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Leadership equity, unlocked

Divina Paredes | Feb. 20, 2013
Simon Casey has a very different experience with his colleagues on two major trends impacting the ICT department -- bring your own device and the growing need to work with the marketing team.

Having this deep leadership bench is essential, he says. "It leaves you time to think. I can leverage that strength of this that can free me up from focusing on technology and I can have a real business focus."

The past two years have seen him and his team working in the mobile space, developing apps for the smartphone and tablets of the sales team, and providing the network environment for these.

These include the Property Management tool that allows the rental team to appraise properties through their iPhones, and then send the information to the office through a secure wireless or wired network.

The vision for their app was that it would be very simple and easy to use. It should be "very intuitive" with no need for a keyboard or instruction manual, "but deliver on high value features".

"There is a big difference between talking about it and even planning it to actually doing it," says Casey.

Last year, however, has been "transformational" for the group's sales team as they all have to get smartphones, and IT has to support this. "They need that or they can not access our property, so that is a big step," he says.

Barfoot & Thompson worked with Fortinet security and Aerohive for a wi-fi system that could help it manage the growing uptake of a portfolio of mobile devices, both personally owned and corporate issued.

The new network allowed the company to install electronic lockboxes, the first property group in New Zealand to do so. The Supra lockbox contains the key to the property, and can be opened using a smartphone app in combination with the wi-fi network.

The benefit is that the salesperson dealing with the customer can provide the reports to the customer about the level of activity and the number of visits to the property and also it also improves security of our customers' properties.

Casey says while the previous process used has always been secure, "now we have an electronic audit trail which means we know who last accessed this place and what time of day it was. It is very valuable to know the level of activity on the properties."

Face to face

Casey says that every two months, he would attend a round of meetings where he would meet the branch managers across the region. He says he normally talks for 10 minutes during those meetings. "I just cover the top three issues of the day, then provide a back up of communications with email."

"Face to face communication is the most powerful," he says. "It is critical so the managers in these companies see me regularly, and they call or email me if they want."


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