BUSINESSFIRST for Business Leaders
The corporate challenge of digital adoption
Information Professionals approach to success
How Mimecast is delivering cyber security solutions
CUB IS BRINGING ENTREPRENEURS TOGETHER
The rise of messaging apps for business
Tapping into the Information Architecture
CASTING A WIDE NET
Social Traders is putting the benevolence back in business
Cruise in a Mercedes AMG S 63
CIALE SPET UR FEA TION
ISRUPNKING THETD E BA H OF INDUSTRY
FINANCE HEALTH INVESTMENT PROPERTY TECHNOLOGY WEALTH
SADHANA SMILES SPEAKS ABOUT BEING A FEMALE LEADER IN A MALE DOMINATED WORLD
BUSINESS FIRST MAGAZINE Vol 4 Issue 4
BUSINESSFIRST for Business Leaders
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Australian Hospitality Directory 2016
SPECIAL FEATURE – BANKING 8 Introducing the new generation of small businesses By Cathy Yuncken 11 Banks challenged to become ethical leaders By Kate Carnell
BUSINESS FOCUS 15 How do you disrupt a $7-trillion industry? By Anthony Millet 24 Three tips for turning your side-hustle into a success story By Tara Commerford 30 The mistake a CEO can make in 2017? Not becoming a data scientist By Michael Stone 36 The changing face of employment 42 When preference takes priority: The emergence of mobile messaging By Rurik Bradbury
Unity is itself a power With the philosophy of unity in mind, entrepreneur Daniel Hakim founded the Club of United Business (CUB), a private business club for likeminded business people to connect with and facilitate each other to become the person they aspire to be.
46 The ones to watch: the biggest business risks of 2017 at home and abroad By Lambros Lambrou 55 Online wine retailer has a crack at international market By Dean Taylor 56 The Fear of Change By Ash Dhanak 66 When the hunter becomes the hunted – what really makes a disruptive business model? By Ray Ridgeway 70 The Seven Cs of leadership By David Byrum 82 Is Australia actually open for business? By Greg Travers
4 Editor’s Desk 5 News
12 The rise – and death – of the machine By Anthony Mitchell 16 Global payments - simplifying the international student experience in Australia By Mark Davis 18 Smarter living: from the office to home By Stuart Craig
INVESTMENT FOCUS 61 The Investment Case for the Big 4 By Gabriel Yi
51 Retailers set for more change & rising liability levels with new accounting standards By Simon Fonteyn 75 North West tipped to be Sydney’s next investment hot spot By Ian Bennett 79 Hometime raises $1.5m funding to accelerate marketing and launch in new markets
87 The Leader’s Bookshelf By Daniel Taylor 92 Health Guide to men’s health 50 and forward By Jo Formosa 94 Travel Beyond the wineries 96 Fast Lane Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
BUSINESS FIRST LOUNGE
52 26 26 How business can break the cycle of disadvantage Social Traders was conceived from the idea that social enterprise offers a significant opportunity to use business to address social problems and reduce social disadvantage in Australia. 32 Cyber wars: How Mimecast is mitigating the cyber threat Today, Mimecast has over 40 staff and is continuing to rapidly expand as cloud security becomes more important than ever before. 38 The corporate challenge of digital adoption Information Professionals is in the business of creating IT savvy organisations. 44 Dare to bare Chief Executive of Harcourts Group Victoria Sadhana Smiles speaks about being a female leader in a male dominated world. 48 A new learning paradigm Cornerstone OnDemand is a global leader in cloudbased learning and human capital management software and is at the forefront of innovation in this space. www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
38 52 Learning to innovate For UQ’s Tim Kastelle, there is no point in running an MBA program if you don’t think you can make a difference in people’s lives. 58 How Equity Trustees Turned up the Trust Factor For Equity Trustees, trust is just one value that ensures success for the business and its clients. 62 The Business Architect IT architecture isn’t something most businesses think about. However as The Architecture Practice (TAP) co-founder Saurabh Anand tells Business First, fit for purpose architecture can have a profound effect on the bottom line.
72 The changing nature of business Charter Hall, one of Australia’s leading property investment and funds management groups, has been on what can only be described as a successful organisational change journey. 76 How OpenMarkets Continues to Trade up In the stockbroking industry, OpenMarkets Australia stands out as a purely online broker, with a business model based on execution, not on advisors.
76 80 Accounting is a matter of business On its web site HLB Mann Judd declares: “We’re not just Accountants; we’re Financial and Business advisers.” It’s particularly true for the firm’s Melbourne office, which takes those words one step further. 84 In tight with the clients Allan Hall Business Advisors, a multi-award winning chartered accounting firm on Sydney’s northern beaches, is giving something back to the community. 88 Knowledge is power A takeover involving Oxford Economics and BIS Shrapnel has created a company that is now synonymous with the provision of global economic information.
68 Migration strategy at work SCA Connect, an established, leading, highly ethical and professional Australian immigration consultancy is helping businesses understand new immigration policy.
90 Establishing and maintaining a sustainable business NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger explains how leaders can grow their business and increase market share.
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BF | EDITOR’S DESK
All hail the disruptors In June this year, a Ross Coulthard 60 Minutes report was scathing of the Commonwealth Bank for its treatment of a business owner who it claimed was left high and dry by improper lending practices. Just two months later and the bank faced further bad publicity after allegedly letting criminal syndicates open fake accounts to launder drug money. CommBank faces claims it breached the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 53,700 times over a three-year period, which has led to AUSTRAC, the financial intelligence and regulatory agency, to pursue CommBank through the Federal Court. According to AUSTRAC, the alleged CommBank failures involve transactions worth more than $77 million. The bank now faces fines that could well exceed that figure, however with a half-year profit of $4.8 billion it may not damage its books too much. Reputation, however, is another matter particularly at a time when the banking industry is facing unheralded disruption by fintechs looking to take their own slice of the lending pie. In this issue of Business First, we take a look at the rise of two fintech disruptors, as well as how some banks are looking to innovate to counter the rise against them and keep customers loyal. These are interesting times for traditional business models and the banking sector is no exception. We cover a few disruptors in this issue. CUB’s Daniel Hakim adorns the cover. This young upstart is intent on changing the networking industry by connecting entrepreneurs and businesses in a way that creates long lasting meaningful relationships. Another is Mimecast, which is offering cloud security solutions in a world where hacking events seem to happen almost every day. And Social Traders, a company looking to bring a more ethical approach to trade. Certainly OpenMarkets is looking at new ways to trade/invest with a business model based on execution, not on advisors and SCA Connect, an established, leading, highly ethical and professional Australian immigration consultancy is helping businesses cut through the noise in what is a very disruptive time with regard to immigration law. The final disruptor is University of Queensland’s Tim Kastelle, whose philosophy of change through innovation drives the university’s MBA programme. Meanwhile, we track Charter Hall’s successful organisational change journey, track the trust Equity Trustees has built among its clients and take a more in-depth look at IT architecture as proposed by The Architecture Practice. This is a busy issue of Business First as we look at all manner of interesting topics within property, investment, marketing, travel, cars and health. So, take a load off for a little bit, put the feet up and enjoy the read.
www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au PUBLISHER Alan Hyman EDITOR Jonathan Jackson SUB-EDITOR Judy Hyman MEDIA & Jake O’Donnell COMMUNICATION Gavin McCullough WRITER Leon Gettler DESIGN Gino Hawkins PRODUCTION Caitlin Lacy Bonnie Weigang Head Office Level 1, 33-35 Atchison Street St Leonards NSW 2065 Advertising enquiries Phone: 02 8416 5294 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription enquiries Phone: 02 8416 5294 Email: email@example.com Contributors Ian Bennett, Rurik Bradbury, David Bryum, Kate Carnell, Tara Commerford, Stuart Craig, Mark David, Ash Dhanak, Simon Fonteyn, Jo Formosa, Lambros Lambrou, Anthony Millet, Anthony Mitchell, Ray Ridgeway, Michael Stone, Daniel Taylor, Dean Taylor, Greg Travers, Gabriel Yi, Cathy Yuncken Associated Media Group Pty Ltd ABN 68 123 058 926 Copyright ©2017 Associated Media Group amgroup.net.au DISCLAIMER Readers are advised that Business First Magazine and Associated Media Group (AMG) cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of statements made in the advertising. Opinions expressed throughout the publication are the contributors own and do not necessarily reflect views or policy of Business First Magazine or AMG. While every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, AMG takes no responsibility for those relying on the information. AMG and Business First Magazine disclaim all responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by readers of third parties in connection with the information contained in this publication. WARRANTY AND INDEMNITY Advertisers and/or advertising agencies upon and by lodging material with AMG for publication or authorizing or approving of the publication of any material indemnify Business First Magazine and AMG, its servants and agents against all liability claims or proceedings whatsoever arising from the publication and without limiting the generality of the foregoing to indemnify each of them in relation to defamation, slander of title, breach of copyright, infringement of trademark or names of publication titles, unfair competition or trade practices, royalties or violation of rights or privacy regulations and that its publication will not give rise to any rights against or liabilities against AMG, its servants or agents and in particular, that nothing therein is capable of being misleading or deception or otherwise in breach of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
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BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | BFM
ARA seeks clarification on EBAs The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has put forward a submission to the Senate Education and Employment Committee on the Senate Penalty Rates Inquiry regarding Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA). This inquiry focuses on the operation, application and effectiveness of the Better-Off Overall Test (BOOT) for EBAs and their relationship with penalty rates across the retail and hospitality industries. ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the current state of EBAs
actually provide more flexibility for employers and employees working within the retail sector. “The ARA’s submission opposes and clarifies the perceived inadequacies surrounding EBAs as the current EBA model provides a higher base rate for retail employees,” Mr Zimmerman said. As retailers continue to face a difficult trading environment the ARA believe the Fair Work Commission need to re-evaluate the unnecessary complications and demanding requirements for the BOOT.
The unrealistic definitions to the BOOT exacerbates the constant challenges retailers face in the ever-changing retail environment, brought on by international competition and significant cost pressures in the sector,” Mr Zimmerman said. With retailers across the country already facing tough trading conditions and an appeal to the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates decision, the ARA strongly supports a fairer and more flexible EBA system and improve the BOOT. BFM
Australia’s first directto-client automated alternative investments platform Aleda Capital, a new player in the managed accounts arena, has launched Australia’s first direct-to-client automated alternative investments platform to save clients time and thousands in unnecessary fees. Designed and built with the customer front of mind, the platform significantly reduces the time from on-boarding to account funding, compared to more traditional managed account companies. The new platform is a deliberate shift away from a traditional investment model. Founder Jason Holdsworth said that Aleda Capital was determined to bring change to an industry often associated with hidden fees and charges. “The number of self-managed super funds in Australia has grown by 31 per cent in the last five years and the demand for investment has never been greater, however the steps to achieve this aren’t always clearly laid out or accessible,” Mr Holdsworth said. “It’s been evident to us for some time that something in the industry needed to change… “It’s a shame in some respects that the industry is tainted with a reputation for hidden fees and charges, but this makes us more determined to offer transparency and simplicity and build long-term relationships with our clients, rather than simply trying to get people in the door.” BFM www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
THE GREEN FENCE OPENS THE WAY FOR MORE PLASTIC RECYCLING A Geelong company is turning what it calls a ‘hiccup in international trade’ into a job creation opportunity at the same time as tackling one of our biggest waste problems – plastic. GT Recycling has been in the plastic recovery business for more than 20 years, and while it recycles wheelie bins, plastic drums, plant pots, bumper bars and packaging film, it continues to seek new opportunities. Thanks to a $170,000 Sustainability Victoria grant and $258,000 from the Australian Packaging Covenant, GT Recycling has invested in specialised equipment to recycle heavy-duty woven polypropylene. Australians use 232,000 tonnes of polypropylene each year for rope, bulk storage bags used in manufacturing
and agriculture, tarpaulins and other heavy-duty products. GT Recycling’s $2.5m polypropylene recycling plant can re-process up to 1500 tonnes of polypropylene a year and turn it back into a raw material for future use in manufacturing. The family-owned business employs 30 people, including three generations of the McLean family. Managing Director Trevor McLean is upbeat about the future of the plastics recycling sector, saying difficult-to-recycle products create new and innovative opportunities. “The Chinese market for scrap plastic is tightening, so we’re recalibrating and providing a local recycling option for this of type of scrap.” BFM
BFM | BUSINESS SNAPSHOT
1 in 5 Aussies want to know Apple and Samsung’s view on fair trade According to research commissioned by Hotwire, the global PR and communications agency, Australians’ purchasing decisions are strongly swayed by brands’ stances on political and social issues, with many wanting major brands like Apple, Samsung, Qantas and Nestle to speak up on fair trade. Conducted by The Digital Edge in June 2017, the survey garnered responses from more than 1,500 Australian consumers aged between 18-74. According to the survey, the top 3 social and political issues that have the greatest impact on consumer purchasing decisions are: • Fair Trade (39%) • Global warming (34%) • Animal cruelty (34%) While 16% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a brand if their views align with their own, a further 11% said they would encourage their peers to buy from that brand if their views were aligned as well. Furthermore, 23% said they are less likely to purchase with a brand who had misaligned views with their own, and a further 6% said they’d also discourage their peers from buying from that brand. Considering overall responses, older respondents were indifferent to brands taking a stance on social or political
issues in comparison to younger respondents who had a tendency to buy from brands based on value alignment. “With more brands joining political discussions on topics from fair trade to racism, it’s important to recognise how this will resonate with consumers and their purchasing decisions. While more senior generations are preferring brands stay out of political debates, millennials – our future business, economic and political leaders – are wanting brands to engage more and will actually change how they spend their money accordingly. “Brands without a stance on core political and social issues need to get
off the fence if they’re interested in engaging with and making money from future generations,” says Hotwire Australia’s Country Manager, Mylan Vu. Consumers are also interested in hearing about certain issues over others from particular brands. For example, 25% of Australians are interested in knowing BHP Billiton’s stance on global warming, while 1 in 5 want to know Apple’s (22%), Samsung’s (21%), and Telstra’s (19%) stance on fair trade. BFM Findings based on research conducted by The Digital Edge and commissioned by Hotwire Australia as part of The Issue with Brands report
INDIRECT REFORM NEEDED? Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has called on the Australian Labor Party to embrace indirect tax reform if it is to develop the sustainable tax base necessary to pay for the many important social investments outlined by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Head of Tax, Michael Croker, said Chartered Accountants ANZ would continue to advocate for a broad base, low rate personal tax system, with greater reliance on indirect taxes such as GST and stronger measures to address tax evaded in the black economy. Mr Croker noted Mr Shorten’s references to inequality but expressed disappointment over the lack of a comprehensive plan to tackle this issue by more broadly reforming Australia’s tax and transfer payment systems. “What we’re seeing from the major parties is a piecemeal approach, with a bit of extra income tax tacked on here
and a specific deduction denied there. “The message conveyed is that something is being done to someone else to tax them more heavily. “Meanwhile, Australia’s income tax system remains dangerously over-reliant on PAYG collected from Australians in the top tax brackets and company tax paid by a comparatively small group of large companies.” Nonetheless, Chartered Accountants ANZ had already spoken to Andrew Leigh’s office and offered to work with the ALP to flesh-out its 30% minimum tax proposal for discretionary trusts before the next Federal Election. “Today’s speech and accompanying Fact Sheet are light on specifics for a legitimate structure used widely for business, personal investment and family purposes. “Accountants and their clients seek certainty, particularly when new policies impact existing structures established in
accordance with laws now described by those who enacted them as unfair. “There are already a number of emerging questions about Labor’s model,” he said. They include: • The equity of treating active small businesses differently from farmers. • Addressing the potential for overtaxation (compared to the tax outcome if the beneficiary simply derived the income directly), particularly for business trusts • Restructuring relief for those who may wish to exit discretionary trust structures • The scope of carve-outs for farm trusts, testamentary, disability and charitable trusts Mr Croker said Labor’s minimum tax would start many conversations, and said there could be concern in some quarters that minimum tax might be embraced for other taxpayer segments. BFM
BUSINESS SNAPSHOT | BFM
Sydney at the centre of booming Australian Fintech industry Sydney is home to over half of Australia’s Fintech companies and is helping to drive unprecedented growth in the industry, according to a new report by the Committee for Sydney and KPMG. The report, Scaling the Fintech Opportunity: For Sydney and Australia, finds that the number of Fintech start-ups in Australia has increased from less than 100 in 2014 to 579 companies today, with around 60% of all Fintech companies basing themselves in Sydney. It will be launched at a special event at 7pm this evening by NSW Minister for Trade and Industry, the Hon. Niall Blair. Fintech is by-and-large driven by local companies, with 512 Australian and 67 offshore companies operating locally. The range of sectors has also diversified substantially, with 10 Fintech categories having more than 20 Fintechs operating locally. The two largest sectors by number of Fintech companies and capital investment are payments (128 companies) and lending (80 companies), with substantial growth in both categories. Payments is expected to continue its growth, with the New Payments Platform going live in 2018, as Fintech companies, locally and globally, seek to benefit from this new national infrastructure. Wealthtech (77 companies) ranks third highest for number of companies and has also continued to grow, reflecting the sophisticated state of our financial services industry. Australian Fintech investment has remained strong with $US675 million invested across 25 deals in 2016 and Sydney has been the major recipient of Fintech venture capital investment at $US171 million between 2014 and 2016. This is despite an overall global decline in investment in the Fintech sector. However, the report finds that the Australian sector faces threats from international tech giants and disruptive startups entering financial services. Also, regulatory challenges continue to stifle innovation and have the potential to create uneven playing fields for incumbents, start-ups and tech giants alike. Sydney, and Australia more broadly, doesn’t yet have a clear business brand for Fintech and beyond our quality of lifestyle there is a lack of clear incentive for international talent to come to Sydney to start a business. Fintech covers a broad church of financial technology and is synonymous with the emerging financial services sector of the 21st century. Originally, the term referred to technology applied
to the back-end of established consumer and trade financial institutions. Over the past decade, the term has expanded to include any technological innovation in the financial sector, including innovations in financial literacy and education, retail banking, investment as well as crypto-currencies like bitcoin. Other key findings of the report include: • Australia has potential to lead the world in areas of fintech innovations such as Payments, Regtech and Blockchain; • Government policy, support and vision plays a critical role in the growth of fintech, especially in regards to the ongoing development of the regulatory environment and development of skills and talent attraction; • Although London is seen as the clear global leader there is an opportunity for Sydney to become the Fintech hub of Asia. • Evolving consumer trends for fintech in Australia show an increasing demand for faster, more convenient and accessible finance and payment services that are embedded into people’s lifestyle and experiences, such as buying a home. The report has been produced by the think tank, Committee for Sydney, in its role as coordinator of the Financial Services Knowledge Hub in partnership with KPMG and supported by the NSW Department for Industry. It examines improvements that have been made or initiatives that have been implemented,
since 2014 and identifies any areas that need to be addressed to enable Sydney to become a strong and prosperous Fintech ecosystem. Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Committee for Sydney said: “Internationally Sydney’s financial services sector has been benchmarked and is rising. Apart from its sheer quantum – Sydney’s financial services sector creates 9% of national GDP and is bigger in scale than the financial services sector in either Hong Kong or Singapore – a key element in its emerging global reputation is the speedy progress we have made in Fintech in Sydney. This report reflects on that progress, the key factors behind it and what interventions or policies may be required to sustain or indeed increase the momentum”. Ian Pollari, Head of Banking Sector, Sydney, KPMG Australia said: “The findings underscore the substantial growth that the fintech sector has seen in Australia over the past three years, as reflected in both the increasing numbers of Fintechs operating locally, as well as the level of investment they have attracted. The challenge now is to see the more mature players scale their businesses, locally and internationally. The report also highlights the active nature of many Australian financial institutions in proactively responding to the threats and opportunities of digital disruption, and are doing so through a variety of ‘build, buy and partner’ initiatives.” BFM
BFM | SPECIAL FEATURE: BANKING INNOVATION
SPECIAL FEATURE: BANKING INNOVATION | BFM
INTRODUCING THE NEW GENERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES The growing demands of today’s consumer, along with the changing face of leadership, have influenced an influx of inspiration and ideas that is transforming the way we do business; forming the next generation.
he small business sector continues to be the engine room of the Australian economy, increasingly driving innovation and new ideas. Moreover, the savvier smaller businesses are embracing a social purpose, as well as a commercial imperative. Small business is where innovation transpires, where risks are taken and where new business opportunities are generated and fostered. We see this across every type of small firm from microbusinesses, which may be a sole trader or three people starting a business in their kitchen, all the way through to large, private, multi-generational family businesses. Innovation is embedded in what we do at St.George. Being the first bank in Australia to launch internet banking in 1999, and the first bank globally to introduce touch fingerprint I.D. to login into an account, thinking outside the box is our temperament. So we’re serious about seeing Australian businesses innovate and grow stronger, and we have a huge focus on helping business owners thrive in an environment of constant change. The St.George Kick Start grants program is one way we do that. It’s an opportunity to support growing established businesses as well as fantastic new enterprises on their path to success, and help bring to fruition the next generation of ideas showing promise for a sustainable future. We recently held the finals for the 2017 Kick Start program in front of a huge crowd at TEDxSydney. This is an incredible annual showcase of ’ideas worth spreading’ and we were delighted to be able to position the program at the centre of this inspiring event. During a ‘fast pitch’ competition, six established and six start-up firms pitched their business idea to go in the running to win one of two $40,000 grants for the winners and one of two $10,000 grants for the runners up. We saw some incredible ideas from businesses that have the drive and knowledge to disrupt a diverse range of industries, including in health, agriculture and construction.
Patch’d Medical, this year’s winner of the new business idea category, is a good example of a business driving both a social and commercial purpose. It has developed an app to collect a patient’s vital signs. In the future, Patch’d Medical aspire to keep many thousands of people outside the hospital system, rather than see them occupying a hospital bed so their vital signs can be recorded. The winner in the new idea for an existing business idea category, Molten-Labs, is another example of a flourishing business with a social purpose. The company will spend its grant to further develop robots to detonate the millions of land mines all over the world that kill or maim more than 20,000 people a year. Molten-Labs and its purpose align really well with St.George’s values to help enterprises grow. I was fortunate to be one of the judges for this year’s Kick Start awards. We were looking for businesses with a clear need and associated market opportunity. We wanted to see out-of-the-box thinking and we needed to be satisfied the grants would help the recipients in the next phase of their business growth. More importantly, we needed to understand how the money would help their business grow stronger. The strength of their 60-second pitch was the final criterion. FUTURE FOCUS Of course, it’s not only the businesses that entered Kick Start this year that are innovating. Across our business, many of the small businesses we serve are forging important paths. At the end of the day, small business owners are looking to manage two critical resources: cash flow and time. As they do this, many are actively looking to understand opportunities to leverage digital technologies to better serve their customers, and to ensure their business is more efficient. To help save time, business owners are using new technology to assist them to be more efficient, manage their customer data more effectively, deliver products and services more effectively and enable customers to more easily access their capabilities and services.
