Tell me a bit about Trimble and your role in the company
Trimble is an international company head-quartered in the US. It’s listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It’s annual revenue is roughly US$2.3 billion and there are 8,500 employees world-wide.
The Christchurch office was their first acquisition. They acquire a lot of companies, well over 100 companies in the last 15 years. They were a hardware company and we were a software development company, so there was going to be great synergies. We had 41 people then, and we’ve got 360+ people in New Zealand now.
My role is Managing Director of the two New Zealand Trimble companies. Predominantly we do R&D for our parent and associated companies, we don’t do any sales or marketing out of New Zealand.
What excites you about the technology industry in Canterbury?
The opportunity to be part of and add value to an international company and to be doing that from Christchurch. To be seen as an integral part of product development for the worldwide Trimble company. Trimble, the parent can choose to do work anywhere in the world but we are an integral part of the R&D for the group and are well respected in the group. It’s great to see that we can add value to the parent company and help them prosper from Christchurch. We get to work on some very exciting projects.
What advice would you have for other tech companies looking to grow and expand overseas?
It was great that we aligned ourselves with an international player. We were a company in our own right before we were bought and we distributed through another company. The growth that we have had since 1991 is because we aligned ourselves with an overseas player. It does however, have to be the right overseas player. A lot of companies are bought by offshore companies and 5-10 years later they are nothing. We have been incredibly lucky that our parent company has seen our worth and continued to invest in New Zealand to give us the opportunity to grow.
In particular for women wanting to advance their career in technology, what advice would you have for them?
It’s not just women in technology, but all professions. The answer is to believe in yourself, to say yes; believe that you can do or find a way to do something. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. I’ve done a few things that I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out but I gave it a go. Women are a bit more diffident in their capabilities and don’t see themselves as capable as men, but they are, they just need to recognise that, be confident and say yes.
Why do you support the Canterbury Tech Summit?
My passion for Christchurch. I’m not an IT person, I’m a finance person by background but I do have a passion for technology because I think it’s something that we can do well in Canterbury. We can give people good job opportunities and help the economy of Christchurch. I’ve lived here all my life and I want it to be a successful city; it’s exciting. It’s not dull, things are changing all the time, you have to be prepared to change and be prepared to grab opportunities; be prepared to step out and say that this is going to work because if you don’t you will get left behind. That is one of the good things the technology industry, that no two days are the same and progress and change are happening all the time.
For the Tech Summit, what are you looking forward to most?
I think just to show people the sort of exciting things we are doing at Trimble. We have some cool, out-there projects. Participation is about promoting an awareness of Trimble because we don’t sell directly into New Zealand, we sell through dealers, so people will only know us by the people who work in our R&D teams. We need to get an awareness in the industry so when we are looking for new employees, people know this is a company that is growing and doing fun things, and can give employees career progression. It’s also great to see what else is happening in Christchurch and to support the industry in our city to ensure that we have a vibrant technology environment which encourages people to enjoy working in our city, and to improve the economy of the Christchurch and the country.
If you’re one of the many Christchurch companies that are unable to fill mid-senior tech roles from the local talent supply, you are not alone. There’s a global shortage of tech specialists and we need to grow our own AND compete internationally to access the best.
But how do you find these globally sought after people? LookSee has already found them. In fact, they’ve got over 48,000 talented professionals that want to move to New Zealand for career opportunities. Find out more about the LookSee Tech Talent Pool and how to connect, engage, and hire great international pre-screened talent.
Date: Thursday, 31 August
Time: 12-1 PM
Location: Vodafone Xone events center on Level One.
Register here to reserve your FREE place. Registration for this event is essential and places are limited, so early registration is recommended.
This event is brought to you by:
Q&A Interview with Sourced Managing Director Jason Bishop
Can you tell me a bit about Sourced?
Sourced is a specialist IT and technology recruitment agency with offices in Christchurch and Auckland. Our day to day goal is to be here for anyone and we continue our drive to be the best at providing people and businesses what they want and need. We still think the best thing you can give anyone is your time and a key part of our identity is simply that we are always available to help. We’ve been in the tech sector a long time and have a strong internal culture built around this thinking.
