At a glance
Managing director, Xero Australia and Asia
Xero’s recent One Step report uses behavioural science to identify the beliefs and barriers small businesses face when considering new technologies. It shows that small businesses that readily adopt new technologies enjoy 120 per cent more revenue and 106 per cent more productivity. Despite these benefits, only 19 per cent of Australian small business owners think of themselves as keen technology adopters.
What is holding them back? There are three key mindsets small businesses must overcome to avoid being left behind. Resistance to change, the belief their current solutions are fine, and a perceived lack of urgency are key barriers.
Digitalisation isn’t tomorrow’s problem – it must happen today. Small businesses can feel intimidated by adoption of new technologies, especially with so much already on their plate. Advisers can help their clients embrace change in a few ways. First, by breaking this process down into small, manageable steps, instead of giant leaps. Second, by sharing stories of their peers who have made the switch, as small business owners tend to be more willing to try something new if they see others benefiting from it. Finally, by narrowing and simplifying choices.
Decision paralysis holds many Australian small businesses back, so keep it simple. Limit the number of choices on offer using direct comparisons and language around processes and outcomes rather than statistics and features. Taking the right measures now can help small businesses harness the power of the cloud in the future.
Tim Timchur FCPA
Director, 365 Architechs
It has been widely stated that technology is moving faster than it ever has, and that it will never move slowly again. Trying to keep on top of change is a huge challenge for large organisations, but smaller businesses with limited resources can find it particularly tough.
Partnering with an IT provider is important to stay ahead of the curve, but don’t rely on them as your only source of information for what’s ahead.
Many small businesses have already made the journey to the cloud. As with any change, there are risks to be mitigated as well as benefits to be realised.
Common misconceptions are that the cloud is less safe, less reliable or more expensive than traditional on-premise IT systems. It is worth noting that not all cloud technologies are the same, so it is important to do some research first, noting that some organisations use a multi-cloud strategy to spread their risk.
Cloud technologies generally offer an OPEX (operating expenses) model that avoids “lumpy” investments in technology that can typically scale up and down with your business needs. They can also support a work-from-anywhere model, where communications, documents and applications all exist in a single platform for collaboration.
Understand where your data is stored and how it is protected from cyberthreats, while driving efficiency through cloud automation and cloud dashboards to become a data-driven organisation. Train your team, attend conferences, phone a friend and access limitless resources on the web to educate yourself.
Group vice president and chief architect, Core technology and cloud, Oracle Asia Pacific
Businesses of all sizes are adopting cloud computing. Many are making this move for immediate gains, such as the ability to access business systems remotely, receiving software updates quickly and easily, moving spending from fixed capital to ongoing operations, and scaling technology infrastructure and applications seamlessly.
The goldmine is being able to free technical staff from spending hours on system security, provisioning, maintenance, tuning and upgrades, and allowing them to focus on projects that will drive business growth. The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2023, one in two businesses around the world will generate 40 per cent of their revenues from digital products and services.
Whether a business is looking to innovate in order to grow customer loyalty or to reduce supply chain and operating costs to increase profitability, there is almost definitely a technology solution that can help.
Look for a technology partner that fills in the gaps – Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that you can pick off the shelf and extend quickly, with low or no code – but don’t do that in isolation. Look for a cloud provider that complements these services with data-driven infrastructure and provides tools to drive personalisation, automation and customer engagement.
Business leaders and IT leaders must align on what the key business priorities are and map out a plan to achieve those goals with tech innovation. Cloud-based development platforms and tools help teams quickly spin up new applications and deploy new features in iterative steps, allowing businesses to stay ahead of the pace of change.
Meet the experts
Joseph Lyons has been managing director of Xero Australia and Asia since July 2021, after joining the company as executive general manager of sales in 2019. He has worked in roles across a range of sectors in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada. Before joining Xero, he was the chief commercial officer at REA Group. Lyons is a member of the Australian Institute of Company of Directors, and has a bachelor of management focused on marketing from University of South Australia.
Tim Timchur FCPA
Tim Timchur leads 365 Architechs, a company focused on cloud technologies for small business. He also chairs CPA Australia’s Environmental, Social and Governance Centre of Excellence and is a member of the Queensland Divisional Council.
Chris Chelliah is group vice president and chief architect for core technology and cloud, Oracle Asia Pacific. He has more than 24 years of experience in the information systems industry, 20 of them with Oracle across different portfolios in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. He holds a degree in computer and mathematical sciences, with first-class honours, from the University of Western Australia.