BFM | SPECIAL FEATURE: BANKING INNOVATION
When it comes to cash flow, technology is assisting many firms to manage cash flow cycles and invest back in the business to grow and continue to carve out a sustainable place in the market. As a bank, our focus is on how we can help our small business customers to better manage their cash flow. Another emerging trend we are seeing is small businesses looking for new connections to help them be more successful. They also want to access, capture and translate the wealth of information out there into insights that help them make their business more successful. Concurrently, information overload and navigating the complexity of connections remains challenging. At St.George, we help customers connect with industry partners to assist them to simplify the challenge of navigating myriad networks. Likewise, we can assist them in translating the plethora of information available in a way that supports their businesses. This allows us to support the next generation of successful businesses so that they operate to their full potential. This includes simplifying the way customers are served, as well as identifying and satisfying a market need. As businesses transition from being micro-sized through to a small and then to a medium-sized business, what makes them successful depends on how they adapt and leverage knowledge and technologies around them to stay relevant, at the same time ensuring commercial sustainability and financial robustness. As a business bank, our job is to support our small business customers to achieve financial sustainability so they can focus on their growth strategy. Embracing the speed at which markets are shifting and changing, with an eye on the customer’s needs, is a big part of what drives success. Additionally, in the increasingly digital environment, a growing number of smaller businesses have the opportunity to service big businesses. Whereas in the past many small businesses have been more focused on consumer and small business markets, there has been genuine growth in small businesses that are servicing the large end of the market due to the former’s specialist or niche skills. In particular, larger businesses are progressively outsourcing specialised parts of their requirements to a small business. This trend will only continue in a more inter-connected business environment, and help support the success of the small business sector into the future. We expect this dynamic to gather pace as Australia continues to transition to a service economy. There’s a real opportunity for small businesses to develop truly innovative and nimble business models that will be the envy of some larger businesses. That’s a fantastic outcome for our customers, and St.George looks forward to partnering with our small business customers along this journey. BFM Cathy Yuncken, General Manager Business Bank, St. George Banking Group
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ETHICS | BFM
Banks challenged to become ethical leaders The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has challenged banks to become leaders in ethical business practice.
peaking at the National Small Business Summit in Melbourne, Ms Carnell said trust in banks had been eroded and must be restored. In her speech, Ms Carnell also: • Welcomed the big-four banks’ commitment to eliminate unfair terms from small business contracts; and • Encouraged the growth of alternative lending to improve access to capital. Corporate regulator ASIC confirmed that banks have agreed to implement fairer contracts for small business customers that include important protections. Banks will no longer be able to unilaterally vary contracts, and unfair clauses such as the banks’ power to default or terminate a loan for an unspecified negative change in circumstances, have been removed. Ms Carnell said compliance with unfair contract terms legislation and improvements to the banking code of practice had been key recommendations from her 2016 small business loans inquiry. “Banks can no longer use their market power and their hundreds of lawyers to move all risk to the small business borrower,” she said. “A fair contract is one where risk is shared and it is clear who bears what risk, and neither party has the power to change that balance unilaterally. “Historically the banks have required small businesses to sign contracts that have given them the power to change the fundamentals of contracts, interest rates, the amount lent and repayment times, without the agreement of the other party. “The agreement that ASIC and ASBFEO have reached with the big four banks has changed that.” Ms Carnell called on the major banks to demonstrate industry leadership in embracing best practice. “Hopefully this will set the tone for the rest of the financial services sector and their support to small business,” she said. Ms Carnell repeated her call for the contract safeguards to apply to small business total loan facilities up to $5 million. The legislation requires compliance up to $1 million and the big four banks have agreed to $3 million. “We’ll be talking to the government, opposition, crossbench MPs and the banks about raising the threshold to $5 million, which is appropriate for capital intensive small businesses and family enterprises such as farms,” she said. Ms Carnell also endorsed efforts to increase
$ competition in the financial services sector. “Peter Costello was right when he said on the weekend that access to capital is too restrictive for business and that Australian bank business lending is negligible,” she said. “Banks are geared towards residential property, which inflates the housing market at the cost of stifling small business investment “Unless a small business has adequate property as security they have very limited access to finance through traditional banks. “On a positive note, the alternative finance sector is growing and the government has indicated it wants to reduce barriers to entry.” BFM
BFM | ORGANISATION
THE RISE – AND DEATH – OF THE MACHINE
THE ‘MODERN’ AGE The first metaphor for the organisation was that of ‘organisation as machine’. It was not surprising given the many events happening in parallel as the world entered the Modernist age. In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was built and broke all previous limitations on how tall human-made objects could be. The Wainwright Building, a 10-story office building built 1890-91, in St. Louis, Missouri, United States created the notion of a ‘skyscraper’. These engineering marvels radically altered the 19th-century urban environment and the daily lives of people. Modernist architects and designers, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, believed that new technology rendered old styles of building obsolete. Le Corbusier thought that buildings should function as “machines for living in”, analogous to cars, which he saw as machines for travelling in. Since Edmund Cartwright had patented the power loom, factories had risen to become the dominant
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work environment. Methods of how to organise large groups of people undertaking similar tasks were largely borrowed from military precedents. The notion of command-and-control was the primary organising principle. Then, in 1913, the Modernist age reached what was arguably its zenith. That year, Henry Ford became the first person to apply the assembly line approach to complex manufacturing. Its birth was the use of a rudimentary system of rope and winch to pull a Model T past 140 workers in Detroit. One year later, manufacturing had been transformed. In Henry Ford’s factory, with conveyer belts and gravity wells, assembly time dropped from 12.5 hours to 93 minutes. The same factory that produced 100 cars per day now made 1000. In 1914, Ford’s 13,000 workers built 300,000 cars, more than his 300 competitors with 66,000 workers achieved in total. The keys to performance were simple but tectonic
every activity impacting the human dimensions of performance was created in the symbolic form of the machine. Think about everything that’s ever come out of HR: the organisational chart, the nine-box talent grid, the employee engagement survey, team typing tools such as the MBTI, the annual performance review. Every single one looks like a machine: orthogonal lines, forced choices, linear steps. For the last hundred years, the machine has been very effective at making itself even more machinelike. Or to use another apt word, companies became bureaucracies. And as we’ll see, most still are.
in their impact. The transformation rested on the automation of activities and the role of humans in performing procedural tasks with maximum accuracy, consistency and efficiency. As the century progressed, other breakthroughs followed a similar model. From the adoption of standard time by British railway companies from 1845, conformity and proceduralisation had been central to the direction of business. When WalMart transformed supply chain management, it was another example of performance improvement through mechanisation. Thus, from the buildings and offices spaces we worked in to the sources of business performance and the role of humans in commerce, everything prompted us to think of the organisation as machine. And when that is the prevailing metaphor, what do those in charge of organisational architecture do? Develop further machine-like systems and processes. From structure design to leadership development,
THE END OF HENRY FORD Since the year 2000, the canvas for business success has changed seismically. As with most inflection points, we did not see it until the change was well underway. Two pieces of evidence were most significant: • Major companies went broke unexpectedly. We know the stories well: Kodak, Nokia, Blockbuster and many more. Companies have always gone broke – that is not new. What was different was not just the speed at which these companies went from world-beaters to insolvency. It was also that these were well-run companies. They were efficient. They were Henry Ford’s ideal. They were machine-like. • Even more surprising was the speed of ascent of the new market goliaths. The likes of Google (now Alphabet), Amazon, Alibaba, Atlassian, Uber and AirBnB. While they too used technology to leapfrog to exponential performance (just as Henry Ford did), they didn’t seem so much like machines. We heard of them using methods such as Agile, with scrums and sprints. They had unusual rules like ‘the two pizza maximum’. Other rules (e.g. dress code, standard business hours), they eschewed entirely. They worked in open workspaces with little or no special status for senior executives. They eschewed bureaucracy. Despite how well they used machines, they themselves didn’t resemble machines. Why have these changes occurred and what do they tell us? They tell us that: • The biggest priority for most companies is no longer efficiency. It remains important of course, but it won’t be the reason why most incumbent thrive, survive or die. • The ‘organisation as machine’ metaphor is past its use-by date. Bureaucracy will kill organisations, not sustain them. Organisations can no longer operate successfully by suppressing intrinsic motivation and creating silos. Despite this, most organisations have done little other than tinker around the edges. Even companies that think of themselves as progressive are still slaves to the machine metaphor, still operating bureaucratically. Gary Hamel has described the cost of bureaucracy: “Looking across the whole world, the ratio of managers to support staff is about 1 to 4.7. Basically, that’s one bureaucrat for every 4.7 employees… And when you look at people in their jobs, people
BFM | ORGANISATION
are spending about one day a week on a bureaucratic tasks. This is internal compliance, not external compliance.” WHAT TO DO? Changing practices won’t work (by itself). Adopting Agile, taking rating scales off performance reviews and moving to activity-based working is all well and good, but it’s addressing the symptoms not the disease. You need to stop thinking like Henry Ford and start thinking a lot more like Jeff Bezos. A NEW METAPHOR I won’t pretend that there is a single metaphor that should replace that of machine. However, I can share with you two that have some of the right attributes. ORGANISATION AS GARDEN Think of the most beautiful garden you’ve every walked through. One blooming with colour and variety. One full of life and perfumes. There are few straight lines (if there are, they were put there by humans). It is aesthetically beautiful. While it has pattern, it also has surprise. How did it get like this? So much went into its design. Where it should be located, what soil to use, how it should use the sun’s warming light. The soil was enriched, the plants were carefully selected, the gardeners attended to each plant with care. This is a very apt metaphor for the most successful organisations of the cyber-physical age. Despite the ever-growing use of technology in companies, the best ones are appearing more human and less mechanistic. Agile ways of working, design thinking, collaboration models, and the use of multiple diverse perspectives to generate creative solutions are all methods that produce colour and flair not rigidity and orthogonality. ORGANISATION AS HUMAN BRAIN We understand so much more about the human brain than we did even a decade ago. We know that there is no hierarchy as such, but rather that every neuron plays a role (although some do have an ‘executive function’). We know that the power comes from the hundreds of billions of synaptic connections. We know from neuroplasticity that this soft, squidgy form is excellent at making new pathways and growing in areas that are most stimulated. The human brain, when combined with many others, has created the civilisation we have today. It has done so because of the wonderful interplay between creativity and logic, reason and emotion, cerebral and limbic functions. Again, this is an excellent metaphor for the most successful businesses of the cyber-physical age. They resemble healthy brains, abuzz with myriad intersecting activities and based on inter-dependence not uni-directional instruction. WHY A NEW METAPHOR MATTERS It’s fair to say that in the industrial age, the machine was a good metaphor. The likes of Ford, Wal-Mart
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and other stock exchange giants did indeed seem like well-oiled machines. But let’s be honest. When you think of incredible businesses today, they don’t seem like grids of iron bars and rivets. They in fact seem like exhilarating botanic gardens or the gestalt brain of many geniuses. These metaphors are not simply linguistically appealing – they explain why these businesses have done so well. They shed light on the causal drivers of business success in the cyberphysical age. What happens when you throw out the machine metaphor, and take one such as the garden or brain? You question a lot about your current practices. You wonder if the way you organise divisions, manage talent, review performance, and disconnect senior executives from the customer is fundamentally and philosophically flawed. At Bendelta, we have spent the past two years researching how to tap into and accelerate the human potential of leaders and whole organisations. What resulted is Potentiology™, a new model for designing and leading organisations in a way that is fit-forpurpose for the cyber-physical age. It consists of two major paradigm shifts: - For the first time, organisational architecture (strategy, design, culture, engagement) is designed with an explicit and primary aim of optimising the human contribution to performance. This means creating environments that optimise intrinsic motivation, felt autonomy, creativity, customer intimacy and collaboration. It doesn’t look much like a machine. - For the first time, development is undertaken with full commitment to realising individual and collective potential. By using development methods that work, leaders achieve more significant, rapid and durable uplift in the capabilities that are most important to your success. In this model, people don’t look like cogs any more – they start to bloom. A final story: I was being shown around Sydney office spaces recently. Despite the scarcity of CBD space, the agents have a challenge. Nobody wants a conventional office anymore; they all want to be a warehouse-style environment, with exposed ceilings and uncarpeted floors. They want to look like a start-up. Some of this is admirable (e.g. an open environment to foster collaboration and reduce the sense of hierarchy); some of it is amusing. Exposed ceilings and uncarpeted floors may make you look hip, but covering ceilings and floors is actually a smart decision – it assists noise reduction and temperature control. Working in a warehouse won’t make you Atlassian, any more than wearing glasses will make you smarter. Nonetheless, the change in office space priorities is telling. It’s one tiny gesture in itself but it signals a deeper desire – to move away from bureaucracy in the desire for more autonomy, creativity and collaboration. The metaphor of organisation as machine is dead. Long live the new metaphors!. BFM Anthony Mitchell is Chief Potential Officer and Co-Founder of Bendelta
How do you disrupt a $7-trillion industry? Yes, that’s right, the Australian residential property sector is a $7-trillion industry – over 4 times bigger than the total value of the ASX200 companies. Australia’s love affair with residential property has resulted in over 65% of this nation’s wealth invested in it.
t’s little wonder really, with the exceptional ongoing returns shown by this asset class over the long term, that it’s been the star performer and most resilient - outperforming all other major Australian investible asset classes (8.1% over 10 years and 10.3% over 20 years according to Russell Investments and the ASX). However, of the multiple columns I read each day on housing affordability, it isn’t often that the rhetoric stretches beyond the fate of the First Home Buyer (FHB). Over the last decade, we’ve seen major disruption to well-established industries. Think AirBnB for travel accommodation, Uber for taxis, yet until recently, there has been little disruptive innovation that goes meagrely beyond optimising the status quo. Maybe we need to start thinking about things differently and move the conversation away from housing affordability to accessibility. The Australian dream has moved on from owning a house on a quarter acre block. It’s now about owning your first home and then working towards your investment property and further exposure. The bar has been moved. We’re living in a nation of haves and have nots. Enter the rise of Fintech. And welcome the exposure of asset classes as never seen before. Fintechs pride themselves on being nimble; agile. Democratisation is often their creed. Customers are their world and they obsess about providing exceptional customer service and customer experience. It’s about making something that may have once been exclusive, more accessible to everyone. There’s no better way to do this than with the harnessing of technology. But when it comes to access, this is where the concept of fractional property investment comes in. Fractional property investment has long been around through private syndicates and various clunky unlisted vehicles. It’s never really been an option open to everyone (retail investors) or at the very least accessible to everyone from an understanding point of view or ease of use. BRICKX (www.brickx.com) allows Australians to be able to own a share in a property without the need
to own the entire house by providing investors with the opportunity to access those aspirational, yet increasingly unaffordable, suburbs. The ability to be able to invest in line with the housing market by buying Bricks (starting at under $100) allows them to be able to build an investment that moves with the underlying property market, rather than sitting in a high interest bank account. If the property market continues to power along, so should the growth of the investment. What further differentiates BRICKX from the significant number of property spruikers who are clogging up your Facebook feed? BRICKX is providing investment access to existing stock in aspirational and affluent suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne (from Bondi Beach to Double Bay, Prahran to Port Melbourne). BRICKX also counts the Head of Research at CoreLogic and Chief Economist from realestate.com.au on its professional Property Team. In addressing the accessibility issue, BRICKX has undertaken to solve for a number of other inefficiencies in the residential property investing market including ability to diversify across different properties (the investor chooses which investments to invest in), removing management hassles and goes about its business with refreshing transparency. However, perhaps the biggest innovation is the exchange, where investors are able to put their Bricks up for sale when they wish. The median time for an investor to liquidate their position is currently 11 hours. Now how does that compare to selling a house? By providing access to an established residential property market from under $100, BRICKX has amassed over 6,500 investors within a relatively short period. This includes those saving for a house deposit in line with the market, parents saving for their kids’ future deposits to more mature investors and Self Managed Super Funds who are able to now consider quality residential property in their wider investment and savings strategy. Residential property seems to have no obvious signs of waning in terms of its attractiveness as an investment class, however Australians are starting to think differently about how they access it. BFM Anthony Millet is the CEO of BRICKX.
BFM | GLOBAL PAYMENTS
GLOBAL PAYMENTS - SIMPLIFYING THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN AUSTRALIA International education is vital to the success of the Australian economy. As the country’s third largest export, the success and the continued attractiveness of Australia as the destination of choice for international students is vital.
ducation institutions note that delivering a ‘positive experience’ to students, is critical to attracting them year after year. Interestingly, the ease at which students can send money internationally to universities when they first join, forms a key part of this ‘experience’ and is often one of the organisations earliest interactions with students. So what does Western Union have to do with this? Well, many of Australia’s leading universities are in fact clients of Western Union, with the company facilitating hundreds of international transactions between students and universities every day. In light of this, Western Union plays a key role in assisting universities to get that first experience
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right – ensuring that students are able to move money easily across borders and of course, that finance teams are able to receive, track and reconcile these payments simply and without added hassle or stress. With over 600 education institutions as business clients globally, we took the time to talk with these institutions, to drill further down to help us understand what was working for them, what wasn’t, and what they needed from a payment platform to assist their teams and their students. We went a step further and spoke to their customers – the students. With focus groups in key corridors like China and India, we developed a far better understanding of the student perspective. The insights
GLOBAL PAYMENTS| BFM
they were able to provide were invaluable. In a recent survey* conducted by Western Union, surveying 100 finance teams across some of Australia’s top universities, 46% of respondents suggested that the biggest challenge they faced was that students cited having a negative experience when attempting to transfer money. An insight like this, further shows the real need for a straight-forward, simple, reliable, and easy solution to move money and monitor this movement of money internationally. It wasn’t just international students that were finding the process of international money-transfer difficult. In the same study, over 30% of respondents suggested that their biggest challenge was the time it took them to process payments from international students which involves them identifying, processing and reconciling these payments. This ground work, in terms of understanding these institutions and their students’ needs has allowed us to continuously innovate around and for the customer. With the customer at the heart of the investments we’ve been making we’ve recently rolled out enhancements to GlobalPay for Students, our tailored education platform developed to improve the way universities and other education institutions can reconcile, process and track payments from international students, and view all payment activity on one dashboard. Shifting what has historically been a complex and time-consuming process, to a more seamless and simplified experience.
To great reception from students across the world so far, a tailored mobile-first interface has also been developed so that students can access the GlobalPay for Students platform using their smartphones to move their money from start to finish, from over 200 countries, while also tracking their payments through the whole process – offering peace of mind through the journey. With global international student numbers set to grow to around 8 million by 2025 globally, the pressure on finance departments is not likely to ease up without the support of innovative payment solutions like GlobalPay for Students. We believe this platform answers the challenges universities and students alike are currently experiencing. Western Union serves more than 100,000 businesses globally with foreign exchange, risk management, and global payment gateway solutions. GlobalPay for Students is a strong example of how we’re enhancing our capabilities and improving our services with the customer at the heart of any innovation, new products or services. BFM Mark Davis, Head of Australia and New Zealand, Western Union. *The study was conducted by Onepoll between 9th June - 22nd June 2017 and polled Australian adults with Admissions and Finance responsibilities in Universities/Higher Education institutions. Participants were recruited online and were paid to participate.
BFM | SMART HOMES
Smarter living: from the office to home Do you remember a world before technology? No computers. No internet. No mobiles. The dark ages. Article by Stuart Craig
erhaps that was all too long ago to cast your mind back. How about the era when your office used only the most basic technology - low level lighting controls and clumsy presentation connectivity, or booking a meeting room was highly manual where you had to pencil into the calendar at reception. Perhaps you’re still feeling the pang of these headaches? Well, it’s on the way out. The ‘office of the future’ is now very much in the present. The technology is available, easily integrated, and increasingly, becoming a demanded and expected utility. What we’d hoped for in the past has become
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a reality – today’s technology is far more advanced, capable of delivering rich sound and vivid images throughout any environment, with unparalleled quality and convenience. Smart technology is having a huge impact. In order to compete in the modern workplace arena, companies are fast evolving their technology systems to not only impress clients, but also to lure in quality employees, increase productivity, enhance remote and in-person collaboration as well as create cross-department working relationships. Importantly, it’s becoming increasingly understood
SMART HOMES| BFM
that the businesses of tomorrow will not be purely defined by the issues they solve and products they develop, but by their workplace culture. Millennials are now becoming much more ingrained within businesses – whether they are the business owners, staff members or even the targeted consumers. For many of them, workplace culture is the most important part of a business. In office spaces, we’re seeing the types of smartphone touchscreens we use in our personal lives incorporated into walls, podiums and boards, to make information and tools easier to access, understand and utilise. From the integrated booking of a meeting room, initiating the presentation, tuning sound to the correct volume, gauging the right room temperature, getting that conference call readily dialled in or preparing to record and stream the meeting - it’s an efficient environment, all controlled from a single panel. It means more time for the actual meeting, and less time getting the meeting started. John O’Mahony, partner at Deloitte Access Economics, has recently said that the characteristics of the businesses of tomorrow will be about how they’re run and how they’re led. He says that business metrics will extend to defining success in terms of the engagement of the employees. O’Mahony says Deloitte research shows that two of the top three reasons people want to stay at their employer include: the sense of teamwork they experience, and the working relationships with their fellow employees. Gilbert + Tobin, a Sydney-based law firm, are one such example of a business that is a big supporter of change and innovation, and have recognised the need to break away from traditional office environments, in order to be successful in the future. The business recently relocated to Barangaroo and invested in a tailored Crestron solution to help create a non-conventional, collaborative and future-proof workplace environment. The staff immediately adopted the new technology throughout the building – from booking meeting rooms via an easy-to-use application to wirelessly displaying content and presentations on screens via a one-touch panel. The requirement for tech support for meeting room and boardroom set up has reduced dramatically. Further, management has access to insights at their fingertips on utilisation rates of rooms. If only a few people on average are using a boardroom infrequently, the space can be changed and better maximized into something more useful such as creating several huddle spaces. The technology revolution is increasingly starting to follow us home from the office. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has spoken of his experimentation with the smart home, with the announcement of Jarvis. Following 100 hours of work in 2016, Mr Zuckerberg built a simple AI, dubbed Jarvis, to run his home. He can talk to Jarvis on his phone and computer, which can control his home, including lights, temperature, appliances, music and security.
Jarvis learns his tastes and patterns, new words and concepts over time, and Crestron’s processors and control provides the platform for Mark Zuckerberg’s AI to work. Whether it’s Jarvis, or other voice command technology available such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon Alexa, such audio-based systems are certainly the way of the future. They are beginning to grow in popularity, with millennials set as the early adopters. Amazon Alexa connects with home automation systems allowing you to manage light, blinds, temperature, audio and visual screens all via the sound of your voice. Late last year, Wynn Las Vegas fitted close to 5,000 rooms with Amazon Alexa speakers, enabling guests to control lights, room temperature, drapery and the television. The luxe hotel also embraces Crestron technology, which integrates with Amazon Alexa, helping to ensure all in-suite technology is seamlessly controlled. Once such technology is firmly integrated into homes, there will quickly become an expectation for such voiceactivated assistants to also move into office spaces. Businesses need to seriously plan out how they can transform their office environments in ways that propel better collaboration, communication and interaction among employees, and make investments in the smart technology that’s becoming expected by the younger generations entering the workforce, and becoming ever-present in homes. New innovations are rapidly coming to the fore, and businesses need to stay ahead of the pulse in order to attract and retain staff, as well as constantly drive staff motivation and challenge new thinking. BFM Stuart Craig, CEO, Crestron, Asia Pacific
BFM | PROFILE
UNITY IS ITSELF A POWER By Jonathan Jackson
…The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” The above quote by famous American industrialist Andrew Carnegie talks about unity: the ability to work together toward a common vision. Unity enhances strength, creates dare and turns effort into accomplishment. Unity is behind the success of championship sporting teams and great businesses. Marriage, partnerships, almost anything you can think of that flourishes is based upon strong union. With the philosophy of unity in mind, entrepreneur Daniel Hakim founded the club of united business (CUB), a private business club for likeminded businesspeople to connect with and facilitate each other to become the person they aspire to be. Business First magazine originally caught up with Daniel just after CUB first launched late in 2015. Since that time, the club has grown to include hundreds of Australia’s most ambitious and influential business leaders in Sydney alone, with Daniel expecting to hit capacity by the end of the year. From there entry
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will be up to a year long wait list for acceptance. Daniel is also now scouting a second venue for Sydney, just as he turns his attention further south. “The launch of Melbourne will be in October and we are estimating Melbourne will be full by the end of the year,” Daniel says. Interestingly, the Melbourne launch will be two years to the day of the club’s initial media launch in Sydney. However the philosophy remains the same: unity. “We unite the ambitions of Australia’s most courageous business leaders,” Daniel says. “We had a purpose of what we wanted to do for people, the question when we began was how would we achieve this? CUB wasn’t a pre-set company with an existing formula. So the development and progression of the service had to be quite deliberate and is perhaps one of the most amazing things to have happened. What has driven us from the start is an ambitious purpose to accelerate success and we have been able to successfully do that by connecting people who have common goals who can act as mentors, and who have vested interest in seeing fellow members
succeed.” Daniel places CUB’s success in such a short time squarely at the feet of its members. “When you come to CUB you get to learn from and meet some of the best business leaders in the country and this is what has allowed the club to succeed.” This extends to CUB staff. “We have been very fortunate to be able to surround ourselves with smart, ambitious people.” Daniel believes he has created a business family, which again is anchored by unity. “Families support, assist and push each other forward. Therefore once a member is accepted they become a part of the family and gain access to a tailored and close community of established business leaders. “Much of our job is to get them to bond and connect. They then find incredible value. That affects the greater community because members automatically assist selflessly, they are not after returns.” Members have full access to the clubhouse, and on top of that a proactive networking service and a personal membership manager who helps them utilise the network and gain value.
BFM | PROFILE
The whole business model is designed to help people not just come together, but also to find solidarity with each other, much the way a family might. And they can do so quite reasonably. “As far as business communities go, our price point is brilliant compared to our services.” Services come under three categories: • Community • Clubhouse • Proactive networking service Community is first and foremost as this drives the founding principles. Each member is introduced to the entire CUB community, opening up new worlds almost immediately. And it doesn’t matter if you are a start-up, or a high level CEO, everyone has something to offer someone else. The broad demographic of members is broken into 20% early stage business owners/managers with revenue under $2M, 60% midsize businesses with $50+ million
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and the final 20% consist of the high level CEOs and semi-retired. Refreshingly, Daniel says there is no ego involved. “It isn’t an egotistical place at all. None of the members feel that they have accomplished ultimate ambition and they continue to grow once they meet a certain set of goals. I set up the business because I want to learn, grow and improve and this is the reason everyone joins – to meet people like themselves: time poor, busy people who want to take risks and go to the next level with the help of other established people. It’s like an accelerated business school that unites ambition.” Indeed ego and ambition can be mutually exclusive, but when they are united they can also be a powerful tool. “Amongst these incredible people is a huge vision. Imagine the amazing things that could come from people who feel they can change the world through
combined networks and by combining knowledge and experience. “These people can help impact Australia in a great way because they are driven to help each other. When you have everyone working together it really does bring positive change to the world.” This is an important point because business in Australia hasn’t always been celebrated or trusted as it should be. However Daniel really does believe that what we are seeing through CUB is business for good: business that improves peoples’ lives and changes the world for the better. “CUB celebrates these people. It was founded on the belief of the power of the entrepreneur to achieve incredible things. Letting these people know there is a place to meet others like themselves and be able to accelerate their growth is important. We want to celebrate a big push for innovative and world changing business.”
Daniel feels the less successful among us are those who don’t feel they have the power to contribute, yet if you encourage anyone to be the best they can be everyone can achieve incredible things. “Anybody who has ambition, can achieve amazing things as long as they find people who can help them. Thus CUB is about working hard, loving what you do and empowering people to make their goals reachable.” Tellingly the CUB icon (a lion) represents ambition. “It is a symbol of ambition and loyalty to ambition. Loyalty, ambition and courage are our values. All our members have huge ambitions the courage to act on them and support the ambitions of the other members.” These values have evolved with the business and as CUB now looks to expansion beyond Sydney, they will become even more important in creating a unified culture across all chapters. Demand for Melbourne is already big with a large number of daily membership applications and enquiries and Daniel is confident the Melbourne business culture will be supportive. He expects that a big push to call on people with aligned values to unite with others, will see Melbourne hit capacity quickly and it will then, as Sydney is about to do, have a yearlong wait list for acceptance. “That is to ensure that people share values and want to be engaged,” Daniel says. Following the launch of the Melbourne chapter, attention will be turned to Brisbane towards end of next year and a second Sydney club. It is then the intention to expand to New York. “We are a business club, we should have a club in the centre of the business world.” CUB is a business club with a difference. “Many people have tried private clubs, but not like us. The key here is CUB is a community; a group of people who allow each other to aspire to their dreams. BFM
BFM | ENTREPRENEUR
Three tips for turning your sidehustle into a success story For many Australians, our passions go well beyond our day jobs – and turning them into viable business ventures has never been easier. Last year, GoDaddy’s research found that 1 in 4 small business owners started their venture as a side project while being employed elsewhere. Research commissioned by the NBN revealed that 80% of Australians are embracing the side-hustle – taking on extra money-making projects outside their day job –to gain greater fulfilment writes Tara Commerford.
t doesn’t take much time or effort to get started with your own side-hustle. Turning it into a business success story, however, takes a fair dose of perseverance and planning. Many of our customers started off their small businesses as side-hustles, and we’ve identified three common tips to make them thrive: 1. Invest in your digital real estate. Most side-hustles are born and live online, giving their founders the flexibility to operate in and around their regular office hours. Despite this, many aspiring business founders overlook the importance of a website and social media channels. In fact, 61% of small businesses in Australia still don’t have a website – putting their visibility to customers at a significant disadvantage to those which do. When starting up your sidehustle, take the time to establish a website that’s simple to navigate and a domain name that’s easy to find. Platforms like WordPress make doing so easier and cheaper than ever before, requiring little to no technical knowledge to get a professional-looking site up and running. While you may not need an account on every social media platform, you should have a presence on the channels where your customers tend to go.