How are Sourced involved in the Canterbury tech sector?
Through participation, hosting, sponsorship and support, we are genuinely engaged in the tech sector. I’ve been involved in the Canterbury Tech Summit and Cluster (sponsor and committee member) for the past six years, and Canterbury Development Corporation (ChristchurchNZ) around workforce strategies and sector advocacy, as well as mentoring at University of Canterbury.
As a team, we are entrenched in the wider Canterbury tech scene, being involved with Canterbury Angels, Canterbury Tech and Institute of IT Professional meetings. We are active in both the Executive Women in Tech and Women in Tech local communities, as well as sponsors and loyal supporters of Code Club.
We also set up FluxNZ (with Memia, in 2012) which originally provided news, data and insights relating to the growing New Zealand technology industry. Ben Reid and I first started producing the Flux posters in 2014 – most recently I created this in a digital format (http://maps.fluxnz.com) and many people will be pleased to know there is a new poster on the way, based on the up to date data! We created the poster to help people to get their heads around the true scale of the sector. This has helped children and parents understand the outcomes within IT and the broad spectrum of ways to apply skills outside of the stereotypes.
How do you see the Canterbury tech industry evolving over the next five years?
We have a good split, compared to the rest of the country in terms of services, ecosystem, software, manufacturing and engineering and so on, it’s a harmonious sort of environment in terms of disciplines. But what we don’t have is the full spectrum of business ages/stages. You need to have your start-ups, your early growth companies, your full growth companies, and your big corporates.
We have a few big corporates but they have found it harder to grow here now that our employment market is a little more dynamic and much more candidate focused. People are more aware and in control of their career, and there is a lot more choice.
The short answer is the Canterbury tech sector in five years’ time will be more mature in its business knowledge with a healthy amount of wise business leaders to mentor future growth at all levels.
Why did you decide to start working in the technology industry?
It’s a continually evolving industry. The pace of change and opportunities it provides regarding professional growth are very appealing. Tech is an integral part of life these days, as far as subject matter goes, you’d be hard pressed to find a better vertical to innovate in and read new stories about, every day. It’s exciting, challenging and you never stop learning.
What excites you about the technology industry in Canterbury?
You just have to talk about those in it. Post-earthquake collaboration created a stronger community that is more connected with a more vibrant and diverse start-up & SME environment. By being motivated to learn lessons fast, our local sector has matured quickly and we have, I think, the best combination of conditions to lead the country into becoming a tech powerhouse.
What skills do you think need to be developed in technology workers?
Interpersonal skills are as important in tech as any other industry and perhaps this doesn’t get the air time it needs. Leadership, mentoring and presentation capabilities are also important, it’s no longer acceptable to have a ‘hidden developer’ mentality.
What advice do you have for people wishing to advance their technology career?
Get involved and network widely. Follow your interests and find the opportunities to learn new skills. Through networking, develop a reputation and get involved in the local community. This will help you stand out and get noticed, and for the right reasons.
There are a lot of places you can go to for guidance around town, and there are a lot of people who have done it before, so don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s opinion or help. Plenty of people out there have similar experiences in different verticals even, so it doesn’t have to be in your field of expertise.
That’s the big thing, don’t be afraid to learn lessons from other people’s experience.
Why do you support the Canterbury Tech Cluster/Summit?
The main reason we support it is because there is nothing else like it. The rest of the country doesn’t have a genuine central place they can come to and collaborate. Even if it was only a small thing, it’s a good thing. We are advocates and passionate champions of Canterbury (Tech) and want anyone we talk to, to be the same.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Canterbury Tech Summit 2017?
Networking, speakers, catching up with old friends, and the new learning opportunities. I love using our booth at the Summit to promote those that may not be able to get there themselves, we always share our spot.
Mt Hutt Ski Field would like to offer our Summit attendees a great snowy deal!
