Offshoring – the hard yards (and the hidden value)

james | April 18th, 2016 - 12:43 pm

cebu-it-parkI never imagined in my early days of business I’d be sitting here in our building in South East Asia balancing work and life.  Yesterday I was on an island off Bohol with my family and our team, today I am driving recruitment and competing with Accenture and Lexmark for the best people here.. tomorrow I have meetings with our Australian clients but these will be conducted remotely.

After three years of being in the Philippines (sometimes physically, mostly remote) there have been some hard lessons and there has been some joy – those two experiences can and often do occur in the same hour.

Anyone who has taken the plunge and operated offshore will understand that the concept of saving some cost on staff or having a nice holiday is quickly replaced with a fundamental issue – what am I doing here? why reinvent my business? why not follow the trodden path in my own city or town?

I can only answer these questions from my own perspective.  We knew that in order to increase our level of service in Australia we needed to scale while keeping our services in line with Australian expectations.

If you’re not a regular reader that’s ok because I haven’t been a regular writer.  In large part that has a lot to do with where I am now – here, running a much bigger team than we could grow in Australia, handling much larger clients at home and still learning every day.  In many ways I didn’t feel like I had much to share while we went through the trials and tribulations but I’m ready now.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far. […]

App Confessions of a Driverless Nomad

james | December 7th, 2015 - 7:48 pm

Last week I shared my dirty little secret – I no longer own a car and I make do shuffling between public transport options, UberX, cycling, cabs and the occasional Go-Get.  While the goal originally was just to see if I could do it without impacting my availability and lifestyle, there have been numerous other benefits.  This week I  thought I’d share how being a driverless nomad has changed my work/life habits.

One things for sure, when you don’t drive you have a heck of a lot more time to muck around with your devices.  Rather than sitting in traffic where the only option might be to make a few phone calls and beep my horn incessantly, I get to spend far more time relaxing between meeting points.  Though I’ve been fortunate enough to never have to wait more than a few minutes for a train, and being in and around the city most days means I’m never left long waiting for an Uber, it can often be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour with just me, some occasionally smelly commuters and my iPhone.

I made a commitment to use the time wisely by being more productive, increasing client contact and getting educated.  So without further ado, here are some apps (most will work on either Apple or Android devices) that have been part of this new journey: […]

The No Car Experiment

james | November 28th, 2015 - 7:01 pm

PublicTransport
I’ve become somewhat obsessed with the shared economy of late – it started with the introduction of Uber in Australia which I was a moderate user of – then with Uber X i found myself increasingly leaving the car at home while heading out for a few beverages.

But some may say I’ve gone a little extreme after selling my car a few weeks ago and as yet.. not replacing it.

A little background, our office is in Ultimo (for Sydney siders that’s the suburb that isn’t Darling Harbour and where you can sit in traffic on Harris St for an hour at 5pm) and for outside Sydney-siders that’s the suburb you’re unlikely to visit unless you’re going to University at UTS or coming to meet us at I Know IT (feel free!).

After the office move to Ultimo last year I decided to take the train in a couple of times and found it was taking about the same time as driving (45 minutes).  A few more weeks of public transport and I thought I’d try my hand at cycling to the office.. and again.. found that the timing (with the exception of exiting my sweaty clothes and taking a shower at the office) the commute was about the same. As a result I probably ended up only driving to work once or twice a week.

So – can you run your life purely on a shared transport system like I have tried to do? […]

Legal Tech: Will NBN benefit your law firm?

James Vickery | June 18th, 2015 - 10:53 am

Those of you who follow this blog or work with I Know IT will know we specialise in legal IT services.  This is the latest in our series on legaltech.com.au and I hope you find it helpful!

James

Watch the clip or read our Interactive Transcript:

Hi, James Vickery here from I Know IT and thanks for watching our first episode of legal tech tips.

You know, we’ve been hearing about the NBN for years and though the political debate will probably continue for some time – the question is will the NBN be of any use to your law firm?

[…]

Why Your Law Firm Can’t Ignore Cloud

james | May 15th, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Rear View Of Bald Businessman With Fingers In EarsI know. There are several reasons why the cloud is an alarming topic for law firms. It’s true that there are a number of aspects about the cloud that should raise a few eyebrows amongst partners. For example, who owns our data? Where is it stored? What if there is a security breach?

But, ignoring Cloud is – in my view – just ask risky as blindly embracing it.

Law firms are inherently risk averse and though some law firms (particularly smaller/arguably more agile practices) are throwing caution to the wind – from my experience many others are avoiding the topic of cloud altogether – here’s why I think that’s a really bad thing: […]

End the Blame Game and Watch Your Business Grow

james | April 4th, 2015 - 9:09 pm

annoyed man asking are you talking to meThere are an infinite number of things that can go wrong in your business. In the last week alone I can name 8 specific things that did not go as well as they should. But who’s to blame?

