Last week, the ecentre put on an enlightening and entertaining event, Taking you into the cloud. Andrew Patterson facilitated and opened by posing the thought that the cloud had gone mainstream, noting that public perception and understanding has changed over the last 18 months. Where New Zealand had formerly been a victim of the “tyranny of distance,” as Patterson put it, we are now well positioned to capitalise on the immense opportunities that the cloud presents.
Vikram Kumar, CEO of Mega spoke about some of the advantages that the cloud offers. Having recently created a cloud-based app, Guidar, he’s experienced both sides of the fence and brought insight from both a large supply perspective, and from his startup app. Breaking down the broad benefits the cloud offers, he said that in the startup phase cost savings are attractive, while the agility to scale on demand is key for growth. Stating that any technology should start by solving problems, Kumar advised people to hone in on what being in the cloud enables you to offer that you couldn’t otherwise.
Manfred Lange elaborated on one of the positives of constant online availability: being able to deploy improvements frequently and rapidly. He referenced Facebook’s current 1,800 releases per day and quipped that children would not know what an ‘update’ was.
Dr. Dave Parsons, Associate Professor of Information Technology, Massey University, focused on Big Data. He summarised the three key components of Big Data as volume, velocity and variety. He reminded us that it’s about probabilities, and patterns do not necessarily mean anything – it’s not how big your data is, but how you use it. He shared that when a true pattern is found, it can give really fantastic insight into customers. Target, for example, are pretty good at predicting when people will have babies based on products that they purchase.
Other speakers included Martin Danner of Arrowrock who talked about the competitive advantage that the cloud offers, going on to state “the cloud is your friend and levels the playing field.” Darren Johnson of Deloitte covered some of the problems and solutions of taking companies global from a tax perspective.
The afternoon’s speakers were followed by a panel discussion featuring Greg Murphy, founder of Unleashed; Rod Drury, CEO of Xero; and Vaughan Rowsell, CEO of Vend. Much witty and insightful banter about the cloud, business growth and New Zealand’s technology opportunities ensued. Rod was particularly emphatic about getting more kids into the tech sector advising that them to “study what you’re passionate about, and technology.”
Speaking about investment, Greg mentioned the need for investors to look at the potential, while Rod emphasised the need to be great at telling your story. Vaughan talked about how Kiwis have a knack for doing a lot with little resources which is a great strength for startups as it enables them to be incredibly competitive in world markets.
There was a fantastic energy in the room, props to the ecentre for putting together such a great event!
Pictured: Andrew Patterson, Vaughan Rowsell, Rod Drury and Greg Murphy. Image courtesy of the ecentre.