On Friday, September 15th & Saturday, September 16th for only $130 per day you can purchase the Mt Hutt combo package which includes a full mountain adult lift pass, standard adult rentals (ski/boots/poles/helmet OR snowboard/boots/wrist guards/helmet) and an adult group lesson (2hrs). Full price is $217 giving a saving of $87 per day.
To claim your discount simply email your name, telephone number and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The special also applies to your partners or kids (*Please note different price/package options for children than above).
Pre-booking is essential to receive the discounted price above.
Meet with Wendy Chow, Head ICT and Yin Robards of Invest Hong Kong.
Tuesday 8th August
Venue: TBC, Central Christchurch
12.00 : Refreshments and networking
12.30 : Welcome and Introduction to Invest Hong Kong
12.40 : IHK presentation followed by Q&A
1.30 : Session finishes
1.30 – 2.00pm : 1-1 meetings (for anyone who wants to stay behind to talk more)
Wendy Chow and Yin Robards from Invest Hong Kong will give an overall update of the exciting development of Hong Kong’s technology ecosystem, and opportunities available for innovative established technology companies and mid to late stage startups from Christchurch.
During the briefing session, Canterbury Tech’s members will also find out how New Zealand companies can leverage on Hong Kong to grow their business via the following:
– By accessing to new markets in HK, China and Asia and sell their services and products to the financial services (banking & insurance to name a few), Telco, and high tech sectors.
– Potential funding programs and channels to raise capitals
If you would like to attend please email us email@example.com. There will be a maximum of 30 people so that everyone has a chance to interact with the audiences via Q&A.
From the thrill of live results on election night to streaming music with Spark, Catalyst is behind some significant and exciting projects. The New Zealand-owned company specialises in open-source technologies both here and abroad. In the second of our sponsor interviews, we speak to the Catalyst team.
Could you tell us a little bit about Catalyst and its approach to business?
Catalyst is a talented team of open source technologists. We live and breathe open source. Our unwavering belief in free and open source software hasn’t changed through our twenty year history.
From our HQ in Wellington as well as our other offices around New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, we take great pride in producing intelligent solutions for tricky business problems.
We help our private and public sector clients with all kinds of web applications and the back-end systems which support them. We also provide UX and design services, consulting, and our own Catalyst Cloud.
Catalyst is New Zealand’s largest open source service provider. What makes your Cloud service unique and successful?
The Catalyst Cloud is the first NIST-compliant and API-driven public cloud in New Zealand. Our cloud has introduced real cloud computing flexibility, scalability and elasticity into New Zealand. It has similar functionality to, and full compatibility with, other cloud services like Amazon AWS.
Catalyst developed the system used in the general election, including processing votes and providing live updates on election night. Tell us more about Catalyst’s work on enrolment and election software.
We’ve worked on the Electoral Commission’s enrolment and election management systems for more than ten years, and we’re proud to say our solution helps the Electoral Commission maintain one of the most accurate voter rolls in the world.
We’ve delivered the core election management system for the last four general elections, as well as a number of by-elections. The system performs the MMP calculations and provides detailed voting data to all the major media organisations. It also supports election planning and management of properties such as polling places and advance voting facilities, personnel management and inventory management. We also host the public election results website.
For 2016’s flag referendum, we introduced OCR recognition software, allowing completed voting papers to be ‘read’ electronically, making the job of election officials much easier.
Such mission-critical systems are at the heart of what we do – having worked with us for so long, the Electoral Commission trusts us completely to provide failsafe solutions.
How would you describe the technology scene in New Zealand? Are companies friendly with one another or is there a competitive spirit?
Catalyst is a founding member of NZRise, an organisation which represents the interests of New Zealand technology companies. Members collaborate to influence government policy in this space. Kiwis can and do compete globally on the tech scene and we support other kiwi businesses who want to go global.
How has the market for open source software changed in recent years? How big a player is New Zealand on the international scene?