First off – before you dive in to this article I would like to begin by saying I am not a professor, nor do I claim to be an expert on leadership. Most of it comes from hard truths and even harder lessons from running a company. Sadly, I’ve played the blame game in the past more than once – and i’m sure I’m not alone.

Leaders and their employees who blame others are responsible for a lack of growth within a business. A business that blames cannot grow because the very nature of blame is to look backwards and not forwards.

When we blame others (our people, customers/clients, partners, suppliers) we trigger a chain of events that can take months or years to repair. Here’s a few negative side effects of blame: […]

Why You Need to Pay Attention To The Sony and Anthem Hack

james | February 9th, 2015 - 4:46 pm

Binary codes with hacked passwordThere’s some running humour that there are 2 types of organisations – those that have been hacked and those that don’t yet know they have been hacked.  Certainly at the big end of town in the United States there have been some very high profile attacks by cyber-criminals in recent months and many organisations are now scrambling to see if they’ve already been hit.

Keeping up with your own business is difficult enough without having to think about random attacks from cyberspace – but if you’re a leader then you need to pay attention to this most recent hack by Sony.  It’s important.

If you’ve missed the news, Sony have been subjected to what one could only describe as a humiliating, destructive and costly compromise of the very core of their business.  The hackers – arguably suspected of being North Korean government or at the very least inspired by them – gained access to company emails and documents many of which should have never seen the light of day – racial remarks from senior executive staff, sensitive information about ongoing legal battles to do with movie and music piracy and a slew of intellectual property – all of it is available on the Internet and the damage is ongoing and irreparable.  Another recent breach of major health care provider Anthem in the states is gathering similar attention.

What happened to Sony and these other high profile businesses can and will happen to your business if the appropriate precautions are not taken.  The ease in which these criminals were able to access and destroy Sony’s reputation is astounding. […]

Keeping Up With New Technology

james | January 13th, 2015 - 11:09 am

iStock_000011933367XSmallBeing in business is challenging as it is, but keeping up with technology has to be one of the toughest ongoing hurdles most business people face today.

When I speak with clients I am often reminding them that no matter what business they are in they are now also in the technology business whether they like it or not – and so are you.

You only need to look around to see how many companies are thriving through the use of new technology from social media marketing to automating software and the cloud.  No matter what industry you are in, new technology can make you better, faster and stronger or leave you feeling left behind.

So how do you keep up when technology is moving so fast?

Here’s a few of my quick tips to get you up to tech speed in no time. […]

Is Yours a Green Light Company?

james | December 9th, 2014 - 8:18 am

iStock_000022010957SmallWe humans are capable of making near-instant decisions based on sight alone.  When the needle on your car’s fuel gauge nears the “E” along with an orange light then we know it’s time to get fuel.  Locally here in bushfire prone Australia, when I see the roadside Fire Danger warning arrow point to Red along with an “Extreme Danger” subtext then I know it’s going to be damn hot and not a good idea to light a camp fire.  In both of these cases I am informed instantly at-a-glance and I can make a quick decision.

Gauges and traffic lights exist to keep us out of danger in our personal lives yet in the business world very few companies that I meet with have a simple way of seeing an oncoming train wreck in the form of productivity problems, cash flow issues, negative customer feedback or a weak sales pipeline.  Most businesses resort to gut instinct, Excel-style “yawn” reports that are often delivered days, weeks or months after preventative action can be taken or worse still – and this is the reality I’m uncomfortable with – this important data is not tracked at all.

Red Light Orange Light Green Light

There are numerous ways to display information but we only need to take to the streets to see that that the majority of us respond pretty well to Red Light (stop.. <insert expletive> not good!), Orange Light (This could go Green if we act now or this could go BAD if we do not!) or Green (Great! we’re achieving our target!).

But how do we get this same sort of instant data gratification from our business? […]

Working the System – Can Your Business Scale?

james | November 10th, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Procedures on Chalkboard Refer to a Procedure Model or MethodOne of the greatest advantages to any business is the constant improvement of process.  Good businesses are perpetually on the lookout for new innovations and ways to automate and save time.

Yet ironically one of the most overlooked improvements a business can make is ensuring that procedures are clearly documented and followed.  It’s said that a business without written processes cannot scale because it lacks the ability to train new staff quickly and effectively and fails to create a consistent customer experience.

Just Upgrade Your Software?

Recently I met with a local company here in Sydney who were looking to upgrade their primary business and accounting software.  The management were convinced that the current system wouldn’t keep up with the demands of their growing firm and that many of the issues they were currently experiencing could be resolved with a major system overhaul.  The proposed upgrade was in excess of $100,000.  Yet when we discussed the various problems the organisation was having, it was in fact a lack of documented procedures and best practices that was causing so many issues for the staff. […]