MAXIMISE THE VALUE OF YOUR IT

How often do you assess your IT? Do you test the quality of the technology AND importantly, how it serves your people?

Many IT reviews make this mistake. Quality is important, but if all you do is look at the technology, you’re missing the point.

IT value is governed not by the tech itself, but mostly by the effect it has on the people who use it, because a tool is only as good as its user.

So, to maximise the value of your IT, you must focus on your people, your team, customers, prospects and so on.

This is human-centricity.

As part of my assessments, I ask the team about their tools.

How well trained are they?

How much time does it cost them?

Does it deliver the information they need?

And more

Then I produce a report based on a 15 point methodology focussing on the needs of the business and its people.

But the answers aren’t mine. They are yours.

I turn the experience, knowledge and wisdom of your team in to the written word that tells you where you are .

And I use a repeatable process that can be run again tomorrow to determine the effect of your initiatives.

With hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, can you afford not to know the value of your IT?

Call me today to arrange your assessment.

Read a sample review here


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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

This is a hot topic currently and one the marketers seem to be claiming for themselves.

But if you limit your attention to the needs of your prospects and customers, you’re going to miss out on half the fun and a great may opportunities.

Digital transformation is nothing more than this year’s name for man’s continued use of technology to make life better, and me, and many just like me, have been digitally transforming businesses for 25 years or more.

So, keep calm and carry on looking for ways in which you can leverage modern technology to work smarter in every facet of your business, whether that’s helping customers, prospects, the team, suppliers, partners or anyone else you interact with.

And if, like most business leaders, you look at the immensity of the IT world and don’t know where to start, give me a call.

I’m here to help.


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FAILING FAMILY OWNED MID-TIER BUSINESSES

About 70% of mid-tier businesses are family owned.

Over two thirds won’t survive until the next generation.

And nearly 90% won’t make it to a third.

There are many reasons why, such as nepotism, a lack of financial education of heirs, poor succession planning and a failure to consult trusted advisors.

In the next few years, ineffective innovation will become another.

This is rife in mid-tier businesses.

Two thirds claim to be innovating, but nearly half of those fail to see any meaningful benefit from their initiatives.

And this means that means they’re simply wasting millions of dollars on tools and systems and seeing no return.

Recent technological advances mean that EVERY VERTICAL is ready to be disrupted, and the first one to market with a better model will be in the box seat.

But, with an ageing leadership who grew up in a very different technology landscape, many mid-tiers simply lack the innovation mindset necessary to leverage today’s opportunities.

It’s business as usual, because that’s what they’re familiar with.

And it’s slowly but surely destroying their legacy.

It’s time then to talk to a trusted advisor about how you can become an industry leader rather than just another statistic.

#Techceleration #WorkSmarter


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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE WARES

There are three ‘wares’ in the IT world: hardware, software and the often-forgotten, firmware.

Hardware – The physical machines that you use such as your PCs.

Software – The applications that run on them such as Microsoft Office or a browser.

Firmware – The software that runs your network routers, firewalls and also starts your PC.

If you want your systems and solutions to be as efficient and effective as possible, all three need to be kept up to date and ‘just right’.

Here’s my latest article for SmallVille.


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YOU CAN’T MANAGE WHAT YOU CAN’T MEASURE

This quote from Peter Drucker tells us that business improvement only happens when we track performance.

But in his day, there were a great many things that were, if not impossible, certainly impractical to measure. And those you could assess often relied on the analysis of failure.

Fast forward to yesterday at the Microsoft IOT in Action event in Sydney, and Peter’s eyes would have lit up at the prospect of applying modern technology to, well, just about anything.

Today’s technology lets you measure performance in real time, whether that’s location, temperature, vibration, air pressure or one of doubtless many more environmental factors.

There are tiny #RFID tags can be used to track inventory location.

A simple accelerometer attached to a fan can now detect anomalies long before the fan fails.

A Fitbit like device can now be worn by the team to monitor for high fatigue environments, reducing the risk of accidents.

The emergence of Internet of Things devices is revolutionising man’s capabilities, but as ever, this is not a silver bullet.

It’s just a technology that can help us work smarter.

So, today you can measure everything.

All you have to do is decide what you want to manage.

