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Three things we learned from the New Zealand Digital Workplace Conference

Last week I attended and presented at the 2016 Digital Workplace Conference in Auckland, speaking about what the ‘Internet of Things’ really means for New Zealand businesses.  

Intergen at 2016 Digital Workplace, Auckland

As always, the conference was very well organised by Debbie, Mark and the other organisers, it was great to catch up with so many new and familiar faces. There was so much valuable content throughout the day but my three main takeaways are definitely:

The need to stay relevant and current

As we see automation beginning to take over our lives, this statement can be applied to both the technology we use and us… the individuals that use it.

Digital transformation is coming (like it or not), so it is vital that companies continue to create innovative services and product lines for their customers; or run the risk of getting left behind.  If you want to know more on this subject by the way, check out our free digital transformation guide

This also means internally, adopting and embracing modern productivity tools, cloud computing and social media alike. And I mean really embracing. The excuse ‘we tried that once and it didn’t work’ will no longer be valid. 

As speaker Oscar Trimbolli stated, as individuals, we need to ‘unlearn and retrain’ to gain those vital skills (that can’t be done by robots!) that will serve us well for the rest of the 21st century.

The skills needed to perform today’s tasks might well not be needed in a few years’ time.

Focus on the business goals first, then the technology

It is always nice when I hear others reinforce this message; which was a common theme at the event.

I actually believe that organisations need to ‘work backwards’ from their business goals and strategy that they are aspiring to implement in order to make any technology project work. Not the other way round.

How often do companies effectively ask the question ‘How much for system X? or ‘What can system X do?’ (This inevitably leads to the response ‘What would you like system X to do?’).   

We tend to compartmentalise things when we lead with technology in this way. Far better questions to ask are ‘what is the business doing to reduce costs?’ or ‘What ways are we trying to be more profitable?’    

Some of the best projects that I have seen us work on at Intergen recently have been where we have applied a design thinking approach for a technology implementation. Applying empathy when solving problems will always mean a better outcome for those implementing AND adoption by those using the technology.      

Bring some creativity and storytelling to what you do

I’ll be honest. When I saw that Jordanna Borensztajn was doing the keynote, I wondered what her relevancy to the digital workplace was.

However, she quickly corrected my thinking when she came on stage and brought her own brilliant and entertaining views on how we all need to be more creative in what we do in the digital workplace; plus how we can use our own personal brand to influence and relate to others.

Anyone that can show singing goats in a professional technology keynote gets my admiration also.

Patricia McMillan reiterated the need for creativity with her excellent presentation on how you can get your tone and messaging right for those important presentations. 

If we want to get people onside with our ideas for the modern digital workplace, it’s important we communicate this in a way that people will understand and get inspired by. This reminded me of the phrase ‘we all work in sales’. If you are selling ideas and concepts: You work in sales!

So next time you go to add that fifth bullet point on your slide deck…

Posted by: Lee Stevens, Solutions Specialist, Product Management & Marketing | 16 August 2016

Tags: Internet of Things, IoT, Digital Workplace, Conferences

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