A question of focus

A question of focus

Letting go of practices that do not bring value to the business is key theme at Gen-i ICT conference.

Gen-i CEO Chris Quin says technologies enabled by fibre – collaboration tools, mobility and video – will prompt organisations to change from their current work mode. This is “a time for thinking differently”, he said at the company’s ICT conference in Auckland.

New devices and the rise of a mobile workforce are changing traditional ways of working and communicating, he says.

In the next three to five years, he says, enterprises will be able to use more collaboration tools for virtual teams and across region; video will be a primary form of communication; and mobility will be simply part of how people work.

Start thinking how to work differently, what matters is how you focus your time, he says.

Quin says that 80 percent of IT budgets are spent on 'keeping the lights on'. Analysts are suggesting bringing it down to 60 to 65 percent and spending more on innovation “that businesses are screaming for”.

It is important to work out what are the high value uses of technology, and also to choose what not to do, Quin says. “How are we going to support better working styles so we are not just using fibre availability to just respond faster to things that don’t matter?”

His message also covers rethinking traditions. For instance, during the Christchurch earthquake a company needed to post messages to workers. "Their building is gone and there is no lunchroom wall to post these messages. The messages were sent through mobile devices," Quin says.

Speaking at the same conference, Paul Knight, CIO of Fletcher Building, outlined the company’s experience with collaboration technology.

He says the business case revolved around their CEO needing to have “regular, good quality conversations” with the executive team that are based in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne and Cincinnati.

The traditional way is to fly out of New Zealand and Australia. “You can’t do that if you have business spread in Europe and North America,” he says.

Teleconferencing is as close as you can get to being in the same room, he says.

He says people don’t take account the “disruption of travel”. One week spent in Cincinnati, where the company has an office, can have a high impact on business and families.

He says the technology “pretty much pays for itself on paper by reducing travel.”

The bigger benefit, he says, is for people who wouldn’t have travelled before but can now get “good quality conversations” with colleagues around the world.

Videoconferencing makes conversations a lot easier and of better quality. “That results to better decisions,” he says.

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