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Fashion and culinary businesses, for example, should consider Instagram a must-have to show off the quality of their products. 2. Automate your digital marketing. Side-hustles promise to turn lifelong passions into fulfilling sources of income, but for most Australians they won’t totally replace the standard day job. To avoid the side-hustle drawing too much time away from your main career, founders should consider automating as much of the business as possible. This isn’t as hard as it may sound – numerous tools and tricks exist to take the hassle out of pursuing your passion. Digital marketing offers some low-hanging fruit for automation. Apps like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and even Facebook Pages can schedule your social media posts well in advance, minimising the time needed to maintain your social media channels every day or week. If your side-hustle involves taking online orders for digital products, like e-books or software, you can tweak email auto-responders to send your customers their product every time an order comes in, or use platforms like Mailchimp to manage more complex orders. Simple automated processes like these ensure that side-hustles
provide the flexibility that most Australians start them for. 3. Maintain good (selling) habits. No side-hustle lasts long if it doesn’t turn a profit, and doing so requires founders to exercise discipline in their marketing and selling. For service providers using online marketplaces like Freelancer and Airtasker, set a regular time to look for new jobs that you might bid for, or give yourself a target number of bids to submit every week. Those selling products, either physical or digital, should make a point of running a certain number of online or social campaigns every month, or contributing a certain amount of content to forums or channels which prospects frequent. Having a strong website and social media presence makes a big difference to getting potential customers engaged. So too does establishing good selling habits and sticking to them. With the right digital assets and a little bit of discipline, any Australian can make their side-hustle into a sustainable source of income and enjoyment. It may not replace your 9-to-5 career, but the side-hustle can provide something many jobs can’t – a sense of true ownership and purpose. BFM Tara Commerford is GoDaddy Country Manager Australia & New Zealand
BFM | PROFILE
David Brookes, Managing Director, Social Traders
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How business can break the cycle of disadvantage Social Traders was conceived from the idea that social enterprise offers a significant opportunity to use business to address social problems and reduce social disadvantage in Australia. Jonathan Jackson speaks with Managing Director David Brookes about the growth of Social Traders and the leadership role it is playing in connecting social enterprises with government and businesses around Australia.
arlier this year, the Victorian Government announced that it was committing $10 million to help develop the social enterprise sector. This was good news for the more than 5000 social enterprises (businesses that exist to generate positive social impact) set up in Victoria including Thankyou Group (bottled water), STREAT (coffee and catering) and Green Collect (recycling). Currently Victoria leads the way with these enterprises employing an estimated 75,000 people across the State, however there is much more to do to bring recognition to this nascent industry. The Victorian Government initiative is a big step forward. The Victorian Government’s Social Enterprise Strategy is the first-of-its-kind in Australia and has been developed to improve and expand on existing support for the sector and to position Victoria to lead the country in driving employment participation and inclusive economic growth through social enterprise. Operating for nine years, Social Traders has taken a leadership
approach in the social enterprise sector. A cornerstone of Social Traders’ success has been the ability to translate the ‘big issues and opportunities’ into practical services and tools for social enterprises. This ‘grass-roots’ approach coupled with facilitating cross-sector collaborations has positioned the organisation as the de-facto “voice” of Australian social enterprise and increased the awareness of social enterprise with the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Social Traders has been able to do this work through seed funding from the Victorian State Government, on top of funding it has received from the DARA Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation. Social Traders works hard in linking government and private enterprise with social enterprises to facilitate partnerships. “We’ve led and nurtured the growth and awareness of social enterprise in the country, and I think played a very significant role in putting social enterprise on the map,” says Social Traders MD David Brookes, who has worked in local government, and with a major
employer industry association in New South Wales as well as with Rio Tinto, Toyota and Amcor. Brookes wanted to draw on his experience of leading community investment programmes and initiatives, and developing more strategic and meaningful relationships and partnerships with the community sector, to make a positive contribution within the not-for-profit community sector. It just so happened he landed at one that was taking a pioneering approach to the field of social enterprise. “Since inception, I think we’ve been quite pioneering. We’ve collaborated and partnered with others to deliver a range of successful social enterprise programmes and initiatives.” Essentially Social Traders identifies business to business social enterprises, certifies them and then engages and educates them about emerging corporate and government procurement opportunities. There are currently 200 Social Traders certified social enterprises that are being put forward for suitable contracts. On the demand side, Social
BFM | PROFILE
Traders is actively recruiting and engaging with private sector and government and now has in the order of 20 buyer members with whom it works with to incorporate social enterprises into supply chains. According to Brookes, Social Traders has been first to market in many areas including research in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology, and more recently with Swinburne University. The business has also pioneered a start-up accelerator program for social enterprise that’s been going for seven years alongside an innovative patient capital and business support initiative for early stage enterprises. Interestingly there is no legal definition for social enterprises in this country, however Social
Traders defines them (consistent with international standards and definitions) as organisations that: • Are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit • derive a substantial portion of their income from trade • reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission. In essence, social enterprises are trading businesses, not charities, and should be treated as such. They use the market to trade, but are motivated to exist for social impact rather than profit. “They trade intentionally to tackle social problems, improve communities, and provide people with access to employment, training and to help the environment,” Brookes says. Social enterprises can take a variety of different legal forms such as company limited by guarantee, incorporated association, community owned, cooperative or in some cases proprietary limited. As such Brookes doesn’t view the lack of legal definition as an impediment. In fact, it may well have worked to the company’s advantage.
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“For us, the legal form that a social enterprise takes should be based on the market and financial operating model of the enterprise. In the absence of a specific legal form or national accreditation system, Social Traders has been providing its own certification essentially to assist corporate and government buyers wanting to make social enterprise procurement decisions.” Social Traders certification gives businesses and government peace of mind that the goods and services they are procuring from these enterprises are genuine and that these social enterprises can demonstrate significant trading activity and profit redistribution to support a social cause. For social enterprise operators, certification is the gateway to gain access to new market opportunities with corporate and government buyers. Such is the strength and trust built up by Social Traders that buyer members such as Westpac, Australia Post, Lendlease, AMP, Boral, L’Oreal, John Holland, Nestle, Coca-Cola Amatil and other big name companies have bought into the vision. Part of that trust is also down to
the very experienced, high-calibre and dedicated Social Traders team working hard to deliver, and help social enterprise deliver, quality products and services that can be incorporated into corporate supply chains. “One of the objectives,” Brookes says, “is to get more of the large leading companies interested in the area of social procurement, and understand that for a very small change to their existing procurement processes they can deliver huge social impact. We’ve got some great buy-in and connection with these companies and the team is endeavouring to bring in more like-minded buyers of social enterprise products and services.” Brookes sees procurement as a motivating factor for businesses to connect with social enterprises. “The next challenge for us is really to unlock that massive potential of social enterprise procurement. Procurement in Australia is currently valued at over $600 billion and we believe that buying from social enterprise represents the greatest untapped potential in generating positive social impact and change. “We’re not saying that all of that
$600 billion is going to convert to social enterprise. That’s just not possible or reasonable, but with a small change in procurement policies and buying practices we can create a huge social impact. “So it is in the area of connecting social enterprise to new market opportunities with business and government – helping them to win and deliver on new procurement contracts as a way to build revenue, sustainability and impact – that I see Social Traders looking to play a much bigger role in the future.” That would be a big win for Social Traders. It would certainly be one of many the company has had over the course of its nine year lifespan including getting the Victorian government on board (with potentially other governments to follow) and procurement successes. “In the last 12 months, we’ve been involved in a brokering role in helping social enterprises win $20 million dollars’ worth of new contracts. “By 2022 we’re hoping to have 125 corporate and government buyer members and over 600 Social Traders certified social enterprises.” With revenue in hand, the goal
for social enterprises is to increase their positive impact, including employment of disadvantaged people and environmental aims. Ultimately, the biggest win has been to bring recognition to social enterprise. Now, as Social Traders continues to collaborate and partner with others, including government, philanthropic organisations and the private sector, it feels it can bring social enterprise into the mainstream. “We want social enterprise to become a bigger part of the mainstream, recognised for its significant and growing contribution to the economy and our communities. As part of that, we want to see more social enterprises employing more disadvantaged Australians, as we continue to support engagement by the business sector and governments.” Further engagement with corporate and government buyers wanting to put social enterprises into their supply chains is a challenge Social Traders has whole heartedly accepted. BFM
BFM | DATA
THE MISTAKE A CEO CAN MAKE IN 2017? NOT BECOMING A DATA SCIENTIST A perpetuated myth that has been around since the introduction of ‘tech culture’ has been that the CEO only needs to understand basic metrics, with the real analysis being done at different levels within the company. This reliance on data tools and specialised individuals is needed to streamline operations, but it is a mistake to assume that as a CEO you don’t also require at some level the same ability to understand the data presented to you.
hat we do know is data-driven companies are more likely to outperform competitors and build the infrastructure behind a sustainable company. Therefore, the knowledge gaps between CEOs and data scientists require being addressed within companies. For those who operate across ‘non-digital’ companies, the idea of data driven solutions often seems relatively overwhelming. We hire those with technical expertise to pull together the information required to understand data sets, and analyse them to leverage best industry practices. Executives who expect their digital activities to have a direct impact on margins and tracking effectiveness ultimately require a deeper understanding into how to analyse these elements. Managing commercial hurdles becomes far more difficult when there is less involvement from a leadership level on how analytics efforts are impacting both online and offline activities. Often, CEOs feel this gap persists around how the data is used within a company and how to best understand the delivery. While an issue that can be easily solved by aligning the right people within your company, it is far easier for CEOs to understand the power of data driven solutions than they may realise. With data tools at our fingertips, the ability to think critically about data and how that corresponds with industry knowledge allows a more realistic expectation about your company’s health and market impact. Effectively tracking and understanding the critical roles each tool plays, the data begins to tell an overall story. Focusing on simply one metric,
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rather than understanding the diversity of the data sources and how they all interplay, risks overlooking integral elements that require attention. It therefore becomes near impossible to truly understand how best to remain competitive, despite the right ‘data’ being fed into your ecosystem. There are multiple data sources and tools to analyse, but at the
very core of data-centric decisionmaking should be just two simple questions: 1. Does this data provide a complete view of our customers, their behaviours and how best to engage them? When the data being analysed is nothing more than metrics that don’t tell a story, companies lose the distinct opportunity to truly understand how best to meet
their market. Using big and small data to truly get a handle on what drives our customers is becoming imperative in gaining critical insight into what is working and what is not. By treating the segmented data collected as the basis for forming strategies from both a communications angle and also to improve customer loyalty, it becomes part of the process in better understanding roadblocks. Customer needs and in particular, their evolving priorities, requires agility on behalf of the company to adapt, therefore technology must be agile and analysts must be across all data sources. 2. Do we have the pricing intelligence to enable dynamic changes across industry? Gaining competitive advantage is often the difference between succeeding or simply surviving, and not truly understanding the results could mean getting the intelligence wrong and developing blind spots in how your product compares in market. Having the tools to understand the seismic shifts across your competitors increases the probability of being able to effectively service customers in real time at a level that enhances both experience and behaviour. While understanding that customer loyalty is diminishing, pricing intelligence allows critical insights into how best to connect with customers and secure a transaction. Rather than viewing multiple sources of data as imposing analytics that are reported intermittently, executives now have the unique opportunity to operate a business in real time and correlate performance with data underpinning outcomes. This is about arming a team with all available resources to compete, in a strategic way that allows all levels within the organisation to understand the most valuable of insights – what actually works. BFM Michael Stone is Director of Products at Invigor Group where he is responsible for the company’s portfolio of business intelligence and big data solutions.
BFM | PROFILE
CYBER WARS: How Mimecast is mitigating the cyber threat When Mimecast opened its Australian office in July 2013 to formalise its market presence, the company had just seven local employees. Today, Mimecast Australia has more than 60 and is continuing to rapidly expand. Country Manager Nicholas Lennon speaks with Business First about the growth of the business and why cloud security is more important than ever before.
he world is under threat. We’re not talking overt acts of terrorism here, more the covert kind. Hacks that threaten the wellbeing of businesses and reach deep down into private details that could bring a company to its knees. You’d be living under a rock if you haven’t come across the latest mega-hack: the release of a cache of internal documents indicating that HBO’s email system has been at least partially compromised. The hackers are demanding a ransom for the material they are yet to release, while HBO is
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conducting a “forensic review” to figure out the extent of the problem. The stolen HBO data allegedly includes scripts, episode summaries and marketing materials for Game of Thrones (GOT). It could also include unaired episodes of GoT as well as other network shows, like Ballers and Room 104. Hackers have threatened to release the entire GoT season. Meanwhile, Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice president for film programming, had about a month’s worth of emails stolen. It is said that this is a bigger breach than the Sony hack of 2014, when a group calling itself GOP or The Guardians of Peace, hacked their way into Sony Pictures, leaving the network crippled for days. Valuable insider information including previously unreleased films were stolen as well as the personal information of stars and executives. We are aware of the GoT and Sony sagas because these are leading organisations and GoT just happens to be one of the most popular shows on television. However, should these high profile cyberattacks be of concern to small businesses? Relatively speaking their data is just as important as major conglomerates and if hacked, these businesses could be crippled beyond repair. Suffice to say, cybersecurity is now a major challenge companies face in running their business. Mimecast (whose US brand ambassador was sometime Sony star Jeremy Piven of Entourage
fame - check out his Mimecast videos on YouTube), is one fast start-up looking to help keep your business safe. Mimecast delivers security, archiving and continuity cloud services to protect business email and deliver comprehensive email risk management in a fullyintegrated subscription service. Thus far, its best-of-breed services have protected the emails of more than 27,300 customers and their millions of users worldwide against targeted attacks, data leaks, malware and spam. All the while, Mimecast is dedicated to ensuring a company’s email continues to run in the event of a primary service outage. Australian Country Manager Nicholas Lennon views Mimecast as “a true tech start-up that was designed as a pure play cloud service and allows for rapid innovation. “In the early days there was an incredible sense of ambition and we learnt rapidly about what the market required, which informed how the product evolved.” Lennon, who started with Mimecast in 2007 as a Channel Sales Manager in London, where the company is headquartered, had worked his way through the company channels to now lead the Australian division. Lennon pins Mimecast’s growth down to three key values: strong channel model; increased value and utilisation that customers can get out of the Mimecast continuous delivery; and a legendary customer experience team that ensures Mimecast
clients get the most value out of the services of which they have subscribed. Underpinning these values is the company’s approach to innovation in the space. Mimecast’s CEO fraud tool, Impersonation Protect is case in point. According to Lennon, Impersonation Protect has been “heavily adopted” by Australian customers as they further expose their businesses to the cloud by embracing Office 365 and other cloud applications as everyday business platforms. More recently it released Internal Email Protect. This conducts additional security checks on journaled and outbound email traffic and allows businesses to alert and / or remedy threats or suspicious traffic. Problematically, these problems occur due to malicious or careless insider behaviour. Lennon says that innovation is at the heart of what Mimecast
has always done and has been the driving force behind delivering services to its initial 100 clients, to now delivering more evolved services to over 27,300 clients. At the heart of that delivery has always been the question of how to diminish risks around security such as Spam, viruses and now advanced threats, whilst ensuring users remain productive. When Mimecast looked to Australia as its fourth operational region, Lennon put his hand up to lead. “I decided to come back to Australia, build a team in Melbourne as we already had long term Mimecasters – our CISO and Technical Director are based here. Additionally, we built out a local support and customer experience team before investing in local data centers to ensure Australia customers received a local service from a global partner.” Of course, the needs of the Australian market are much the
same globally, so Lennon had a wealth of experience when he took on the challenge in 2013. The goal of course was to deploy services that make email safer for ANZ businesses and help clients from all verticals to address the risk from advanced threats, email downtime and email data loss. The adoption of Mimecast services over the last four years has been strong. “We have clients ranging from SMB to Enterprises with 80,000 to 100,000 users and the fact that Australia has such a strong GDP, means it is highly targeted by criminals looking to use ransomware. This is the reason why there has been such strong adoption of cloud services and our ability to help clients mitigate risks has been well received.” With the increased adoption has come an interesting shift in requirement: a move from security to cyber resilience. “Looking beyond cybersecurity, how can businesses remain
BFM | PROFILE
productive if they experience an outage with their public cloud email provider?,” Lennon asks. This journey has thus shifted. Whilst security is still important, cyber resilience has also become a consideration. Attacks on email systems will continue to evolve, and despite best efforts of an organization, they will sometimes be successful. Cyber resilience is an organization’s capacity to adapt and respond to adverse cyber events – whether the events are external or internal, malicious or unintentional – in ways that maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of whatever data and service are important to the organization. “Organisations have an obligation to their clients to remain productive,” Lennon says. Much of Mimecast’s product suite is now built around cyber resilience; getting a threat into a singular globally used platform, with layered security and education and training attached. Employees are the last line of defence. Through continuous training and education, you can train employees to help identify
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suspicious email content and/or senders, helping to create a human firewall that can play a strong part in defending data. To help businesses to become more aware, Mimecast recently partnered with PhishMe to integrate their expansive security educational content to help organizations improve employee awareness of common emailborne attacks. This partnership provides customers with enhanced cyber resilience against the latest spear-phishing, ransomware, and impersonation attacks. Mimecast looks to always have one eye on how it can innovate and improve customer service and services. This has been embedded in the culture of the organisation from the start. The customer experience is vital to Mimecast’s success and customer feedback has been responsible for products such as Impersonation Protect. “We listen to our customers, engage with them and therefore have high retention rate,” Lennon says. “Client engagement is a core part of what we do. Our client managers will work to deliver
value and solve tomorrow’s problems. Overall our success is down to our products, our clients’ abilities to use those products themselves and our strong customer team.” With 75% of organisations looking at cloud-based solutions to mitigate security risks, the industry will no doubt continue to grow and Mimecast will look to stay ahead of other service providers through agility, innovation and service. In a market globally worth tens of billions in SMB to large enterprise and government contracts, Mimecast’s ability to stick to its culture will be paramount in its future growth. Lennon is focused on rapid ANZ growth, understanding evolving challenges across all verticals and ensuring customers get the best service driven by a strong culture. “We have highly ambitious people in our organisation who recognise they are empowered to make meaningful decisions that attract long-term customers.” With that attitude, Mimecast is well positioned to help companies avoid GoT-like incursions, whilst claiming its own iron throne in innovative service delivery. BFM www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
Making email safer for business • Targeted Threat Protection • Spam and multi-layered malware protection • Secure messaging and encryption • Data leak prevention • Secure large file sharing
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BFM | EMPLOYMENT
The changing face of employment The future of work is uncertain. The employment landscape is changing so quickly due to advances in technology, such as AI and robotics, the continual casualisation of the workforce, due to underemployment, and there seems to be no clear plan on how we will train, develop and manage the talent required to achieve the complex tasks of the future. Is it any wonder then that people are concerned about what the job of the future will look like?
im Walmsley, CEO of BenchOn, believes that that answer lies somewhere between the flexibility of the ‘gig economy’ and the stable framework of full-time employment. “The complexities of the future require a highly qualified and experienced professional workforce. These workers are nurtured and developed through a framework of training, mentoring and processes that are found in the traditional business structure. However, globalisation, the rise of the ‘gig economy’ and advances in technology have increased our business networks and communities and have made it easier to utilise flexibility and employee mobility to decrease costs and increase collaboration.” He warns though that in order to achieve sustainability, the answer does not lie in one or the other but through a balanced approach of flexibility and stability. While it might seem counterintuitive on the surface, Mr Walmsley believes that by empowering businesses to utilise
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their employees more effectively, it will actually stimulate greater job creation. “Our research and modelling has shown that if businesses have consistent contract work to decrease future financial risk, and can decrease their overheads to increase their cash-flow then they can grow sustainably and create new, stable full-time jobs in the economy.” The issue holding back companies from achieving this is employee under-utilisation. Global employee underutilisation has been put at a rate of 27% by SPI Research. This is because in contract or project based industries such as Professional Services, the contracts rarely line up and create periods where valuable employees are left ‘sitting on the bench’ waiting for the next contract to start. This places an enormous cost on businesses that are required to pay their salaries even with no revenue coming in and has often forced businesses to let go of these employees to prevent putting the company in jeopardy. As an example of the
cost, with an average salary of $86,000, a company with 100 staff is losing approximately $2.3m each year in under-utilisation costs. Mr Walmsley believes that this money could be better spent creating 23 new jobs. The solution is to utilise a collaborative, resource levelling model that allows businesses to sub-contract or ‘loan out’ their under-utilised staff to work with other businesses that require surge support. In doing so, business can better manage the peaks and troughs of the business cycle with contracts for their staff during the quiet periods and access to the high quality, hidden talent inside Australia’s best companies to support them during the surge periods. This improves consistency in revenue and decreases their employee
related overhead. The staff also remain employees of the parent company so they have greater job stability while still experiencing new projects and expanding their network. “It’s a win/win/ win solution which benefits both sides of the transaction as well as the employee. As utilisation and productivity increases, so does the available cash-flow in industry which sets the conditions for stimulating job creation.” Empowered by BenchOn’s Business to Business (B2B) Supplier Sourcing Platform, Mr Walmsley has put the challenge to industry to support him in creating 1000 new, full-time jobs in industry in the next 12 months. The campaign, which is aptly named the ‘1000 Jobs Pledge’ was designed to create the right conditions for business owners to grow their business and
create jobs, as opposed to previous job pledges in Australia that have simply asked businesses to hire more people. “Previous pledges that have done that succeeded only in capturing the businesses who were in the process of hiring anyway. So, did the pledge actually achieve anything? The 1000 Jobs Pledge is different as it has been generated from a model that addresses the issues business owners face in growing their business and empowers them to do it sustainably.” The 1000 Jobs Pledge asks enterprises and other businesses to place their short-term support requests through the platform so that they can be matched to the businesses who have the right staff available to complete the work. For every $100,000 a company saves in cash flow, the 1,000 Jobs Pledge
will tally up one new full-time job. “It’s a measure of increased cashflow in small to medium businesses which sets the conditions for new job creation,” Walmsley said. There is no cost to make the Pledge and businesses who are involved will receive greater brand exposure through the Pledge marketing channels. Each month, the largest job creator will be acknowledged and promoted and the 2017/18 Biggest Annual Job Creator will be announced at the BenchOn 2018 Awards night in Brisbane. “It’s free to pledge. There is nothing to lose and industry has everything to gain,” said Mr Walmsley. “Collaboratively, we can make new jobs a reality rather than just talking about it.” To join the BenchOn 1,000 Jobs Pledge visit www.benchon.com. au/1000-jobs-pledge/ BFM
BFM | PROFILE
The corporate challenge of digital adoption Information Professionals is in the business of creating IT savvy organisations. The Brisbane head-quartered firm has offerings in areas such as strategic ICT, digital strategy, programs projects and change which includes transformation management and organisational change, enterprise architecture and management consulting.
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ark Nicholls, who started out as a programmer at Telstra while doing his degree in mathematics, was set on a path to set up Information Professionals in 2005. While at Telstra, he was doing a lot of work in solving business problems with information technology. Initially at Telstra and then with other organisations in Australia and internationally, he was overseeing larger and larger projects, and larger organisational impacts. Nicholls saw it as the space for Information Professionals, a business that would provide specialist advice and support for the successful delivery of business and information technology change. In the space of 12 years Nicholls has built it up to a workforce spread down the east coast of Australia, keeping in touch with each other on Skype for Business, using cloud based collaboration tools, and plenty of interstate travel. Of course things have changed a lot since 2005. Back then, much of the focus of many organisations was on creating internal efficiencies. Now they are focused more on digitisation of products and services. “The core of the business was and still is around program and project delivery,” Nicholls says. “Today, a lot of the drive comes from organisations looking at the digitisation of their products and services, how they are responding to changing customer needs, in the case of government, how they are responding to changing citizen expectations, how they are keeping pace with competitors or their peers, all of which are changing the expectations of customers, staff and all stakeholders. That in turn is seeing organisations asking questions of how well their internal IT function is serving them.” Many businesses still want to improve efficiencies. But there are now other things in the mix. “That could be protecting market share, it could be the ability to deliver new products and services,” Nicholls says. “It could be increasing revenue. There could be a range of factors and I think the value opportunity for IT is better understood today.”
