According to Matt Calkins, Founder and CEO of Appian, COVID-19 catalysed organisations around the globe to rapidly adapt to exogenous change.

While the pandemic provided the impetus for businesses to fast-track their digital transformation, Calkins believes that companies now need to combine convergence with agility to create successful digital outcomes.

Dynamic Business spoke to Calkins when he recently visited Sydney for Appian’s 2022 Annual Conference for the Asia Pacific region, the first to be held in person in three years. 

The pandemic created a new landscape that businesses had to master and keep up with to survive. We asked Calkins about the challenges businesses faced during that time.

“They were forced to adapt to all sorts of changes,” explains Calkins.  “Not just customer buying patterns being different, but supply chains being different, employee work patterns being different, regulations being different, competitive situations being different, and government being involved in ways they hadn’t expected.

“So, speed of change became very important. And in the past, when businesses adapted to change, they made a new silo. And when you have more urgent problems, you just hit them with more individual solutions. 

“If we survived the pandemic as an organisation, we survived it by creating more silos, and we enhanced our ability to create them because we became more agile. It’s like the theme of the last few years. You have to be agile. And what agile has meant is as soon as you have a problem, hit it with a silo.”

The danger of silos

Calkins says that, unfortunately, this resulted in an accelerated sense of disunity across many enterprises. 

“Applications are not unified because they were made in haste to rescue us from a problem,” he says. “And data is even less unified because it tends to exist within the boundary of its own silo. And there was certainly no time to connect data from here to an application over there. We didn’t do much of that. Instead, we collected and utilised contained silos of data.

“I think we’re going to move naturally, evolve from a focus on agility, which is now table stakes. You simply must have agility. That’s digital transformation. We’re going to go beyond that. And now we need convergence.

“We need to behave intelligently and in a co-coordinated fashion across all of our technologies, applications, and data repositories, and we need to make them into one big brain instead of many little brains.”

Don’t blame the innovators

Calkins is quick to defend the IT departments that enabled business survival during the pandemic.

“IT should be recognised as heroic for how it helped the worldwide business survive the pandemic,” he says. “In fact, not enough has been written about this. I don’t understand why we haven’t all said IT should be at the top table. What they’ve done is so essential.

“Innovation always involves one misstep for every two proper steps. So, it isn’t the fault of innovative organisations that some things go wrong.

“I say all that partly to defend the innovators and say, ‘Hey, we really didn’t have a choice. They simply had to keep up.’” 

The power of a unified data model

Calkins backs companies that combine the convergence of technologies in low code and the convergence of data with what’s known as a data fabric to win the digital race. Data fabric is a relatively new term that means connecting data that exists in a dispersed fashion across your enterprise so that it can be treated as if it were local data, even though it is remote.

“So, you connect to your data fabric as if it is your local database, but it happens to reach out to all the other local databases and bring that data into your awareness so that you can tap into it, use it, even write to it from your local operation,” he says. “So, it’s a way, first of all, of admitting that data is not going to be in the same place anytime soon.

“It’s going to be dispersed, your data, but you’re going to have a unified data model. Dispersed data, unified model, and that unified model is going to make it so that your data appears remote and works like it’s remote even though it’s not remote to any given application.”

Calkins explains that a unified data model results in improved customer outcomes as well as productivity gains.

“Customer experience is about treating the customer the way a human would have treated them in the old days of a corner store. You greet them when they come in and provide what they want. And that’s the kind of experience people prefer; where the corporation seems intelligent instead of robotic, sympathetic instead of optimising. 

“To do that, we need to know something about the customer when we encounter them, or we are nothing but a machine. And so, the way you do that is to take the information from wherever you may have stored it pertinent to that customer and know it when you meet the customer.”

Transforming through innovation

Calkins is unashamedly enthusiastic about Australia’s vibrancy. 

When asked about the Australian market, he reflects, “It’s one of the fastest growing operations in the world for us. Our community has exploded over the past year. It’s up 422 per cent. Our ACV, which is at annualised contract value, is up by more than 150 per cent.”

He mentions two Australian companies that have partnered with Appian.

“We work with Pepper Money, and they’ll tell you pretty quickly if you can get a loan against an asset. You just enter some information, and a third of the time, they’ll tell you whether you can have a loan within a single minute.

“It’s all digital. And because they’ve automated their processes behind the scenes, you type a few things into the web, and while you’re still on the line, they can tell you.

“They’re doing that with our technology. So, that’s a cool example of somebody doing it right with digital transformation. Dealing with a lender is typically a frustrating and extended experience. Even worse the fact that you generally need the money. So, it’s great that they’re able to move at the speed that people would like to move.”

Australian internet and mobile service provider, Belong, is another Appian client. Calkins says Belong worked with Appian to track down fraud in their system, a project that saved the company a million dollars.

Leading Australian corporations, including Minter Ellison, AGL, Bendigo Bank, NBN and Westpac, shared how they use Appian’s unified low-code platform at the APJ 2022 conference.

Calkins says that Appian is a pioneer in this process automation market. “We were the first to go public in this market. We’ve been at it for five and a half years as a public firm, 23 years overall. We are committed to being the best, and what I mean by that is top customer outcomes.” 

What lies ahead

Calkins predicts tough times ahead for the global economy. While he says that Australia will experience some inflationary pressures, he is hopeful the country will fare better in the coming downturn than Europe or the United States, which he believes will experience a sharp recession.

Calkins identifies several issues Australian businesses should consider when implementing their digital strategy.

“Cost savings are especially important in a moment of economic turbulence. It’s going to be essential for businesses to spend the money they spend well. There will be a lot of focus on ROI.”

He predicts that over the next year, there will be some careful retrenchment around which programs are successful and which are not worth the investment.

I don’t think you’ll see things thrown out because, ironically, it takes an investment to throw away a system. And in a recession, people are reluctant to make that investment. So, if even getting rid of an old system will save you money, it costs you first.” 

Calkins predicts that more conservative decision makers will dominate in the short term. 

“They’re going to be looking for proof that money will be saved, and they’ll be disinclined to do speculative things.”

Creating a corporate culture that encourages innovation is another consideration for forward-thinking leaders. 

“I think digital transformation is becoming so essential to an organisation that every organisation must do it. So, I ask, does this mean that some leaders are incapable of leading in the modern age? Are there some personality types that simply can’t cope with a world in which digital transformation is necessary? My guess is that if there are any, there won’t be any for long. 

“In a few years, things go from speculative and risky to simply necessary, and anyone who wants to run an organisation is just going to have to get their arms around it.” 

Calkins envisages significant changes to the digital landscape in the next five to 10 years. 

“I think technology like this will empower more regular people to be developers and collaborators with computers. So, this is an exciting trend for elevating people.”

“And more organisations will use technology like the data fabric and the unification of behaviour and information, so it responds in a more human way. Organisations will be more human, and humans will be more powerful.”

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

[embedded content]

When then-27-year-old engineer Giovanni Siano came to Australia from Italy in 2011, he couldn’t get a job. Applying for over 150 roles, he eventually landed something in hospitality on minimum wage.

Today, he and his wife, Giselle Siano, run their own aged care business, Home Instead Geelong, which provides in-home care to the elderly. His entrepreneurial journey was fraught with ups and downs, but it is a story of genuine entrepreneurial tenacity and hard work that helped him gradually climb the ladder. 

Giovanni and Giselle founded Home Instead Geelong in 2018, and the company now employs over 250 locals. It was recently named a founding member in three categories of the 2022 Committee Achievement Awards for Regional Victoria. It was also named Geelong’s ‘Business of the Year 2021’ and won the ‘Emerging Business (under three years)’ award at the Geelong Business Excellence Awards.

The beginning

“Before starting the business, I worked as a business consultant in the aged care industry, specifically in residential facilities, working on those businesses,” Giovanni recalls. “I spent four years trying to improve operations and systems before finding inspiration and an opportunity to start my own business to help those people stay in their own homes for as long as possible.” 

Giovanni Siano and Giselle Siano

“I discovered a gap in the market where you frequently find people living in residential age care facilities who are not really ready for it, but because they didn’t have any formal support at home, they had no choice but to move into a residential education facility, which quite frankly, many people are now trying to avoid after COVID.” 

Giovanni notes that his motivation for starting Home Instead Geelong stemmed from his desire to improve the lives of ageing people and their families. “Severe labour scarcity, that’s an example that frequently puts residents at risk, and that’s the notion that came about after four years of experience and fantastic ideas and deciding to establish my own firm with the help of my wife, who has now joined the full-time business in 2018. 

“I began with four caregivers and no clients in my first round of recruiting. There is no brand recognition in the local territory; that is how we began, to improve the lives of the elderly.”

‘Mistakes are just opportunities’

Aged care providers provide an important service to the Australian elderly. Unexpected occurrences could significantly affect a provider’s regular business operations or financial situation. 

Credit: Home Instead Geelong

Giovanni believes that making the change and remaining committed to the business despite setbacks will be extremely beneficial. “A word of advice: we learn by making mistakes. Sometimes trial and error is the best way to go about things, so I would have loved to have made all the mistakes I did along the way so that I wouldn’t be in that position.” 

