‘Disrupt or die’

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“All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions.”

George Bernard Shaw

If you work in or deal with the technology sector in New Zealand, you’ll be well aware of some significant changes in the last few years in relation to how it operates, who is succeeding and who is not. And unless you are prepared to bury your head in the sand and hope the old halcyon days return, you need to completely change your business strategy and the way you approach the market, notes Matt Smith, solutions director, digital at Certus.

He states: “While technology transformation may not be as glamorous as changing other industries; reinventing the world of sport, or art, or literature – it is still a very interesting and challenging time.”

Smith shares his insights on achieving transformation in the New Zealand technology sector:

“For me, it’s a passion. If like me, you’ve been in IT most of your career – changing the whole way the industry works and being part of a revolution is pretty exciting.

What does it mean to ‘change the whole way this works’? Well, if you think of the classic model, it goes something like this; an IT services firm sells software to a customer. They install, service and manage that software. Sometimes they do some business consulting along the way.

This may be a bit of an oversimplification, but that’s the basic idea. It’s a rational way to make money. IBM sells lots of software, but the software is complex. Complex software for complex business problems. That’s where firms like us help. It’s an important place in the market and is very important to companies who need it. Solving their problems and helping them make more money is the number one objective at the end of the day.

However, now more than ever market conditions are changing. This technology revolution we’ve been living through in the past 20 years has matured and not everyone wants to buy software and hire people to install and service it. There is open source software that does a lot for free, that can be installed with one click. Or you can just sign up and start using it without doing anything other than entering your credit card. There is software that already does everything a client wants. At least it does A LOT of what a client wants and you get it just by signing up.

So why exist at all I hear you say? Well, there are still companies that want premium level consulting and industry consulting. There are still companies using and evolving their IBM software. So improving your operational efficiencies and becoming more profitable is one reason some companies have survived. It’s important work and as things evolve, the right expertise will become even more important as the software market evolves.

Even if you can get the software easily in the cloud, you still need people who know how to use it, how to analyse data, how to adopt it. There is a lot of satisfaction in solving people’s business problems and there are not enough talented people around who are willing to do it.

Unless you think that head in the sand approach is going to work, you need to change your entire business model, by bringing full solutions to the market. You need to be able to offer proprietary software on top of existing software that adds sustainable value and continuously deliver and manage it over a long period of time.

What is really needed by most sectors in New Zealand is to go through a period of business and digital transformation to help them plan and execute their move to as-a-service and cloud models.

There are definitely IT firms that are making the cultural and financial investments required to change the way they operate at a core level. Those that are now able to compete with the cool cloud start-ups and specialised as-a-service vendors are winning the game. If you strengthen your core capabilities while evolving your ability to deliver the right solutions in a changing market, you are sure to attract new customers and talent and are destined to succeed."

Unless you think that head in the sand approach is going to work, you need to change your entire business model, by bringing full solutions to the market.Matt Smith, Certus

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6 digital transformation success stories