Digitising products and services is the growth area for the Information Professionals business. “Organisations are challenging themselves around what that means to them, where the value proposition is to them and their clients, what technologies and approaches they can adopt to create benefits for themselves and their stakeholders,” he says. “It includes working with chief information officers to help the IT function become more agile and responsive to its internal organisational needs and the organisation to be more responsive to its customer needs. “And with the new IT services available in the market, it’s also about considering how the IT function operates, how it sources its own capabilities, internally or externally, how IT decisions are made and how performance is measured and managed. “Ultimately, it’s then about delivering any changes successfully through programs and projects. “Those are the core areas that are moving in terms of growth for us and generally across the industry.” So how do organisations become IT savvy? He says it starts with education. That means everyone in the organisation, from the top down, has to look at how technology is changing their industry, what the trends are and where the opportunities and risks lie. “I don’t think anyone is excluded here,” he says. “We all need to be on a lifelong learning path. “If you look at the annual briefing by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, you will see that since 2013 they have put a greater and greater focus on the digital and IT topics that they cover. Before 2013, IT topics weren’t even covered. “Education is an important aspect of becoming IT savvy and that’s from boards and executives down. In the case of government, that’s from Ministers down also. “Education creates the capability between the ears. But then it’s also about building capability within the organisation and being able to try different things and build more
ability to try these things. They may not always get an immediate return on investment so that can be a challenge to stay the course. Everything you try may not work, everything you try may not be suitable for the market place but if you play the long game, you are building capability and your organisation is learning. “Then as the big opportunities present themselves, or the big risks present themselves, you will have some ability to respond.” Part of that education also involves looking at how digital disruption can affect industries more broadly. “There are a few good examples when it comes to big changes,” he says. “We have had enough time in the history of digital disruption after a couple of decades of seeing what happens. “One of the biggest ones of course was the initial rise of Amazon and the demise of Borders. “For a lot of people that happened very quickly but if you look back in history, Borders set the path that led to its demise some decades earlier by the choices it made. “It’s an important lesson for all organisations. Borders set the path by not building the capability it needed to be able to deal with customers other than in a store. It failed to learn what business would be like when not in a store, that is either through mail order or Internet based ordering and how to relate to customers and understand them via these channels.
Mark Nicholls chairing a panel of Industry Leaders
BFM | PROFILE
When Amazon came into town, Borders was left behind with no capability to respond.” What’s happening now is that business models are being disrupted and companies have to know how to manage it, and have the capability to respond. “What we’re seeing is different types of business model disruption. There is a view that there is no such thing as digital disruption unless there’s a business model change. Uber is just one example of business model change in that industry,” he says. “There’s a whole set of terminology surrounding business model changes. Terms such as “disintermediation” and “democratisation” describe the types of big shifts for any industry. “If an industry is going to be seriously disrupted and if there’s a big shift in the structure of that industry and they’re a major incumbent, that’s where the threat lies for them.” So do organisations need to manage this by looking at it as a business model issue rather than an IT issue? “Firstly, it can be a mistake to focus on the IT rather than the business outcome,” he says. “Some IT products and services can provide good bait to buyers. They have the promise of great tools and new ways of working but the IT tools can often be a solution looking for a problem rather than the other way around. They are also rarely a complete solution on their own.
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“That’s the first challenge, staying grounded on the business outcome and a business problem is an important discipline. “Secondly, if you’re a large incumbent organisation, you’re probably not too interested in radically changing the business model. It’s more a defensive strategy to consider how others might be trying to radically change that and then having the capability to respond. “If you’re a start-up organisation or a new entrant it might be your objective to change the business model. “Digital disruption is usually associated with business model changes and when there is massive change, incumbents can end up on the wrong side of the ledger if they are unable to respond. “It’s both a defensive strategy in terms of being able to service your consumers better, meet their expectations and match the market offerings better,” he says. “At the same you are building your own capability, learning what works and what doesn’t, and if there is major disruption, you are in a much better position to respond.” How different is it for Government organisations that aren’t as exposed to competitive pressures? “As service deliverers, they are still exposed to the changing expectations of citizens, and in all jurisdictions, Government policy is driving them in the same direction. Plus they can have some additional
constraints. Head count caps is one of many. It can be challenging to evolve capabilities and refresh skills when you are limited by how much fresh talent you can bring into your organisation.” “As policy makers, they have big challenges given the implications of digital disruption. The current changes to media regulations are one indicator of how a disrupted industry intersects with policy. This will continue across many industries, and can either advantage or disadvantage us as a nation.” Nicholls is also actively involved in the industry. He is on the board of the Australian Information Industries Association (AIIA) and inaugural Chair of the Qld Digital Industry Collaboration Group. He says this industry work is crucial for Australia. “This industry is one of the most important sectors for the future of Australia. “Our AIIA board, Chair and CEO all believe in that. All the leading economies at the moment are moving past Australia and many of us want to stop that slide. “If you look at Australia, as consumers, we are great adopters of technology. We have something like 30 million mobile phones in this country but we’re sliding backwards in our industries.” He says the AIIA works with industry and governments across Australia addressing government digital capabilities and those of the community and industries. He also says that this has benefits for Information Professionals and its team. “We understand much more intimately the current challenges of digital adoption in government and non-government, in corporates and small business and how organisations are going about dealing with it,” he says. “It’s an important part of our own organisation’s education and continuous learning. And it is an incredible opportunity for us to contribute to moving Australia forward in terms of how competitive we are as a nation on the global stage.” BFM
Struggling to navigate your business or IT transformation? Are you concerned with your - strategy - business case - planning - delivery - business outcomes? Weâ€™ve assisted many organisations just like yours. Talk to us today on 1300 738 054.
BFM | COMMUNICATION
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WHEN PREFERENCE TAKES PRIORITY:
The emergence of mobile messaging In a bid to keep up with consumers’ rapid adoption of new technologies and forms of communication, many businesses have found themselves stuck in a mess of everincreasing complexity. Along the way, it was tempting to adopt every channel on offer, but this omnichannel strategy arguably presents a serious misalignment with modern consumer behaviours.
mnichannel was built around the idea that consumers could, and would, engage with your brand across a variety of different channels at any one time, depending on what they had access to. This meant, for example, that a customer might engage with your brand on Instagram one moment, and then shop your site or check out your blog via laptop the next. The whole point of omnichannel is to track and collate customer touch points across these separate channels to develop a holistic customer profile. However, just because a customer might access multiple channels for different purposes throughout their day, it does not mean that they want to engage with your brand across every channel. It’s just not convenient, and it doesn’t fit in with today’s mobile world. THE DEATH OF OMNICHANNEL Two trends are killing omnichannel. First, the ubiquity of smartphones. The accessibility of smartphones and their ability to connect multiple people at once has created a pervasive channel of preference: it’s not just a channel, it’s a ‘superchannel’. More importantly, they provide customers with multiple platform
choices, whether it’s a company’s app, mobile site or Facebook page. Second, messaging now dominates the way most people communicate. Globally, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have both exceeded one billion users, and it’s very clear that messaging, not voice or email or social media commenting, is the future of brand communications. This emerging superchannel largely replaced phone calls as a way of staying connected, with consumers using messaging around 10 times more often than voice calls. While the omnichannel model made sense before the smartphone, the mobile convenience of the superchannel has all but killed it. WHEN PREFERENCE TAKES PRIORITY Omnichannel involved the identification of the channels that consumers were using and jumping on them. This led to them supporting many channels – but poorly. The emergence of the mobile superchannel means that businesses can now take a step back from the “we need to support everything!” panic, to better understand their customers’ preferred communication platform. We can see from consumer data that people use messaging
apps and SMS about ten times as often as making phone calls. Unsurprisingly, the proportion of people with a preference for messaging as their primary channel with brands is also now far higher than for voice. People are sick of IVR trees, long hold times, and the inconvenience of phone calls. Brands now need to reflect that consumer preference, and do it quickly: as more large brands offer messaging as a better way for consumers to connect, the remaining brands will be seen as laggards, inflicting the miserable ‘please hold’ experience on their customers. Omnichannel is dead, and the rise of mobile messaging as a superchannel gives brands a fresh start in building a convenient, rich connection with their consumers. Instead of trying to do many things poorly, the new goal for innovative brands is to develop a messaging connection that is always-on, always in the pocket of the consumer, and a seamless experience. BFM  http://expandedramblings.com/ index.php/how-many-people-usechat-apps/ Rurik Bradbury is Global Head of Research and Communications, LivePerson
BFM | PROFILE
DARE TO BARE!
My palms are sweaty and there is a roar in my ears – I realise it is the sound of my heart pounding. My legs feel like I have climbed 1000 steps and I can see my hands are shaking as Irene Green is calling my name to come up on stage. I turn and look at the audience, the room is full but I take a deep breath and walk up onto the stage smiling and feeling outwardly confident.
know that it may come as a surprise to you that I still get nervous before any presentation, however, this time I was at my most nervous. I was the closing keynote speaker at the 2017 Harcourts conference and the story I was about to tell was a very personal one. There has been so much written about leadership and vulnerability over the years, I have read books by Brene Brown who says that vulnerability is actually the courage to show up and be seen. As a female leader in a male dominated industry – often referred to as the boy’s club – it is much easier to have my “shoulder pads on” than to be vulnerable, because they provide me with a level of armour. Like many women, I often have that voice in my head that tells me, “show vulnerability and you will be judged”. Being labelled is about being judged. I have been labelled as too hard, too soft, over confident, irrational, lacking emotional intelligence – the list goes on. But it’s not anything other women haven’t faced. Not long after I took on the role of CEO within the Harcourts Group, Bryan Thompson took me aside and said, “they need to see who I see, who your friends see”. Those words have stuck with me over the years and often remind me to drop the amour, to be authentic and vulnerable. Well Bryan, you missed it. Here I am about to step up on stage and potentially give my harshest critics more labels to throw at me, or, I was going to gain a deeper connection with the people I lead,
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because I let them into my life just that little bit more. I told my story - the up’s and down’s, the divorce, the break down, the work I do in Fiji and my journey to becoming my strongest self. I made it to the end and I got an unexpected standing ovation. By allowing myself to be most vulnerable and authentic on stage, I had forged respect and connection across the group that over time will only get stronger. The fear most of us have when we are vulnerable is that people will see us as weak, that it is going to make us feel uncomfortable and it may get messy. However, it is perhaps the most accurate measure of courage you can have. We are most vulnerable when things are going wrong, when we feel helpless or we have major challenges to overcome. But when we admit this, we are at our strongest and most courageous – and this is what people connect with. As leaders, we are often required to make unpopular decisions, to take a tough stand on issues to ensure that policies are being adhered to. Being vulnerable shows you are human. The truth is that I don’t do vulnerability well and I am sure that many other women don’t either. I have had to be strong, smart, constantly proving my worth, trying to fit into various moulds, not to show too much
emotion and always show confidence in the decisions I make. At a recent Amy Cuddy workshop I became self aware of my body language, how I naturally stand in a power position from when I wake up in the morning to addressing the network, to sitting at a board meeting. What I find interesting is that until I heard Amy Cuddy I didn’t realise that was what I was doing. I often have to make unpopular decisions, ones that I know I will be criticised for, and when the calls start coming in if you face each one with dread you will not, as Cuddy says, be presenting your authentic best self. I have learnt that this means letting people tell you how they feel about decisions, to allow myself to be criticised however still have the quiet confidence, not arrogance to back my decisions with facts and figures. It does not mean there are times when I would rather curl up into a ball, and there are many times I ask myself “why am I doing this job.” What I have learnt however, is that strength and vulnerability are actually two sides of the same coin as such. You cannot have one without the other. As a leader it takes great strength for me to show who I am. Despite my fears of not being liked or accepted, of accepting my failures, of not knowing the answers and
acknowledging that from time to time, I will be judged and labelled. I have become very self-aware of my impact on others and have found that by revealing “my journey”, I have created long term connections and have built trust. I believe that is where the power lies – in your femineity and the style of leadership you bring to the table. Amy Cuddy’s research shows that when you feel powerful you are naturally optimistic, have a greater sense of self, see challenges as opportunities, think clearly and you are more creative. Vulnerability is not something we can “nail” as leaders, it is an ongoing journey of learning how to get better at it all the time. BFM SADHANA SMILES CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, HARCOURTS GROUP VICTORIA Sadhana Smiles is the CEO of Harcourts Group Victoria, the fastest growing real estate group. She started her career as a receptionist, is an accomplished keynote speaker, a wellknown industry commentator and author of People Power: Did you have them @ hello? In 2013 she was named the Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year. In 2016 she was named as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Australia. She is the founder of notfor-profit Links Fiji, which aims to bring health care to rural areas of Fiji, ensuring that the incidence of cervical cancer is reduced.
BFM | RISK
THE ONES TO WATCH: THE BIGGEST BUSINESS RISKS OF 2017 AT HOME AND ABROAD
We live in an era of unprecedented volatility. Trends across three major areas—economics, demographics, and geopolitics—combined with the pace of technology change, are converging to create a challenging new reality for organisations around the world.
ith this in mind, Australian businesses need to ensure they are prepared and protected from potential risks, whatever their nature or size. Through our biannual Global Risk Management Survey, we gather input from public and private companies around the world to identify the biggest risks at both a global and country level. THE RISE OF BRAND AND REPUTATION AS A RISK “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffett’s famous quote sums up the realities of reputation: something that is carefully
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cultivated over years can be destroyed instantaneously. Massive scale cyber-breaches, avoidable industrial accidents and scandals can harm organisations to the point of collapse. Not surprisingly, damage to brand and reputation remains the number one risk globally in 2017, with 45 per cent of 2017 respondents listing it as a top risk concern globally. A further 10 per cent of respondents reported damage to reputation or brand resulting in the loss of income in the past year. In dealing with events which may affect the brand or reputation of a company, crisis management can be seen as equal parts art and science – learning from the past, deploying cross-functional teams
when needed, and authentically responding in a right manner – including making apologies and taking steps to rectify any wrongs. The insurance industry also has specific solutions available to help mitigate the risk to brand and reputation; by identifying weaknesses, companies can make sure these solutions are included in their insurance policies. Possible solutions range from traditional cost remediation funding, to advanced business interruption coverage that occurs as a result of an incident. THE IMPACT OF REGULATORY CHANGES ON THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT Regulatory risk was ranked as the number one risk in Australia and fourth globally. In Australia,
multiple government leadership changes over the past few years have left businesses uncertain about regulatory stability in the future and scrambling to predict impacts to their businesses. Over the past 12 months, regulatory/ legislative changes have resulted in a loss of income for 21 per cent of the survey participants. Regulation can create advantages for consumers as the government attempts to create a level playing field across an industry, however, they are often quite costly for companies to comply with – and even more costly if they are breached. It’s crucial for companies to consistently and regularly assess their political, security and regulatory risk, ensuring they limit their exposure to sudden change. Interestingly, economic slowdown and recovery ranks as the second biggest risk globally, which can be partly attributed to a shifting political landscape due to recent events such as the US Presidential election and Brexit. However, it’s interesting to note that in Australia this ranks
eighth, indicating that Australian businesses have a higher level of optimism towards the economy and economic growth. A surge in housing construction and government–backed infrastructure investment in road and rail has definitely been a factor in this confidence however it must be noted that Australia’s resilience in times of global economic volatility cannot be relied on to meet the challenges of tomorrow. INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROJECT RISKS: A LOCAL CONCERN Major project failure did not feature on the global top 10 survey results but peaked as the sixth biggest risk for Australian businesses. Development of national infrastructure has been a centrepiece of the 2017-18 Budget, with the Government committing $75 billion in critical infrastructure funding and financing over the next 10 years. However, in trying to compete with overseas competition, aggressive infrastructure planning has resulted in crippling delays and we are increasingly seeing projects
TOP 10 AUSTRALIAN RISKS ARE
TOP 10 GLOBAL RISKS ARE
1. Regulatory / legislative changes 2. Damage to brand & reputation 3. Increasing competition 4. Failure to innovate/meet customer needs 5. Cyber crime / hacking / viruses / malicious codes 6. Major project failure 7. Failure to attract or retain top talent 8. Economic slowdown / slow recovery 9. Business interruption 10. Lack of technology infrastructure
1. Damage to brand & reputation 2. Economic slowdown / slow recovery 3. Increasing competition 4. Regulatory / legislative changes 5. Cyber crime / hacking / viruses / malicious codes 6. Failure to innovate / meet customer needs 7. Failure to attract or retain top talent 8. Business interruption 9. Political risk / uncertainties 10. Third party liability
absorbing billions of dollars in losses due to project failure. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Australian businesses are increasingly concerned about the risk of project failure. The risk of major project failure highlights the importance of risk management at the early stages of engagement. This includes taking time to consult with the full project team, charting all the risks, and then planning out appropriate mitigation controls. In addition, a process of methodical reviews can identify new issues that could potentially impact the project, enabling risk management strategies and insurances to be adjusted accordingly. THE FUTURE OF THE RISK LANDSCAPE As well as the risks which currently face businesses, it’s vital that they consider emerging risks that may become significant in the next few years. A stand-out emerging risk in Australia is disruptive technologies and innovation. It is anticipated this risk, which currently ranks at number 20, will be in the top 10 list of risks by 2020. This shift can be partially attributed to the development of innovation. From drones and driverless cars, to advanced robotics and automated learning, disruptive technologies change business models and risks. At Aon, we believe the Global Risk Management Survey should be used by businesses as a benchmarking tool to assess whether their current risk strategy is appropriate for their organisation. It can also help to identify any gaps that may need to be addressed. Without a regular assessment of the risk landscape, both at home and abroad, as well as existing risk cover, companies may leave themselves unnecessarily exposed to risks which could result in significant and far reaching losses for the business. BFM Lambros Lambrou is Chief Executive Officer, Aon Risk Solutions Australia
BFM | PROFILE
A NEW LEARNING PARADIGM Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ:CSOD) is a global leader in cloud-based learning and human capital management software and is at the forefront of innovation in this space. Jonathan Jackson speaks with Frank Ricciardi, SVP and General Manager of Asia-Pacific, about creating modern content for self-directed learning.
hink Netflix for learning and you get Cornerstone OnDemand’s latest technological breakthrough: a personalised digital learning experience that supports various types of content curation. Curated content is of course no longer the way of the future. What we read and watch have been curated for us for a few years now. Learning, however, is a further step forward on people’s personalised journeys and in the workplace this can have a powerful impact. The production and dissemination of curated content is Cornerstone OnDemand’s latest innovation, but the company’s approach to learning in the workplace is much more holistic. In its own words, “Cornerstone is designed to enable a lifetime of learning and development that is fundamental to the growth of employees and organisations. From recruitment, onboarding, training and collaboration, to performance management, compensation, succession planning, people administration and analytics, Cornerstone is there
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at every phase of the employee lifecycle.” Such has been the success of this international company’s learning solutions, they are used by nearly 3,000 clients worldwide, spanning more than 31 million users across 191 countries and 43 languages. Cornerstone was founded in the United States of America in 1999 like many entrepreneurial companies with limited resources. Its goal was to improve access to education on a global basis through online learning. Seventeen years later and the goal is still the same, however the drivers and technology behind the learning solutions are vastly different. Part of the changing technology and forward momentum can be attributed to Frank Ricciardi the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific. Ricciardi has been with Cornerstone since 2005, first as Vice President of Global Account Services building Cornerstone’s Account Management function in order to grow and retain customers. He then pioneered Cornerstone’s market-leading Client Success Program including the innovative Client Success Framework which ensures that both Cornerstone and its customers achieve unparalleled success in the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model. He is now leading Cornerstone’s global growth strategy in the Asia Pacific region and has built sales, service delivery and operational teams in Greater China, Southeast Asia, Australasia, India and Japan to help clients realise the potential of a modern workforce. “I started my career in consulting with Anderson Consulting, now Accenture and I was very focused on pharma and biotech, effectively bringing products to market,” Ricciardi says of his lead in to joining Cornerstone. “Working on those biotech
projects was where I truly began to love technology. It was the start of the Internet era and information was now starting to be disseminated in an online capacity.” It would seem then that Cornerstone entered the online learning management space at just the right time and since then has naturally progressed its business and technology solutions from a basic e-learning platform, to offer further solutions that enable people to be very effective at their jobs, to now, as alluded to earlier, offering bespoke learning solutions. When Ricciardi joined Cornerstone, the company was just five years old and at the time had just 26 customers and 26 employees. Growth was impaired by its inability to manage relationships. “So we had to build that capability,” Ricciardi says. “We didn’t have upsell capabilities or ways to leverage our solutions or set meaningful targets to retain or grow the existing client base.” According to Ricciardi, the evolution of this capability around CRM was quite a journey. “As I mentioned we only had 26 clients. Now we have over 3000, but the question was how do you make sure you have the capability to scale up?” The market was crying out for workplace-based learning and development products and solutions, Cornerstone just needed to get its infrastructure right. Once that was in place, the company was able to develop new products to meet new target markets. “By the time we went public on the NASDAQ, we had eight modules to sell. We had people with the right skills and knowledge to be good advisors to our clients. We didn’t want to just build a machine that sells stuff, we wanted to build a capability to really engage with www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
PROFILE| BFM the client and therefore increase our retention rate.” Interestingly, since 1999 Cornerstone has enjoyed a 95% subscription revenue retention rate. In part, this is due to the company’s ability to see and adopt technological trends. One of its most significant recognitions was its ability to see what was happening in the SaaS space. “In 2009-10 most customers were switching to cloud base software for the first time. They were outsourcing technology to us and we needed to provide a good way for them to be successful in a cloud based environment.” “As we looked at different people, from administrators to the executive, we saw that success was different for each one. The question was how to define that success. At the time we had a very distinct
The Cornerstone Foundation In its desire to use its talent management technology in a socially responsible way, Cornerstone has developed the Cornerstone Foundation. “The goal of the foundation is to transform the way people help people,” Ricciardi says. “We leverage our own technology and ecosystem of resources to give back to the communities in which we operate. We gift our tech to nonprofits aligned to our three strategic areas of focus: disaster relief, education and workforce development (upskilling).” In terms of upskilling, when a disaster happens and Oxfam needs to deploy resources to the disaster area they must deploy first responders that are trained to deal with the disaster. Cornerstone has gifted the tech to organisations such as Oxfam to enable volunteers to be ready. Through its Disasterready.org website, Cornerstone enables anyone in the world to sign up and take courses. There are 600 courses in all. “The site is designed to get people engaged and ready to help. If they want to go to Japan and understand nuclear issues they can take a Disaster Ready course.” There is also a Teacher Ready course, helping teachers to be the best they can be and share resources and a Non Profit Ready course, helping people work for non-profits and increase their skills in this area. “The key to our business is in developing people. When we give our software away to those who may not have the resources we seek to engage our partners, clients and employees to donate their time to help implement, run and provide the software. Our clients love it.” Thus far Cornerstone has served almost 118,000 non-profit learners, with almost 16,000 volunteer hours given for a $137 million cumulative impact.
customer lifecycle: sell, implement, support. Now, in SaaS, we needed to align the business needs to our solution. We needed to implement solutions and make sure that what we implemented was adopted and optimised. By doing this, over time, we could ensure that we had the ability to be with our clients for the length of the journey.” Cornerstone’s curated content offering is another case in point of how the company has picked a forward trend to meet its clients’ future needs and therefore take the journey with them. With this new innovation customers can manually curate content courses by learning administrators, and its system will automatically identify and recommend courses based on a user’s interests, preferences and aspirations. All of this is powered by Cornerstone’s proprietary machine learning algorithm. The system also will automatically identify the best learning paths by role or career trajectory to help employees pursue their ambitions. It is similar to the way you would go about curating your Spotify listening experience, except with this you are actually learning something. Adding to Cornerstone’s existing collaborative learning capabilities, new functionality will include cloud sharing, enabling co-browsing and allowing people to visually collaborate and broadcast live training in real-time. Users will also be able to easily schedule live training sessions, identify subject matter experts and connect with peers who share similar learning interests. With this innovation through the years, Cornerstone has undertaken a true cultural revolution based on two words: client success. This philosophy has become part of Cornerstone’s DNA. “We hire people with certain core values. We organise around the values of client success. Every one of our functions has a success framework that is aligned to how to make the client successful,” Ricciardi says. It’s a philosophy that Ricciardi says has become “unstoppable.” For Cornerstone, success really boils down to talent management. Hire to retire. “It is not a system of
administration. It is a system of engagement. We ensure that an employee has an incredible experience from hiring through to onboarding, to how they are connected to others, to knowledge assets and communities. We help to train and develop new skills, manage an employee’s performance and create a pathway to success through goal assessment.” How do you succeed? How do you go up the ladder? Which successors are right for a role? How do you engage with an employee to ensure that the employee realises his full potential? These are all questions that Cornerstone’s learning solutions asks and ultimately answers and enables the company to help its employees develop life skills within the workplace. Importantly for Cornerstone, its solutions are one-size-fits-all and clients can pick and choose what they want or need. Of the 3,000 plus clients, the solutions can service organisations of any size from 50 employees to more than 700,000 globally. “Clients can make recommendations as to what they would like the tech to do in the future. Everyone then votes on that. So we are constantly engaging in meaningful conversations with clients about their businesses.” The client Cornerstone relationship is further buoyed by the fact that the company’s client success managers are former clients themselves. Ricciardi says this ensures best practice as they can have meaningful conversations to meet client needs. A client advisory board has also been set up who gives Cornerstone feedback on direction and the way its platform and new products are designed. As it continues to add new products, Cornerstone is also looking at further expansion and is investing heavily into the Southeast Asian market. The opportunities across this region are immense. Yet, while it is a commercial operation, what drives the company and what is at the centre of everything Cornerstone does is learning; driving human capital management in a way that develops successful people and therefore successful organisations. BFM
Unified Talent Management According to a recent Gallup survey, only 24% of employees in Australia reported to feeling engaged in their work. So what can organisations do to support employees and help keep them involved and passionate? Cornerstone enables organisations of all sizes and in every industry to source and recruit top talent, develop and engage employees throughout their careers, improve operational execution, and cultivate future leaders. cornerstoneondemand.com.au
PROPERTY: RETAIL| BFM
RETAILERS SET FOR MORE CHANGE & RISING LIABILITY LEVELS WITH NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS As if retail tenants didn’t have enough concerns in this ever-changing landscape with consumer spending decreasing, top brands collapsing, on-line retailing continuing to grow in popularity and the implications of the entry of Amazon and other international mega-retailers into the Australian space. They now need to prepare for a new global accounting standard, set to turn their balance sheets, systems and processes upside down and dramatically increase their liabilities.
new global accounting standard, known as IFRS16, will come into effect in Australia on 1 January 2019 and radically change the way leases are recognised in financial statements with a range of ramifications for the retail sector. Besides a whole lot of additional paperwork, administration and new systems required for retail tenants to comply with this new standard, there will be far-reaching implications in relation to loans and finance with leases over one year in length to be recorded on the balance sheet as a liability. The major changes that will be introduced as part of IFRS16 require a retailer to recognise a “right of use” asset and liability equal to the present value of all future known occupancy costs, less any lease incentives. The asset could also recognise indirect lease costs such as leasing fees, design fees, surveys and any estimated make good obligations. Options on leases can also be
included, if there is reasonable certainty that option terms will be exercised. This will require either a valuation or management to justify a valuation using current lease evidence of comparable rental amount. For retailers, the liability implications of IFRS16 are farreaching and will hit hard, causing rising debt levels which will require all retailers at best to renegotiate their debt covenants with their financiers. A recent PriceWaterhouse Coopers global study revealed that the retail sector will be one of the industries hardest hit and estimated there will be a 90 per cent increase in debt for all retailers, with a 41 per cent increase in EBITDA as a direct result of the implementation of this new accounting standard. This significant blanket increase will result from the lease liability, with 95% per cent of all retailers in leased premises. Similarly, the increase in EBITDA
will stem from the fact that rental expenses, which typically represent between 5 to 30 per cent of a retailers P&L cost, will disappear and be replaced with amortisation and interest expenses of the liability, which are excluded from EBITDA. Retailers need to start to prepare for these changes now and implement lease management systems to capture rental data that can value their lease portfolio on a continual basis. Or they face a real nightmare in 2019. The new accounting standard will come as a shock to many retailers who are not prepared, when it quietly comes into play in January 2019. It will create yet another financial obstacle for the dynamic retail sector, which is constantly evolving and battling the impacts of technology and changes to consumer spending patterns.BFM Simon Fonteyn is Managing Director, Leasing Information Systems.
