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Confessions of a non-techie boss

Confessions of a non-techie boss

Trelise Cooper says in terms of ongoing change, fashion is in a similar cycle to IT.

Trelise Cooper recalls the time when her fashion business had 20 staff and only one PC. Today, says Cooper, whose clothes are worn by celebrities across the globe, “IT is used in every part of the business”.

She says as the business grew and she started designing for a global market, the organisation also started deploying a variety of ICT.

She says the company’s response is in line with the Kiwis no. 8 wire mentality of “making it happen, taking an opportunity.”

But in doing so, the backend of the businesses was not taken care of. “We were building things on top of things,” she says.

Two years ago she employed a chief executive and worked with HP to streamline the company’s ICT. Among the things HP provided were servers and a platform for ICT growth.

For Cooper, the mobile platform was critical as she travels overseas four to five times a year.

“While I am the leader of the company, I am often not there,” she says, as work takes her to various events and meetings with business partners and suppliers around the world

Cooper stays in touch with her staff and family through a variety of online tools. She says she can be away on business for weeks at a time, but still be able to email her designs to the office in Avondale.

As well, she says a photo catalogue of Trelise Cooper designs used to take a week to produce, as she and her staff would have to scrutinise every frame. Now, with the use of digital photography and printing, this sort of photo book can be completed in a day.

She uses Skype for both personal and business activities. “I am on Skype everyday. I Skype my designs back home. It is like I’m in town.”

While she uses ICT tools to run the business when on the road, Cooper says, “I am not tech savvy”.

“People like me are pushed to do it,” she says. “IT is like fashion. It is constantly evolving, rewriting itself. Keeping up with IT is like trying to keep up with fashion.”

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