DAC Systems: Celebrating 25 years of digital innovation
By Gary Carter, Chairman of DAC Systems
This year we celebrate the silver jubilee of an organisation born out of the need to be different from every other IT services business. A journey that began in the previous century has seen many exciting and challenging times that helped shape where we are today. Thanks to all these, DAC Systems is in the ideal position to harness the opportunities of the digital age.
Early on we knew it was imperative to transition from being bespoke developers to becoming Microsoft partners. Even though the software behemoth was going through its own challenges at the time, think anti-trust and the rise of Linux, we realised that Microsoft would become pervasive around the world. Considering how the likes of Azure, Microsoft 365, and other innovations have permeated all industries, this was certainly the right call to make. Today, DAC Systems is a Microsoft Gold Certified Systems Integrator specialising in delivering business solutions.
I started the business in 1995 and was soon joined by Chris Willemse, our CEO, who became part of the family fresh out of university. Our CTO, Gary Regan, joined a few years later. In fact, such is our passion, commitment, and focus on being a family-focused organisation, the average employee has been with the company for longer than 15 years. Mandla Madi has been on the board for 12 years while the others have been members for over 20 years.
A critical element helping guide the direction of DAC Systems is the cloud. Simply put, this is the future of business, technology, and society in general. Such has been our singular attention to the cloud that when the lockdown struck, we continued being operational from home without any hiccups. Early in the lockdown, we made a conscious decision that we will be sacrificing profit to take care of our staff. For us, it has never been about being a single bottom-line company but rather looking at all our stakeholders and keeping their best interests at heart.
This has seen the business practising social responsibility long before it became a statutory requirement. Over the past 15 years, we have focused on building houses in the AIDS-ridden Shongwe community in Mpumalanga. Today, we also support the Nkomazi Community Trust as well as an internet café on behalf of the Thembalethu Trust in Jeppe’s Reef in Shongwe. Beyond that, the company provides bursaries for Thembalethu community members as well as local Gauteng learners to develop IT and administrative skills and equip them for a digital future.
One of our proudest achievements was when we achieved a Level 1 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) rating. For our customers this means they can reflect 135% of their procurement spend on their scorecard and work with the best skills the market has to offer. It is also testament to our belief that transformation remains the cornerstone of the future of our country especially as we head into the fourth industrial revolution. And throughout this, we have been able to grow our employees. They are the core strength of the business and bring passion, experience, and skills to continually deliver world-class solutions to our customers.
As founder, I learnt that you need to identify the people who can do things better than you and start handing things over to them. This centres on not only knowing who you are as an individual, but also recognising the strengths of others and embracing those for the greater good.
Even though there have been many highlights over the years, they can all be summarised by the fact that we keep our customers for a long time. In fact, one organisation has been with us for more than 23 years.
Some of the learnings over the past quarter of a century include putting people ahead of everything else. It is about embracing challenges and always looking at how to be a better integrator. It is also knowing when to take a step back and honestly assess the work we are doing and identifying more ways to be innovative.
I can honestly say I am incredibly pleased with where DAC Systems is today as a business. Of course, that does not mean we can rest on our laurels. We must continually watch what is happening in the market, especially now with the pandemic, and remaining ahead of the curve. It is about thinking differently, working differently, and not falling back into the old ways of doing things. Even more so than in the past, the future of business will be built around the people and trusting our employees to get the job done regardless the circumstances.
Throughout the years, trust has been an incredible part of our lives. For me personally, it has been a journey of faith and trust in God especially during these uncertain times. In my mind, this has been fundamental to our commitment in putting our people first and not looking at letting anybody go when the times have been tough over the past several months.
Here is to the next 25 years and beyond for DAC Systems. With so many exciting technology developments happening in the world around us, one cannot but help be optimistic about the future and our role in helping drive a digital landscape that our customers can deliver value from.