BFM | PROFILE
Learning to innovate For Tim Kastelle, there is no point in running a program if you don’t think you can make a difference in people’s lives. It is that very philosophy that drives his MBA Program at the University of Queensland. The Associate Professor speaks with Jonathan Jackson about making a difference through innovation in education.
o make a difference requires an innovative approach to pretty much everything: from academia to business, government and even day to day life, without an innovative approach to moving forward, life just stagnates. The question is how do you innovate effectively – in a way that makes a difference, creates forward momentum and future meaning? It is not an easy question to answer. Associate Professor Tim Kastelle is not just a business scholar, he is an author and expert on innovation. But as a recent blog would attest, he believes a simple approach is best. To steal from Nike: Just Do It. He writes: “The most common barrier to innovation that I hear about in my classes and talks is “But my boss won’t let me… “Actually… you just need permission from yourself. That’s all you’ve ever needed.”
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It is a strong message, and one he wants his UQ students to embrace. According to the Associate Professor, the whole point of education is to make a difference. It is this foundational principle that informs the kinds of graduates he wants at the University of Queensland. “Students and businesses should all be focused on how to create more value and increase their level of impact on global communities,” Associate Professor Kastelle says. This is certainly his message in the classroom and the foundational principle that informs the kinds of graduates he wants at the University of Queensland. It also reflects his career in general. Associate Professor Kastelle graduated with a degree in economics from Princeton University, before working in management roles. When his wife was offered a job at UQ, the pair moved to Australia and whilst he was doing well in business, despite
the spectre of a failed start-up he needed something more. “The reason I made the decision to move into academia is that I had come to a point where I was working in one business at a time and having an impact, but thought there were opportunities to have influence on a much broader level. “I wanted to do work that would change the way businesses were managed. The one thing that kept coming back to me in working for different businesses was that most of them were poorly managed. I thought it must be possible to do this better and since then I have dedicated my time to figuring out how to do just that.” For Associate Professor Kastelle, a focus on innovation is where change and growth comes from. “Now that I have been studying it intently for 10 years, it is clear that this is an area where businesses struggle. Even agile businesses struggle in how to proceed. So through UQ Business School we www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
PROFILE| BFM are trying to figure out how to help businesses move forward and be better through innovation.” Innovation informs the way Associate Professor Kastelle learns and teaches. Importantly, having come from business, he is aware of some of the things managers are looking for and can therefore frame ideas that might be written in an academic language in a more simple way. What this means is that the interaction between businesses and the university, including its students occurs in a way in which everyone is talking the same language. It is therefore easier to frame innovation in a way that businesses understand, giving UQ students a distinct advantage when they either move into the workforce, or begin to innovate within their existing positions. Associate Professor Kastelle has a great deal of praise for the teachers and students of UQ and makes an interesting comparison to the world renowned Princeton University. “Princeton is in a private university system that is globally unique. However, at Princeton, teaching was not a priority compared with high profile research. The written texts, and the way the school of economics informs presidents on policy is astonishing, but the classroom experience is not necessarily great. One thing I was really impressed with when I studied my MBA at UQ between 2002-to-2004 was the high quality teaching at UQ. At UQ there is a duty of care to its students, which some may say is innovative itself. However, with such a heavy teaching focus and emphasis on innovation there is little wonder why this school is so well-regarded amongst Australian business leaders. Students are empowered to primarily change businesses. “We do that through our partnerships with business. We have strong partnerships that set our MBA program apart from other programs. We can go to a business and say here’s a solution based on research and here’s how to use it to make fundamental change.” Of course change can’t occur if there is a lack of understanding of the philosophy behind the change. Therefore it is not only important www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au
to give businesses the tools and techniques to change, but more importantly an understanding of the philosophy behind the change.” The default mode is to teach techniques, but this is just one element towards fundamental change. “The World Economic Forum polled CEOs globally and they all listed negotiation, creativity and people skills as the capabilities they look for in employees. However these are soft skills, not tools. “If we are going to equip people to copy the likes of really innovative companies such as Toyota and build the next version of Toyota, then a focus on tools is misguided. What makes a good business is understanding why goals and objectives exist and how to affect change. Then you can use the tools to make change happen. “What makes a strong global leader is one that is focused on the impact he/she is trying to have and who has a clear idea of the value he/she is trying to foster and how that fits in with stakeholders.” There is a mix of students learning this philosophy at UQ, all in various stages of their career. “When I did my MBA, about 90% of the students were basically employer funded and training for a promotion, then about 5-10% of students were trying to change career. There is closer to a 60/40 split now.” These different demographics take up the MBA challenge differently. “If students view it as vocational training, then they really want the tools and frameworks to move forward in their career. However, if people are viewing this is an opportunity to change themselves, then they go out and change the organisations they work in. I want more and more people to be in a transformational mindset. That is what this MBA program should be doing.” And it is. It has built upon a program that started through a relationship with the famous Wharton Business School, where students have a chance to go out and work with a business and see what real impact can be achieved. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
UQ began collaborating with Wharton to work with local Australian businesses trying to expand in North America. UQ put a team in place to do a six-month strategy for these businesses. It went well and slowly expanded – this type of project is now available to businesses facing a variety of talks, not just North American expansion. “We are taking businesses from what they are to what they could be by helping them solve their problems. I can see the differences we have in the businesses we work with and in the students who are working on those projects. I’m now excited to expand that further. Students are demanding more intense projects, building all the soft skills such as communication, creativity and collaboration, but they also have a great opportunity to work on a project that is not predefined and really build value. That is a big difference in the way we assess our students. ‘Let’s see what you can build’ is a big change in assessment theory.” Many of the students that have gone through this program have gone into a CEO role or founded a business. Associate Professor Kastelle says that by doing this work they have a higher level of responsibility than in previous jobs which makes them more aware of their capabilities and where they want to go next. The fundamental message here is that no matter what the culture of a business is, UQ’s MBA students may not be able to change what others do, but they can change what they do and therefore have an influence regardless. “We do everything we can to get people to look at how individual opportunities effect change. How can we change interactions with people we report to or create value for?” Associate Professor Kastelle is focused on value creation, which is consistent across all successful organisations and is what really informs the way the UQ MBA program is conducted. What makes the UQ program so good, the thing that really determines the quality of the MBA, is how it is able to give students the tools to focus on having an impact and how it embraces innovation that leads to fundamental change. BFM
Leave work early. Run the company. UQ Business School MBA Designed for ambitious professionals who want to change the world, our flexible MBA Program creates global business leaders of the future. Register for our MBA Information Evening in Brisbane on Wednesday, 18th October 2017, or request a call from our MBA team.
Find out more at business.uq.edu.au/mba
Ranked 1st in Australia (AFR BOSS) and 10th worldwide (The Economist)
Online wine retailer has a crack at international market It’s an exciting time for Australian winemakers as local drops gain popularity in foreign markets. The Wine Australia Export Report released in July 2017 found that Australian wine exports have increased in value by 10 per cent to $2.31 billion in the last financial year.
he opportunity this presents to Cracka Wines—a direct-to-consumer wine marketplace—is enormous. Previously, small to medium wineries have encountered huge barriers to entry in these markets, namely the erosive costs of wholesaling, logistics and distribution. With the arrival of Amazon, we’re planning to expand into foreign markets, not only by removing those barriers to entry, but by providing access to a powerful high-margin sales channel. Established in 2010, Cracka Wines has been about keeping it real, offering real brands, real stories, real reviews and real value
About the Crowd-sourced Funding Bill (CSF) • The Crowd-sourced Funding Bill comes into effect from September 29th 2017 • It will allow mum and dad investors to buy a stake in a company, as opposed to existing crowdfunding opportunities where you may receive a product, discount or goodwill for your investment • Small and medium businesses will be able to raise up to $5 million per year without listing on the ASX • Retail investors can invest up to $10,000 per annum into as many different businesses as they like • Until this bill takes effect, these options are only available to sophisticated investors – typically with a net worth of $2.5 million or who’ve earned more than $250,000 in the past two years. For more information visit www.crackawines.com.au/pages/invest
to both customers and wineries. Rather than buying from your local liquor store—now mostly owned by one of two supermarket chains, shifting margins away from the winemakers—consumers buy directly from cellar doors using our platform. By cutting out both the middleman, there’s up to 50 per cent additional margin available to share between the consumer and winery. Consumers save money; wineries bank more dollars: it’s a win-win situation. While plenty of wholesalers import and export Australian and New Zealand wines into Asia, we’ll be the first to create a platform that will allow producers the opportunity to connect directly with customers in the region. Bringing together the biggest and best range of wines in the country with an amazing resource of expert reviews, we take our customers on a journey through the world of wine, introducing them to brands, labels and varieties that they’d never find at their local liquor store. In the first step towards foreign expansion, we’ve announced plans to become the first publicly unlisted company in Australia to raise capital through crowdfunding. Partnering with equity crowdfunding site Equitise, our goal is to raise $5 million from ‘mum and dad’ investors who want to join us in our next phase of business growth. Equitise has attracted some of the most sophisticated and best financial investors including Investec, AWI Ventures, H2 Ventures, Tank
Stream Ventures and Bridgelane Capital, and to date have raised over $20 million for 27 different businesses in New Zealand. The only way that mums and dads can invest in start-up businesses like ours currently is through funds listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; however, the Federal Government’s recent approval of crowd sourced funding will give them the ability to invest directly in startups like ours that aren’t ASX listed. Up until now, this was an option only available to venture capital funds, family offices and sophisticated investors. It made sense for us as a startup to support this innovation and offer our loyal customers the opportunity to become owners and even greater advocates. Right from day one we’ve been very selective about which wines we stock and recommend. As a result, our customers place a lot of trust in our recommendations at any price point. For example we recently sold over 10,000 bottles of an $80 Shiraz to our customers without even telling them what the actual wine was. Over the years this has enabled us to save many smaller wineries from going under. With a loyal customer base in excess of 250,000, we’re hoping to harness this trust and support by inviting our customers to join us on the next phase of our journey, taking premium Australian wines to the rest of the world. BFM Dean Taylor is Founder and CEO of Cracka Wines
BFM | CHANGE MANAGEMENT
The Fear of Change What’s preventing your organisation from being able to react quickly to industry or market changes asks Ash Dhanak.
hy is there resistance whenever you try to implement a new idea? How come the best-laid plans of leadership always seem to end with your people reverting to the old ways of doing things, as soon as they leave the training room? Could it be that old enemy of organisational change: fear? McKinsey & Company claim that 70 percent of large transformation initiatives fail to meet their goals and here we look at why that might be. THE REALITY OF FEAR Fear is one of the most basic human instincts. It harks back to our primitive past, when our fears were raw and based on survival – every day was a struggle to find food, shelter, and safety. Our brains haven’t changed much since but our circumstances have. So we experience the same fear responses but they are activated by different triggers. Neuroscientists have shown that the amygdala area of the brain is more active under threat. This is essentially the ‘fear centre’ of the brain and activity here restricts blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the ‘higher’ thinking processes. We rely on these ‘higher’ processes to make well-considered decisions. So, when a new manager is unexpectedly introduced, you are suddenly told to start using a new system or process without explanation, or rumours of redundancy start to spread, our brain’s fear centre is activated. A ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response releases stress chemicals and our more primitive brain takes over. When change is imposed suddenly or without apparent reason, the stress response is natural. But in this state, it is very difficult to produce positive
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CHANGE MANAGEMENT| BFM
outcomes: every decision is made from a standpoint where our emotions have essentially ‘hijacked’ our behaviour and clear decisionmaking becomes impossible. What does this result in? Resistance, clamming up, conflict, arguments, anger… especially if employees are demotivated and disengaged in the first place. Clearly, this is not what’s needed when you are trying to implement positive change. CHANGE ITSELF IS NOT THE PROBLEM… It’s tempting to say that ‘people don’t like change…so they resist it’. This is simply not true. Take a look at the world around you, compare it with ten years ago and you’ll see just how quickly the world changes when people see the positives of change. Consider how millennials watch streaming video rather than TV programmes, how we purchase goods online or book hotel rooms now. People have embraced change more and more rapidly when it comes to technology, so we certainly don’t resist change for the sake of it. The truth is that we resist change that is not seen as beneficial. Or, to put it another way, change happens when people are invested in it. That’s important for organisations to fully grasp. EQ: THE KEY TO OVERCOMING FEAR OF CHANGE? For organisations to become more effective at implementing change, they first need to pay more than lipservice to the needs of their people. We’ve seen why change is often resisted. It can only be successful when the people charged with implementing the change are actively engaged in it, don’t perceive it as a threat, and are able to see the benefits of changing their behaviour. To get to that stage is a big challenge, of course. Organisations first need to understand the human elements of their people. But they can do this by focusing more on building emotional intelligence (EQ). Emotional intelligence is essentially the ability to perceive and understand emotions in yourself and others; and to be able to use this knowledge to manage
your behaviour to assist in creating positive outcomes. One of the reasons why it is so important in solving the ‘change problem’ is that it helps to create an engaged culture where people don’t feel so threatened by change. Emotionally intelligent people tend to embrace change and see it as an opportunity rather than a threat. There is plenty of room in their ‘comfort zone’! That’s partly why emotional intelligence is a strong characteristic of good leaders. They are aware of their own emotions, qualities, and capabilities to face change head on; they are prepared and resilient; they are confident and flexible enough to be able to communicate this to others and lead them through the process. Having emotionally intelligent leaders is not where it ends, though. It must filter down through the organisation in the shape of stronger relationships. When whole teams are more emotionally intelligent, change initiatives are introduced into an engaged culture; people are included in the process rather than having it imposed upon them; they see the reasons and the benefits for the change and feel part of it; and they are more likely to invest into it with their time and energies. In short, fear and resistance is far less likely in emotionally intelligent workplaces. BUILD ENGAGEMENT TO BEAT THE FEAR Change initiatives needn’t be doomed to fail – but they surely will if we keep using the same outdated approaches. Gallup found that, worldwide, only 13 percent of employees working for an organisation are engaged i.e. involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. If we want to change our organisations, we need to build more engaged workplaces based on growing emotional intelligence in leadership and teams. This can be the ‘scaffolding’ upon which we create organisations that embrace change as an opportunity. Only then can we hope to improve the miserable success rate of change initiatives. BFM
BFM | PROFILE
HOW EQUITY TRUSTEES TURNED UP THE TRUST FACTOR Trust is a many splendored thing. It is the foundation on which great relationships are built. It is the glue that holds connections together. Trust is neither something that should be undervalued nor underestimated and can often lead to a greater good. For Equity Trustees, trust is just one value that ensures success for the business and its clients.
ore values are what separate good businesses from great. They can be the difference between a 10-year lifespan and a company that prospers for a century or more. Equity Trustees was established as an independent Trustee and Executor company in 1888 and in the almost 130 years since has become one of Australia’s largest specialist trustee companies. Its success is based on a set of core values that it has held dear for all this time and has maintained as the company has evolved into something more modern. Current Managing Director Michael O’Brien is very cognisant of Equity Trustee’s history, but is also tasked with bringing what has been a fairly conservative company into more contemporary times. One thing that works in his favour in this regard is the company’s values. “I’ve never been in an organisation that can make such a difference to people’s lives,” O’Brien says. O’Brien is determined to continue this trend, however he is also of the understanding that he must help the community and the markets recognise the sort of things Equity Trustees do and what can be achieved with a bit of forethought and planning. He says the company certainly has all the capability to be able to manage the needs of clients, both corporate and private, but it is also important to expand beyond current clientele without losing sight of the values that brought Equity Trustees to this point in the first place. Looking at the numbers, it’s not a bad place to be: Equity Trustees has 1,000 clients with
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services being delivered. Then there’s approximately 55,000 potential clients sitting in the company’s will bank, waiting for estate planning and other services when the need arises. There are also about 40,000 members across the superannuation funds Equity Trustees holds trusteeship over. In total organisational funds, Equity Trustees has about $70 billion funds under supervision. “That’s a lot of assets that we’re safekeeping for people,” O’Brien says. Those assets are in good hands. O’Brien has had more than 30 years in financial services, 20 spent with AXA Group. He is an actuary by training and qualification and spent his first 15 years in superannuation, spending a lot of time developing AXA’s businesses in Asia. He sat on the board of AXA’s joint venture Aliiance Bernstein in Australia. He was also CEO of a global funds management firm called Invesco, one of the top 20 global financial firms. He was the CEO there for six years, right through the GFC and steered the company successfully across what could have been very choppy waters. O’Brien joined to the Board of Equity Trustees in 2014. “It wasn’t my plan to be here as the managing director of the organisation, but that’s what’s transpired. I’ve been Managing Director since July last year, and it’s really one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my career.” Not only was he attracted to the position by the people on the Board who include JA Killen OAM, and former Victoria Premier Jeff Kennett amongst several other highly experienced leaders in their own right, O’Brien was also interested in what the business stood for. “I liked the diversity of the business and what it stood for in terms of looking out for our clients,” O’Brien says. This of course is a core value. “The values for Equity Trustees, really, are based on looking after clients. We’re put in a very privileged position to look after people, perhaps when they can’t look after themselves or if they’re no longer here to look after their legacy effectively, and look after their various beneficiaries.
“It is a very privileged position that comes with an enormous amount of responsibility to carry out people’s instructions properly. It requires a high level of trust, and I think it’s rewarding to know that you’re doing a job that really is needed by your clients.” No matter what the generation, those needs will never change. However as we alluded to early, when O’Brien joined Equity Trustees, he felt the company needed to become more contemporary. “It has this rich, incredible history, which I don’t want to lose and won’t lose, but it needs to become more contemporary for today’s clientele and today’s society and the issues that people are dealing with. That goes from everything around some of our management practices, to our client engagement, as well as the way we position the company and brand. That’s what I’m looking to do, and, with that, being able to just move forward into new markets.” Equity Trustees brand is wrapped up in its values. “The brand really is one that’s built around trust. I try to extend that out to having real empathy and a caring approach to our clients and be able to look after them in a very transparent way. “In terms of making the business more contemporary, we need to make sure that it appeals to the broader demographic without being too focused on age. It’s is also a matter of altering the wholly conservative legalistic view of what we do.” Equity Trustees has entertained some great legal minds on the Board, including a couple of Prime Ministers and a number of Premiers of the State of Victoria, many of them were judges. And while that is a strength, O’Brien wants the company to be recognised not only for its history, but also its caring values. “It’s subtle change, but it is an important change in the way we view ourselves and the people that we need working here,” he says. One of the primary purposes of the business is to care for its client’s needs, especially in times of difficulty and duress. This is particularly valuable within the
THE HEART OF EQUITY TRUSTEES’ PHILANTHROPY The following is Michael O’Brien speaking about Equity Trustee’s philanthropic causes. INDIGENOUS TRUSTS “We have a range of indigenous communities as our clients, and they’ve got trust funds that they’ve received through either land rights or through mining royalties. Available income is being generated by those funds for distribution to the community to meet certain needs, some of them charitable, some of them not only charitable. “We invariably have advisory committees in place from the community to help us make those decisions as to where those distributions and granting should go. It’s a really rewarding part of the job.” GENERAL PHILANTHROPY “We have a really large footprint in terms of philanthropy. More than a billion and a half dollars is dedicated funds to philanthropic causes. We’re providing about $70 million a year to a whole range of worthy causes, and this is all on the back of the generous legacy of our past clients and some of our current clients, which is great. We have a dedicated team that, basically, is seeking applications for different trusts and the like and then allocating out those funds over single grants or over multi-year periods. All are designed to get the biggest community impact we can get in line with our clients’ wishes. “We have a team that’s completely dedicated to this process. Where government hasn’t been able to provide solutions, and there’s a prime need for community to address issues, we can make a difference. We can empower groups to make changes and facilitate them and build that capability to make them more sustainable. That is an incredibly rewarding aspect to what this business does.”
BFM | PROFILE
estate planning and administration sectors of the business. Equity Trustees has highly experienced people working in will & estate planning, estate administration, as powers of attorney and in Trusts. These roles require extraordinary empathy. The people in the business are very experienced and have seen so many different scenarios unfold, that they understand how to deal with people and the process and the timelines they go through including when they’re grieving and when they’re planning, effectively, to transition their estate. “People will tell us more information about their lives than they are probably telling many members of their family. It’s ethereal in a way. So, again, we’re put in this privileged position to be able to carry out their wishes.” It’s an important position because as O’Brien says, generally by this point in many people are actually starting to lose quite a lot of interest in their assets, because they’re not going to take them with them. In this case it gives the role of any trustee a great deal of gravitas. Of course this is just the client side of the business. Equity Trustees has a very significant corporate trustee business, as well. Interestingly many of the same principles apply and certainly the same values are adhered to. “It’s not as emotional for these corporate transactions, but it’s the
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same thing. We’re being put into a position of trust and governance that is in the centre of a whole range of different types of services. Again, trust is paramount because we have subject-matter experts in very technical, complex areas of funds management who understand the fiduciary nature of the position we’re taking.” Equity Trustees has an in-house investment team managing equities and bonds, primarily and they take an approach to investments that is a very long-term. It’s fit for purpose for clients, but primarily Equity Trustees deliver income with a good deal of capital stability. That’s the prime investment objective for most of their private and not-for-profit clients. “There is a lot of volatility in the markets. There’s a lot of uncertainty going forward across a whole range of things, but you will find with our investment approach that we stick to a course.” Another commonality between private and corporate is that Equity Trustees prides itself on extensive client engagement over a long period of time. “In many cases, the arrangements that we are agreeing to are long-term arrangements. When I say “long-term,” these aren’t one, three, five years. These are 15 years, maybe going out 50 years, and in perpetuity in some cases. No one calls us, on the basis that, ‘I’ll have this for three years, and then I’ll do something
different’. That’s not really what we do. It’s more a high-touch, deep engagement.” As Equity Trustees transitions into the future, they are further trying to understand their clients’ needs and look at the breadth and complexity of the things that they need to put in place. It is then a matter of determining whether they can actually deliver. “That process of investigation and discovery is really important. In some services we offer, there’s a very formalised way we go about things; in others, it’s a little bit more flexible. Then we can put in place solutions that meet our clients’ needs. “It’s a different process with private clients instead of corporate clients, but, to some extent, it’s designed around the same thing. We need to be very, very clear about what the objectives are for the client and then put a structure and arrangement in place to suit.” Equity Trustees has just embarked on its first client satisfaction survey. It all comes down to once again fine tuning the values and putting clients first. Not to mention it’s a great way to build further trust. “Now we know what our clients think of us, and, pleasingly, they think very highly of us. We have a very high satisfaction rate with our clients, but there’s also areas where we can do better. Bear in mind, some of our clients come to us not because they choose to come to us, but someone else chose for them. They had no choice in it. So we’re going to use that survey to inform how we can improve the way we engage.” As you can see there is a theme here founded on the back of strong client interactions: engagement, empathy and trust and all the values that clients hold dear in what is effectively a very personal relationship. Equity Trustees is a company that works in many facets to make the lives of its clients, better, easier, less distressing and certainly in the long-term rewarding. It can only do this, if it has the trust of those it is looking after. BFM
The Investment Case for the Big 4 By Gabriel Yi, Managing Director of M3 Investment Group
omprising over 25% of the market cap of ASX 200, the big 4 banks have long been considered a staple component of a model ASX portfolio. However in recent times, the banking environment has faced several headwinds including the predictions of a slowing housing market, calls for a Royal Commission, the introduction of a bank levy in the 2017 Federal budget, proposals for a state-wide levy in South Australia and most recently, the AUSTRAC money laundering allegations against CBA. In light of these headwinds, it would be prudent to analyse the big 4 banks in general and also scrutinise the premium that CBA has traded on in comparison to its peers. In July 2017, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) increased the minimum tier 1 capital ratio requirements to 10.5% by 1 January 2020, affecting the big 4 banks and Macquarie Group. This announcement was well received by investors as most banks were in good shape to meet these levels. ANZ was in the best shape to meet the new requirements due to their executed and planned divestment of assets, allowing them to have their CET1 capital ratio at 10.1% as of 31 March 2017. Westpac and NAB were in similar positions, confident in meeting the new requirements. In CBA’s August 2017 full year report they also announced a CET1 capital ratio of 10.1%. The Net Interest Margin (NIM) trajectory for the banking industry also appears to be improving as evidenced in CBA’s FY17 report which showed better funding costs, in addition to mortgage repricing acting as positive tailwinds for the bank’s NIM in 2H17 and into FY18. CBA’s net profit and cash earnings were impressive and judging from the stellar 3Q reports from ANZ, NAB and WBC which all showed strong quarterly cash earnings and solid capital positions, the big 4 banks appear to
be solid investment opportunities. However, this positivity resulting from balance sheet improvements has not been reflected in recent share price action, with most banks trending sideways at best in 2017. This can be attributed to the recent plethora of unexpected events that have hit the investment case for the big 4. (Not to mention the looming cloud, that is, the risk of a declining housing market). The unexpected bank levy which was introduced in the 2017 Federal budget sparked an initial negative reaction among investors but since the associated cost could quite possibly be passed on to consumers or shareholders, it did not become a lingering headwind. The statewide bank levy proposed by the South Australian government was also a surprise event and has since been met with strong opposition. The recent AUSTRAC money laundering scandal involving the CBA has been yet another incident which has brought into question the culture within banks and reinvigorated calls for a Royal Commission. Furthermore, in light of the AUSTRAC pending court case, CBA’s premium share price in comparison to its peers have been brought into question. In the interest of minimising risk, WBC, ANZ then NAB are our preference. Although CBA has a history of trading on a premium to its peers, and deservedly so, the AUSTRAC allegations have clearly elevated their downside risk. The events surrounding the banks, particularly in recent months, have instilled caution across the sector, as evidenced in their lackluster share price performances. However, their purpose in a portfolio should not be forgotten. Notwithstanding the fact that there continues to be a long line of headwinds anchoring the investment case for the big 4 banks, many ASX investors still possess a strong affinity for high dividend yields and franking credits.