“Overall, I believe that mistakes are simply opportunities to learn, so perhaps trust the process a little more and be confident that things will work out when you begin.”

Talking about his initial apprehension and how fortunate he was to build a clientele quickly, Giovanni says, “In the beginning, you’re always unsure if things will turn out okay, and you resign from a full-time job, and all of a sudden, you’re out there with no income, and you don’t knock on doors and try to get your name out there, and then you lose a little bit of drive when you see that results aren’t coming right away. 

“Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to build a client base and quickly become the region’s go-to or trusted provider.” In just over four years, we’ve grown to 370 employees, including approximately 47 full-time office staff and providing nearly 20,000 hours of care per month. It’s been very rewarding to see and experience our community’s growth and how we can make a difference. 

“We’re all about making a difference. We are all about improving the lives of Asian Australians, and I believe we have demonstrated that we have the tools and capability to do so.

Initial hurdles

While Initial difficulties are a given in the business world, and every entrepreneur faces their own set of challenges, for Giovanni, it was the ability to forge the community’s trust and recognition.

“When you first start, you are just like any other provider who has appeared in the community, and I have no earned trust in you. So I’m rebuilding that trust and recognition that, yes, home is scheduled on is a provider I should trust and entrust my loved ones to. 

“It took a while, but once the word got out and the quality of the work started to show and spread within a community, it wasn’t long before we started to gain momentum and gain traction. So I suppose the other challenge has been attracting the necessary workforce. So that’s what we’re all about.”

“So that’s essentially what we do. We recruit and train caregivers to become outstanding and professional home instead caregivers, and they must have the right attitude, cultural fit, and a huge heart to do the job well in this industry. That is what we seek. We only hire people who have the right attitude, heart, and compassion to become fantastic caregivers. Identifying those people is difficult, but we’re slowly building a reputation in the community where people want to work for us.

“And I consider myself to be a preferred employer. Every month, we hire between 20 and 30 new caregivers. So we’re always recruiting, there’s always a demand, and I’m very pleased with our variety of activities and interests.”

The human-centric healthcare industry 

Giovanni continues, “I believe it has become a little more competitive,” in reference to the industry’s increased level of competition. “It’s getting more and more competitive. I think that a lot of service providers are opening doors in this space while also abiding by the law. 

“Also, the standards for the aged care industry have increased; assessors and the commission are scrutinising us much more closely to make sure we deliver high-quality care and assistance that complies with the rules we are required to follow. In conclusion, I would say that it is getting harder to operate in this sector.

“We’re compliant, and so far, there haven’t been any problems. We have a strong quality management system, and we have registered nurses who can follow regulations and manage the clinical governance related to what we do. We are now in a good position.”

“There are only so many things you can do with the resources we have. Every day there is more demand. The population is ageing, we live longer, more and more people want to spend more time at home, and the workforce is getting smaller. 

“Due to the severe shortage, the only way to continue providing care for loved ones who are vulnerable in our communities is to use technology to improve processes and increase efficiency, as well as to supplement the care delivery process with platforms or robots. Artificial intelligence allows us to scale up efficiency.”

Outside funding or self-funding

Should you start your new business with personal funds or seek outside investors such as family and friends? Giovanni asserts that his company was self-funded from the beginning. 

“You really don’t need much, just a small office space, which is what I started with, three by three with one desk and one board, one computer, and just me. As you gain clients, you begin to hire a second administrative assistant, followed by a third, and you rent out a larger space, after which I purchase a 500-square-meter office. That is, as long as you find your niche and are able to self-fund the business as it grows.”

“Businesses must, I suppose, enhance their systems, and offer high-quality training, so we must continue to improve the training and education sector in which we engage and perhaps even expand into new regions. We currently have investments in other areas. 

“Therefore, maintaining sustainable and organic growth must be the main goal. Because this is a very tightly regulated industry and there are many hats you need to wear, and because it only takes one of them to fall off, you should do your research, be well-prepared, seek out expert advice, and invest in professionals who are knowledgeable in their field.”

Giovanni Siano, an engineer who was 27 at the time, arrived in Australia from Italy in 2011, but he had trouble finding work. He eventually found a hospitality job at a minimum wage after applying for more than 150 positions. In 2018, he launched his own aged care business, Home Instead Geelong, which offers older clients home care packages. He did this via grit and some genuine entrepreneurial determination.

Visit Home Instead Geelong here.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

No matter if you run a small business or a big multinational conglomerate, most organisations use horizontal and vertical connectors to create a structure that they believe will meet their needs.

The organisational structure of a business determines how it runs on a daily basis and, in reality, affects its culture, values, and success. In addition to defining how an organisation should function, a structure may help increase productivity.

A good structure can significantly help in managing the processes as businesses grow in size. At the very least, your organisational structure must reflect certain values. The question is which structure will best meet your business needs.

This week’s edition of Let’s Talk focuses on the most effective organisational structures every business should consider.

Let’s Talk.

More Let’s Talk Episodes

Contribute to Dynamic Business

Michelle T Holland, Executive Director, SynergyIQ

Michelle T Holland
Michelle T Holland, Executive Director, SynergyIQ

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand when it comes to structure. A structure is used for a couple of things – one, to provide a simple and effective way of ‘managing’ outcomes and people’s needs, and two, a way of supporting the operations of the business.

“In a pinch and in a bind- in the short term– don’t make sweeping changes, instead create a structure that helps you to deliver what you need to get the work done in the short term, while being mindful of your culture.

“For example, if a team is without a key person or leader, placing them in the care of a competent and compassionate people leader is better for your culture than placing them in a caretaking position with a ‘technical’ expert without leadership capability. Your people can get their job done without a technical manager, but your culture will be impacted if they don’t have a manager or leader that cares about them.

“In the longer term, I would suggest that a strategic review is conducted on what work outcomes are needed into the long term, what client/customer demands are predicated, how the operational model of the business works at its best, and determine the type of culture you want to have– once these decisions are made, the workforce structural design is made to suit these outcomes.”

Madhuri Nandi, IT Security Manager, Till Payments

Madhuri Nandi
Madhuri Nandi, IT Security Manager, Till Payments

“We are all very familiar and have some experience with a variety of organisational structures. With COVID, the calculations for how organisations should adopt hybrid teams and keep the delivery pipelines working smoothly should alter. Most of the project planning takes place between functional teams, whereas reporting teams is where quick decisions could be made.

“Given these factors together, it is ideal for the organisations to adjust their organisational structures that support teams to create functional groups using MATRIX organisational structures. Where they can maintain thick reporting lines with standard groups while establishing a matrix reporting lines to the extended teams.

“In this structure, the organisations can get benefited of both high deliveries, promote hybrid working environments for the employees and build successful teams.

“Employees would not be empowered to experience the freedom of hybrid working while being supported by traditional organisational structures like Hierarchical, Flat, Functional, Product-based, Geographic, and many others. In a Matrix organisational structure, employees at all levels can deliver and succeed together.”

Shiva Pillay, General Manager and Senior Vice President Asia & Japan, Veeam Software

Shiva Pillay
Shiva Pillay, General Manager and Senior Vice President Asia & Japan, Veeam Software

“I believe that organisational structures follow a common sense model, meaning you right-size the structure for the stage of your business. Start-ups, for example, often work best in a flat hierarchy as they need to be flexible across roles and quick to adapt to new changes.

“This is also where new leaders develop a management style that will eventually influence and shape how the company is run. As that business grows, scale becomes critical for sustainable growth, this often requires bringing in experienced leaders who can balance a start-up mentality with a sustainable future plan and processes.

“For established and more traditional businesses, the organisational structure can vary and often includes a top-down reporting line, where management and senior leadership are expected to make critical decisions.

“Long-term or short, what I find most important is that transparency should always be the core of the business and implanted no matter the structure. At Veeam, we value the opinions of our employees and place a heavy emphasis on open and effective communication. Employees gain the most trust when they are supported and heard – creating mutual understanding goes a long way.”

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

“Beyond a sole trader structure, there are three business structure options. A company is a legal entity in its own right. Most small companies are established as Proprietary Limited companies, where ownership (proprietary) of the company is limited to 50 non-employee shareholders. A partnership is a structure whereby two or more people co-own and operate the business, and income and losses are shared. A trust is a structure whereby trustees (people or companies) are responsible for the business assets and beneficiaries.

“When deciding on a business structure, the business size, revenue and industry will all play a role. Liability should be a consideration. A company will have limited liability which provides a layer of protection between directors and third parties.

“However in the case of trusts and partnerships, generally trustees and partners will have some level of liability. When it comes to tax minimisation, trusts are generally more beneficial than companies or partnerships. Trusts also afford other protections in the case of bankruptcy or divorce.

“Ultimately the best structure is one that has been chosen with your specific business circumstances in mind. Talk to your lawyer to identify the best option for your business.”

Mark Gardiner
Mark Gardiner, Special Counsel, Aspect Legal

“Options for operating a business include operating as a sole trader,  a partnership, as a company or through a trust structure. As a Commercial Lawyer, I would generally recommend that a company structure is best for both short term and long term operations – despite some higher set-up and administrative costs.