#Techceleration #WorkSmarter


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YOUR IT IS ONLY A COST WHEN YOU DO IT BADLY

Far too many CEOs, CFOs and other business leaders think of IT as a cost.

BUT THEY ARE WRONG!

This is an IT myth and a fundamental bit of wrong thinking that is ‘s holding businesses back.

When you buy manufacturing equipment, it’s considered to be an asset.

Why?

Because an asset is something that adds value to an organisation, and machines machines do this in two ways.

Firstly, they make things that can be sold.

Secondly, they do it quicker, more reliably and more accurately than people, so they save on wages.

And your IT does EXACTLY THE SAME!

PCs add significant value by helping your business get a job done with fewer people.

It’s why we no longer use pencils, erasers and dusty old ledgers.

Spreadsheets can tot up the totals so much better than a Boroughs Class 3 Adding Machine, with far fewer digit transposition issues and it’s much easier to find mistakes when they do occur.

So, when you buy a PC, you buy an asset that saves you money.

When you buy software to manage data, you buy an asset that saves you money.

When you buy a network router…ah, you get the point.

Implement IT well, and you maximise the value of your human assets.

But implement it badly, and it’ll cost you


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DIGITAL DISRUPTION

Just about every industry is ripe for disruption, and there’s an almost limitless array of opportunities for any business that wants to get involved.

But digital disruption doesn’t mean you need to be using the bleeding edge. In fact, all you need is an idea and to leverage the tools that already exist.

To be a digital disruptor, you need to use technology to enhance the value of your products or services, and you need to be better than your competitors and start taking a lot of their business.

But as ever, if you’re looking at the tech, you’re missing the point.

Instead, you need to look at what you do and find where technology can add value for your people.

Get it right, and with just a small improvement, evolution can feel like revolution.


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PODCAST – STORIES BEHIND THE GRIND

Super excited to be the subject of Aidan Vuocolo’s Stories Behind the Grind podcast this week.

Delightful to be able to spread the word about the value of IT and the opportunities it offers to #SME.

It’s available on Spotify, iTunes, Google and Pocket Casts.


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GET THE POINT?

Super excited, and a bit nervous too, after being invited to deliver some lectures at University of Sydney

The topic, “If you’re looking at the technology, you’re missing the point: How human-centricity can make you millions”.

For a punchier version…

‘Technology will make your people more profitable’.

This is the ‘BIG idea’ that underpins everything I write and talk about.

What I’ll tell the students is that IT is just a tool, an enabler that should help their people do what they do more efficiently. It should improve morale, reduce staff turnover and lower wage costs. It should help the business engage with prospects, and retain more clients to increase customer lifetime value.

Employees and lost customers are expensive. One team member costs $100K each year and half as much again to replace. And finding a new client is up to 25 times more costly than keeping an existing one.

But if we look at their needs and wants, we can create technology solutions that solve their problems and maximise the value of each and every one of them.

So, are your employees, suppliers, partners, prospects, suspects and more in sharp focus when you assess your technology?

Or are you listening to the bells and whistles and missing the point?


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DEVELOPMENT 101 CHECKLIST

Many startups seem to have a limited grasp of what they want to make

This WILL increase development costs

So, a few things to check that you’ve done, BEFORE you let your developers near your baby

KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE

Pare your vision back to the basics

Don’t spend thousands on features unnecessary for version 1

BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

A few mock-ups and saying “it’s a bit like [xxxxxxxxx]”, ain’t gonna cut it when you present your idea to a tech team or VC guys for funding

You need a complete plan

IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK

It always does

Set realistic time frames, because running out of money stings

DO YOUR MATHS

Even off shore developers are costly

Know what your money will buy

STICK TO THE PLAN

Changes mid-project are ALWAYS expensive

More planning = Less coding

SINGLE VERSION

Do you need an app AND a website?

Unless you NEED specific device features, consider using just a website

DATA

Write a detailed list of EVERY bit of data you want to capture

IF YOU THINK IT, INK IT

Ideas in your head are WORTHLESS. Write them down

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Commercial grade software takes skill and precision, so pick your development partner wisely

Are you REALLY ready to start development?


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CURE THE DISEASE

Your team is only working 3 hours a day.