In the last 4-5 years, there has been increased willingness by enterprise players to use and invest in open source for core infrastructure and applications. This change has accelerated more recently with the prevalence of cloud computing, as well as young developers’ interest in open source projects. Young developers like open source because it’s easier to innovate, leading to better solutions for everyone.
Why is Catalyst sponsoring the Tech Summit? What benefit does the Tech Summit bring to the industry?
We see the value of people in our industry from across the region coming together in one place to inform and inspire each other. We’re also keen to make new connections across the technology sector.
Catalyst are Gold Sponsors of the Canterbury Tech Summit
Can you tell me a bit about eStar?
eStar is Australasia’s leading eCommerce solutions provider, delivering an outstanding experience for some of the region’s best brands through a combination of thought leadership, user experience development and design and partners. We are a company that, in many ways people haven’t heard of, but I would say that most people have used our sites at one time or another. Currently we are working with clients such as David Jones, Country Road, Witchery, Taking Shape, fashion brands in Australia. In New Zealand, our most recent go-live was Freedom Furniture a couple of weeks ago. The next will be Snooze. We also work with Swanndri, Briscoe Group and many, many more.
Something we’re incredibly proud of is that we’ve got 80 team members from many different backgrounds, and 43% are female, which is almost unheard of in IT.
It’s down to the culture we’ve been working on here. We’ve created a team model based on Patrick Lencioni’s ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. If you think of a company like a house – the foundation is trust. I trust that our employees are coming to work to do a good job. I also know that our employees are humans, and people make mistakes. That’s actually okay. And the pillars are robust debate, commitment and ownership. The robust debate is so we can have real discussions and engagement and problem solve. We’ve created an atmosphere where that discussion can be had. And if you get all those bits right, the results will come.
We focus on four things for our results:
- Team Members
Where do you see the retail industry changing over the next 10 years?
I think online and physical are going to move even closer together than they have been. When I was growing up, you would go into a shop and ask the man behind the counter for everything. Then we came to what we call self-service retail in the UK. From there we moved into what became known as multi-channel with the advent of the internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We now call it omni-channel. Pretty soon we will just call it retail and every retailer is going to have to be in a position where they can offer their products anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Consumers have great power and are often more informed than sales representatives. So, online and physical purchasing is going to get closer and closer together until it’s a seamless solution.
Do you think that because of that there will be less traditional bricks and mortar stores or do you think they will still have quite a big role to play for retail?
I think there will always be a huge place for them. One thing that we say to everyone is that the flagship store is the digital store and there’s lots of reasons for that. To make a change into a physical bricks and mortar store is incredibly expensive compared to what you can do in an online space. But worldwide online is less than 10 percent of all retail. We are always going to want physical bricks and mortar stores. There are certain things that really do lend themselves to eCommerce. So, while we say and agree that everybody’s online store is going to be the most visited store in the network, there’s always going to be a place for bricks and mortar stores as well.
Why did you decide to start working in the technology industry?
It’s very simple, I’m a retailer. I started working in retail when I was 14 years old and I spent 20 years in stores. And it gets to a point where you realise that retail, in a forward-facing environment, is hard. I started learning programming before I started in retail. I attended a very forward-thinking school and started learning how to write code in 1976 and did it as part of my degree. So, it came to a point 20 years ago where I thought, I wonder if I could combine my knowledge of computers with my knowledge of retail. eCommerce is still retail. Later this year I celebrate 40 years in the industry.
Do you think that for the people working in retail now, there is an opportunity for them to add a technology side to their job role?
Yes, I think there is. Particularly with the people coming through now. Everybody talks about digital natives and it’s true. They are used to technology being a large part of their lives. They are used to thinking ‘technology first’. So, there is a lot of room for retailers to move into this space. We’ve sort of reversed it at eStar if you like, we’re retailers first. Andrew Buxton is the CEO and his background is in logistics and supply chain side whereas mine’s store side. Which means it gives us the ability to look at things from a client’s perspective.
What advice do you have for people looking to advance their own career in technology?
