In this 'tell us about your tech' interview, Ciaron Dunne, CEO of Broadband Genie, reveals his top tips for small businesses
What is your business’s best tech investment?
In terms of infrastructure, we try hard to focus on technology being for productivity (i.e. to get the best out of each other), rather than for vanity. By a million miles our best tech investment, in terms of cost/benefit, has been our switch to Google Apps for Work for email, calendar and – most importantly – file storage (courtesy of Google Drive). It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a big evangelist because I remember what office IT used to be like. All our IT Team has to worry about now is whether the broadband works!
What are your business’s biggest tech challenges & how do you overcome them?
One of the most interesting challenges is the different way that new recruits (e.g. graduates) use technology compared to people who may only have been at Genie for 2-3 years. It’s a really delicate balance between, on the one hand, taking advantage of great new trends and world-changing ideas and, on the other, cutting through all the mindless social media noise and nonsense memes. I recently came across a very interesting concept called reverse mentoring, which is where experienced member of staff helps with transferring work knowledge, but also the new member of staff helps with knowledge of, say, new tech. It’s something I’d love to introduce.
What new tech are you excited about?
I would love to be excited about a collaborative/project productivity tool that I actually like. e.g. a Basecamp or a Slack that isn’t a pain in the neck to use. This would change my world!
What tech advice would you give to other businesses in your sector/generally?
I see lots of businesses in the digital marketing world get carried away by the glamour of tech. So it’s all about Macbooks and iPads and trying to look the part. Tech spend should be justified by gains in productivity, and there are clearly only marginal gains for spend over a certain point. You don’t need a £2k laptop to check email. People get carried away and it can be a crazy way to spend precious cash. My advice would be to keep your investment light, remain agile, and invest your cash in growth instead of shiny machines.
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