The evolution of Origin: From managed IT support to innovation partner

18th June 2019

Written by Michael Russell

Having recently celebrated my 19th anniversary as CEO and founder of Origin, I’ve taken pause to reflect on the purpose of this company, which for the most part has remained the same: to connect Kiwi businesses to the technology they need to innovate and thrive. How we deliver on that promise has evolved, but central to its execution is, and always has been, the end user.

Future-proofing your business starts at the end

I believe that ‘following the end user’ is the key to future-proofing our business, and our customers’ businesses. That approach has led to a fundamental shift in the way we partner with our customers.

Not too long ago, the IT support provider’s role was to “keep the lights on” and ensure that systems and servers stayed online.

Today, end-users demand more. Digital technologies are so tightly interwoven with our everyday lives, it’s near-impossible to imagine functioning without them. As consumers, we expect to be able to connect with businesses anywhere, any time, using any device. As employees, we rely on technology to be productive and collaborative. And we all expect our digital experience to be seamless, speedy and secure.

That’s why “keeping the lights on” just won’t cut it any more. Businesses should expect more from their IT partner.

It’s against this backdrop that Origin’s been steadily evolving from a traditional IT support provider into a comprehensive security and digital innovation partner. We’ve been investing in new capability and services to secure, support and modernise our customers’ businesses in a changing world.

How we deliver: Application Support

Well-supported apps are central to good user experience, so application support is central to our new innovation partner model. Whether they’re legacy, SaaS, or developed in-house, our customers rely on an average of 10-15 core applications for the day-to-day running of their businesses. This means relying on multiple software vendors for support; an approach that lends itself to end user frustration, finger-pointing, and loss of productivity.

Our application support service provides businesses with a single point of contact for all applications. Having a bird’s eye view across all core applications means that we can identify commonly-occurring issues, triage them, escalate improvements and see them through with the vendor.

Not only does this approach simplify life for the end user, it significantly streamlines the process – freeing up IT teams to focus on innovation, rather than on the daily management of applications. And for those of our customers who are developing apps in-house, we feed intelligence around user behaviour and commonly occurring issues back into their development cycle.

How we deliver: Workplace Strategy

Modern SaaS applications have the power to transform the way we work today. But it’s a mistake to assume that you’ll get the best results for your business simply by purchasing licences and installing software. That’s just the beginning of the journey.

Origin’s workplace strategy service was borne of an observation that our customers were missing a trick (sometimes many tricks) when it came to getting the most out of their modern applications. This service ensures that our customers’ apps are as secure as possible, that their staff know how to use them, and that licences are optimised to save money.

How we deliver: Security + Support

The more completely we transition to a digital world, the more important security becomes.

The security landscape is growing in complexity every day, which means security is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, and investing in prevention is simply not enough. Keeping your business safe is a specialised and resource-intensive job, and one that the majority of Kiwi businesses are not able to manage effectively in-house. That’s why we launched Origin Security.

Origin Security’s threat management service goes beyond the preventative measures offered by managed IT support providers, to deliver 24/7 detection, analysis and response to security threats.

Part of the reason we developed this service is that our experience strongly supports the benefits of having a single provider for managed security and managed IT support. It allows us to head issues off at the pass, or deal with them swiftly when they do arise. Support is streamlined into a single line of communication. And one provider means nothing slips through the cracks, which ultimately generates cost savings and faster response times.

My challenge to you

I’d encourage you to question the value you’re getting from your current IT partner. Are they supporting you to innovate, freeing up time and money to invest in work that drives your business forward? Are they providing a service that goes beyond what you could get from your vendors? You’re within your rights to expect more.

And to our industry peers. What are you doing to stay relevant in the digital age? Are you “dialling it in” or are you working hard to future-proof your customers’ businesses - and your own?

At Origin, we’re continually evolving. We know what we do well, but we’re always seeking to adapt and improve. I call it “disruption around the edges”. We’re finding ways to serve our customers better and, in the process, positioning our business as an industry leader. We’ve got our sights on a bright future and we want to take Kiwi businesses with us.

Michael Russell


By listening carefully to Origin’s clients and staff in the early days, Mike knew that what New Zealand businesses needed was an IT partner that provided such robust and unbroken support that they were freed up to focus on growth and innovation. Mike believes the key to Origin’s success is that it attracts talented people who are driven to understand people and their needs first; technology and its benefits second.

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