“A company is a legal entity that is separate from an individual, unlike a sole trader or a partnership. The assets and liabilities owned by the company are completely separate to company directors and shareholders.”

“As a shareholder of a company, a person is not liable (in their capacity as a shareholder) for the company’s debts. Business operations are controlled by the company directors and owned by the shareholders.

“In the longer term, there’s the benefit of being able to add shareholders – enabling business growth via further capital contributions as each new shareholder comes on board.”

“Bonus points to those who consider owning the shares of an operating company through a discretionary trust structure which can provide even greater asset protection benefits.”

Suzette Bailey, CEO and coFounder, reKnow

Suzette Bailey
Suzette Bailey, CEO and coFounder, reKnow

“There is no easy answer when it comes to the best organisational structure for a business as it should depend on the company’s goals, values and culture and external requirements.

“It is important to clearly understanding the business’s goals and how the organisational structure helps to achieve them. If the goal is rapid growth, a flatter structure allows faster decision making and realisation of opportunities. If the goal is a high quality and consistency levels, more hierarchical structures may help ensure standards are maintained.

“It’s also important to consider company culture when choosing organisational structure. If very informal, a flat structure may be more suitable. Alternatively, if the culture is very formal, due to regulatory or market requirements, a hierarchical structure may be more appropriate.

“Ultimately, the best organisational structure for a company will be the one that best aligns with the company’s goals, values and culture at the time. Organisations should be prepared to review and adjust their structure to meet their goals and external requirements, rather than force an existing structure to meet changed goals or set goals based on structure.”

Dominic Woolrych, Co-Founder and CEO, Lawpath

Dominic Woolrych
Dominic Woolrych, Co-Founder and CEO, Lawpath

“In Australia, it is most common to start a new business as a sole trader (ABN), however, it’s important to know that under this structure you are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.

“It is therefore crucial that you transition to a company structure (usually a Pty Ltd) once the business is up and running. We usually recommend to transition to this structure when the business takes on risk or starts generating consistent revenue.”

Discover Let’s Talk Business Topics

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Serverless is the next-generation way to manage and streamline development processes while providing great value for business applications. Because they expand automatically depending on requests, serverless databases do not require considerable capacity planning. 

Simply put, developers can create apps using infrastructure without a particular hardware platform by using a serverless database. It is designed to handle developers’ unpredictable and constantly changing workloads, and businesses need a highly secure and scalable data infrastructure. This is where serverless databases come in.

But what’s in it for businesses? Well, serverless companies handle the difficult tasks of allocating, configuring, and maintaining servers. As a result, rather than paying for servers, you pay for database calls made by your application and storage used by your data. You don’t have to speculate on what that may be; you simply pay for what you use. They automatically allocate more hardware to handle the increased load if you use more. If you use less, you’ll pay less, or perhaps nothing.

In this week’s Tech Tuesday, we’ll look at modern database and backend solutions that can help you simplify your business management. 

Let’s get started!


[embedded content]

Supabase is an open-source Firebase alternative providing all the backend features you need to build a product. You can use it completely or just the features you need. Start a project with the hosted platform or learn how to host Supabase yourself.

More on Supabase.io.

Cloud Firestore

[embedded content]

Cloud Firestore is a flexible, scalable mobile, web, and server development database from Firebase and Google Cloud. It keeps your data in sync across client apps through real-time listeners. 

Cloud Firestore is a cloud-hosted, NoSQL database that your Apple, Android, and web apps can access directly via native SDKs. It offers offline support for mobile and web, so you can build responsive apps that work regardless of network latency or Internet connectivity. 

Cloud Firestore integrates with other Firebase and Google Cloud products, including Cloud Functions. New customers get $300 in free credits to spend on Firestore. All customers get 1 GB of storage free per project, not charged against your credits.

More here.

Amazon Aurora Serverless

[embedded content]

Amazon Aurora Serverless is autoscaling, on-demand setup for Amazon Aurora. It automatically starts, shuts down, and scales capacity up or down based on the needs of your application. You can operate your database on AWS without worrying about database capacity. You build a database, set the capacity range, and link your apps with Aurora Serverless. 

When the database is active, you pay per second for the database capacity you use. You can switch between conventional and serverless setups with a few clicks in the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) console.

More here.

Cockroachdb Serverless

[embedded content]

CockroachDB is a cloud-based SQL database. CockroachDB serverless is “forever free,” with a generous (and never-ending) monthly credit for requests and storage. With just a few clicks or an API call, you can create a fully-featured CockroachDB database in seconds. 

You get an “always on” database that survives data centre failure and keeps multiple encrypted copies of your data, so you don’t lose it to hackers or hardware failure. It automatically and transparently scales to meet your needs, no matter how big or small, with no changes to your application. It supports online schema migrations and Postgres compatibility and gives you access to Enterprise features.

More here.

PlanetScale- Serverless Database

[embedded content]

PlanetScale is a MySQL-compatible database platform that gives your engineering teams more power, like sharding and non-blocking schema changes, without requiring you to be a database expert. PlanetScale is built on battle-tested Vitess; a graduated CNCF open-source project used by GitHub, HubSpot, Slack and Square to serve millions of queries per second. PlanetScale reduces time-to-market for new applications and eliminates the cost and effort of managing database infrastructure. 

PlanetScale is available in multiple AWS regions, including Brazil, Germany and Australia. You can deploy your app today starting at $0 a month for 10GB storage, three developer environments and 1000 concurrent connections. Costs vary according to your serverless network usage once you hit 1 billion rows read or 10 million rows written. 

More here.

Aiven for ClickHouse

[embedded content]

Aiven for ClickHouse processes hundreds of millions of rows and tens of gigabytes of data per server per second.  Based on open source ClickHouse, it is a fully managed cloud data warehouse that brings high-performance analytics to Aiven and allows the generation of analytical data reports in real-time using advanced SQL queries. 

It further democratises access to best-of-breed open-source technologies while disrupting the data warehouse market, being 6-7 times faster than existing proprietary cloud data warehouses. 

More here.


[embedded content]

Upstash is a Serverless in-memory cloud database from Upstash Inc, a California-based company. It is a Serverless Redis Service. It can be used for caching layer or as a database. The cool thing is that you don’t have to manage any database servers or clusters. It is fully serverless. More here.


[embedded content]

InfluxDB is the platform for building & operating time series applications. It is an open-source, big data, NoSQL database that allows for massive scalability, high availability, fast write, and fast reading. As a NoSQL, InfluxDB stores time-series data, which has a series of data points over time. More here.


[embedded content]

MongoDB is a document database that builds highly available and scalable internet applications. Its flexible schema approach is popular with development teams using agile methodologies. More here.


[embedded content]

TablePlus is a modern, native app with a clean user interface that allows developers to manage databases simultaneously quickly and securely. TablePlus supports most of the popular databases such as MySQL, Postgres, SQL Server, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, Redis, Redshift, Oracle, and many more.

More here.


[embedded content]

Redis enables you to write traditionally complex code with fewer, simpler lines. With Redis, you write fewer lines of code to store, access, and use data in your applications. The difference is that developers who use Redis can use a simple command structure instead of traditional databases’ query languages. More here.


[embedded content]

Socket.IO is a library that enables low-latency, bidirectional and event-based communication between a client and a server. It is built on top of the WebSocket protocol and provides additional guarantees like a fallback to HTTP long-polling or automatic reconnection. More here.


[embedded content]

Pusher is a hosted API service that seamlessly adds real-time data and functionality to web and mobile applications. Pusher works as a real-time communication layer between the server and the client. It maintains persistent connections with the client using WebSockets as and when new data is added to your server. More here.


[embedded content]

Couchbase Server provides high availability for the reading and writing of data through a variety of features. Couchbase provides high availability using intra-cluster replication and index replication and disaster recovery using cross-datacenter replication (XDCR). More here.


[embedded content]

Fauna combines the flexibility of NoSQL with the relational querying capabilities and ACID consistency of SQL systems — with native GraphQL and is delivered as a cloud API, so you don’t have to worry about operations. More here.

Oracle MySQL Heatwave Cloud Service

[embedded content]

Oracle MySQL HeatWave is the only MySQL cloud service with a built-in, high-performance, in-memory query accelerator—HeatWave. It increases MySQL performance by orders of magnitude for analytics and mixed workloads without changes to current applications. More here.


[embedded content]

ArangoDB provides an HTTP interface to import multiple documents at once into a collection. More here.


[embedded content]

Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform. It provides a range of cloud services, including computing, analytics, storage and networking. More here.


[embedded content]

YugabyteDB is a high-performance, cloud-native distributed SQL database that aims to support all PostgreSQL features. More here.

Apollo GraphQL

[embedded content]

Apollo Client is a comprehensive state management library for JavaScript that enables you to manage local and remote data with GraphQL. Use it to fetch, cache, and modify application data, all while automatically updating your UI. More here


[embedded content]

Backendless is a no-code application development platform designed to streamline and accelerate the mobile application development process. The platform consists of a no-code UI builder, a mobile backend-as-a-service (mBaaS) product, an API management solution and a hosting environment. More here.


Flightcontrol makes it easy for developers to deploy scalable, secure applications without any devops. More here.


