisation that can take on and win business against the multinational players.
Driven by a strong deals pipeline, Justin forecasts growth in excess of 30% this year and recently announced the creation of 180 jobs across Ireland before 2013.
Products/Services: Version 1 delivers end-to-end IT Consulting and Managed Services, helping organisations to address a range of business and technology challenges.
The company has built deep expertise in a number of key areas including Managed Services, Microsoft Solutions, Oracle Enterprise Solutions, Java & SOA Solutions, Enterprise Architecture, Project and Programme Management and Software Asset Management.
Customers: Version 1 currently has some 200 customers across the Utilities, Public, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Education and Health sectors depending on it to deliver service and solution excellence.
The majority of its clients, such as Airtricity, ICG, Arnotts, and a number of state agencies including the Revenue Commissioners, are located in Ireland, but the company also services a small number of in the UK.
What are the biggest challenges you faced starting up and how did you overcome them? As it was prior to the invention of social networks, such as LinkedIn, one of the biggest challenges was building up a business network.
We really had to work to establish our reputation in the market by consistently delivering an excellent service.
What are the biggest challenges you face now? Our biggest challenge today is finding excellent IT consultants with the right mix of experience and expertise.
Itís no secret that there is a severe skills shortage in the Irish technology sector, and there is currently an opportunity to retrain those in professions hardest hit by the recession so that they have the relevant skills required to compete for jobs in growing industries.