Wellington ICT firm looks abroad as it targets overseas talent

“We can hire a developer for $500 a month. That's hugely less than you have to pay in New Zealand."

Setting up a new business requires close attention to costs.

So when Wellington-based Mark and Sarah Runge were establishing Skemaz, which provides field marketing software as a service, they found that moving to Bali gave them big savings in hiring developers.

“We can hire a developer for $500 a month,” Mark Runge says. “In fact, the average worker can be had for $300 a month but they will stay if you pay the higher figure.

“That's hugely less than you have to pay in New Zealand."

Runge says Australian companies have become very focused on the low-cost technical talent available though Indonesian universities.

Skemaz currently uses five developers, and additional resource is available as required.

South African-born Runge began specialising in mobile technology some years ago - he set up his own business after stints as the CIO at a South African regional bank, the Australasian national support manager for Unisys, and senior sales management roles at Oracle and Microsoft.

Sarah Runge, who is president of Skemaz, was previously a business consultant specialising in corporate profiling for IT projects - she is the author of Stop Blaming the Software.

They say that Skemaz is the world's first free field marketing software as a service - it runs on Microsoft Azure and on any browser or device with an internet connection.

“You design your field marketing projects to get the reports you and your customers need,” Mark Runge says.

“Reports are instantly available on-line in real time as audits take place. You communicate with field marketing staff via the app and apply flexible visit scheduling.

"You therefore gain deeper insights into store-level information with drill-through and conditional filtering plus auto-escalation.

"GEO location and store audit location and date and time stamping happen automatically and the mobile app captures photos and signatures using a modern mobile device’s hardware.”

Skemaz makes its money through advertisements - Mark Runge says there are currently around 2,000 users, in Australia, the UK, the US and Venezuela.

The company is registered in New Zealand and the couple are currently back in Wellington seeking further investment.

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