Railway is an infrastructure platform where you can provision infrastructure, develop with that infrastructure locally, and then deploy to the cloud. More here.


Spot automates cloud infrastructure to ensure performance, reduce complexity and optimise costs. Give your cloud workloads the most scalable and available infrastructure at the lowest possible cost. More here.


Portainer is a ‘universal’ container management platform. It can be deployed inside any Kubernetes, Docker or Docker Swarm environment and, once deployed, can be used to simplify the deployment of containerised apps, triage performance problems and manage platform governance. More here.


[embedded content]

Vultr empowers developers and businesses by simplifying infrastructure deployment via its advanced cloud platform. More here.


[embedded content]

Rancher is an open-source software platform that enables organisations to run containers in production. With Rancher, organisations no longer have to build a container services platform from scratch using a distinct set of open-source technologies. More here.


[embedded content]

Pipedream is a free, low-code integration tool that allows developers to connect many different applications, data sources, and APIs in order to build useful, automated cross-platform workflows. It’s easy to use, and there’s no need to manage infrastructure or server resources. More here.


[embedded content]

Zapier is an automation platform that connects your work apps and does repetitive tasks for you. Zapier automates your work by connecting your apps and moving information between them based on rules you set. More here.


[embedded content]

IFTTT is shorthand for If This Then That; it’s an automation tool for connecting apps and services. IFTTT works with more than 650 services and brands that include web apps, social media, and smart devices. More here.

Make (formerly Integromat) 

Make allows you to create, build, and automate workflows visually. Use the playful drag-and-drop interface to connect apps in a few clicks, and build limitless workflows called scenarios. More here.

Noco db

[embedded content]

NocoDB is a no-code database platform that allows teams to collaborate and build applications with the ease of a familiar and intuitive spreadsheet interface. This allows even non-developers or business users to become software creators. More here.

[embedded content]

Retool is a low-code platform that makes it fast and easy to build internal tools. Business teams need custom apps, dashboards, admin panels, and other internal tools to run critical operations. Rather than build from scratch, developers can use Retool to build powerful tools faster. More here.


[embedded content]

Appian is software that helps organisations build automated workflows and applications. More here.


[embedded content]

Airtable allows you to easily create a database that holds the information that matters for your work and then use it to power the visualisations, processes, and integrations that make up a truly unique custom application. More here.


[embedded content]

AppSheet is a no-code development platform that lets anyone without coding experience build mobile and web applications. You can build AppSheet apps from data sources, such as Google Sheets, Excel, Cloud SQL, Salesforce, and other similar connectors. App user activity syncs to the connected data source(s). More here.

Google Maps Quickbuilder 

[embedded content]

Quick Builder is an intuitive tool to discover, explore, and deploy recommended APIs for your mapping needs. No matter your technical skill or experience level, you can use the tool to help grow your business and deploy to production faster, with less time spent on learning and testing. More here.


[embedded content]

Bubble allows users to build web applications, including social media sites like Twitter, marketplaces like Airbnb and Uber, services like Instacart, and more through tutorials. Bubble offers its own API integrations, templates and plugins. More here.

Jet Admin

[embedded content]

Jet Admin is an app builder that allows you to create Client Portals, Business Apps, and Internal Tools with your existing data, whether it’s from DBs, APIs, or Storages. You can build apps such as Onboarding apps, Admin Panels, Vendor portals, CRMs, and much more really fast and without code. More here.

Glide Apps

[embedded content]

GlideApps is an online platform that instantly transforms data from spreadsheets (Google Sheets, Excel) into mobile apps that fit on iOS, Android phones and tablets. More here.

Process Street

Process Street is the home for your team’s process documents and the best place to track your business activity. Create process workflows, run them, assign your team and track their progress from the reports dashboard. Click here.


[embedded content]

Quickbase is a no-code platform that helps your team tackle projects of limitless complexity — whether you’re building skyscrapers or managing their properties. More here.


[embedded content]

Zoho CRM is a single repository to bring your sales, marketing, and customer support activities together and streamline your process, policy, and people in one platform. More here.


[embedded content]

Kissflow is a cloud-based forms automation solution offered by OrangeScape Technologies that automate business processes and tracks performance. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. More here.


[embedded content]

Upstash is a Serverless in-memory cloud database from Upstash Inc, a California-based company. It is a Serverless Redis Service. It can be used for caching layer or as a database. The cool thing is that you don’t have to manage any database servers or clusters. It is fully serverless. More here.


[embedded content]

Using Power Apps, you can quickly build custom business apps that connect to your data stored either in the underlying data platform (Microsoft Dataverse) or in various online and on-premises data sources (such as SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and so on). More here.


Dragonfly is a modern in-memory datastore, fully compatible with Redis and Memcached APIs. More here.


[embedded content]

Nhost is an open-source Firebase alternative with GraphQL, built with the following things in mind: Open Source, GraphQL, SQL, and Great Developer Experience. More here.


[embedded content]

Appwrite provides web and mobile developers with a set of easy-to-use and integrated REST APIs to manage their core backend needs. More here.

Citrus Data

[embedded content]

Citus is a PostgreSQL extension that transforms Postgres into a distributed database—so you can achieve high performance at any scale. More here.


Fly is a global JavaScript platform that gives you the power to build your own CDN. Write, test, and run code locally. More here.

Sync Computing

[embedded content]

Sync finds the mathematically best way to provision the cloud for data/ML workloads, making the cloud easier, faster, and cheaper. More here.

StationDB – Your no-code instant admin panel

StationDB allows you to access your database online and edit it through an easy-to-use platform with no coding required. More here.


[embedded content]

Cloudflare protects and accelerates any Internet application online without adding hardware, installing software, or changing a line of code.

  • Check Cloudflare KV
  • Check Cloudflare D1


Sematic is an open-source development toolkit to help Data Scientists and Machine Learning (ML) Engineers prototype and productionise ML pipelines in days, not weeks. More here.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

In a culture that’s often intimidated by death and dying, Jenny Briscoe-Hough is determined to approach things a little differently. For the last six years, she’s worked tirelessly as the founder and CEO of Tender Funerals, a community venture with a vision of providing authentic and affordable funeral care to all Australians.

She admits, though, it’s a leadership position she had never expected for herself.

“Primarily, I’m in community development, and when you’re in this field, the whole idea is empowering others,” she said. “So it’s almost the opposite of leadership, it’s actually taking a step back. I would say the community founded Tender and I was the driver.”

Today, Tender Funerals helps thousands of bereaved families across Australia to have meaningful funerals which reflect the wishes of the person who has died, their family, and community – without having to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to do so.

The average cost of a Tender funeral is between $3,000 to $4,500, compared to bills anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 from leading funeral providers.

But Jenny’s message goes beyond making funerals affordable. It’s a movement to change the culture around death and end-of-life by enabling conversations on rights and responsibilities, and enabling family and friends to have as much (or as little) hands-on involvement as they like.

Since beginning in Port Kembla on the NSW South Coast followed by a second location near Port Macquarie, Tender Funerals Australia is currently working with a further six communities to establish services (that operate as franchises) in Canberra, Far North Queensland, Newcastle, Perth, Tasmania and Western Sydney.

Creating meaningful yet affordable services

The idea for Tender Funerals was sparked in 2008 when Jenny found herself in the position of organising a funeral for her late mother.

“Even though I had attended many funerals through my 20 years or so in community development, I hadn’t had to focus on the details and costs before. Then when my mother died, we washed the flowers ourselves, drove ourselves there, we even owned our own burial plot, and we still got a bill of around $10,000,” she recalled.

She still remembers how her mother’s memorial card had the funeral company’s advertising at the bottom.

Jenny elaborated, “My mother had an estate, she had a property, so we were able to cover these costs. But because I was working in a community, I suddenly found myself wondering how others might be able to afford something like this.”

Tender Funerals aims to empower individuals as they go through this already difficult process.

“They can be as involved as they want, from transporting the body to washing and dressing the body, to putting the person in the coffin. The idea is to empower people with information while giving them choices. Some might say ‘I know what I want to do’ and then, after some thought, come back to us and say ‘actually, can we do this instead?’

“It’s an evolving and transparent process. You can have the most traditional funeral in the world or you can have something entirely unique to you. But when you’re given a one-size-fits-all funeral package by a provider, it’s not so helpful.”

READ MORE: Founder Friday with Jacqui Bull: transforming Australia’s staffing market

A shrine at a Tender Funerals service. Source: supplied.

Jenny highlights an instance when Tender Funerals’ personalised, special touch was simply a family photo.

“We had a funeral once for a young man, and all he had wanted was a family photo, but they could never get the family together. So they took a photo at the funeral, we printed it out, and put it in the coffin,” she said.

Other instances have included simple ceremonies in people’s backyards.

“Anything could be a funeral ceremony, it depends on the intention you bring with it,” Jenny added.

The initial challenges

However, it wasn’t an easy road getting Tender Funerals off the ground. The biggest challenge was “to get people to understand what we’re trying to do.”

“For years, I was applying for grants and getting knocked back. Then one day, my friend and artist Lynette Wallworth said to me ‘we’re going to have to make a film and show them,’” Jenny explained.

