by Divina Paredes

Movers and shakers: A new role for Chris Robb in Suncorp, Xero Small Business Insights launch, new appointments at LPS

May 14, 2018
Big DataCareersDigital Transformation

AMP CIO Chris Robb is joining Suncorp in July as executive general manager – insurance technology, based in Sydney. His previous roles include head of technology at ANZ Bank and head of IT at Genesis Energy. He has an extensive experience in finance ICT executive roles including stints at IAG and ASB.

Xero has unveiled the Xero Small Business Insights, which provides a comprehensive picture of the conditions and economic health of small businesses in New Zealand.

Updated monthly, the data covers five major pillars – cash flow, getting paid, hiring people, trading overseas and cloud adoption. It is based on anonymised and aggregated data drawn from more than 300,000 New Zealand subscribers using Xero.

Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash at the launch of the Xero Small Business Insights in Wellington

Xero Small Business Insights serves to deepen the understanding of New Zealand’s small business economy. The metrics rely on all Xero subscribers that meet the criteria for each pillar, making it more comprehensive than many private surveys, which are often drawn from a far smaller sample size. The data is also updated more frequently than most small business data pools.

The findings were launched at an event at Xero HQ in Wellington by the Minister for Small Business, Stuart Nash; Xero country manager, Craig Hudson; and economist Cameron Bagrie.

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Diocesan School is fostering early interest in computer science and digital technology by becoming one of the early adopters of the new Digital Technologies Curriculum, which will be compulsory in all schools by 2020, for its year 7 to 10 students.

Lesley Sampson,Diocesan’s teacher in charge of computer science, is leading the charge for the school. As one of the pioneers of women working in the IT industry, Sampson first trained in computer programming at Auckland University in 1987 and has worked in both the corporate sector and as a teacher.

She turned to teaching 11 years ago and her search for a way to encourage more girls into IT has led her into studying a masters in education, specialising in e-learning and digital technologies at Canterbury University.

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“Girls respond to a more collaborative style of learning and like real world examples to explain the application of technology”, says Sampson.

Virtual reality (VR) is a good example of this and Diocesan’s Year 11 students are not just using VR headsets to move around ‘off the shelf’ worlds, they are also creating their own worlds and characters and bringing these alive in the VR environment, she says.

“The uses for VR are limitless, from bringing to life architects’ plans, through to teaching surgical procedures or how to spray paint a car. It is the way of the future and we wanted the girls at Diocesan to gain experience working in this technology early.”

“It is vital that women have a voice in the design of new software and applications, providing alternative and diverse views,” she adds. “They need to become creators, not just consumers –the inclusion of computer sciences as a part of Diocesan’s Creative Industries Faculty alongside other digital and technology design subjects, sets them up to do just that.”

Diocesan studentAmelia Lockley, meanwhile, is one of the new generation of female digitech whizkids. With her own spot as a ‘kid tuber’ on What’s Now TV show, Amelia has had the opportunity to interview some of her heroes in the tech world, including Rocket Lab founder,Peter Beck.She has also been named as the She Can Code ambassador for Code Club Aotearoa at this year’s TechWeek NZ in Christchurch on 23 May.

Amelia Lockley

Glenn Archbold joins the LPS Auckland team as a client executive.

Prior to LPS, he was an account manager at GKC and was focused on helping his customers gain insights from their machine data. He also helped those customers increase their customer experiences through the use of real-time analytics.

Glenn Archbold

Ben Pitchforth, meanwhile, joins the LPS Wellington team as a principal consultant. He works closely with Kevin Maloney, who is based in Auckland. (based in Auckland). Pitchforth was service transformation manager at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment before joining LPS.

Ben Pitchford

Tauranga-based technology incubator WNT Ventures has announced portfolio company Onesixone (SoundSwitch) has been acquired by American based company Denon DJ, a leading manufacturer of premium DJ products and solutions.

The team behind Onesixone have developed an innovative software-hardware solution, SoundSwitch. SoundSwitch enables DJs to seamlessly integrate DMX lighting with live audio, providing the ability to dynamically enhance the visual and lighting elements of their performances.

Beppie Holm, chair of Onesixone, reports that the acquisition, made through a New Zealand entity, will see Denon DJ retain Onesixone’s employees and the company’s existing base in Tauranga. Denon DJ recognises the talent within the company and can see that Tauranga is an ideal location for the next phase of the company’s growth. “This is a great outcome for Onesixone and it is a significant achievement. It represents the first full realisation for both WNT’s first fund and the Callaghan Innovation Technology Incubator Programme”, says Carl Jones, CEO of WNT Ventures.

“Along with the retention of employees and base in Tauranga, Denon DJ will increase RD spend and will attract more talent to the region, ensuring continued positive economic outcomes for the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand as a whole”.

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Global healthcare technology specialist Clanwilliam Group welcomes Kiwi company Konnect NET to its rapidly growing family of companies.

This is the fourth Australasian investment by Dublin-based Clanwilliam Group in the past 16 months.

Konnect NET is used by all major insurers in New Zealand to manage insurance medical requests through its SureMed system.

All GPs, hospitals, pathology labs, most specialists and a growing number of allied health practitioners trust the SureMed system to respond to insurance requests.

Konnect NET CEO Mike Weiss will continue in his current role, along with the company’s existing staff team.

“I am delighted to be part of the Clanwilliam family. This organisation has strong capability in the sector and this provides a great opportunity for us to increase value for our customers through collaboration with our sister companies,” says Weiss.

Mike Weiss