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We have formed a new Partnership with BigChange a company owned by Martin Port, one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence, and the plan is to have a quarterly Roundtable event hosted by Big Change and run by Connect Yorkshire. The first Roundtable was on Tuesday 5th December and the subject was:

How Technology will transform the way we do business over the next 5-10 years

The Participants

We put together a group of 9 Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) and members of Connect Yorkshire and BigChange brought along a couple of their customers. Our EIRs were Simon Gray of Boost Drinks, Mark Bowers of Redfern Travel, Neil Conlon of Conlon Construction and Martin Port of BigChange and our members were Simon Bodsworth of Daval Furniture, Sam Goodhart of Bon Coeur Fine Wines, Leon Kirk of Acumen Waste and Andre Botwright of Wetherby Group.

Also present were Mark Gibson of e2m and Bernard Ginns of Branksome Partners both now members of Connect Yorkshire. Here is an extract of the most important point.

The Discussion

“Martin Port said many companies turning over up to £25m still rely on accounting software, spreadsheets, emails and paperwork to manage their operations.

Yorkshire was at the forefront of the first industrial revolution with coal mines, steel works and textiles mills.

Yorkshire can be a world beater again if SMEs, the lifeblood of our economy, embrace new technologies to become more efficient and more agile.

SMEs can automate everything behind the scenes and free up their people to focus on the human side. Technologies will cut out waste and failure and allow customers to serve themselves.”

Simon Gray, managing director of Boost Drinks, told the gathering, “If companies are investing in technology, they are investing in people and quality of output.

If employees are not sitting on the motorway for two hours and they can get a better work-life balance, it will generally lead to more sales and more profits.”

Simon Bodsworth, managing director of Daval Furniture, said “take people through the process, make it easy for your customer, allow staff to become more helpful with your customer. Integration and training is essential technology can be used to inspire customers and get rid of grey areas in expectations”.

Mark Gibson, managing director of e2m ltd electrical engineers, said “technology can create a sense of theatre for customers; we have our work in progress displayed all over the walls”.

Samantha Goodhart, managing director of Bon Coeur Fine Wines, said “some customers embrace technology but others do not.”

“For us, it’s about personalising what we do,” she added. “It allows our staff to spend quality time with our customers.”

Mark Bowers, chief executive of Redfern Travel, said his company had achieved huge productivity gains through the use of data processing in an industry dominated by legacy IT systems from the 1970s.

Connect Yorkshire