IsoMetrix tackles governance, risk management and compliance

Paul de Kock (top), Dennis (middle) and Paul Marketos (above) are simplifying risk managemen with IsoMetrix

Paul de Kock (top), Dennis (middle) and Paul Marketos (above) are simplifying risk managemen with IsoMetrix

In today’s technologically advanced world, many firms still rely on cumbersome spreadsheet-based records to track and report on governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). However, in a global regulatory environment that is becoming ever more stringent, organisations are increasingly at risk of allowing irresponsible corporate practices to take hold, and violating industry requirements. 

IsoMetrix tackles the need to keep track of a wide array of GRC issues, from security, to fraud and environmental health and safety. The IsoMetrix software reviews an entity’s GRC status in real time and displays it on a user-friendly, customisable dashboard. Its major advantage is that it has entered the market with a transformative product at a time when there is growing demand, but no clear market leader. 

This innovative software was first launched in the mining sector in South Africa and soon expanded across industries into Australia, the UK, and Chile. With annual worldwide GRC software spending valued at over R1.7-trillion in 2016 and growing, IsoMetrix is experiencing increasing demand for its product. To date, over 30 000 people have used the reporting system, including employees at De Beers and Standard Bank. 

Founder Paul de Kock (52) did not start out in software. He earned a degree in cell and environmental biology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1987 before starting a six-year career at Eskom. In 1995, he founded Metago Environmental Engineers, a marketleading environmental consulting company. 

At Metago, De Kock created a monitoring system that reported on environmental metrics. In 2002 he teamed up with brothers Dennis (49) and Paul Marketos (46) — an accountant and computer scientist respectively. The siblings established Asyst International in South Africa in 1998, a leading enterprise resource-planning provider to the mid-market. Seven years later they built Bluekey Software Solutions, an SAP Business One partner in Africa that employs over 200 people in five African locations, with 2015 revenues of $10-million. 

In 2003 De Kock approached the Marketos brothers to discuss transforming Metago’s environmental reporting system from a simple Microsoft Access program into a web-based solution that could handle larger volumes across multiple customers. 

Recognising the commercial potential of the software they would later call IsoMetrix, Metago and Asyst undertook a joint venture in 2003, naming it Metrix Software Solutions. At Asyst, the Marketos brothers had developed critical technical skills in packaged software that helped in the development of IsoMetrix.

In 2011, the team completed the third version of the software, using the Microsoft .Net framework to develop an application builder that would allow modules to be easily moulded to each client’s GRC needs. Since launching the new product in 2011, the company has experienced great demand from clients beyond the mining industry. 

This demand has led to exponential growth, with a 2012 growth rate of 35%, and 60% anticipated growth in 2013. Paul Marketos claims that the company’s swift growth was essential: “As a software house competing internationally, we have had to grow quickly to a point where we have a critical mass, so that employees can specialise in development, or projects, or support. We realised some years ago that if we did not grow to this point we would simply not be able to compete.” 

IsoMetrix offers clients software and integration services that help clients configure the technology to their exact requirements. 

The flexibility of the product also makes it suitable for common compliance frameworks such as safety, health, environment and quality standards, ISO 9001 quality management systems and ISO 14001 environmental management systems. IsoMetrix enables businesses to gather, manage, and share relevant GRC information and report on performance in line with the specific requirements involved. The user interface compiles dashboards of company data from multiple sources to inform users of their GRC status in real time, empowering them to respond quickly to problems. 

In 2012, the mining industry generated 60% of IsoMetrix’s revenue, but as more industries seek reliable, automated solutions to become GRC compliant, mining has taken a lesser share. To date, more than 95% of clients have renewed their annual software licensing agreements with the company. 

The software employs an application builder that gives clients a comprehensive solution. It is convenient for the client, who can tailor the software to his or her specific needs and for IsoMetrix, as it can scale its offering without developing a new product for each new client and industry. For Marketos, this agile approach “allows us to punch above our weight on the international stage, and has led to us beating companies much larger than us, and with a far greater research and development spend.” 

The nascent market remains fragmented, putting Metrix — with its innovative technology and presence in Africa, Australia, and North America — in a position to become a global leader. To leverage this opportunity, the company will need to strengthen its sales force and develop a robust strategy to grow its business in new sectors and countries; it plans to expand its international portfolio from 20% of sales to 50% by 2017. Marketos knows that “managing growth, in terms of cashflows and recruitment, presents challenges, as has setting up offices in new countries such as Australia and Canada.” 

Marketos says that it “feels good to be employing people in South Africa” to work on projects from all over the globe. 

Find out more about IsoMetrix at www.isometrix.com

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