In a portfolio with a focus on income, banks can certainly act as the stable source of approximately 5.5 to 6% yield plus franking credits. They are the financial pillars of the Australian economy and continue to show strong profitability. So, it’s not a surprise the big 4 continue to be widely held across retail and institutional portfolios. Although there may be more surprises along the way, as long as the dividend outlook for the banks remains intact, we predict continued support for the big 4 among investors.. .BFM M3 Investment Group is a private wealth management firm specialising in Australian equities. The proactive investment approach implemented by M3 has been designed to help investors capture value in volatile markets. Visit us at m3group.com.au for more information and register your details for a complimentary portfolio consultation. The content in this article has been prepared without taking into consideration any individual’s particular objectives, financial situation and needs. It does not constitute formal advice. Consider the appropriateness of the information in regards to your circumstances.
BFM | PROFILE
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The Business Architect IT Architecture isn’t something most businesses think about. However, as The Architecture Practice (TAP) founder Saurabh Anand tells Business First, fit-for-purpose architecture can have a profound effect on the bottom line.
hen most of us think about architecture it is in the context of property construction; grand designs, towering buildings, aesthetically pleasing interiors. However, there is another kind of architecture that is just as important to the fabric of society – certainly to the smooth running of businesses and it all has to do with Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The Architecture Practice (TAP) founder Saurabh Anand is the Chief Architect and Chief Executive Officer at The Architecture Practice, a company that specialises in Enterprise Architecture, Business and ICT Strategy. Saurabh wants to make one thing clear from the start: TAP is not a system integrator. The company focuses on services and value add. “In 2014, I saw a big gap in the market in terms of architecture services. Many of the Executives were struggling with developing strategies, let alone implementing them and many of the Architects didn’t realize the impact their decisions would have over the 5-10 years horizon.” Saurabh has been working in the strategic architecture space since 2007 and knows a thing or two about ICT services. He has worked
in positions from Programmer to Tech Lead to Architect to Strategist in government and private sectors. Prior to starting TAP, he was working in Department of Defence with a focus on Strategy and Architecture. He says when you think of IT Architecture, a good way to understand it is in the context of a town planner. “Normally when you build a new town, you must decide on the location of the residential segment, the hospitals, parks and where vital infrastructure will go. People who plan and design towns must look at the entire landscape to see where things best fit and what doesn’t work. The IT landscape is no different.” It is broken into enterprise level architecture knowing what to build and what to decommission and individual solution architecture – designing what the individual solution should look like. So where does TAP fit into this matrix? Saurabh founded TAP to solve architecture problems, develop innovative solutions and add value. “Architecture and strategy is considered as a white elephant. There is too much focus on nirvana and what it should look like. Yet, building nirvana isn’t practical
at times. What we are doing is changing the mindset about finding practical, innovative and fit-for-purpose solutions. We look at what budgets we have, the problems we are trying solve and the best possible solution to deliver an outcome. “A lot of organisations don’t think about their architecture in a practical way and that’s where we are different.” TAP is essentially an Architecture as a Service (AaaS) company. You pay for what you get and if a job can be done in two months rather than 12, then TAP enables businesses to get on with it without wasting time and money on full time employees. TAP is doing something right with this approach. The company is listed as a Top 100 Fast Starters. It came 51st last year and is on track to crack the Top 30-40 this year. It has also built staff numbers to 35 staff. “We are not here to make money, we are here to add value,” Saurabh says. However he is looking to gain brand recognition across Australia and Asia. TAP is certainly on track to do this. The business has grown organically and exceeded Saurabh’s expectations. He initially believed it might take about 12-18 months to get the first
BFM | PROFILE
opportunity. However, TAP already has 18-20 clients with all work coming as a result of relationships, networking and reputation. “We did a lot of work in Canberra and were then recommended to other cities. We now work in the government, banking, transport and aviation sectors and the growth has all been built on building relationships.” The relationships are built upon trust; an understanding that TAP is upfront with clients. “If we can’t deliver, we tell clients up front. This isn’t about just getting a gig for us, we don’t want to over promise and under deliver and that creates good relationships.” “When I talk about providing value, it is about innovating. We have to go beyond expectations. It is about good quality, fit-forpurpose solutions at a much lower
cost and we ensure our solutions are relevant for the future. We don’t just architect and get out; we work with vendors as strategic partners to make sure they are on the right path. Eventually we want to get to the stage where TAP is the brand to solve their problems.” TAP hasn’t diverted from its Architecture as a Service foundations. The company hasn’t needed to, however it has added national security, biometric and a range of other services to its architecture solutions. The Sydney Siege is a prime example of how architecture is now relevant to security functions and TAP has been working with government to help implement security solutions. The company has worked with it’s clients to ensure that their solutions are working well and deliver value for business. One
of the vital things TAP is helping with is capturing information, for instance which information asset is used the most and what value it can add. The most common issues encountered are the overall cost and IT spend. There is also a struggle to move away from legacy IT systems. “Companies often build brand new capabilities, but IT cannot support them,” Saurabh says. “We come in to change the mindset of a business and say ‘this is what you should focus on’. We give them a cost-effective clarity around a fit-for-purpose IT solution.” TAP then helps with pre and post implementation issues including governance that is useful and long lasting. TAP is all about the customer experience and value and that has seen it grow quickly in the very short time it has been operational. The growth continues at pace with the company recently hiring a head of strategy from one of the Big 4 Consulting Firms. However, at present, Saurabh is thinking more along consolidation lines rather than expansion. “A lot of organisations in our position want to expand, but we want to consolidate; sustain and retain resources, because our value is in our people. Once that is in place, we can then look at expansion. Interestingly Saurabh has fielded three offers for TAP, but has declined each one, mindful that he may be short selling the business. He also believes he has much more work to do with the business before he can consider an acquisition proposal. “I think people need to start looking at IT differently. They shouldn’t be looking at big progress; it’s more about looking at realistic capabilities. It is not a question of buying tech for the sake of it. So if I can get to a stage where I am a trusted advisor to businesses, that is when I will be more content.” And perhaps then, the world will better understand the true meaning of IT Architecture. BFM
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Bridging the gap between Business and IT by creating possibilities with innovative Strategy, Enterprise and Solution Architecture
Technical superiority with unmatched value for your business
Seamless integration of Business and IT by delivering mature, practical and useful architecture solutions
Contact us @ www.thearchitecturepractice.com.au
BFM | BUSINESS
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WHEN THE HUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED – WHAT REALLY MAKES A DISRUPTIVE BUSINESS MODEL?
“Always be aware that there is someone or something just around the corner ready to disrupt all the hard work you have done - making the hunter become the hunted.”
n historical terms a disruptive business model simply means a product or service that delivers a radical change in an industry. It is something that literally disrupts the normal flow of activity and rips up the old adage that ‘this is how we have always done it’. This is all well and good but the problem lies in that the ‘disruptive’ tag is something that has become so in vogue that every business under the sun is claiming it is disruptive and the true power of the term is becoming diluted as more and more businesses stick their ‘disruptive’ stake in the ground. Let’s first look at the foreign exchange landscape as an example. In the good old days, the only option clients had in this market would be to ring a bank dealing room or front up at a counter and be told the rate on offer that day. We (World First) along with others came into the market offering more transparency of the rates on offer, along with 24-hour access to the FX market. Banks are still shutting their services at 4.30pm or 5.00pm, the same service they offered 20 years ago and to be honest their market share is shrinking because of it. Disruption also usually leads to industry change as the disrupted wake up to the fact that clients now have a new way of acting or a better service or product on offer. The disrupted have to adapt or be left behind, and the true disrupters need to scramble to keep innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is widely accepted in the industry to remain
a disrupter – a bit of a mouthful but all true! Innovation, like disruption, is a word that is thrown around in most business settings but it is true that without innovation, disruption simply doesn’t exist. Investing in IT, digital trends and products has been crucial in our game in order to keep developing systems and processes to disrupt the old guard and keep the new disrupters on the block on their toes. Disruption is a competitive game and there are so many businesses striving to out-do one another. This is very exciting and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Industries of all types are developing at the rate of knots and over the next 10 years it is going to be exciting to see where it leads us. Something that doesn’t often get associated with a disruptive business model is work culture. It is so important to foster this innovative work culture as certain staff members will be called upon to do tasks and jump in the deep end and they may not necessarily think it is up to them. It is up to each and every individual to live and breathe the disruptive business model. If there is just one chink in the armor everything can fall flat. When everyone is on the same page and invested in the journey the results and customer engagement models that can be achieved are phenomenal. So before you start claiming to be a disrupter, ask yourself the question; are you really and truly disrupting the market? Do you have a target on your back because of it
and what can you do to take it to the next level? Always be aware that there is someone or something just around the corner ready to disrupt all the hard work you have done - making the hunter become the hunted. BFM Ray Ridgeway is World First Australia Managing Director
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE ‘DISRUPTIVE’ BUSINESS MODEL 1 Ask yourself whether your product or service is truly making industry change and if not go back to the drawing board. Generally if you are truly disrupting the market people and businesses will be annoyed – this generally means you are on the right track! 2 Invest in new innovative online platforms and systems and IT. There are so many options out there just ensure you invest enough to ensure you offer a distinct point of difference. 3 Make sure your team is on board with the disruption model – always make sure they are willing to jump in the deep end if needed! 4 Disruption generally comes down to customer service or the customer experience so always put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and work out what will make their life easier. 5 Think outside the box and challenge yourself to keep pushing the boundaries.
BFM | PROFILE
THE CRITICAL NATURE OF IMMIGRATION IN AUSTRALIA The topic of migration is a contentious one. Even more so when it relates to skilled migrant workers, working in Australian businesses. What we can’t deny, however, is the mostly positive impact these workers have on the workplace and the necessity for them to continue in these roles.
You never really know which migrant worker could be the next Elon Musk. The fact is, there is a veritable roll call of big name global entrepreneurs who started as migrant workers: Musk, Ariana Huffington, Sergey Brin, Harry Triguboff, John Hemmes, Tan Le. The list could certainly go on. These are just the entrepreneurs. Late last year, the ABC ran an article titled How migrant workers are critical to the future of the agricultural industry. The article posited that more than 900,000 immigrants on permanent and temporary visas enter Australia each year and alluded to a report with evidence to suggest that immigrant workers add substantially to productivity in the agricultural industry. So whilst we know there is good to come of having immigrant workers in Australia’s businesses, the question that has sprung recently is what effect will changes to the Skilled Visa Programs have
to this form of productivity and who can help? SCA Connect has established itself as a leading, highly ethical and professional Australian immigration consultancy. It has an extensive client list, working with some of Australia’s largest organisations as well as small businesses. It works across a range of industries including airlines, digital advertising media, and also the retail, construction and surveying and hospitality industries and also assists individuals across key areas of migration including skilled and partner migration. “A key with all our clients, both corporate and individual, is that we do spend a lot of time working closely with them and building those relationships. Based on that, we work with our clients for a number of years and often with our individual clients we will assist family members in the future,” says SCA Connect Director Jenny Murphy.
a. By state and territorya
b. By remoteness area 100
20 0 NSW VIC Qld SA WA Tas NT ACT
Excludes other territories
Source: Productivity Commission (2015), p.97
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Inner Outer regional regional
Let’s have a look at some of the changes to the 457 visa program that have taken effect. Changes have been made to the list of eligible skilled occupations. You can find a full list of occupations removed, added or moved between lists at www. border.gov.au. Further significant changes include The English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) which exempted applicants (whose salary was over AUD$96,400) from the English language requirement. This has now has been removed for applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017 and English language test results must be provided for applications lodged on or after 1 July 2017. There are exemptions to this, but it is wise to engage an expert such as SCA Connect to find out what they are. Furthermore, from March 2018 sponsors will no longer be required to meet the current training benchmarks requirements with these arrangements to be replaced by a requirement to pay
a contribution to the new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF). As for the subclass 457 visa program according to the Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton, holders of the new visas will not be as easily able to apply for permanent residency as 457 holders are. There are far more changes to consider, but you get a sense here of the scope of these changes and the requirement for help when trying to understand how it affects immigrant workers and the businesses supporting them. Jenny is quick to point out that these changes have created a lot of uncertainty for business. “At the moment I see the biggest issue is the uncertainty in the employers sponsored visa program in particular. “Whilst some changes have been implemented, there’s further changes planned up until March next year and I think the uncertainty of exactly what that legislation will be has seen a loss of trust between business, potential applicants and the government, especially in the way the announcement of the recent changes were made.” According to Jenny the 457 program has always been an opportunity to bring skills from more established markets to assist in business growth in Australia and transfer knowledge and skills to Australians. Jenny is critical of the way the government implemented its changes and the difficulties and misunderstandings that it has created for Australian businesses and visa holders and SCA Connect is playing an important role is guiding clients through this uncertain period. “The citizenship changes actually had a significant impact on permanent residents. They are left in limbo because the changes are not yet through parliament but it’s the Government’s intention to backdate the changes to all applications lodged on or after 20th April 2017, if passed. “Many of our clients, between their temporary visas and permanent residency, would have been in Australia for 10 years. They feel the rule changed half way through the game for them and there is a lot of anger and
disappointment regarding some of the announced changes. “ “Take a look at the English requirement for citizenship, there would be a lot of people who have been educated in Australia that would not get the required result.” Jenny does believe the government will moderate its citizenship changes to be able to pass the legislation. “I believe they will change,” she says. “I don’t believe they will go through as proposed. I would see there would be a change in the English requirement and also the residency requirement and I’m hoping some sense is given to both of those aspects.” In light of the changes, SCA Connect has moved from a role of facilitating visa processing to a much more collaborative and consultative role. The company is working with businesses and their HR departments to manage strategies including talent acquisition. SCA Connect is working closely with its clients to try and manage future changes that have been announced but not yet legislated. “We have been left with no choice but to evolve and adapt to be able to help businesses put their short and long term strategic plans in place.” SCA Connect is indeed playing an important role in helping
businesses understand changes to the legislation. We started this article by commenting on the criticality of skilled immigrant workers to the country, Jenny reaffirms that by saying “At the end of the day, Australia is one of many countries competing for skills in industries where there is a global skills shortage. Whilst there are many factors influencing someone to work in Australia, we are competing against the countries such as the US, Canada, the UK and Europe for those skills and I think as a country we need to be able to continue to attract highly skilled temporary residents and migrants who make a significant contribution to productivity and economic outcomes’’. Jenny believes that in the near future, Australia could be looking at a very genuine skills shortage in highly skilled occupations. With major infrastructure projects going on, it won’t be possible to finish them with the skills that currently exist. So whilst education and skilling of Australians should always remain an important component of the workforce, the reality is Australia relies on migration. So with its continued focus on employer sponsored migration, SCA Connect plays an important role in improving the current workplace landscape. BFM
BFM | LEADERSHIP
THE SEVEN Cs OF LEADERSHIP
As we sail the seas of the world the waters maybe calm, turbulent and daunting. Our emotions maybe a mix of excitement, anxiety and drive. The world we are now in is deep, unknown and changing. The environment is sometimes clear, at other times cloudy and on occasions stormy. By David Byrum
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he parallels to our journey as a leader are uncanny and there is a great deal of literature out there about what makes a great leader. Having worked with Australia’s top leadership teams and by leveraging Human Synergistics’ 40 years’ worth of culture and leadership data, I would like to share with you a few simple tips to guide you on your leadership journey. The first is Confidence “Confident leaders know who they are and most importantly what they can and can’t control.” There will always be barriers that will hinder self-confidence and make you feel like you are not good enough, but a good start is to follow these tips: • Believe in your abilities and those of your team • Set achievable goals and don’t declare victory too early • Never appoint blame or neglect to anticipate setbacks or be overconfident • Be responsible for your own actions. MAKE CONNECTIONS “Developing real connections with people is the key to unlocking strong relationships.” Strong and effective connections are a key for leaders to engage their people and develop a team willing to work together to achieve organisational goals. Some potential actions to support your journey as a leader are: • Trust your team and be open with them • Be respectful and embrace differences • Be accountable • Ensure roles are clear • Leave your ego at the door. DELIVER MESSAGES WITH CLARITY “Never assume your team know what is in your head.” A common mistake made by leaders is confusing clarity with transparency. Transparency means to be open - about organisational choices, about the intended impact. However, clarity provides insight and direction into those decisions. There is a subtle but pivotal difference. Great leaders know clarity is the ‘why’ and they are not afraid to share it. To provide
clarity as a leader, think about establishing the following: • Clear objectives and KPIs • Establish a plan • Diagnose and commit to change • Understand the issue and set clear priorities • Solve problems, make decisions and manage risk • Create accountability for self and clarify for others • Provide and receive feedback. CHALLENGE YOURSELF “Challenge yourself, others and the status quo.” One of the ways great leaders challenge themselves is by looking at the world though a lens of opportunity rather than one of problems. They push themselves beyond their comfort zone, knowing that it is okay to fail. Challenge yourselves to: • Move out of your comfort zone – give and ask for feedback • Be assertive – not aggressive • Ask questions. It is the best way to develop and grow others • Step-up and lead as a guide from the side • Ask yourself what is going to challenge me? And do it. LOOK FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS “The world is always changing. Creativity comes from exploring that change.” Leaders need to recognise the world is a dynamic and living thing. Be open to changes and explore possibilities as coming up with a creative solution is a hallmark of effective leadership. Have the passion and conviction to celebrate in the moment. As a leader consider the following: • Embrace successes and failures as you can learn from both • Identify what would improve the effectiveness of all your stakeholders • Explore options that would disrupt your business model • Ask yourself what the solution would look like 100 years from now. SHOW CARE “People follow those who genuinely care.” Leaders care. Before a word is spoken they demonstrate this through body language. Effective
leaders know how to be empathetic and acknowledge the distinctions between apathy, empathy and sympathy. Leaders who care grow, develop, challenge and encourage their teams and themselves. Showing care can be achieved by: • Understanding the personal motivations of your team • Being a leader, colleague and friend • Providing opportunities that grow and challenge • Actively listening to and involving others • Be open to the unknown by asking questions to enquire. HAVE COURAGE “Be courageous, despite fear.” Courage is about perseverance not bravery, and it doesn’t always mean you have to be first out of the box, as it also takes courage to be the first to follow. The best way to find your inner courage is to: • Be yourself • Explore something new • Be open, when you are normally closed • Seek to be involved and involve others. Effective leaders are naturals when it comes to implementing the Seven Cs. However, they also know to be a great or inspirational leader they must continuously strive to work on themselves. Implementing the Seven Cs means being confident in their own and their team’s abilities, connecting and respecting one another, being clear about why and how they plan to achieve organisational goals, challenging openly, looking for creative solutions, showing they care and having the courage to be themselves. Great leaders know, if they do this they are offering their best to their team and organisation. BFM David Byrum works for Human Synergistics – leaders in Organisational Culture and Leadership development. Human Synergistics support an amazing community of External Consultants and Internal Change Agents who use our suite of diagnostics and tools to Change the World – One Organisation at a Time®. David consults and speaks about Leadership and Culture.
BFM | PROFILE
Changing nature of business Charter Hall, one of Australia’s leading property investment and funds management groups, has been on what can only be described as a successful organisational change journey. On taking this journey it has become a very different organisation to what it was a just a few years ago and it is now starting to realise its original ambitions.
harter Hall’s founding plan was to facilitate more interaction, accountability and collaboration, create a more open innovative environment, build a sense of community and belonging in its workforce and create better work-life balance for the organisation and its people.
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However, as with most businesses, early on there were limitations in physical and technological infrastructure that impeded the vision. It wasn’t until the company moved from its former office at 333 George Street in Sydney, a site it has recently redeveloped, to a
new location across the street at 1 Martin Place, that the opportunity to start fulfilling its vision came into focus. It has been a complete transformation since then. Over at George Street, Charter Hall had the standard number of meeting rooms, two offices for
managing directors and individual desks for everyone else. There was no space to collaborate, there were no quiet spots where people could do work requiring intensive collaboration. All that changed at Martin Place with activity based working a central feature of the completely open office environment. There are no landlines. Phone calls are now made and taken on mobiles. Staff now have collaboration tools like Yammer and work from home opportunities. Indeed, Charter Hall has become a modern-day, contemporary workplace. Natalie Devlin, Group Executive of People, Brand and Community at Charter Hall, said the company had been working on a workplace cultural shift for some time. “We had spent that time before our move thinking about what we wanted to be when we grew up; how did we want to act together, how did we want to organise ourselves, what were our values, all those kinds of things,” Devlin says. “And then this wonderful opportunity came up. We had grown out of our space and had an opportunity to move, so we chose a building that we own through one of our funds and started to look at the way we worked and the way we wanted to work going forward that would reinforce our culture.” She said Charter Hall had done a study and found people weren’t at their desks for 45 per cent of the time, so the executive team knew it had to work with the smart utilisation of space. It decided to look at the concept of activity based working through the lens of passion, collaboration and accountability. “Our primary objective was cultural because we thought if we did it well we could really use it as an opportunity to complete our cultural transformation and break down the difference between the old business and the silos that existed and create something new for our people,” Devlin says. The Charter Hall office at Martin Place is built around the concept of
activity-based working. If people need to work together, there’s a collaborative space where they can white-board ideas. If someone for example has to prepare something important, say a paper to the board, they can go to an area where no-one will interrupt them. There are formal collaborative settings and informal ones. Alternatively, people can use bookable meeting rooms for external or highly confidential discussion. There are spaces called huddles, which are big round desks where there’s a multi-purpose screen to project on or conduct teleconferences, and there are large project and team tables for people working on big projects. The office has work processing spaces which come with a computer where people can either sit on their own next to one person or at a table of four to six and process while talking to people. There are phone booths for private conversations, bunkers where people can do a piece of confidential work for a period of up to an hour, high focus areas where people are working out in the open but everyone knows not to approach them in those areas. And then there is a learning space called the Yard where people can go and write on any surface and move all the furniture around and create different spaces. How did the company make the transition to such a radically different working space? How easy was it for people who had worked all their lives at a desk with a phone and computer? Devlin says it took six months to make the initial transition and a further 12 months to really embed the new way of working in people’s daily lives, but in the end, everyone was on board. “It’s a generalisation but I would say for the younger generation, the millennials, they are used to working in lots of different environments, as long as they have a laptop, there are many spaces in which they can work,” she says. “There are other people who
would have been highly desk and paper dependent. The give in all of it is that when you suddenly have a laptop or a virtual desktop that you can access, and you don’t have a landline, you are able to work anywhere anytime. “That does give you a personal level of flexibility and that was the first step for us to enable other types of flexibility. There are people who battle with the concept of not having a space of their own but generally over time they get used to the idea and have their own way of working. “The way we dealt with the transition was with less policing and more thorough coaching.” The result was a more flexible workplace with greater accountability for everyone. As part of the changes, Charter Hall now has policies not only around flexible working but also physical health with access to local fitness facilities, sponsored participation in fun runs and internal yoga classes, around mental health with meditation spaces, company sponsored counselling and career breaks, around nutrition with healthy snacks, food options and after hours meals, a community focus with personal and corporate donations and two annual volunteer days and family support with paid parental leave, a purchased leave scheme, school holiday programs, return to work support, reduced work week opportunities and days off for birthdays. Devlin says the company’s mantra was to create a new way of working which meant it was flexible not only about where people worked in the building but also about start and finish times, or whether people worked from home or in the office. “Essentially we shifted our thinking towards being outcomes focused regardless of physical presence. This requires a level of trust and respect between a manager and their people but as long as you are delivering on those outcomes then the way you do that
BFM | PROFILE
we are supportive of,” she says. “For me our way of working is about how we create the environment or the conditions for everyone to flourish in all of their roles and aspects in life. “Our approach to wellbeing, for instance, considers not just the physical environment but also the mental, spiritual and physical health of our people. This forces us to consider the kind of food we provide to our people, the kind of options we provide around mindfulness or even physical activities and support for working parents. “So we have developed a menu of benefits for our people that includes things like discounts for gym memberships and support for corporate events. We have implemented school holiday programswhere our working parents bring their children to work to participate in fun learning activities as well as the ability to purchase leave to be able to accommodate school holidays,” Devlin adds. The policies are built around supporting Charter Hall’s people to be accountable and outcomes focused. As long as people are delivering, Charter Hall will create a working environment that suits their needs. “We started to build out a suite of benefits that’s supported the philosophy that as long as you are
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delivering, and we believe we ask a lot of our people anyway, then we are going to put as much in place in our environment to support you to flourish in all of that.” Other changes include Charter Hall becoming the first Australian property company to join Pledge 1%, an initiative that enables businesses to learn more about how to create a culture of giving, by donating 1 per cent of their equity, product and employee time to the communities in which they operate. Other companies that are part of the Pledge 1% movement include Atlassian and SalesForce. It’s a model that allows Charter Hall to create a sense of community in its workforce and give its employees a higher sense of purpose. “That is why the concept of community became important as part of our definition of success and why Pledge 1% plays both to our strengths and benefits our community,” Devlin says. Charter Hall’s managing director and group CEO David Harrison is also part of the Property Male Champions of Change movement which seeks to break the glass ceiling and increase the representation of women in senior leadership in the industry. Charter Hall publishes its gender targets annually, has real time diversity reporting for managers
through an online HR management system (and it prescribes that 50 per cent of any new appointment has to be internal people and 50 per cent women). It also has programs in place to ensure the transition of women into revenue creating and client facing positions. The cultural change at Charter Hall has been enormous. Turnover level has dramatically decreased and engagement levels have increased by 30 per cent. “Now I feel like people come to contribute ideas as part of the way we do things and people want to keep growing and refreshing itself,” Devlin says. “It’s a significantly different organisation to the one it was three years ago and that’s been evident in things like turnover results and engagement which have significantly improved.” Culture change fits in with Charter Hall’s overall business strategy which has seen change in the past when the Group acquired Macquaries unlisted real estate business in 2010. Devlin says the cultural change has made that possible. “I think we wouldn’t be able to take on these new things if we weren’t used to change and prepared for change. The mission is to keep agile even as we get bigger, that will be our challenge,” she says. BFM
PROPERTY: HOT SPOT| BFM
NORTH WEST TIPPED TO BE SYDNEY’S NEXT INVESTMENT HOT SPOT Investing in Sydney’s real estate market has been a tough call in recent years, with ever-increasing prices putting the squeeze on returns and meaning that investors need to do their due diligence more than ever before. According to CoreLogic, the median apartment price in Sydney has increased by a massive 106.2% since 2008 and is now at $750,000. By Ian Bennett, Director Colliers International
ith prices at this level, investors need to be savvy and on the lookout for ways to increase capital gains by identifying upcoming ‘hot spots’. There is huge potential in some pockets of metropolitan Sydney, set to benefit from significant future development and infrastructure projects. Sydney’s burgeoning North West in particular should be high on an investor’s radar. Nestled within the Hills Shire, Castle Hill is a suburb where future growth has been forecast. Key early indicators of growth lie within the current and future plans for commercial and residential developments within the region. In accordance with The
Implementation Plan proposed by the New South Wales Government, some 33,000 new homes are to be developed in North West Sydney. Estimates by the Hills Shire Council predict the population in Castle Hill will grow by 49.53% by 2036. It is undeniable that Castle Hill is an area set for long-term growth and ticks all the boxes for investors. To cater for the growth in population infrastructure developments are also currently underway including the $900 million upgrade of Castle Towers and the $8.3 billion North West Rail link. Upon completion the Castle Towers redevelopment is set to generate 2,373 jobs and create an
enhanced community hub. The North West Rail link is expected for completion in 2019 and will also increase the efficiency of transport connecting residents from Castle Hill Station to Martin Place Station in around 30 minutes. To combat rising property prices in Sydney investors are strongly encouraged to continue to seek out growth areas and identify ‘hot spots’ to realise the future potential, rather than to try to buy into markets that have already hit their peak. Residential real estate remains the investment of choice with solid medium and long-term returns and those who are waiting in anticipation for market conditions to change may miss out on solid investment opportunities.BFM
BFM | PROFILE
How OpenMarkets Continues to Trade up In the stockbroking industry, OpenMarkets stands out as a pure-play execution-only online broker, with a business model based on trade execution, not on advisors. It’s a business that specialises in brokerage technology for trading on the Australian stock markets and clears its own trades. It is a new way of looking at stockbroking writes Leon Gettler.
