Auckland ICT President’s Report 2010

The Perfect Storm
If I may draw on a phrase from the marine sector, we have just been through the perfect storm and I am relived to see that most of our members survived the battering and some have gone onto bigger success and growth.

As an association we have endeavoured to keep the sails trimmed and to continue to provide value for members. As we are a voluntary organisation, we are relying to large extent on goodwill and under-written by our three valued corporate sponsors. The growth in terms of numbers, paid up members, income, newsletter mailing list has not grown substantially on the previous 12 months. If each member made it a personal goal to have three colleagues join in the next twelve months we would be an organisation of 243 Kiwi innovators, exporters and world class specialists.

Simon Fawkes must be acknowledge and thanked for his continued commitment at events as well as behind the scenes that keeps your organisation moving forward. Simon describes a lot of the activities and detail in his report, where you can explore those. Debbie who helps to keep the paper work flowing, Ian Hassell for taking time out of his company at his own expense to work on the Auckland ICT website. Dorian Scott for facilitating the Electronics Special Interest Group. The valued time and contribution by all the committee members is what helps give Auckland ICT its direction and standing within the Auckland business community.

I believe the association does have an important role in connecting people and businesses together within the Auckland ICT industry sector. I suspect though, that many members are not participating to the extent they could by leveraging on relationships and also maturing those relationships for later mutual benefits. There is a global wealth of knowledge and expertise within the Auckland ICT that I believe we need to some how tap into in an efficient manner.

The NZ Institute in its report “A Goal is Not a Strategy” (25 August 2010) aptly describes that innovative IT focused companies, start ups and the like are going to be pivotal to growth of the NZ economy and that they must look off shore for substantial growth. It describes a number of fundamental challenges and solutions and I think it is in this landscape the Auckland ICT and its members need to be focussed both for their own wealth and NZ’s position on the global market.

Your association in partnership with Austrade, and support from Auckland City Council and Enterprise North Shore, has taken the first initial steps in building international links and relationships to our colleagues at the Gold Coast City Council. This has meant that you as members of Auckland ICT will have an open arms welcome and support from the business development arm of the Gold Coast Council. I would strongly encourage members to take advantage of this and to keep your fellow members aware of your success and inroads. The benefits and what is made available is a shinning example of what our new super city council could do for each of you. We shall wait and see. Nevertheless for our closest market Australia, Auckland ICT has opened up the door for you, it is now up to you to take a few days and use the resources Gold Coast City Council will offer you in exploring an international market.

The underlying aspect I wish to emphasis is that people to do business with people. To establish this step the Auckland ICT is an open forum that allows you to develop those relationships. The challenge you as members face is to be known and to be relevant both to other members and to your markets. I believe I can be presumptuous and say that every member would be prepared to give you a second opinion, give an hour over coffee or lunch to brainstorm an idea. Every member here today can be a promoter of your company. We all meet people who have needs, as a group we should endeavour to be able recommend another member. The Electronics sub Group, of which I have been part of, has been a good example of members at a grass roots level sharing practical knowledge of production, know how, projects and offering resources.

The Auckland ICT website is now undergoing a facial uplift now that the back end development has finished a rocky path in being established. The internet and social media is growing in huge importance for your online presence, authority and ultimately delivering paying customers to you, something that I have personally experienced dramatically in the last 10 months from mainly off shore clients. The Auckland ICT web site can be an excellent industry sector independent site, that can help bring you instant creditability to a distant foreign company and buyer. I would encourage all members to publish news items, submit a request to be featured on the front page profile and keep your member listing current. It is available for your free use.

As an organisation, we do not have a magic wand to deliver customers to your doorstep, however we do focus on bringing knowledge, respected speakers and an environment where you can develop relationships.

In the past year our relationship with NZICT Group has grown, we are now planning to co-operate more with the NZ Software Association and we had one joint meeting with PDMA. Members should realise these events are there for you to be found, for you to find potential collaborators, suppliers and develop your network of colleagues. Our business culture in NZ is unique and I would encourage you to leverage and develop relationships with each other outside the monthly meetings. I am sure Brian Knowles and Ian Hassell would both share their experiences in more depth which they highlighted last October.

I wish to finish my 2010 report with these excerpts from “A Goal is not a Strategy”, where without naming many of you by name, actually refers to many of you in this room. “There is compelling evidence that New Zealand can succeed in ICT and niche manufacturing goods and services; many successful and growing businesses demonstrate the potential. Further, New Zealand has many of the requirements for success and can develop the ones it does not have.

ICT and niche manufacturing goods and services businesses are growing and exports have become significant. The latest Technology Investment Network report estimates that the top 100 technology companies in New Zealand accounted for $5.1b (p.6) about 10% of goods and services exports in 2009.

But ICT and niche manufacturing, along with value-added and differentiated goods and services based on primary production is where New Zealand should invest most aggressively.

For many of you I believe Auckland ICT might be your only professional ICT industry sector organisation where you can meet and share with like minded business owners. The success of this organisation lies not with the committee but each of you and the participation you contribute and are willing to share. It is a hand shake and introduction one at a time, that will help you build a value proposition for you to continue to be a member of Auckland ICT.

The committee would welcome other members to put themselves forward for the committee to help formulate the direction of the Auckland ICT in the coming 12 months.

I am available to continue to be your President for another term and welcome any others to have their name put forward for the position.

Much of what has occurred in the last 12 months could not have happened with out the financial support of our Sponsors: Auckland City Council, Enterprise North Shore and Simpson Grierson. To them we sincerely acknowledge their contribution.

Thank you for your participation.

Kevin Andreassend
Auckland ICT
30 September 2010

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