Business leaders share their tech challenges at the relaunched Technology for Success Business Group

Business leaders share their tech challenges at the relaunched Technology for Success Business Group 1200 717 Timewade

‘Positive’, ‘challenging’, ‘stressful’ and ‘never again’ were just some of the words South West business leaders used to sum-up the past seven months at the re-launch of the Technology for Success business group on Tuesday October 20.

Julian Wills, Founder of T4S and Managing Director of Timewade, was joined by business leaders representing a range of industries, compromising; Dan Pritchard, Managing Director at Astley Media, Steve Noon, Vice President at Silvalea, Sandra Wright, Chief Operating Officer at Connexion Software Limited, Andrew Horton, Managing Director at Exmoor Trim, Robert Camp, Owner at Robert Camp Consulting, Tristan Courtney, Partner at Stamp James, Kathryn Heath, Senior Associate at Stephens Scown and Lynsey Skinner, IT/ Tech Recruiter at Cathedral Appointments.

The group started with attendees introducing themselves and summarising the past seven months in just three words. The group shared the sentiment that the past seven months have been ‘challenging’, and that whilst some had seen some ‘positive’ outcomes for their business in terms of new business opportunities and increased flexible working options, the consensus was that the last seven months had been ‘stressful’ and was not something anyone would want to go through again!

Julian then shared key findings from the latest Technology for Success survey, demonstrating to the group that they were not alone in the challenges they had faced.

The survey results showed that the biggest negative impact of the pandemic was a deterioration in business development and sales opportunities (45%), service delivery (45%) and customer services (30%). The group agreed and discussed how they had pivoted their business models to deliver their services/ products to customers remotely, which had been especially challenging for retail and manufacturing businesses.

The biggest challenges for South West SMEs when lockdown struck were, access to equipment (55%), people’s home broadband connection (55%) and training staff on new technologies and processes (40%). The group concurred with these results and discussed some of the challenges they are facing as remote working and partial lockdowns continue. The challenges that were shared particularly focused on how to informally keep in touch with staff, where chance encounters by the kettle no longer take place. The discussion then moved onto recruiting and onboarding staff remotely and how technology can be used to welcome new members of staff, effectively share your company culture and to train employees. The group discussed that remote working made training and mentoring more difficult and many have found that they are now less inclined to hire junior members of staff, something which they felt was a shame for their business and for individuals seeking graduate roles.

The consensus was, that remote working is here to stay and that as cliché as the saying has become, this really is the ‘new normal’ and rather than try to fight it, or waiting for it to pass, business leaders must be adaptable, agile and curious about technology and how it can be used to best support their teams and business recovery and growth.

The attendees were honest and open about the challenges they have faced and their concerns for the future.

The next Technology for Success Virtual Coffee morning is being planned for Wednesday November 25th from 9.15am to 10am, and provides another chance for attendees to ask questions, share mistakes and look for ideas and wisdom from others.

Find out more and book your place here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsfu6srjkuEtRgJ8uJtgCiiV66ET2–gxG

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