“It’s very hard to describe in words what happens when you put your hands on the body of a person you love, and every cell in your body understands that person has died.”

The resulting documentary Tender, released in 2013, shared the stories of community-based funerals (including the death of their community centre’s former caretaker) to powerfully demonstrate their message onscreen.

Tender Funerals was able to secure funding from Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA) and the Vincent Fairfax Foundation. Their model, they say, is made viable by families able to pay full price at Tender Funerals and further support from community donations.

Jenny and team at Tender Funerals Port Kembla. Source: supplied

Changing the culture around death

“An important thing that Tender does for people is that it wakes up something inside of them, the knowledge that they are going to die,” Jenny observed. “Now of course, some funeral days are really tragic and really sad. But it also helps us realise that this life is limited.

“When planning these services, we ask people, ‘are you religious?’ And if they say no, we do follow up with ‘do you have a spiritual practice?’ and often the answer is yes, because each person has different things that connects them to their soul.”

Some of the people who visit Tender Funerals have recently experienced the death of a loved one. However, as Jenny notes, there have also been individuals who want to be proactive about their end-of-life.

“Sometimes we have people ring up, saying they want to have this conversation with their children, but the children don’t want to have it. There’s still a reluctance around this,” she stated.

“But we say that you can change the culture with just one funeral. People might first come to Tender and not have a clue what to do, but unfortunately if they have to come again, they’re able to say ‘I know what I’m doing.’ We’re empowering them with information.”

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

READ MORE: Founder Friday with Liz Agresta: the secrets to building a $15m beauty empire 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

In recent years, we’ve seen how rising costs, disrupted supply chains, and lockdowns can adversely affect businesses of any size. But there are some solutions that, if followed, can reduce your risk and help make turbulent times a little easier.

This week on Let’s Talk, our experts share their tips that will help you address the risks and prepare your business for any supply chain shocks.

Let’s Talk.

Other Let’s Talk Episodes

Contribute to Dynamic Business

Jason Toshack, Vice President and General Manager ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

Jason Toshack, Vice President and General Manager ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

“There are several tactics that Australian business leaders can adopt to prepare for and address the aftershocks of shipment delays and stock unavailability.

“Rather than relying on the just in time approach, which can be risky when there are supply shortages or shipping delays, the just in case approach is recommended. This approach focuses on forecasting demand to proactively secure sufficient supplies ahead of time. For this to work, a robust business management solution which grants to timely data which provides insight into incoming orders versus available stock is a key requirement. The just in case approach can boost profitability, while preventing wastage.

“Having up-to-date industry data like procurement lead times, stock levels and order volumes can allow business owners to manage potential vulnerabilities in the supply chain and optimise efficiencies within. Finance teams can leverage this data allowing them to create more accurate financial forecasting models to save on supply chain costs and inventory management.”

Callan Mantell, Vice President JAPAC, Oracle

Callan Mantell
Callan Mantell, Vice President JAPAC, Oracle

“In recent years, we’ve seen how rising costs, disrupted supply chains, and lockdowns can contribute to the collapse of construction businesses worldwide. While the industry has realized significant productivity gains through digital transformation, many are now finding that they have ended up with a mishmash of applications that generate data, but do not sufficiently integrate to deliver the insights needed to optimise their end-to-end operations.

“We are now seeing a significant shift as businesses look to the latest in construction technology – the Smart Construction Platform – to solve these problems. These technologies can provide the backbone of what owners and delivery team’s need, such as portfolio, planning, risk, resource, information & cost management, and payment engines that adhere to widely varying legislative requirements. They can also support plugging in an ever-growing ecosystem of point solutions to create the vital single source of truth and can help manage uncertainty by controlling time, cost, safety, quality, and more.

“By ensuring that all stakeholders of a project are seeing the most up-to-date information and leveraging predictive analytics, teams can respond in a more timely and collaborative manner than ever before possible.”

Tom Christodoulou, Sales Vice President of ANZ, Zebra Technologies

Tom Christodoulou
Tom Christodoulou, Sales Vice President of ANZ, Zebra Technologies

“Despite being highly efficient prior to the pandemic, the supply chain was operating based on a predictable environment. However, the unprecedented changes brought on by the global pandemic has made it immensely difficult for supply chain operators to predict demand. This has contributed to the shortages and bottlenecking we are currently experiencing.

“That said, good inventory management and warehouse organisation, with the help of the right technology, can alleviate some of these pressures. For example, Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology can help locate and report on supply chain performance. Integrating this across warehouses can reduce uncertainty about the status of items and increases accountability for their movements, translating to greater efficiency.

“By having better visibility into their inventory, assets, and people, it will provide businesses with insights and intelligence that can help them make business-critical decisions swiftly and decisively to increase efficiency, productivity and keep things going especially during such challenging times.”

Mick McCluney, Technical Director ANZ, Trend Micro

Mick McCluney
Mick McCluney, Technical Director ANZ, Trend Micro

“Modern technology has profoundly impacted the management of large IT environments by allowing centralised management of endpoints, but it has also created room for more cyber attacks. These attacks have consistently launched against weak points in the supply chain and are becoming more common as more organisations are adopting new software during and post-pandemic. As remote working became the new norm, the restrictions imposed by the pandemic forced many organisations to rapidly adopt cloud-based technologies and embrace digital transformation, without fully understanding the potential of security risks. Cybercriminals now have the capability to bypass security measures by focusing directly on their target’s supply chain.

“This means that as enterprises migrate to cloud-based technologies, it is becoming increasingly important to implement security measures for back-end infrastructure which, if compromised, could lead to supply chain attacks. As a leader in cloud and enterprise cybersecurity, Trend Micro has analysed multiple security risks and formulated mitigation techniques concerning DevOps, to ensure that the solutions and approaches being used are done so correctly and effectively. For example, its Hybrid Cloud Security solution provides powerful, streamlined and automated security within an organisation’s DevOps pipeline. This can save companies from experiencing disastrous supply chain attacks, often resulting in operational disruption, financial loss, and reputational damage.”

Merlin Luck, Regional Vice President of Small and Medium Business, Salesforce

Merlin Luck
Merlin Luck, Regional Vice President of Small and Medium Business, Salesforce

“With rising interest rates and high inflation, there’s a tug-of-war happening between businesses needing to keep costs down while still meeting customer demands.

“When we think about solutions to supply chain issues, you can’t look past technology. Centralising data and the integration of AI and IoT, for example, not only helps businesses upscale but also increases agility in supply chain operations. This is because all information is hosted in one place, providing businesses with a single view of customers and partners, allowing them to connect the dots in the data to create connected and consistent experiences. With these insights, businesses can predict issues before they cause significant problems instead of scrambling to fix issues – this is key to successful supply chain management.

“Salesforce customer Blue Harvest integrated Salesforce Sales Cloud to track products and identify supply and demand trends in real-time. By doing so, the business has been able to build trust with customers, partners and suppliers and create a stronger supply chain – now managing 30 per cent of the rock oyster industry after just two years.

“By taking a more customer-centric approach, backed by technology, businesses set themselves up to stay ahead of trends, adapt quickly and create loyal customers.”

Vicki Batka, Senior Vice President for APJ Sales, Trellix

Vicki Batka
Vicki Batka, Senior Vice President for APJ Sales, Trellix

“An issue associated with supply chains is the interconnectedness of networks between organisations serving as an entry point for bad actors to disrupt the supply chain. Building out your partnerships and allowing them access to your network is common, however what needs to be assessed are the cybersecurity guards they implement that can act as a gateway to your organisation’s data.

“Key takeaways for combating and strengthening your business in the supply chain:

  • Implement and/or revise contracts to ensure all partners have a level of cybersecurity equivalent to that of your own. When working with these partners, consult, highlight and educate them on the importance of cybersecurity to the supply chain. This will stop hackers from using other networks as a gateway to yours.
  • Adopting an XDR led-strategy will monitor and safeguard your business from numerous potential entry points through a ‘living security’ approach that thrives in this type of environment.”

Andy Thiss, Area Vice President of ANZ, Anaplan

Andy Thiss, Area Vice President of ANZ, Anaplan

“Supply chain issues continue to be one of the major challenges businesses in Australia contend with considering pandemic recovery, record setting inflation rates, and geopolitical conflicts. It’s critical for today’s supply chain leaders to think further into the future and align resources to meet demand. Due to the huge impact that supply chain risk can have on business bottom line, leaders need the ability to make operational decisions in an agile, accurate manner to mitigate risk and deliver on goals.

“The key to these smart decisions is to leverage more data than ever before. It’s not enough to look at internal data from sales, finance, and operations. Supply chain leaders need access to external signals – like data from customers, suppliers, or distribution partners. Having a clear and holistic view of internal and external data will help business leaders understand what’s driving the buying behaviours of their customers. With a clearer view of the demand signals, they can then align their organisations’ resources to try to shape that demand sooner rather than later.”

Paul Leahy, Country Manager ANZ, Qlik

Paul Leahy
Paul Leahy, Country Manager ANZ, Qlik

“One of the greatest challenges faced by companies is supply chain visibility. When even processes such as inventory management are regularly outsourced, having a clear, real-time view across a distribution network can be difficult. As a result, making informed decisions becomes harder too.  While all companies have some amount of visibility, it is not unusual for there to be a lag of over a week—considered typical. Companies today need to see even further, with daily or even up-to-the-minute visibility, to give them a handle on better risk management and alternative sourcing arrangements.