For the other 5 hours, they’re checking #facebook, #instagram and other social media, reading the #news or even looking for a new job.

Poor employee engagement has many causes and one is that the IT tools they’re expected to use are too old, unhelpful, or simply that they haven’t been properly trained.

You can if you wish try to treat the symptoms, but better is to cure the disease.So give them the tools and training they need because

Team + Tech + Training = Triumph


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THE BIRTH OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION

Yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of Dr Trevor Pearcey, the creator of #CSIRAC, Australia’s first electronic computer.

And thanks to the Pearcey Foundation, I had the great pleasure of an afternoon geeking out and listening to some extraordinary speakers talking about his life and legacy, at Sydney University’s Nanoscience department.

We heard of the importance of science and the latest telescopes to be built in WA and South Africa.

We were told of data volumes so large they had to be processed immediately because they’re too big to store.

We learned how advances in photonics will make computers faster, smaller and greener, and how the rise in quantum computing will change everything.

In November 1949, #CSIRAC ran its first test program multiplying some numbers. 70 years on, the cutting edge of computing is taking us back to the beginning of time and giving us processing power far beyond the fantasies of just a few years ago.

Scientists and industry continue to innovate in IT because they appreciate the value and outcomes it can deliver.

And this begs a question. IT clearly works so well for the science community, so why do so many businesses struggle to justify investment in their own systems?


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5 SMALL IMPROVEMENTS

All too often, businesses seem to be looking for a panacea, that one IT solution or system, the next big thing, that will change their fortunes.

But what if they were to take a more measured approach?

What if they adopted a 1% improvement policy?

If one can die by 1000 cuts, it must be possible to succeed by making a 1000 tiny improvements.

So if you were to look at every facet of your IT and make a small change to a process, or UI, or data, or whatever you could think of, how much of a difference could you actually make?

This is Toyota’s Kaizen approach and the same one Sir David Brailsford used to transform British cycling.

And if it works for them, it can work for you.

Here’s my latest video for SmallVille.


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DAIRY DIGITAL DISRUPTION

I spent the weekend immersed in all things dairy and precision #agtech with ‘The Ladies’ at BenMar farm on NSW mid-north coast.

And I mean “immersed” almost literally.

I gathered the herd at 5:30am and walked the cows to dairy across the paddocks.

I helped with milking and fed the calves.

I loaded their first house cow on to the buyer’s trailer, and I even helped rescue a new born calf from a certain death in a cold wet ditch.

Who said IT was boring?!

Proprietors Carissa and Karyn have an encyclopedic knowledge of their industry and know their herd intimately.

They can spot an illness simply by the cows arriving for milking in a different order.

But they want to know more, because the quicker they can spot issues, the cheaper it is to resolve them.

So when finances and the drought allow, they’ll invest in technology that will provide data on body temperature, weight, location and movement.

They’ll automate features of the dairy to precisely regulate feed volumes and they’ll automate much of the milking process.

This is small scale, organic, ethical farming using technology to improve the lives of their herd, the farmer and their profitability.

Data is the new gold.

It’s time you started digging for it.


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1 TINY MISTAKE – 3 BIG PROBLEMS

Business leaders typically offload responsibility for IT.

It’s usually left to the finance team to ‘manage’.

But this innocuous request is a tiny mistake that has enormous consequences.

The issue is one of mindset.

If we ‘manage’ something, we’re reacting to events.

But best practice with IT demands that we’re proactive.

It needs to be driven, not managed.

But without this drive, there are 3 issues that cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars every year.

✖ There’s no innovation culture and minimal investment in technology

✖ The team suffers. Productivity is reduced, morale is low, employee turnover is high and wage costs increase

✖ Prospect and customer engagement is poor. Brand loyalty is lower and customer churn is higher

But if you take control and drive technology

✅ You’ll invest in assets that deliver ongoing value

✅ You’ll increase productivity, retain more of your team and reduce employee costs

✅ You’ll attract more prospects, create a better customer experience and improve customer lifetime value

And all it takes is a change of thinking, a new perspective.

Want to learn how?

Try my Profitable People Workshop. In just a couple of hours, you’ll have a whole new mindset.


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