01/10/2008 - 22:00

Datamerge buys in the South West

01/10/2008 - 22:00

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INFORMATION technology and communications specialists Datamerge has bought Margaret River firm Queensberry Consulting as part of a strategy to overcome the dearth of skilled IT professionals in Western Australia.

Gary Botley says the skills shortage in WA is still an issue and prompted the acquisition of queensberry consulting

INFORMATION technology and communications specialists Datamerge has bought Margaret River firm Queensberry Consulting as part of a strategy to overcome the dearth of skilled IT professionals in Western Australia.

The merger with the South West IT maintenance and systems provider will bring three experienced network engineers and project managers into Datamerge's 20-person team.

Datamerge general manager Gary Botley said the firm had been frustrated by recruitment drives that had failed to yield suitably qualified applicants.

"It's been really tough getting good technical staff," Mr Botley told WA Business News.

"We get plenty of unskilled people applying for skilled engineering positions and a lot of it ends up being a waste of time."

The shortage of appropriately skilled labour across Australia has become a significant and ongoing problem in recent years.

International IT recruitment group Greythorn believes the current availability of skilled IT workers in Australia is at an all-time low and is a crisis the industry and the government must tackle collectively and quickly.

Greythorn's concerns have been echoed by Australian Information Industry Association chief executive Sheryle Moon, who believes Australia would have to bring its IT professionals wages in line with Europe, the US and the UK to compete with other industries.

In WA in particular, many industries, including the IT sector, are losing skilled staff to the mining and resources sectors, which offer lucrative salaries to workers.

Mr Botley said his firm was taking a unique approach to recruiting through the Queensberry Consulting acquisition.

He said although the firm employed various recruitment agencies, the quality of applicants was well below the skill standard Datamerge required.

"We've had to refine our recruitment process quite significantly and our screening process has been refined quite substantially too," Mr Botley said.

Datamerge has deployed IT services and solutions for 16 years and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions for the past eight years.

VoIP, also known as Internet Protocol Telephony, carries telephone signals as digital audio via the internet.

A major benefit of the technology is that firms with multiple offices, national or international, have a central point of contact for incoming calls.

Essentially, the software enables people to make telephone calls over the internet, allowing staff to work from home, where their activities can be monitored by the central processing system.

The IP Telephony technology was a sweetener in the Queensberry deal, where Datamerge will no longer use the Margaret River firm's premises and allow its new staff to work from home.

Datamerge managing director Mark Dutton said that, because the firm was familiar with Queensberry's operations, he anticipated a smooth transition with the new recruits.

"This regional expansion is great news for Datamerge as we continue to grow our business, and it is also good news for local companies as we provide additional IT and communication technologies and support that can greatly benefit their business and significantly reduce costs," Mr Dutton told WA Business News.

The Queensberry merger was finalised on October 1.

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