“Connectivity will drive actionable real-time insights at all parts of the supply chain process, extending to partners and suppliers. A data-informed supply chain process helps to break down these silos, allowing companies to not only proactively see these problems, but understand the implications and act in an agile, pragmatic, and timely manner.”

Gideon Joseph, practice director ANZ/SEA, UKG

Gideon Joseph
Gideon Joseph, practice director ANZ/SEA, UKG

“Overcoming supply chain issues is a key focus for many SMBs, particularly in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Intelligent workforce management can alleviate key challenges within the supply chain including:

  • Labour shortages: Having the correct number of people on hand to ensure tasks are completed is a major challenge in today’s market, and increasing competition for labour means SMBs must reflect on how they retain and attract talent. Paying people correctly and on time, employing people-focused rostering practices, and offering engagement tools that provide employees flexibility create a positive employee experience that can improve retention.
  • OH&S: The magnified effects of downtime due to non-compliance issues means that SMBs must be extra vigilant by employing safety-focused scheduling policies that promote fatigue management and certification checking to ensure that rostered employees are qualified for the job and well rested enough to do it safely.
  • Holistic forecasting and demand planning: SMBs can build capabilities into their scheduling and planning functions that deliver incremental benefits in efficiency and productivity gains. This can start with simple demand planning using a provided forecast and work up to intelligent workforce management calculated using demand using algorithms and historical volume and overlaying that with labour standards for optimal results.”

Nathan Kale, General Manager ANZ, Icertis

Nathan Kale
Nathan Kale, General Manager ANZ, Icertis

“The last few years have seen widespread disruption that exposed supply chain inefficiencies on a global scale. Many businesses were forced to confront how ill-equipped they are to react to disruptive crises and meet consumer demand during such disruptions. As a result, businesses are examining their supply chains with a particular focus on digitisation. One of the most important steps for businesses in a post-pandemic era will be moves toward supply chain diversity and transparency. Diverse, transparent supply chains will empower businesses to avoid bottlenecks leading to stockouts— which damage customer loyalty — and allow them to react in real time to shifts in customer demands. Winning that last mile in the supply chain will go a long way to restore customer confidence following the supply challenges of the pandemic.

“This kind of end-to-end integration is not possible without the critical business insights contained in contracts. Contracts sit at the heart of multiple essential business processes and define every link in a supply chain. Digitally transforming the creation and post-execution management of these documents should be a central component of any supply chain investment strategy. Advanced Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software provides the critical system of intelligence for whom a company is doing business with and on what terms. This kind of contract intelligence can generate high-impact insights that help businesses overcome key supply chain challenges. Supply chain warning signs—such as a supplier missing contractually obligated timelines or volumes—can be detected early and addressed before they become an issue. New suppliers can be quickly identified and onboarded into the supply chain through seamless, cloud-based collaboration and inbuilt risk assessments.”

Jude Mahony, Director, Optimal Resourcing

Jude Mahony
Jude Mahony, Director, Optimal Resourcing

“Supply chain issues are also people issues according to Resourcing Strategist Jude Mahony. As with all procurement of resources, people resourcing is also about supply and demand. Currently, we have a huge demand and a limited supply. So, what’s the solution? Do you try to ensure proactive sourcing much earlier to build multi-channel sourcing strategies and flag risks in the supply chain? If this was any other resource, you would be using multiple levers to strategically adjust the demand requirements and look at alternative supply channels.

“My top tips to solving supply chain issues are:

  • Look at how you can you adjust the quantity of resources required.
  • Adjust your requirements slightly to enable a broader supply pool.
  • Look at different ways to improve efficiency in the process, remove duplication and automate where possible.
  • Ask yourself if you’re a purchaser that vendors want to have a relationship with? Do you pay quickly and support them as they support you.
  • Look at how can you adjust your timeframes while you work to make long term improvements.”

Mark Khabe, Co-founder, PRIME BPM

Mark Khabe, Co-founder, PRIME BPM

“For most businesses, the biggest supply chain issue continues to be long, unpredictable lead times. This is most likely caused by the process bottlenecks. Even a small chokepoint in the process can lead to a domino effect impacting the entire supply chain and causing production delays, backlogs and unhappy customers.

“As supply chain’s throughput, efficiency, and productivity, is dependent on bottlenecks in the process, identifying and fixing them needs to be the first step in your operational efficiency improvement plan.

“What is needed is end-to-end visibility into the entire supply chain process. Business process mapping proves extremely helpful here as it helps you understand lags at the task level and take an appropriate remedial measure. For instance, insights into high-frequency, labour-intensive tasks that lead to errors and delays could be used to analyse if automating these tasks is the right solution.

“Value analysis, which focuses on identifying non-value-adding activities in your process, such as rework, and double handling of tasks, is another highly effective technique. As your supply chain efficiency depends on the slowest part of the process, eliminating the weakest link or making it efficient will dramatically increase the overall performance.”

Paul Soong, Regional Director ANZ, e2open

Paul Soong
Paul Soong, Regional Director ANZ, e2open

“If we can learn anything from the state of the current supply chain, it is that uncertainty is a guarantee in the future. There is also a growing sense of urgency for businesses to operate sustainably with consumers now purchasing from brands that are only sourcing and creating environmentally friendly goods. Building supply chain resilience and sustainability is key to remaining competitive for businesses.

“From retailers to logistics companies, putting the right solutions and strategies in place should centre around providing visibility over their entire networks. This can help them become aware, in real time, of where their goods are coming from and going to, so that they can better manage demand and their inventory availability.

“To deliver on this, businesses need to adopt smart tools including AI and machine learning applications that help businesses make efficient short-term decisions based on real-time information to optimise stock levels and meet the needs of the end customer. Even within the conversation of sustainability, these technologies can reduce ESG risk by applying sustainable measures and practices at every stage of their supply chain, keeping their customers happy, and loyal.

“Real-time information is crucial in this new age to build resilience along the supply network. Moving into the future with data-led decision making can allow businesses to act quickly on unexpected changes and optimise their operations to build a more profitable, customer-centric business.”

John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity, NTT Australia

John Karabin
John Karabin, Senior Director of Cybersecurity, NTT Australia

“Being able to access and understand real-time data is key to building supply chain resilience and agility. What’s out of sight is out of mind — so by gaining visibility into performance data, organisations are better equipped to react quickly and accordingly in times of uncertainty. This holistic approach can offer a huge advantage, as you have a fuller picture of your organisation’s supply chain performance, and can identify opportunities to innovate within the network.

“By having connected sites — that is, linking different components within your supply chain — it’ll increase process visibility. This could involve having sensors on your machinery to see if it’s working at full capacity, to the trucks taking your stock out tracking humidity levels.

“With an abundance of information, it’s paramount that the data is secure and can be trusted. It’s critical that it can’t be intentionally changed or altered. For example, there was an attempted attack on a water treatment plant; even though it was a low profile attack, it had the potential to heavily impact life and safety. No industry is exempt so it’s important to remain vigilant and implement protection strategies to keep security tight.”

Andy Mellor, Regional Vice President ANZ, Kofax

Andy Mellor
Andy Mellor, Regional Vice President ANZ, Kofax

“Supply chain woes are set to deepen, with a labour and skills shortage predicted to continue. Solving supply chain issues to transcend the short-term means leveraging readily available tools.

“Designing intelligently automated processes across the supply chain drives increased staff productivity, service levels, and capacity and frees up over-worked employees to focus on more valuable tasks. On top of that, you’ll have access to insights and data to allow greater efficiencies across the supply chain process.

“With the skills shortage created by a low unemployment rate and low levels of immigration, businesses need to look to technology to bridge supply chain gaps; automation is key to relieving this pressure in the logistics industry. Adopting an automated workflow will not only transform business performance and capacities in the short term but can strategically transform processes long-term – creating a resilient supply chain that can thrive in any circumstance.”

Simon Ractliffe, Regional GM ANZ, Qualys

Simon Ractliffe
Simon Ractliffe, Regional GM ANZ, Qualys

“As supply chain attacks increase in volume and sophistication and its infrastructure becomes more interconnected and complex, organisations at the end of the chain are now diverting more attention and resources to mitigate their third-party risk as attacks on one organisation have detrimental effects on many others throughout the chain.

“Supply chain managers should prepare for increased scrutiny in the form of reporting, audits and security-led contractual agreements with their customers’ IT, security, and compliance teams. Suppliers that can demonstrate comprehensive security and compliance policies and procedures are likely to find it easier to win new business and reap the benefits of satisfaction and loyalty from existing customers.

“A good first step is to create a well-considered legal agreement that defines the controls you apply (benchmarked against a framework such as CIS or ISO 27001), and in return will expect your customers and suppliers to have in place.

“Depending on the level of associated risk, further controls may be necessary to provide monitoring of the data transit between organisations and the associated access rights. It’s important for all aspects of basic security hygiene to be followed by all parties, such as access and credential management.”

