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James Vickery Posts

Stop doing business in the 90s

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Originally published by James on LinkedIn.

The 90s is when IT really took off – those heady days of figuring out how to run your business using new ‘innovative’ tools.  Tools that came in fairly limited and expensive forms like buying servers, dropping the fax machine and replacing it with email and shifting your books to one of a small handful of accounting programs that have dominated the past 20 years.  Many businesses were able to grow in the 90s and early 2000s because the barriers to communication were broken down.

But while some of those tools still hold some value, many are now just a nuisance and place limits on your growth – you only need to take a look at the endless stream of FYIs, Reminders and “got time for coffee?” meeting requests sitting in your inbox to know that the old 90s way of doing business is not sustainable.

IT has changed and your business needs to change or be left in the past.  Email is a good example – while you and your staff face an onslaught of email each day, new modern businesses and startups – some being your competitors – use Slack or Yammer to create logical channels for communication because it’s more intuitive.  While your documents sit on a server in a room designed in the 90s for 90s style businesses, others have already shifted it to cloud like Google, Office 365 or Dropbox, freeing themselves not only of traditional computer systems but more importantly enable work from anywhere. Continue reading Stop doing business in the 90s

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Is Your Path to Innovation Distorted by IT?

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Originally published by James on LinkedIn.

I envy the business that is so innovative that market share, profitability and culture are firmly resolved. For the rest of us, we’re all looking for an edge over our competition. When we think of innovation we look around and we see breakthrough technology-based products and services and we dream of seeing our business ideas carried through the technology age with the same level of simplicity, class and usefulness.

Naturally the first place we tend to look is to the experts in and around our business to help develop our ideas or form new ones. Trusted advisors come in all forms. One of those advisors might be an IT consultant or IT manager.

But are you finding answers? Have you broken through? If you have then you may have already moved on to the next article – if you haven’t then I invite you to read on.

Looking for Answers

Is your IT an innovation hub? Or is it a cost centre? Many look for innovation with a central focus on IT – why? Because IT supposedly holds the key to innovation.. after all.. it’s “IT”. It’s in the centre of everything.

That approach isn’t working. When Uber looks to launch a new service it’s doubtful the first stop is the IT department. When Apple designs a slimmer, sleeker watch or phone it’s highly unlikely the concept is brought to life while surrounded by servers and wires. Continue reading Is Your Path to Innovation Distorted by IT?

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In the face of change, why you should reduce IT costs

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Originally published on LinkedIn.

Change is hard.  Anyone who runs a business knows that it’s a constant state of flux.  I’ve experienced this in a highly competitive industry, at the forefront of the one thing that can make or break a business – technology.

Yet while we all know that change is inevitable, we try to hold on to the things that we think matter the most. When customers expect and demand more for less we try and accommodate by cutting in to our margins.  When technology fails we spend more and more money to fix it.

But one change is inevitable and that is the transformation of your business to being one that adopts new technology – quickly.  The playing field has changed.

Level the Playing Field

Businesses who start up today to compete against you don’t have the competitive disadvantage of a high cost technology system.  They’re agile.  They avoid infrastructure (servers and complex expensive software) and they choose tools that will get the job done – these are primarily in the cloud.

Until recently, your IT spend has been largely invested in equipment along with software and the people who manage those components.  But agile competitors haven’t had the luxury (or the consequential battle scars) to go down this path. Continue reading In the face of change, why you should reduce IT costs

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Offshoring – the hard yards (and the hidden value)

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. Continue reading Offshoring — the hard yards (and the hidden value)

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App Confessions of a Driverless Nomad

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: Continue reading App Confessions of a Driverless Nomad

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The No Car Experiment

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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? Continue reading The No Car Experiment

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Legal Tech: Will NBN benefit your law firm?

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?

Continue reading Legal Tech: Will NBN benefit your law firm?

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Why Your Law Firm Can’t Ignore Cloud

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: Continue reading Why Your Law Firm Can’t Ignore Cloud

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End the Blame Game and Watch Your Business Grow

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: Continue reading End the Blame Game and Watch Your Business Grow

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

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

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