Knowing how to make the best use of technology is key to business growth, according to three local experts who spoke at a recent New Zealand Business Intelligence (NZBI) seminar in Christchurch.
NZBI, which is dedicated to the growth and development of business in New Zealand, presented the seminar ‘Business @ Speed – how to leverage technology to grow your business’ at Mona Vale in September.
Presenting on the big issues involving technology and business were Chris Tacon (Global Office), John Shingleton (Onlinelawyers) and Scott Aldridge (Red Electrical).
Metathesiophobia – or the fear of change – is holding back many organisations, according to Chris who targeted his talk at businesses considering new digital technology. Chris’ company Global Office specialises in custom-made software, including apps, online engagement tools, logistics software,and complex websites.
“In most of the organisations we meet, about 60-70 percent of their people will be resistant to change,” Chris says.
Organisations where staff are more ready to embrace change invariably have the best outcomes, he says. Chris advised those at the seminar to think carefully about company culture and their influence on that culture.
“How is your culture affecting your ability to embrace the ever increasing pace of change?”
No occupation is immune from today’s fast changing world. John Shingleton, director of Onlinelawyers, had a message for the legal profession at September’s seminar; namely that the future lies with forward-thinking law firms.
He quoted British author, speaker and international advisor Richard Susskind, who in 2008 wrote about the end of traditional lawyers and how delivery of legal services would change due to the adoption of new technology.
“He predicted this new generation would gradually render traditional practitioners irrelevant to a modern market,” John says.
John provocatively compared traditional lawyers to frogs sitting in water slowly coming to the boil and failing to act until it was too late.
Pursuing his theme of ‘out with the old, in with the new’, John challenged local business leaders to seek an upfront fixed price from their lawyers and more flexible arrangements for meetings, such as venues of their choice or video conferences.
Tips for going paperless in a trade business was the focus for Red Electrical’s managing director and founder, Scott Aldridge, who advised attendees to choose industry-specific software and to ensure they were up to speed with the differences between available options.
“Make sure when you choose that you also think ahead for growth,” Scott says.
When it comes to hardware and data planning, his advice was to choose reliable, market-leading products and to engage staff in that process. Also, to get as much data as possible to ensure field teams’ needs are met.
Filling in paperwork on clipboards is going the way of the dinosaurs. Scott recommends digitising everything, such as forms, for tablets.
“Some software (for example Simpro’s eForms option), will interface with the host software and automatically fill in key areas and file appropriately.”
Rather than putting the brakes on change – or postponing it indefinitely because it all seems too hard – Scott’s take home message was to chip away at continuous improvement. “Even one percent a week is enough.”
In just one hour, this latest NZBI seminar provided plenty of pointers for Canterbury businesses focussed on future growth and development.