Kylie Butchard, Managing Director, Pacific Security Group

Kylie Butchard
Kylie Butchard, Managing Director, Pacific Security Group
  • “Diversify supplier chains of the same product and keep abreast of their stock availability. Having a close relationship with suppliers means you’re kept updated with any ordering concerns on the horizon and quite possibly opt in to purchase bulk for your own supplies.
  • Bulk buy most common items from suppliers and store for your future turnover.
  • Avoid overselling and promising parts known to have long back orders. Strong inventory management is a must to reassure the customer of delivery of their product or by offering them an alternative solution.
  • Explore alternative brands of similar specs so you’re prepared and the product has been tried and tested before offering it to the market.
  • Give customers a clear understanding of stock availability, wait times and price influxes.
  • Approach the problem head on and be proactive rather than reactive by all of the above.”

Thomas Fikentscher, Regional Director ANZ, CyberArk

Thomas Fikentscher
Thomas Fikentscher, Regional Director ANZ, CyberArk

“Over the last year, software supply chain attacks have become one of the biggest issues affecting organisations’ critical digital resources, which attackers can gain access to via compromised software.

“Organisations can protect themselves against these attacks by taking the following steps:

  1. Enforce the principal of least privilege (PoLP) by applying role-based access control so that a developer, application or script only has access to the credentials needed.
  2. Deploy an identity security solution that will protect organisations against credential theft and privilege misuse by automatically discovering and onboarding privileged credentials used by humans, devices or applications.
  3. Adopt secure coding principles. It is critical for the security team to take a proactive approach in integrating security with the DevOps process.
  4. Adopt software bill of materials (SBOMs) which are machine-readable documents that provide a definitive record of the components used to build a software product including open-source software.”

Brian Renvoize, Director of Sales AU & NZ, Wayflyer

Brian Renvoize
Brian Renvoize, Director of Sales AU & NZ, Wayflyer

“The most pressing supply chain challenge right now is planning for the upcoming in Q4 well ahead of time. With ongoing freight and production delays, securing stock early will be crucial. Business leaders should forecast expected demand using previous holiday season data, while also factoring in year-on-year growth.

“The next logical challenge for many businesses is cash flow, as cash on hand may not be enough to secure the stock needed to capitalise on the busy season. Traditional finance providers may take too long to process an application, so many businesses are using alternative finance providers that use a revenue-based model to secure funding quickly. Getting funds in the door fast can be the difference between an average or stellar end-of-year sale season.”

Brent Paterson, Managing Director ANZ, SNP

Brent Paterson, Managing Director ANZ, SNP

“Organisations can streamline business processes and reduce the impact of supply chain delays by harnessing the power of robust data analytics and driving enterprise mobility.

“They can do this by:

  • Investing in digital, data-driven technologies, prioritising data integrity, and adopting near-real-time data analytics capabilities
  • Embedding live data analysis and best practice processes across every aspect of operations
  • Integrating secure, reliable mobile technology solutions that support all facets of mobile, remote, and hybrid work.

“The modern supply chain network requires businesses to eliminate legacy data siloes that create bottlenecks and impede internal processes. This opens the door to achieving much greater levels of businesses productivity and efficiency through continually optimised processes. It also delivers complete visibility of business and customer activities as a result of the real-time, accurate insights that data intelligence provides.

“Just as importantly, this approach helps businesses achieve enterprise mobility, which is essential for success in volatile, unpredictable markets. It ultimately empowers organisations to build mobility, agility, and resilience into every aspect of their operations, which is the hallmark of an intelligent enterprise.”

Nathan Gower, Head of Business Development ANZ, Boomi

Nathan Gower
Nathan Gower, Head of Business Development ANZ, Boomi

“It was just a few years ago most Australians wouldn’t have even considered the complexities hidden within supply chains. Supermarket shelves were reliably stocked, medical supplies were available, and pricing on raw materials was fairly consistent. Global supply chains ticked, but recent years have made it clear supply chains must better understand themselves to maintain around the clock resilience.

“The not-so secret ingredient is data. It is what binds the web of collaboration between different partners for materials and components, logistics, and services. Connected data gives supply chains the ability to cope with unexpected events and crises in our global, digital economy.

“But record digitalisation has only added to the challenge. Today’s supply chains use vastly more solutions and systems than ever before, with a combination of ‘best-of-breed’ technologies to tackle specific functions, such as dedicated logistics tracking, inventory planning apps and demand optimisations tools.

“However, most are only partially integrated, if at all, meaning they operate alone. Having systems that communicate and share data securely fosters a collaborative and fully integrated ecosystem where all stakeholders, from suppliers to transporters, can view and receive the information they need, when they need it, and identify areas of waste or inefficiencies.”

Walter Scremin, CEO, Ontime Delivery Solutions

Walter Scremin, CEO, Ontime Delivery Solutions

“The most important thing is to focus on what you can control, and in supply chains that’s not always possible – for example, business has limited power over a shipment unexpectedly stranded on the water. But business can keep analysing its supply chain performance and its supply chain relationships, to ensure they are efficient and not overly exposed to any one supplier.

“The delivery transport aspect offers some control, yet it’s an area which is often run inefficiently. There’s much to be gained in researching delivery costs, and understanding your efficiency and responsiveness. The best delivery fleets are flexible and adapt to fluctuations in demand.

“When trying something new in areas like third party logistics, a trial period is generally best. Start small before over-committing, and look for partners which make your business better. Technology is key as you need to monitor and measure your efficiency. And communication is critical in managing supply chain issues.”

Matt Richardson, Senior Corporate Client Manager, OFX

Matt Richardson
Matt Richardson, Senior Corporate Client Manager, OFX

“For businesses moving goods globally, part and parcel of supply chain bottlenecks is heightened currency volatility.

“I’ve seen companies’ profit margins severely impacted by exchange rate fluctuations when buying and selling goods and services overseas, but also those who have been able to take advantage of such moves when their FX costs are planned.

“There are a number of useful tools that are readily available to help minimise risk, and keep your costs in budget, so you don’t have to tighten your margin or pass on costs to your customers. Here’s my top three tips to help you do just that:

  • Choose the right FX partner. Your bank may not guarantee the best rate and provide the specialist FX advice you need.
  • Set a target rate. Good if you have an exchange rate in mind to meet your budget and have time to wait, so you can take advantage of favourable market moves in different timezones.
  • Consider a Global Currency Account to take FX volatility out of the equation. Use local currency accounts to receive payments or pay taxes, fees, vendors or suppliers.”

Leona Watson, Speaker and Coach

Leona Watson
Leona Watson, Speaker and Coach

“I’ve had several business coaching clients in this predicament.  One couldn’t fulfil orders as he didn’t have packaging. Ouch!

  1. BUDDY UP WITH COMPETITORS/SIMILAR NEEDS.  I’ve been recommending bulk buying and sharing shipping and storage costs.  Better buying power is a key element especially for SMBs.
  1. REDUCE # OF PRODUCTS.  What are your low volume, low profit, fiddly, time-sucking, pain-in-the-butt products? Ditch them to simplify your Procurement & Operations.  You can always bring products back. but for now, sideline them, so you can buy more of less items. Better cashflow for sure.
  1. REDUCE RELIANCE ON KEY STAFF.  Less products means less product training for Sales and Customer Service teams. You won’t be held hostage by key staff.
  1. CONSIDER BOUTIQUE OR NICHE.  This laser-focusses your marketing messages and Brand Promise to a tighter target market.  You’ll spend less dollars and save time.
  1. HERO PRODUCT X 3.  Once you’ve eliminated products, consider: 1. Entry/budget  2. Mid-range and 3. Bells & whistles versions of your Hero product.  You’ll now have 3 products to sell without extending your supply chain needs.  Fab for upgrade selling too.”

Nik Vora, Vice President of Asia Pacific, Neo4j

Nik Vora
Nik Vora, Vice President of Asia Pacific, Neo4j

“Since the onset of the pandemic, global supply chains have suffered unprecedented disruptions. The sheer complexity of supply chains requires organisations to have greater visibility and agility to be resilient and ensure business continuity. This is where graph technology can help alleviate key supply chain issues.

“A graph data platform bridges data silo and creates a connected supply chain that will enable businesses to better manage, analyse and visualise their data. It provides a trackable and in-depth picture of all products, suppliers, and facilities and the relationships between them, enabling businesses to make more informed decisions.

“The ability to identify risks by tracking multi-tiered supplier information, costs, and disruptions is key for companies to take corrective action before shortages impact business operations and overcome supply chain disruptions.”

Jarrod Kinchington, Vice President and Managing Director of ANZ, Infor

Jarrod Kinchington, Vice President and Managing Director of ANZ, Infor
Jarrod Kinchington, Vice President and Managing Director of ANZ, Infor

“Ongoing supply chain disruptions have upended Australian industries, exposing costly operational gaps. My top tips for businesses struggling to overcome these challenging times include:

  • Map it out: Identify key suppliers and areas of risk for full visibility over processes, and  see how supply bottlenecks will impact operations, revenue and customer experience.
  • Be agile: Supply shortages mean it’s more important than ever to broaden networks and source from different suppliers. A broad supply chain is a stronger supply chain.
  • Be transparent: When shortages and delays happen, consumers and supply partners left in the dark inevitably lose confidence. Improve your product and process visibility, and you won’t just improve these relationships but you will also lay the foundations for greater predictive capabilities.
  • Embrace automation: Companies leveraging automation technology are more effectively managing their talent, strengthening their supply networks and driving significant business improvements.”