I think you need to pick an area. I really think there’s massive opportunities out there. We know that technology, or IT, is going to be the number one industry in New Zealand in the next couple of years. We don’t have enough people with the right skillsets to support that. So, it’s a case of deciding what you want to do and going for it.
Canterbury has got the most amazing, innovative, technical group of people that I’ve come across. I lived in Auckland for eight or nine years and the Auckland scene is totally different to the Canterbury scene. There is such an amazing infrastructure of people here that want to work with each other.
Is there anything else that you think is unique to the Canterbury technology sector?
I think there does seem to be much more of a ‘can-do’ feeling here as opposed to ‘can’t-because’. I think the biggest thing here is just the way that the Technology Cluster, for example, brings people together every month from a wide range of different technologies and it offers the networking opportunities, understanding what’s going on and learning from each other. I’ve not come across this anywhere else and there really is a feeling that everybody will try and help everybody else where they can; try and really push technology. Push Christchurch, push Canterbury because the more that is going on, the better it is for everybody.
Why did eStar decide to support the Canterbury Tech Summit?
It’s the second year we have sponsored the Summit – we started last year. When I relocated here in June 2015, I got involved first with Canterbury Development Corporation. They got us talking to people in the Software Cluster (as Canterbury Tech was called then), and I was just amazed by the work that was being done. We quickly became a business partner and then we sponsored the Canterbury Tech Summit.
It’s just an amazing event, the Summit itself. To have more than 500 people in a regional conference like this is just amazing. And last year it was opened by John Key and then Ray Avery was the keynote speaker! I mean, you can’t get much better than that!
We also want to make sure that people are aware of who eStar is and what we do. It’s all about raising awareness of eStar.
What advice do you have for tech companies looking to expand overseas?
Know your market. For us it was easier, as we’ve gone into Australia on the back of already having a strong Australian client base. Clients like Country Road Group and Taking Shape, want to see you present in their market, so we opened a Melbourne office to be closer to our clients.
I have seen all types of companies go overseas and fail, and that failure is from not understanding the client and market. The important thing is to understand your strengths and if you are going overseas, understand your market before you go.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Canterbury Tech Summit this year?
I’m just looking forward to meeting everyone. It’s a really good event. I learn something every year from both the speakers and from going around talking to the other people who have stands there. It’s all about learning and talking to people. It’s just an incredible event in many ways and we are very glad to be a part of it.
Estar are Silver Sponsors of the Canterbury Tech Summit
ChristchurchNZ as a new entity brings together Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT) and the Convention Bureau, International Education, and the Christchurch City Council’s Major Events and City Promotion teams as of the 1st July 2017. You will notice shortly after this time new branding and website content aligned to ChristchurchNZ.
What does this new entity mean for you?
Why is this happening?
Where will ChristchurchNZ be located?
Who will lead ChristchurchNZ?
Business Growth Manager
Canterbury Development Manager
You are invited to a one-off event featuring international thought-leader Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino hosted by SIGNAL ICT Graduate School and Ara, Institute of Canterbury.
How might data about people be gathered, and by whom? How might that data be used to improve the delivery of health services? Where is there potential for commercial products and services which use publicly gathered data? How do we benefit from access to valuable information while respecting privacy and data anonymity?
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is an interaction designer, product designer, and entrepreneur based in London and director of designswarm. She was named 1st in a list of 100 Internet of Things Influencers (Postscapes, 2016), 2nd in Top 100 Internet of Things Thought Leaders (Onalytica, 2014) and in the Top 100 Influential Tech Women on Twitter (Business Insider, 2014).
WHEN: Wednesday 12th July, 7.30am – 8.30am
WHERE: Visions On Campus Restaurant, Ara City Campus, Cnr Madras, Ferry Road and St Asaph St, Christchurch
Free with light breakfast
It aims to develop globally successful technology companies through collaboration and education for businesses small and large. The non- profit organisation is run by a voluntary committee and has over 200 members.
76-106 Manchester Street