Bots and humans side by side

The smart ones are investing big in technology and digitalizing systems

Topic – The big moves of 2018

Mentor – John Knight

  • Some great solutions
  • Remove waste
  • Invest in culture

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Kevin:   Let’s talk about technology today as we round out the series with John Knight from Business Depot, and these are John’s reflections and takeaways from 2018.

Kevin:   John, bots and humans working side by side. We’ve seen this coming for some time, but it’s now a reality, isn’t it?

John:   Yeah, it feels like we’re getting closer and closer to this having a big impact on the market or how we deliver services to the market at least. And you hear the likes of Chris Rolls from PieLAb talking about the sheer dollar value that is being invested in innovation for the real estate sector. It is phenomenal the dollars that are being made available to develop technology or to digitalize systems.

John:   And then you’ve got, and this year we’ve seen the prominence of some new players in the market, like Retail by Air. Ian and Sarah and the team there, the idea of this bot that sits behind your businesses and things just happen without having to get somebody on the phone or without having to have any human intervention because the massive gains with the streamlining of those processes and the removing of waste within your business.

Kevin:   And once again, too, we’ve spoken for the last couple of days about adjacent services. But integrations and linked systems and having bots, this enables us to do so much more, John.

John:   And, you know, another enabler of all these things is actually the cloud technology. By having your data in the cloud, you can have the APIs that link between the different technology pieces and the idea that data can talk to each other to enable you to have more integrated, more automated processes means even the accounting function of your business can become easier. We’re massive advocates for Xero as an accounting system because you can link it up to different CRMs, and just by having those settlement amounts coming automatically into your accounting system means your bookkeeper, your accountant, doesn’t have to spend so long preparing your accounts each month.

John:   And the data comes across automatically, and when we’re moving all these little bits of waste, all so we can then get better information and focus our time on the strategic side of things.

Kevin:   Yeah, we’ve got to be careful, too, not to use, not to lose that human element, the human side of it. It can’t all be robots, can it?

John:   Oh, I don’t think it can, Kevin. I think we need to focus on these bots and these processes and technology and so forth to make the humans’ job easier to do.

John:   And that means we still need the humans to be delivering the kick-ass service. There’s nothing like that one-on-one contact every now and then to build the relationship and to embed your brand, embed your offering within whatever they are using you for. And that ties into the team as well, though, doesn’t it, because the team is such a big part of this as well.

John:   And, you know, they’re human. We want to be able to make their lives easier so they provide better services, you know? We’re people businesses at the end of the day.

Kevin:   Yep, that’s right. And we should never lose sight of that.

John:   And that’s where I think, if we can have them working side by side and the sooner we realise that’s what’s going to give us our bang, biggest bang for the buck, I think the sooner we will be able to transform our business models and make them more profitable and build more value within them.

Kevin:   I’m going to get you back early next year, John, just to talk to us about the challenges ahead for 2019. Pretty much related to what we’ve talked about this week. But it’s been great catching up with you and reflecting on some of the great steps we’ve taken in 2018.

Kevin:   Thanks for your support, too, John. John Knight of the team at Business Depot. They’re the people to turn to if you’re thinking about developing your business or maybe starting afresh, Business Depot is the place to go.

Kevin:   John, thanks for your time, and great talking to you and all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

John:   Thanks, Kevin. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you again in 2018, and likewise, we appreciate your support.

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