For many businesses, their databases are the lifeblood of their business – a way of keeping in contact with their clients on a regular basis. Few have been as successful at database management as Declan Ryan, the man behind one of Australia’s most successful database companies – Database Consultants Australia (DCA).
Ryan took the helm in 1999, and since leading a management buyout in 2002 has driven the business to market share growth in a number of industries.
Starting as a data management and servicing company for the likes of banks and telcos, DCA has grown tenfold over the past 10 years as an intellectual property creator and licenser to blue chip companies across retail, power, and financial sectors.
It’s also behind the data backbone of local government compliance in every capital city in Australia and New Zealand.
Along the way, the eHealth part of the business was sold to Telstra in September 2013.
Declan Ryan’s Database Consultants Australia has been behind the digital infrastructure of the biggest corporate players across key industries.
“Telstra gave us an undertaking to continually invest in the business to grow it. This was a key determinant in our divestment strategy,” Ryan says. Ryan has a pretty wide reaching knowledge of Australia’s biggest companies and the industries they operate in. Here are his thoughts on where in Australians should be putting their investor dollars.
1. FINANCE AND BANKING: FORGET ‘SHRINKING TO GREATNESS’, INVEST IN ‘GROWING FROM GREATNESS’
“I see great opportunities for banks. I’m probably swimming against the tide.” He’s well aware of how the new data management infrastructure is making banks more efficient – and reliant on fewer staff. DCA is behind the data infrastructure that is making big banks more successful with greater efficiencies. However, Ryan is confident that shrinking will turn to growth in the next few years as banks apply their new-found efficiencies to new products and services.
2. HEALTH SCIENCE: BUILD UP THE HUB
DCA has had a strong influence in health tech. Telstra’s eHealth system was originally developed by DCA after all. Whilst DCA doesn’t plan to re-enter the health tech market, Ryan reckons there’s room for Australia’s health industry – particularly in Victoria – to grow into world leading health-tech hubs. “I think some of our health science in Victoria is as good as anywhere else in the world. It’s got a very good hospital network. It’s got very good universities producing good medical technologies. Good health scientists. There are no reasons why we can’t have more of them.”
3. RETAIL: LOOK FOR THE GEMS, BUT BEWARE THE REST
“If you look at the retail sector on masse, I think it’s going to be a difficult place. I think it’s going to face difficult times for the foreseeable future. There is however going to be consolidation and there are some very smart retailers, and if you invest in those very smart retailers then I think you’ll do well,” predicts Ryan. “I think the winners are those who have married an online strategy with an indoor strategy and have really embraced digital transformation or are at the leading edge of it.”
4. DATA: THE KEYSTONE TO SUCCESS
A crucial investment for Australian business; accumulating, managing and protecting big data smartly is increasingly important across Australian industry according to Ryan. “Almost every industry sector has been catapulted into the digital world and increased its reliance on digital technology. There has never been a greater recognition of the value of data. “It is no longer a ’nice-to-have’, it is essential that smart companies use their data intelligently to gain insights that identify new customers and market trends or generate cost savings. Ultimately, these will be the future success stories in Australian business.”