he key to OpenMarkets’ success, according to the firm’s chief executive officer and managing director Andrea Marani, lies with its application programming interfaces (APIs), software that allows different applications and computer systems to connect with each other. “It’s a model that gives clients access to APIs, enabling them to
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develop their own customised trading applications on top of our technology and brand themselves around it, creating their own look and feel.” OpenMarkets generates its revenue from providing trade execution services to licensed third parties, which include fintech companies like Acorns, wealth management companies, financial
advisers that manage client portfolios and internationallybased brokers, as well as individual retail traders. Its trading is also linked to a number of cash and margin lending providers like Macquarie, ANZ, CBA, Bank West, NAB and Leveraged. “As an execution-only broker, we need to be able to provide the
best trading services available to our clients at the most competitive price, while utilising the best technology available,” Marani says. “Ours is a volume game. We chase execution and we want to offer as many services, tools, products and access to exchanges as we can, but we don’t want to be in the business of giving advice.” OpenMarkets empowers their clients to innovate. It is in the business of providing APIs and best execution technology. “We would rather have our clients innovating in terms of front end applications,” he says. “Otherwise we start competing against all the fintechs out there, some of which are our clients. “We focus instead on the core piece of broking and building our platform and network rather than focusing on developing front ends.” Collaboration with third parties is key to OpenMarkets business model. “Our collaborative open approach and focus on integration creates a network which brings together a number of market leading providers, which ultimately offers a wider choice and a better outcome for the end clients,” he says. The business started in 2013 when Emlyn Scott, the then CEO of NSX, the second largest listing
OpenMarkets wins third place at Deloitte Technology Fast 50
market in Australia, had an idea to set up an online broking platform trading into all Australian stock exchanges. This was a time when regulatory reforms were coming in requiring stockbroking firms to unbundle research from trading services and become more transparent. Scott approached Rick Klink, who was the owner of financial software provider Paritech. Rick then contacted Marani about the proposal. The two then got to work setting it up. They bought ASX and NSX market participant status and ASX clear participant status from Cameron Stockbrokers. They started hiring staff in August 2013 and applied for re-purposing of the ASX and NSX licenses. That was finalised in September 2013 and the firm started trading shortly thereafter. As a co-founder of OpenMarkets, Klink is an executive director of the firm while retaining his role as managing director of Paritech. Marani himself started out as an accountant in South Africa where he worked in internal audit. Fascinated by financial market, he moved to Investec Bank before moving over to London where he worked in financial control with Merrill Lynch and Bankers Trust, followed by a stint in Holland with Rabobank. He then returned to South Africa and joined a team of entrepreneurs who set up a spread trading company. Launched under the brand of Global Trader or GT247, it grew and was eventually sold to a Johannesburg stock exchange listed venture capital company in 2007, just before the crash, for 36 million Euros. Marani then arrived in Australia with the capital behind him. He joined financial services provider Wilson HTM before crossing over to Shaw Stockbroking. Marani is drawn to entrepreneurship. “For me personally, I prefer starting and growing businesses
rather than working in large established ones,” Marani says. “You do obviously forego some benefits available to you in the large organisations but I think that in a start-up type environment, although you don’t have a lot of operational support in the early stages, there is significant upside. It’s there for the taking. It’s very rewarding to see what is being created along the way. “I also like to be able to make decisions, limit the red tape, and operate a pretty flat structure, so all the staff feel empowered and self-motivated. They can also all become shareholders in the business. I prefer that type of environment. “That’s why I probably didn’t spend a career in accounting and auditing. I enjoy the challenges and am happy to get out there and see what changes we can make in the industry. “This is the second business we started from scratch and I do prefer it.” OpenMarkets does about 7.8 million trades a year at a value of $36 billion, so about $3 billion a month on Australian exchanges. Marani expects this to increase with the firm rolling out access to international markets later this year and looking at opportunities in managed funds. “We are expecting it to grow to $40 to 45 billion over the next two years,” he says. OpenMarkets is in a position to pick up market share from the banks which have trading arms. “We’re growing fast and are looking to take more market share from those incumbents as we grow. The core focus for us is trading and while we are adding additional revenue streams to the business, trading will always be a key focus for us,” he says. He says the banks are under pressure from fintech firms and firms like Apple and Google. Banks will have to start collaborating more with the fintech sector and firms like OpenMarkets.
BFM | PROFILE
“You would expect to see the banks focusing on their core activities and scaling back from the non-core stuff and selling off their wealth divisions,” he says. “As you are seeing the growth in the internet of things and the uptake of API services, those will pressure the banks to collaborate to a larger degree than we have seen in the past and we will see specialist firms offering specialist services alongside the banks and ultimately a better outcome for the client. “I think that banks that don’t conform to this model will eventually become irrelevant and die.” The firm is now expanding its offering into Asian markets which he says will become important for Australia. “We have all seen the increase in the number of Chinese companies listing in Australia over the past few years, it’s been quite prolific,” he says.
“Australia has become the second biggest offshore investment destination for China, second to the US. Australia is also very highly regarded for our high standards of governance and compliance. We are seeing Chinese companies listing on the ASX and NSX but are then not being well supported because their shareholders and investors cannot place trades in the newly listed company from overseas. We’re stepping in to fill the gap, predominantly in relation to the post-listing services. We’re not a corporate advisor, we don’t help companies list. We offer overseas investors and shareholders in these companies the opportunity to trade in ASX and NSX listed securities.” He sees strong growth opportunities ahead. “We have an APAC sales team that’s grown to four staff members
Meet Australia’s next evolution stockbroker. Open Thinking. Open Technology. Open Opportunities.
over the last six months. They have very strong pipeline and the OpenMarkets brand is becoming very well-known and trusted by overseas investors. Looking ahead, the focus is on two areas. One is improvement and extension of its API services to the fintech firms, which the company sees as a growth opportunity, particularly in Asia. The other area is advances and improvements to its intermediary brokerage services both locally and overseas. “Our goal is to empower these clients with the trading, tech tools and platform data feeds they need, so they can focus on their valueadd to their own clients.” We will also be extending our trading capabilities and APIs into global markets and continue to build the network through the open approach that we have adopted to date.” BFM
Hometime raises $1.5m funding to accelerate marketing and launch in new markets Hometime (www.hometime.io), a Sydney-based property management company for the short-term rental market, including Airbnb, has closed a $1.5 million seed funding round led by technology accelerators Asia Principal Capital (APC). Additional investors in the round include marketing experts with specific expertise in scaling large digital customer acquisition as well as real estate industry leaders.
aunched in 2016 by founders Dave Thompson and Will Crock, Hometime’s property management and housekeeping platform allows hosts to “put their Airbnb properties on autopilot” by handling each aspect of the hosting experience whilst delivering superior returns. “Will and I started this business as we saw the tremendous growth Airbnb was experiencing in Australia, with Sydney being its fifth largest market globally,” Thompson said. “As a host myself, I could see the pain point of handling guest enquiries, bookings, inventory management across multiple platforms, arranging property access, and cleaning and linen changes. We saw the opportunity to build a platform that can scale to many thousands of properties across Australia and the region.” The capital will be invested in driving further growth in Sydney and Melbourne, and opening up new markets as well as enhancing an already sophisticated technology stack to include an owner dashboard, which will provide more transparency for hosts to review their earnings, occupancy and guest reviews. Hometime has serviced over 500 unique properties and has welcomed thousands of guests across Sydney and Melbourne. “We set out to automate as much as possible. The measure of our success is ultimately the fivestar reviews our owners repeatedly enjoy, and the increased yield they attain through our sophisticated pricing and occupancy optimisation. There is no reason
property owners cannot enjoy the same benefits that technology has brought to the hotel industry,” Crock said. Thompson said Hometime had a technological edge over its competitors. “There have been new entrants in the space, however the key to success is the ability to scale without compromising service delivery. We have built sophisticated backend technology that allows us to deliver a high-quality personalised hosting experience at scale.” Martin Dalgleish from APC, a renowned technology investor and director, who has been appointed to the Board of Hometime, said: “We were aware of the many new platforms both globally and in Australia to service the rapidly developing short-term
property rental market. Hometime impressed because of its level of technology driven platform approach, and the calibre of the founders to execute on their plans. We see Hometime becoming a dominant player across the entire Australian market in the very short-term.” The demand for Airbnb services in Australia shows no signs of abating with 8.5 million tourists to Australia in the past 12 months spending nearly $40 billion, Thompson said. As at June 2017 Airbnb had 115,000 listings for rooms or entire homes to be rented in Australia, with 60 per cent of Sydney’s 20,000 Airbnb listings for entire homes, according to The University of NSW data. BFM
BFM | PROFILE
Accounting is a matter of business On its web site HLB Mann Judd declares: “We’re not just Accountants; we’re Financial and Business advisers.” It’s particularly true for the firm’s Melbourne office, which takes those words one step further.
anaging Partner Jeff Long puts it bluntly: “We run the Accounting Practice as a business, not an Accounting Practice.” Long say’s many advisers are very good at giving Financial and Business advice, however compromise on some business principles when operating their own businesses. Long says that the Melbourne Office has focussed on de risking its business and focussing on “what we are good at”. The Melbourne Office has always managed its overhead structure very well and has a strong focus on staff costs that are reviewed and measured in detail every month. Melbourne Office has a clear vision of becoming a “Destination of Choice” for staff, disgruntled Partners looking for a home and ultimately clients who want to work with Partners who have a strong business focus and transparent manner in which they do business. Our aim is to assist our clients to not only create wealth, but to protect what they make and then continue to grow and make more. We think this is one of the Partnership’s great strengths and is what we focus on with our clients. What our Partners do, Long says, is have detailed conversations with their clients about how they’re going to do business with them, setting out what work they will be doing to help the client, how much it will cost and when it will be paid. In fact Long tells how the partners at HLB Mann Judd have taken the brave step of taking responsibility for the collection of fees from clients. If fees remain outstanding after a certain period, and the Partner has not had a “how are we doing business” conversation with the client, the Partner is required to pay the outstanding fees. This is how committed the Partners are to their relationships with their clients and the way they do business with their clients.
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Long believes that this business model is unique to the Melbourne Office of HLB Mann Judd. Every HLB Mann Judd office around Australia is independently owned, enabling each firm to have flexibility and to make their own decisions on how they manage and operate their businesses. “We enjoy the flexibility we have because we’re independently owned. We can make our own decisions on how we run our business,” Long says. There is a network of HLB Mann Judd firms around the world. Each office is affiliated to the HLB Mann Judd brand and must follow certain ethical standards and procedures consistent to the brand. As a result of the focus and clear vision, Long says that the profitability of the business has increased significantly. This is due to the collaborative nature of the group of Partners at HLB and the trust they have in each other to put in the effort required to build a business to deliver sustainable profits. As part of the executive committee, Long has the support of his fellow executives and together they have focussed on the disciplines required to operate not as an Accounting Practice but a successful business. “Even though one Partner may have a clear vision and belief in that vision, you also have got to have people who have faith in the vision and who are willing to jump on board and not only support the vision but be prepared to make the effort and follow through to ensure it works.” This focussed client business approach, he says, comes from years of experience and observation when Long was contracted by Macquarie Bank to value numerous accounting practices for lending purposes. “I have been very fortunate that I was paid to learn and meet many Accountants over the years and listen to how they operated
Jeff Long their Accounting Practices and learn all the good and bad of many businesses,” he says. “I have sat and listened to many accountants on all the issues. You hear about a lot of things that aren’t working versus a lot of things that are. “When you digest all the information you have been able to glean over the years, analysing results from Accounting Practices and listening to the people who are charged with the responsibility of managing these businesses, you would like to think that from that information you learn different ways of running the practice as a business versus an accounting practice. So that experience without a doubt has stood me in good stead with the way that I think.” It’s a logical and practical approach that could well come from his early years growing up in country Victoria, in Yarrawonga. Long came to Melbourne when he was 17 years of age. He had come to play football for North Melbourne, spending time in the Under 19s and Reserves. Once married, he moved back to Yarrawonga and following a conversation with local
PROFILE| BFM Accountant’s O’Bryan and O’Donnell, over some Christmas cheer, they suggested he move into the Accounting profession. It turned out to be something Long was already interested in. “The conversation progressed to the point where I could go back and play football at Yarrawonga and earn enough money doing some part time work with O’Bryan and O’Donnell to help pay the family bills whilst I went to university.” Long says he is forever indebted to both Mick and Bob from O’Bryan and O’Donnell for the opportunity they gave him. When he returned to Melbourne, Long went to work for Meyrick Webster, which after a few years strategically decided to re-brand itself. It was a time when HLB Mann Judd had joined the Stockford group which subsequently went into liquidation. “The guys from the original HLB Mann Judd that joined Stockford obviously went their separate ways
and the name in Melbourne was basically sitting dormant. We hired a public relations firm to understand how the brand HLB Mann Judd was regarded in Melbourne and we found the brand was very well-regarded with a lot of history and that the name had not been tainted as a result of the Stockford experience. The Partners then made the decision to join the network. We are now the second largest office in Australia behind the Sydney office.” Long says the brand has helped the business significantly in particular the Audit division who, once we changed our name were being invited to tender for work that previously they were unable to do. In fact the Audit division has shown strong growth from that pojnt on and is very well regarded in both the Private sector and the Government sector. Being part of HLB Mann Judd has allowed the firm to focus on the Asia-Pacific region and develop relationships that will enable HLB
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to assist clients from Asia wanting to do business in Australia. Two partners in the firm, Jude Lau and Josh Chye, are working with our Asia-Pacific colleagues at HLB Mann Judd offices in the region and are developing a strong referral network. The referral network also works with other HLB Mann Judd Offices in many countries. “We are a fair way behind some of our competitors in the number of international referrals we receive, however we are working hard on it to try and improve it,” he said. “It’s a work in progress.” Once again developing relationships in these regions requires time and effort and we have to balance the time and effort with our return on investment. After all, it’s business. “We run a low risk, sustainable healthy business and we have a clear vision to create opportunities for our people to achieve their goals in life and to be a destination of choice, Long says.” BFM
Our knowledge and experience and the way we do business, can help take your business and personal wealth, from one level to the next through a range of tailored solutions to suit your individual needs. No matter what the business opportunity is, we’re here to help.
Jeff Long Partner +61 (3) 9606 3806 BUSINESSFIRST firstname.lastname@example.org www.hlb.com.au MAGAZINE
BFM | TAX
IS AUSTRALIA ACTUALLY OPEN FOR BUSINESS? The first day of financial year always brings with it a multitude of tax changes. Two of the biggest tax changes this year are the Diverted Profits Tax (“DPT”) and an unprecedented increase in administrative penalties. Both changes add to the suite of measures, such as Multinational Anti Avoidance Law and Country By Country reporting, targeted at large multinationals with the stated aim of countering tax avoidance.
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owever, the impact of the changes may be much broader than intended and there’s a real risk that of adversely affecting the Australian economy. The Australian economy depends on foreign investment – this is a reality that cannot be ignored. We need large multinationals to want to do business in Australia, to make and distribute their products and services here, to employ Australians, and to pay taxes. To achieve this, Australia needs to be an attractive place to do business.
Businesses, regardless of size, will generally test a market before they commit to it. A large multinational may initially have a limited ‘beachhead’ presence, and, over time, if the Australian market shows potential, will seek to expand the extent of their Australian operations. This is a scenario that Australian needs to encourage, not discourage. From 1 July the financial risks involved with testing the Australian market have changed fundamentally. As an example, an Australian “beachhead” presence (connected with a large multinational) that is late in lodging a form with the ATO, will now be exposed to a potential penalty of $525,000. Before 1 July 2017 it was $4,500. That is a 500-fold increase. Instead of these penalties being focused on ensuring compliance with measures that counter potential
the ATO considers acceptable or unacceptable. Is expanding a business to Australian worth taking on these potentially onerous financial risks? For many multinationals, it’s potentially not. There is no question that aggressive tax arrangements implemented by multinationals are not acceptable to the Australian community, and Australia needs to take actions to ensure that the right amount of tax is paid by all taxpayers doing business in Australia. I encourage the ATO to issue clear guidance on how it intends to apply the new penalty regime. Target these measures at the taxpayers who are failing to lodge documents that are critical to protecting Australia’s tax revenue, and don’t apply the penalties to situations that are just administrative matters.
“IF THE ATO DOESN’T LIKE AN ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS MODEL, THEY CAN IMPOSE A 40% TAX ON WHAT THEY PERCEIVE TO BE THE UNTAXED PROFITS” tax avoidance – such as Country By Country reporting – the ATO has stated their intention to apply the penalties to all lodgement obligations. Be late in lodging your July activity statement, you could get a $525,000 penalty. Is this countering tax avoidance or merely revenue-raising? Is this the approach of a country that is open for business? The DPT has the potential to act as a further deterrent for doing business in Australia. Unlike all other provisions in the tax laws, the DPT is a “tax now, discuss later” arrangement. If the ATO doesn’t like an aspect of the business model, they can impose a 40% tax on what they perceive to be the untaxed profits, and this tax needs to be paid before there is a discussion about whether the position is right or wrong. What is even more troubling is the lack of guidance on what
Give concrete examples of what is considered unacceptable under the DPT and address the big question – if an arrangement is acceptable under the transfer pricing purposes, Multinational Anti Avoidance Laws and Part IVA (three of the toughest antiavoidance measures in the world), would the ATO still try and apply the DPT? The Government and the ATO recognise that most large multinationals seek to comply with Australia’s tax laws, and that attracting these companies to do business in Australia is critical for our future economy prosperity. Work with the majority that are doing the right thing. Save the ‘big stick’ for the minority that are not.
BFM Greg Travers is Tax Director and Head of Tax Focus Group, William Buck Chartered Accountants and Advisors
BFM | PROFILE
In tight with the clients Allan Hall Business Advisors, a multi-award winning chartered accounting firm on Sydney’s northern beaches, is giving something back to the community this year. Business First finds out exactly what that is.
llan Hall Business Advisors was established by Doug Allan and Ray Hall in 1957. Both have long since retired but the business is still going strong. Back in 1957, it was essentially a two man operation with a secretary. Now it has eight partners and around 90 staff and specialist business advisors covering a wide variety of areas from human resources to financial planning, from audit to mortgage broking. And this year to celebrate the firm’s 60th anniversary, Allan Hall will be doing 60 Acts of Kindness to give back to the clients and
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community who have supported the firm throughout its history. This can be everything from community events to volunteering to donating 60 litres of blood. How will they determine these acts? The firm is asking their clients to let them know what’s important for them. It is that client focus that drives the entire business and has seen the firm win three major awards based on client service in 2016 and 2017. Allan Hall has a wide client base. For sure there are northern
beaches based small businesses. But the firm also has national clients, subsidiaries of overseas companies and a growing number of international clients. Indeed, international services is a growth area for the company. “We have picked up a lot of international clients, people who don’t necessarily want to come over and deal with the Big Four or second tier firms with their Australian operation, yet they want a firm that has the experience and scope to deal with the complexity of their operation,” says senior partner Scott Somerville. “To that extent, I think we’re a little bit more relaxed and less formal in the way we deal with them. The first thing the international client needs to know is about HR or the local tax laws and we have both these areas covered. We do a lot of work in these areas.” Allan Hall Business Advisors has an enormous amount of experience to draw on. Four of the eight partners have worked for the Big Four while others have worked in second-tier firms. “Between our partners and senior managers, most have experience with the Big Four or second tier firms,” he says. So how did the firm grow over the last 60 years to the size it is today? The answer seems simple enough: the partners all want a firm with a priority on client service. “Our whole approach has been simply to focus on the client, what’s best for the client and what they need and providing solutions to whatever their problems are, whether it’s a problem or opportunity.” “If good staff come along
whether we think we need them or not, we consider them for employment. We always concentrate on having good staff and it is one of those things, where if you build it they will come. “Our biggest source of business is through our existing client and network referrals and we are always able to find enough clients to keep our staff busy.” One example of this focus is the Business Review the firm has developed for clients to identify the things that can offer significant cost savings for their business or that can get them out of trouble. The firm put the review together with input from the partners, internal specialists and trusted external advisors, all based on their experience. It’s perfect for clients facing such issues as disputes, organising finance, putting together shareholder agreements, applying for export grant claims or sorting out the human resources issues. Somerville says the Allan Hall Business Review is like going to a GP every year for a check-up. “But you would only need to do it once every five years because it
really gives them things they can prioritise that are important, as well as the ones that aren’t,” he says. “And I would guarantee that there would be things that are really quite significant that they haven’t thought of.” It’s like any health issue. People can diagnose their own health. Or they can get a better assessment of their health by going to a GP for check-up. Similarly, they can do a self-analysis of their business. Or they can get information they didn’t realise was there by going through the firm’s business review where they are asked questions they hadn’t thought about before. “It might be 50 or 60 questions of which 10 or 20 might not apply to them but we are going through and talking about those areas,” he says. “It’s a check list for us and the client and it can send them in the right direction if they haven’t got it covered. “If we sat down with a guy or a girl who had just become the CFO of a middle sized company and they had been there for three months, we could run through this check list with them and they would
identify probably 20 things that they can put on a list of things that they can do. We give them a person they can have a phone call with, it could be an internal partner, accountant or business specialist or an external lawyer. That meeting would identify areas to concentrate on.” He is confident it’s what clients need. “The nuts and bolts of it comes out of a two hour meeting. We charge them about $800 for that two hour meeting but if you didn’t get $800 value out of it, tell us and we won’t bill you,” he says. It hasn’t happened yet. The firm has a distinctive culture. Unlike some other accounting firms, the business model is built around teamwork and people working closely together. There is also an internal well-being program for staff and everyone contributes to the culture. “We are really careful about who becomes a partner, not necessarily about their technical ability, more about their cultural fit and what they want to get out of business,” he says.
