Entrepreneur Interview: with Steve Pearson, Phusion IM
Posted on the 16 July 2018
Tell me about your background in business
I was an instrument technician at ICI, then studied towards a degree in the field, before moving on to BP as an instrument engineer. It was while at BP that I moved on to information handover on major projects over a 10 year period, and also when I decided to start my own company. I decided I could do a better job than what was the norm in the industry!
How was Phusion IM formed and your involvement in the company?
I got talking to someone while at BP who ran his own business, and who was always available on the phone or for a chat on how to go about setting up a company and offered clues. He was even interested in forming the business with me, which gave me confidence!
I essentially followed my dream by having the ambition to set-up the company and came across someone who could handle the IT aspect of Phusion, complementing my engineering expertise.
In your own words, describe what Phusion IM is and does.
We are primarily a service company that helps clients when they are moving from one system to another, and they recognise that they need their information in good shape, whether it is documentation, equipment or spare parts, so their users can easily access this data. Using our IT and engineering expertise, we essentially bring all of this together, validate it and make it accessible.
So, if a system goes down in the middle of the night, for example, the user would have the instructions and part information to hand and can use their skills to quickly rectify the issue. Traditionally this would take several hours to source the information.
We also provide software solutions and build apps and a variety of tools to support the information handover for clients.
What is your proudest moment with Phusion IM?
We are involved in hosting the documentation and supporting the two largest natural LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) projects in the world – the Chevron Gorgon Project and the Inpex Ichthys projects – which are worth around $100bn AUD combined.
I am very proud to be involved in such prestigious projects and often shout about it to our clients, which demonstrates our capabilities and that we can handle work of any size. Although we think small projects are great too!
Is there a particular mistake you have made while in business? And how did you overcome/learn from it?
Being in business 25 years, I have made many! But, entrepreneurs always make mistakes; we just hope not to make the same one twice.
I have found putting all your eggs in one basket can be costly. We previously worked in the nuclear industry on a project, putting many of our resources into it, before the Government withdrew its assets and led to suppliers being served their notices. This had an impact on our business and took time for us to rebuild. The wider energy industry, including oil and gas, is a bit of rollercoaster, so we have learnt which industries to focus on and have built up a diverse portfolio so we don’t open ourselves up for this again.
What is the company’s USP?
We’ve got a talented team and excellent relationships with more than 5,000 manufacturers, so we are able to drill down to every product detail. I am finding that our competitors aren’t necessarily capable of getting down to this level of detail, whereas we understand it and together with our IT and engineering skills, the client sees the benefits of this.
We have been building our library of data up over the last 25 years, so we don’t come to the game empty-handed.
How has the firm grown and what do you attribute this to?
We have enjoyed steady, organic growth in an industry that is now understanding information management. There is more awareness about what we do and our capabilities, and I envisage rapid growth in certain areas in the future.
I have always been financially prudent (although my financial people would disagree!) and are continuing to plod along very nicely in our niche area.
Do you live by/do business with a certain motto?
The job is easy; it’s the people that make it harder.
What are the future plans of Phusion IM?
There are areas where we can leverage what we’ve been doing, as we’re sat on a lot of content. I have plenty of initiatives and ideas to explore these.
Our steady work is good and we believe we can continue to transform the industry.