BFM | PROFILE
Work life balance is very important as is shared ideals. “It’s more important to have a partner group that has the same ideals, the same values of giving clients good service and being honest and fair. Don’t ever try and make a quick buck out of a client. “As a partner group, we genuinely have that same attitude. Equally as important as a partner group, we have a lot of fun with each other. “If someone came to our partner meetings, they would be surprised at how casual they are and how much laughter is generated.” The extraordinary part is that over the last 35 years, the partners have never had to decide on any issue by holding a vote. Everything is discussed and resolved. The relationships are so strong, the team is so united, that there’s no need for a vote. So the emphasis is on team work. And it’s all done so informally. Pretty much every day, one of the partners will walk into one of the
other partners’ rooms and say: ‘I am working on this issue. I know you have come across this before, here’s the situation what do you think?’ “We do that all the time. We have lunch together nearly every day. Very informally, we’re having lunch and talking about the football and someone will say ‘I’ve just had this client ask this question, do you have any ideas?’” Somerville says there is no one in the partner group you wouldn’t go and have a drink with and this is one reason the firm has so many long term clients, some for over 50 years. The key, he says, lies in the client service and Allan Hall’s teamwork. And in the end, it’s all about experience. “Everything is client focused and it’s looking to give them a solution. It could be a solution to an opportunity they’ve got, it could be a solution to a problem they’ve got,” he says. “You work with them to actually
understand what their current issues are and be prepared to just talk through ideas with them. “Sometimes you really help someone who was in a lot of trouble and then they’ll often recover and be fantastic clients but they will also refer people to you. So, whether it’s an opportunity for them to make a lot of money or an opportunity to help them get out of trouble, it’s really about listening to what they are talking about and giving them advice.” Which brings us back to giving back to the community. For Allan Hall, it’s community in the broader sense. Here is a firm very much about connections. Whether that’s about its philanthropy and 60 Act of Kindness for the broader community, working closely with clients or just working as a team. For Allan Hall Business Advisors, clients, employees, partners and the community are all part of the same mix. For this firm, it’s all one community. BFM
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The Allan Hall Business Review
Allan Hall Business Advisors is a large, multi award-winning accounting and business advisory firm in Sydney with an absolute focus on our clients. Our Business Review is a business health check that can enable considerable cost savings, efficiencies and protection for your business. What makes it different? It’s a thorough list of all the questions you may not even know to ask about your business, covering structures, asset protection, HR, WHS, financing, insurances, superannuation and more. We meet with you to perform the review and provide a comprehensive list of findings and recommendations.
Contact us to see how the Allan Hall Business Review can help your business. P: +61 2 9981 2300 E: email@example.com W: www.allanhall.com.au
THE LEADER’S BOOKSHELF| BFM
3 Ways to Improve–Personally and Professionally By Daniel G. Taylor.
hen I began writing a book review column eleven years ago, each issue contained three to six book reviews. My recent fan boy fascination with Ryan Holiday meant this column morphed into a list of all the books I’d read and my opinion on them. But during every reading period, I’d see themes develop as several books explored related topics. Perhaps discussing those themes would be more helpful to you than book reviews or reading lists. So here we are with the first three themes:
Declutter Your Life Why do, have, or be anything if it doesn’t bring you joy? Over the past few years, minimalism has emerged as a trend for people to organise their lives. In Minimalism: Live a Meaningful LIfe (Hachette Australia, 2017), the Minimalists (Joshua Fields & Ryan Nicodemus) encourage you to limit your life to the essential. Minimalism lacks depth, reading like blog posts cobbled together with no effort put into adding authority to the work. About the same size, Nagisa Tatsumi’s The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy (Yellow Kite, 2017) finds the right balance of authority and brevity, Tatsumi is ruthless in her approach: if an item or an activity doesn’t bring you joy, discard it. Only surround yourself with beautiful things that fill you with joy. Bringing the art of discarding to business is Matt Malouf’s The Stop Doing List: More Time, More Profit, More Freedom (John Wiley & Sons, 2017). Malouf’s core idea is to calculate the value of your time per minute and then choose whether it’s costeffective for you to do the task or to outsource it.
Develop Your Health While the specifics may change from time to time, the fundamentals of good health remain the same. Eat well. Exercise often. Sleep more. Despite this, many people don’t make health a priority until life forces them to take stock. In Pause: How to Press Pause Before Life Does It for You (Aster, 2017), Danielle Marchant created a book as beautiful as it is practical. Two recent books (Nikki Fogden-Moore’s Fitpreneur: How to Be the CEO of Your Business and Your Life  and Tim Bean and Anne Laing’s The Wealthy Body in Business: Earn More Money by Being in Better Shape [Green Tree, 2017]) make the same point: healthy bodies earn more. Both books also suffer the same flaw: a lack of organisation. In comparison, Leanne Hall’s Head First, Health Fast (Harlequin Mira, 2017) outlines comprehensive information on the latest health findings in a wellorganised way. By the time you finish it, you’ll have a bespoke plan for a healthier lifestyle.
Differentiate Your Thinking In case you missed the memo (um, email), the future’s arrived. To survive in business today, fresh thinking is mandatory. Learning how to innovate and disrupt your market is Paul Broadfoot’s Xcelerate: Innovate Your Business Model, Disrupt Your Market, and Fast-Hack Into the Future (Paul Broadfoot,2017). Packed full of case studies, it will help you come up with a plan. With the plan in hand, the next step is to uncover your plan’s shortcomings. Red Teaming: Transform Your Business by Thinking Like the Enemy by Bryce G. Hoffman provides you with a panoply of thinking tools to challenge your ideas. This brings me back to where I started this column, a new format because of red teaming. Do you find it helpful? Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts. Daniel G. Taylor lives in Geelong and works as an online copywriter. He publishes a weekly e-newsletter, Think Ahead, which you can subscribe to at danielgtaylor.com/thoughtleadership.
BFM | PROFILE
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER A takeover involving Oxford Economics and BIS Shrapnel has created a company that is now synonymous with the provision of global economic information writes Leon Gettler.
t was the takeover that changed local forecaster BIS Shrapnel forever. In March, British-based advisory group Oxford Economics bought a controlling stake in BIS Shrapnel. Oxford was looking to expand into the local market for economic forecasting and modelling. And for BIS Shrapnel, which had a client base looking to expand offshore, it was an opportunity to globalise an Australian firm and get some overseas expertise with contacts in global markets. Oxford Economics went into discussions with BIS Shrapnel’s chief economist Frank Gelber and managing director Robert Mellor. The result: BIS Oxford Economics David Walker, a director of the firm, who started out with Oxford Economics explains the transition. “From our perspective, our background looks broadly at the global economy; helping organisations with an exposure to the global economy understand what’s going on. BIS Shrapnel was much more Australia-centric and had a lot more sectoral expertise within that,” Walker says.
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It was a complementary fit. This was not just a fit in terms of services, it was also a good fit in terms of culture, with both companies independently owned and both having carved out niche areas in terms of economic forecasting and industry research and both wanting to be synonymous with very focused areas. “Broadly when we started the discussions, it went pretty smoothly and we both saw the benefits of a merger. Post acquisition, it’s been borne out even more so,” says Walker The takeover, he says, has helped both companies. “Internally, it gives us a better understanding of what is happening within Australia and where it’s exposed to overseas markets, particularly China.” Walker says. “But also, clients we work with are looking to expand overseas so we are looking to support them and identify where they should be setting up shop, over what time period and all those strategic and investment decisions that should be made. “I think now with this tie up, we are the best placed firm within Australia to help across that spectrum of domestic economic and international issues.” He says it was certainly good for BIS Oxford clients. “At Oxford Economics, we cover over 200 countries globally and that is broadly being reflected in what is demanded from our clients. Organisations exposed to Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia want to understand what’s going on within those countries. Some of them have much poorer data than what’s available in Australia but that doesn’t stop the need to know.” Mellor, who is now managing director of BIS Oxford Economics, says there were very good reasons why the firm he joined in 1984
was looking to merge with a global partner. The bottom line is that BIS Shrapnel had to become global because its clients were looking globally. Mellor has been MD for 10 years and had been running the business for around 16 months before being hit by the global financial crisis in the latter part of 2008. The first 12 to 18 months of that period of time saw a pretty severe correction. Three years down the track and BIS hadn’t come out of it. A major issue he says, is that many clients increasingly had a global mindset and needed advice from a global company. “Take the building area, for example,” says Mellor. “We had been forecasting on Asia for 23 years, but over recent years I was finding one of the problems we faced was there would be clients who would say we don’t want your Australian service because we are getting information from our parent company in Europe. “Two things came out of this. One is you need to have a better understanding of the international economic situation and its impact on key sectors in Australia and the overall Australian economy. Secondly, people are looking for information that will satisfy their needs across the world. So this opportunity of a tie up answered a lot of those questions from BIS Shrapnel’s point of view. On top of that a key attraction was the fact that Oxford Economics had been very successful in building up a significant business development team over the last eight to 10 years and this represented essentially a new way of operating. The idea of a tie-up was thus a formality. Oxford Economic, which operates in 200 countries, bought overseas clients to the table, whilst BIS Shrapnel bought its clients
PROFILE| BFM including Australia’s top 500 companies into the mix. For the Australian media, BIS Oxford Economics is the first port of call for stories about the Australian building & construction industry and property markets. In August, its forecast of a 31 per cent collapse in the residential construction sector received a lot of coverage. Mellor says that forecast still holds. He says his firm reviews the numbers for the property market every three months and he forecasts a fall in prices. But prices, he says, will moderate, it won’t be a US-style crash. “For some time we have felt there needs to be some modest correction in Sydney,” he says. “We would be of the school that there isn’t going to be a crash in the market like some doom merchants predict. Our view is prices might drop back three to five per cent over the next 18 months
to two years in terms of house prices.” He says apartment prices in Brisbane, Melbourne and possibly Sydney might slip because of an oversupply of apartments. Prices won’t collapse, it will be a minor correction. “Anybody who owned a property in Sydney for five years had a 75 per cent gain, so a setback of three to five per cent will not be significant,” he says. Mellor says the downturn in construction will, however, have an impact on the Australian economy. While the Government, Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia forecast that Australia’s GDP will rise to 3 per cent, he says it’s more likely to remain at 2.5 per cent for several years. “It’s going to sit in the 2.5 to 2.7 per cent range for two or three years,” he says. “We have survived the mining correction and there’s been a 70 per cent decline in mining
investment from the peak and we are nearly at the end of it. We have survived with the strength of residential, but residential will start to act as a negative this financial year.” Mellor sees good prospects ahead for the now global forecasting firm, with a significant opportunity to expand its reach in terms of getting the product it is providing to the Australian market to other parts of the world, particularly in the property and construction sectors. Walker concurs. “The feedback on the BIS Shrapnel services has been that that these are very good if you can expand them elsewhere,” Walker says. “We are looking at expanding some of the existing BIS products to companies looking to invest in Australia.” The takeover in March created a business model that uses the best of both firms. That’s the model for every successful takeover.” BFM
BIS Oxford Economics: Leaders in economic analysis and research for Australia and the global economy. Detailed industry knowledge and forecasts of key sectors of the Australian economy and Asia › Building & Construction › Residential & Commercial Property › Mining › Transport BIS Oxford Economics helps organisations gain a better understanding of the economic environment allowing them to make more informed strategic, investment and risk management decisions.
BFM | PROFILE
ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS: Innovation and staying ahead of your competitors is one of the biggest challenges facing any business. One of the keys to a thriving organisation is the ability for leaders to not just remain sustainable but also grow the business and maintain market share. Federico Re speaks to NBL CEO - Jeremy Loeliger on InspireTalkTV.
ccording to 2016 ABS reports, 12.3 per cent of Australian businesses failed between June 2013 to June 2016. This leads you to wonder how a business can make itself truly sustainable, when the risks of failure are so apparent. As it enters its 40th season, the National Basketball League knows about the challenges of operating in a competitive market. Since the NBLâ€™s so-called halcyon days of the late 80s and early 90s, there has been an explosion in number of professional sporting teams and leagues in Australia. But after years in the wilderness, the NBL is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Record crowds attended games last season and fans enjoyed first class entertainment experiences in stadiums across Australia and New Zealand. Every game is broadcast live on Fox Sports and NBL TV and games are also streamed live to millions of fans in China. The NBLâ€™s resurgence coincides with what is becoming a golden era for Australian basketball. It is the second highest participation sport in Australia with just over one million participants and there are a record number of Australians playing in the NBA. NBL League CEO Jeremy Loeliger shares how the NBL and Australian basketball is making a comeback and how you can make your own business more sustainable. His insights were shared via an interview on InspireTalkTV. ENTREPRENSURSHIP AND MOVING FORWARD AS A BUSINESS JOINING as CEO in 2015, Loeliger has been a driving force behind the
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NBL for the past 3 years. Previously working as a successful lawyer, Loeliger’s Sino-Australian trade and sports diplomacy expertise came to the NBL at the right time. Still heavily involved with the Australia China Business Council, his qualifications allow Loeliger to push the company beyond the basic requirements of a ‘just sporting league’, helping to reclaim their past successes. “We’re well on our way to recapturing the heights of where the Basketball League was in the 80s and 90s,” says Loeliger. While already regarded as one of the premier basketball leagues in the world, the NBL knows that this never guarantees longterm sustainability. To make the company truly sustainable, the NBL did what many would be afraid to do and took risks. As a privately owned league, they chose to invest in innovation. At the end of their first year in partnership with Fox Sports, Loeliger sat down with his colleagues and decided to take complete independent ownership of their production and creative control, a bold move that many would fear to take. “That’s the kind of entrepreneurship that this organisation required at the time – bold leadership to go places where the sport hadn’t been before,” says Loeliger. Now, to its credit, the NBL is an accessible and personable organisation, delivering invaluable direct access to their investors. SUSTAINABLITY Long gone is the idea that sustainability describes prosperous cash flow. “It’s about being robust and being able to foresee challenges long before they arise, and having the mechanisms in place to deal with them,” says Loeliger. Loeliger says that when core revenue streams fail to thrive, entrepreneurs must find resilience, think outside of the box and find alternative methods; Resilience is futile. “It’s about being resilient in the face of challenge and risk, and having applied to forethought to overcoming those risks.” In a congested and competitive
market, the NBL has resisted the urge to play it safe, stretching its legs from being ‘just a sports company’, rather investing in becoming its own media distributer, venture capital and technology company; they found sustainability in their own unique business model. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT It is no secret that corporate partners and the public alike are drawn to companies that exhibit an awareness of, and investment in, their local community. Community engagement plays a large role in their successes, enabling the company to help improve local communities, all whilst appealing to corporate sponsors that are rightly attracted to such a well-represented company. But community engagement is not just a ‘do-gooder’ façade for the NBL; it’s an honest initiative that shines positively through their actions as a company. “We actually want to play a role in improving society and improving our communities.”
SOCIAL MEDIA While TV and other streaming services are pivotal to sharing content, Loeliger admits that the NBL has had to approach social media with an open mind. No longer are young generations glued to the television screen at certain times of the day, rather they are often consuming game highlights via social media. The NBL welcomes and encourages fans to lead the dialogue within their social media comment sections, giving them the opportunity to spark authentic conversation, debate and ultimately become a community. “We’ve invested very heavily in empowering our fans to lead the dialogue of the NBL.” A business-model filled to the brim with definitively bold decision making, Loeliger and his team’s leadership has set the NBL up for success that can only result from true entrepreneurship and sustainable practice. There is no telling what move the NBL will make next, but there is no doubt that it will be a slam-dunk. BFM
BFM | HEALTH
GUIDE TO MEN’S HEALTH 50 AND FORWARD Come the late 40s and early 50s, joints start to ache, blood pressure tends to rise, weight accumulates around the mid-section, hair thins – there might have even been a health scare or two. Aging isn’t for the faint hearted, but with the right action plan, power, prestige and influence can be amplified through the 50s and beyond.
s men mature they don’t go through any sudden hormonal change – it’s more a case of testosterone gradually declining – with research showing levels fall about one per cent on average, every year after the age of 30. But unlike menopause, when a woman’s fertility drops off, men can still reproduce well into old age. Testosterone levels make men’s skin about 25 per cent thicker than women’s, according to the International Dermal Institute. They also have more collagen density and natural moisture – meaning they have the added advantage of skin aging more gradually. Males often put on weight throughout their 40s, but after 50 this tends to slow down according to the US National Institute of Health, whereas women gain weight for an extra decade or so – until they are 65. Middle age is a natural time to take stock of your life choices – including those that affect your health. Here are the five biggest roadblocks for men when it comes to health: 1. Protect your prostate Around 25 per cent of men aged 55 and older have a prostate condition, this increases to 50 per cent by the age of 70 years. The early stage of prostate disease (inflammation, noncancerous enlargement and
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prostate cancer) could include the need to urinate more often, not being able to stop the flow of urine and having to get up during the night to go, or there may be no symptoms at all. The problem is, men tend to leave it a long time before they get checked out – often they just think they’re getting old and don’t do anything about the early symptoms. By the age of 50 all men should be getting a routine digital examination and PSA (ProstateSpecific Antigen) reading every two years, if there’s no family history of prostate disease. 2. Keep blood pressure in check High blood pressure, over a long period of time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and as men get older, the chance of having persistently high blood pressure increases. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke, so it’s vital to keep this in check. When I see a client the first thing I check is where is the high blood pressure coming from – is it a weight issue and what they’re eating or too much stress? It’s important to treat the cause. One of my clients had a blood pressure of 180/140, when a reading of 120/80 is what he should have been aiming for. Rather than just sticking him on blood pressure medication, he started eating the right food, according to his body type, and lost 7.5kg. His blood
pressure quickly dropped down into the normal range. 3. Hone focus and clarity Many men in their 50s go through a time of feeling like life becomes mundane, that they are detached from their passion, or not hitting the same goals that they used to. Doctors are quick to label this depression and prescribe medication, but often there is an internal imbalance and when the body is functioning better, everything quickly improves. 4. Downsize stress Executive men never think they’re stressed, often because they’ve adapted to such high levels of intense living. Only when they go on holidays, and end up getting sick, do they realise they have been pushing their body to the limit – that’s if they even stop when on holidays. Stress can present itself in not sleeping well at night, not eating or feeling gassy, bloated or uncomfortable after eating. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress in order to remain healthy. 5. Loss of libido We’re seeing a lot of younger men come in with decreased sex drive – that’s if they’ll even talk about it. While it’s natural for men to notice a gradual decrease in libido as they age, most men maintain sexual interest well into their 60s and 70s. Depression, stress and the
side effects of medication can contribute to loss of libido – but another big factor, which is often overlooked, is the body’s nourishment. Doctors don’t always talk about lifestyle and diet – these are big factors in the body’s ability to stay young and vibrant. Disease doesn’t just start, it’s happening constantly. Women are better at making sure they take care of themselves, for them it’s more important how they look.
Men on the other tend not to talk about their health concerns and delay their checkups, if going at all. Men win out in the genetic stakes when it comes to aging, with more naturally lean mass and muscle – so with the right amount of care, there’s no reason why they can’t stay fit and strong and formidable, well into their 50s and beyond. BFM Clinical director of Back to Health, Jo Formosa specialises in Ayurveda and
neuro strategies. Along with a team of highly qualified Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners, she offers a number of modalities to achieve optimal health in high-pressure environments. She will be holding a 7-day detox retreat, which will reset the metabolism, detox the body and address all the above health issues, November 6-13, in the luxurious Komune Resort, Bali. For more information visit www. healthdynamics360.com/healthdynamics-retreats/
BFM | TRAVEL
BEYOND THE WINERIES As a tourist destination, South Australia is best known for its wine regions: The Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley… the list is almost endless. Most people travelling to South Australia, will bypass Adelaide and go straight to wine country. However that could be about to change.
delaide Casino will be transformed into a world-class integrated entertainment destination under an agreement with the Government of South Australia. SKYCITY Entertainment Group has committed $A330 million (including appropriate contingencies) to proceed with its plans to expand Adelaide Casino on the Festival Plaza forecourt, adding
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a luxury hotel, new VIP gaming facilities, three new bars and three additional signature restaurants. Chief executive Graeme Stephens says that after careful consideration, SKYCITY has decided to increase the number of hotel rooms in the proposed development from 89 to 123, adding an additional floor to the plans for the expanded building, which will be the most luxurious
hotel in Adelaide. “We believe there is demand for more quality hotel rooms in Adelaide from both domestic and international visitors. This provides a better-balanced product while also helping South Australia realise its full potential as a premium tourist destination,’’ Mr Stephens says. SKYCITY has also allocated funds within the budget to remodel the
existing Adelaide Casino building in the historic Railway Station to match the high standards the new development will set, while protecting its special character which will remain intact. “I’m delighted SKYCITY will play a major role in what will be an amazing rejuvenation of the Riverbank Precinct, while also creating jobs and economic growth for South Australia,’’ Mr Stephens says. “The redevelopment also secures SKYCITY’s position in the heart of Adelaide’s entertainment precinct, surrounded by multiple major demand drivers.’’ Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, is pleased to see the project moving forward. “This re-development, and the wider development across the Riverbank Precinct is a welcome investment
in the state. We look forward to offering both locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy a world class entertainment precinct.” Adelaide Casino General Manager Luke Walker says he’s very excited by the opportunities the expansion will provide. “I’m delighted Adelaide Casino will be joining the redevelopment of the Festival Plaza, which alongside the Adelaide Oval, the new Convention Centre, the upgraded Festival Centre, and the rest of the Riverbank Precinct will create a stunning entertainment space in the heart of the city.’’ The expanded development includes a boutique, all-suite hotel, new signature restaurants and bars, including a rooftop bar, and function spaces for up to 750 people for banquets and events. “We’ve taken a fresh look at
both our existing building and the design for the expansion. We’ve redesigned interiors, revitalised social, entertainment, and gaming spaces, and relocated restaurants and bars,’’ Mr Walker says. Early works on the site of Riverbank Precinct have been underway since early 2017 to prepare the area for the developments, which include a retail precinct, office space, open public spaces for all age groups and car parking. SKYCITY has an agreement with developer Walker Corporation to lease 750 car spaces. Construction on the expansion of Adelaide Casino will begin in early 2018, following the completion of the early works. The redeveloped casino and hotel complex is expected to be completed by third quarter 2020. BFM
BFM | FAST LANE
Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ New engine, new transmission, new all-wheel drive, new exterior and interior design: On the S 63 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption: 8.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 203 g/km), Mercedes-AMG has honed the driving dynamics and looks further.
or improved performance with significantly reduced fuel consumption, the AMG 4.0-litre V-8 Biturbo engine with cylinder deactivation replaces the previous 5.5-litre V-8 Biturbo. Despite the smaller displacement, the new engine puts out 450 kW (612 hp) and thus exactly 20 kW (27 hp) more than the preceding model. With a sprint time of 3.5 seconds from zero to 100 km/h, the performance luxury saloon is on par with full-blooded sports cars. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9speed sports transmission supersedes the previous 7-speed transmission. This has enabled more agile response times to be achieved. The fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system provides optimal traction. At the same time as the S 63 4MATIC+, the top-of-therange model S 65 (combined fuel consumption: 11.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 279 g/ km) has been given a visual update that underscores the flagship position of the 12-cylinder model. Its 6.0-litre V-12 Biturbo engine retains its output of 463 kW (630 hp) and peak torque of 1000 Newton metres. Thanks to the advanced stage of development of the V8 and V12 biturbo engine, both new models are among the leading competitors in terms of output and torque.
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New MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE Highbeam and the updated front apron with jet wing underscore the more expressive appearance of both S-Class models. At the rear, the new apron and individual tailpipe trim add distinctive design focuses. “Impressive power, torque and performance on the road and expressive design are the hallmarks of the new MercedesAMG S 63 4MATIC+ and the new S 65. We have also taken a major step forward with the S 63, helping to underline our leadership claim in this segment when it comes to driving dynamics, performance, traction, equipment and convincing comfort. The S 65 with its high-torque 6.0-litre V-12 Biturbo engine remains the spearhead of the S-Class models,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Managing Board of MercedesAMG GmbH. Portfolio: The new S 63 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 8.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 203 g/km) is a dream vehicle for any car fan with a passion for performance and luxury. Engine: 4.0-litre V8 biturbo supersedes previous 5.5litre V8 biturbo. The advantage: 20 kW higher output than its predecessor, with lower consumption. Sophisticated technology with twin-scroll turbochargers for greater output and torque plus cylinder deactivation for lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the partial-load range. 450 kW (612 hp) output | 900 Nm maximum torque. Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission supersedes AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7speed transmission. Drive system: Fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive for the first time in the
SClass: this solution guarantees optimum traction under all driving conditions, better driving performance on dry and wet road surfaces and more safety on snow and ice. Suspension: AMG sports suspension based on AIRMATIC, adjustable via the four AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs Individual, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, with separate two-stage damper adjustment (Comfort and Sport) via a special push button switch in the lower control panel Design: AMG-specific front apron design with jet wing (as on AMG GT R), adoption of V12 radiator grille with three twin louvres, cutting-edge MULTIBEAM LED headlamp generation with ULTRA RANGE Highbeam, distinctive rear apron with expressive twin tailpipes. Interior: High-resolution Widescreen Cockpit with AMGspecific displays – reflecting the new colour schemes of the ambient lighting. ENERGIZING comfort control brings together functions such as climate control, massage, fragrancing and entertainment Optional Active Multicontour Seat Package including massage functions, and an Executive seat for the rear compartment with fully reclined position, rear telephony with new Bluetooth® receiver in easy reach and Individual Entertainment with Blu-ray drive. RACE START function: Helps ensure the best possible acceleration from a standing start. BFM
FAST LANE| BFM
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In this issue of Business First, we take a look at the rise of two fintech disruptors, as well as how some banks are looking to innovate to...
Published on Sep 1, 2017
In this issue of Business First, we take a look at the rise of two fintech disruptors, as well as how some banks are looking to innovate to...