Nic Brill, CEO, Poolwerx

Nic Brill
Nic Brill, CEO, Poolwerx

“The pandemic revealed an urgent need for greater agility and forward planning in supply chain and manufacturing operations. In November 2021, Poolwerx identified we were selling salt faster than we could source. We endeavoured to find the better way: onboarding a third supplier to create a secondary supply chain bespoke to Poolwerx. This required a significant investment, staff resources, management oversight and logistical coordination with suppliers, warehousing and transport.

In February 2022, we innovated again to address additional supply pressures caused by La Niña and flooding on the east coast. We worked closely with our new supplier to arrange extra shifts amid a worker shortage to produce salt at night. This meant we had an ample supply of salt and experienced zero shortages and outages when most retailers across the coast ran out. The moral of the story: forecasting, persistence and a little creative thinking are your allies in times of crisis.”

David Aherne, Managing Director and CEO, Across The Ocean Shipping

David Aherne
David Aherne, Managing Director and CEO, Across The Ocean Shipping

“Top tips for solving supply chain issues:

  • With an unpredictable supply chain, it is often difficult to ascertain when a particular product may become unavailable. Clients need to be proactive and anticipate these problems. Research needs to be conducted to look into alternative supply chain solutions around the globe. Vietnam, India and Malaysia are all attractive alternatives. Through doing so, you’ll be able to spread the risk and maintain adequate stock even if an original supplier is unable to fulfil your needs.
  • Supply chain issues can have a significant impact on your inventory. Clients need to consider using historical data and trends to successfully plan for future supply and demand changes. This can help you to prepare for future issues and prevent inventory shortages.
  • Develop strong relationships with manufacturers in various geographical locations to provide yourself with greater flexibility. Supply chain issues are widespread, many manufacturers are openly available to build new relationships and provide reliable alternatives. This can help clients to avoid prolonged delays.
  • Look and accept alternative routes of transportation, the cheapest way is not always the best way. With an increasing number of ports becoming congested, look at moving your shipments via air, road or rail to alternative ports with lower vessel wait times. This can help you to overcome inefficiency and delays.
  • Utilising a forwarder with clear communication channels that can offer 24/7 tracking and milestone push points is a simple yet effective way to stay on top of supply chain issues. Uncertainty is much worse than being aware of a delay. To keep waiting customers happier, ensure they have timely messaging surrounding any delays to keep them informed on when they can expect to receive their goods.
  • The unpredictable supply chain is leading to an increase in delays and late shipments, meaning that you can’t always rely on the predicted shipping times. Planning ahead is essential to ensure required stock arrives in time to avoid any negative implications.”

Discover Let’s Talk Business Topics

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

We started with nothing; we found funds where we could through savings and borrowing from friends and family that wholeheartedly believed in our brand. The main driving force that sustained us was a strong belief that we were creating something worthwhile

Steve Moon Founder & Director, LinkSafe

In early 2020, LinkSafe remodelled its cloud-based contractor management system to keep up with client demand for a trusted, easy solution to new vaccine protocols. This quick change in gears resulted in a 33 per cent increase in revenue and almost doubled their client base. 

Since 2012, the team has grown their client base from 10 to 545, with over 30 international businesses utilising the platform daily. LinkSafe founder Steve Moon says that the company worked tirelessly in the early stages of the pandemic to ensure they could capture sensitive medical data on behalf of their clients. However, there were many lessons to learn along the way.

“As LinkSafe developed and grew, there were many things I had to learn. At the beginning of this journey, I could concentrate on doing what I enjoyed: the creative side of product development. 

Steve Moon, Founder & Director, LinkSafe

“As we grew, I had to step out of my comfort zone and work on things like sales, marketing and managing overheads and staff. None of these came naturally to me, but I accepted that they needed to be done and had to do it. I decided early on to employ great people and contractors and implement systems to take on the things I didn’t have the time or skills to do properly,” Steve says.

“While this created additional costs, it was an investment that had to happen to grow the business to what it is today. Without a solid and trusted team by my side and bulletproof systems and processes, LinkSafe could not have succeeded. I have found that you have to be passionate about what you do to develop a new business from scratch. This passion helped me get through the lean times at the start and helped me get support from friends and family. It then helped me sell the vision to staff and clients. 

The inception

The idea for this business was developed over time, according to Steve. “Initially, it came out of discussions with clients about the challenges they were facing with the operations and processes of their business.”

“From the initial idea, I  engaged in more in-depth discussions with clients regarding ideal ways to improve and automate safety and compliance requirements in their business. The needs within the safety and compliance sector expanded rapidly, and we were quick to understand the importance of ensuring we were continually developing and innovating new features and modules to stay relevant and successful in a growth market.”

The early stages

Steve says that the early stages of establishing the business in 2005 stemmed from a combination of communicating with potential clients about their needs and proposing various ideas and possible solutions to meet said demands.

“The first 18 months of the business were predominantly research and development-based, typified by hard work and long hours, but also great excitement for the future as we were developing an innovative software product in the emerging market of safety and compliance.    

“This was followed by creating a mock-up of the software screens to garner client interest and, in some cases, receiving a forward commitment from clients to use the software when it was ready.” 

“The thing I want to highlight for others who wish to start their own business is how important it is to ensure you share your vision and your passion with your staff and your clients, as this will help your business grow and thrive in a dynamic and changing market.”

Because we were stepping into a relatively new and undefined market, we propelled our business forward by reaching out to potential clients with the trust and confidence to adopt new technology to fulfil their demands. In other words, the typical ‘early adopters’ were our first clients. 

Revenue wasn’t the driver.

In the early stages of the business, revenue was not deemed a primary driver for LinkSafe – it was all about investing in the future, Steve says.

“We started with nothing; we found funds where we could through savings and borrowing from friends and family that wholeheartedly believed in our brand. The main driving force that sustained us was a strong belief that we were creating something worthwhile – we were creating a valuable service that businesses would not only want but one they would need to achieve their growing safety and compliance obligations.

“At the end of the day, we’re providing essential software and services that clients of our kind cannot do without. Not engaging in or having poor contractor safety management could result in dire legal and financial ramifications.”

The catalyst

Steve notes that the company worked tirelessly in the early stages of the pandemic to ensure they could capture sensitive medical data on behalf of their clients while providing a way to redact this information once stored.

“We needed to help bolster our client’s online abilities around contractor engagement, enforcement of vaccine protocols and COVID Safe Plans. Although we could not see the complications of a global pandemic, we were lucky because our system was built with the foresight to handle unprecedented circumstances. 

“During 2020, our legal advisory arm LinkSafe Legal, which contractor safety heavyweight Sue Bottrell now leads, was able to provide critical advice, assistance and support in navigating new COVID-19 laws, requirements and differences in health directives issued from state to state.”

Steve continues by saying that the business’s provision of necessary services contributed to increased demand during the pandemic.

“Our products and services were deemed essential by our corporate and Government clients, thus resulting in the strong demand for our business. We proactively remodelled our cloud-based contractor management system to keep up with client demands. 

“We strived to be a trusted, easy solution with setting up and actively managing new vaccine protocols for our clients during the pandemic’s uncertain times. Like many other businesses, we were significantly impacted by restrictions and had to find a new way of doing ‘business as usual. Thanks and credit to our team, we were able to pivot to a working-from-home model quickly. 

“While this model was not ideal, we found that by utilising our strong internal work systems, we could complete work faster than before. Over the pandemic, the uncertainty of a ‘new normal’ faced by businesses highlighted the importance of safety and compliance. This cemented safety and compliance processes as a mandatory requirement until this day.

The secret recipe

Steve believes that the success of any business relies on establishing a name for itself in the market. 

“To ensure the success of our services, we worked closely with clients with a strong vision, industry knowledge and the ability to collaborate with us in strategising a viable solution that we could incorporate into our products. In turn, their constructive feedback greatly informed our current capabilities in developing a functional and valuable service that could be applied to a plethora of clients from various industries. 

“When we started the business, safety and compliance requirements in the general commercial and industrial sectors were just beginning to emerge. Safety and compliance were commonly managed with paper-based or spreadsheet systems, or in many cases, not done at all. 

“One of the initial challenges was to understand the operational issues faced by clients and successfully design a system that reflects those needs into automated processes efficiently – such as providing users with a straightforward and clear workflow and record-keeping features for audit and compliance requirements.” 

“Another challenge we recognised was to make sure we developed a service that was not only useful to clients in specific sectors but also to ensure we prevail as a well-rounded service that is well-informed and flexible to be used in every industry. Over time, we applied an agile approach to developing our service, which allowed us to pivot and respond to emerging needs efficiently.”

While many Australian businesses providing contract management services are relying on offshore tech support and customer service partners, Steve and the LinkSafe team believe these services should be kept in-house. 

“We’ve developed an on-shore, in-house proactive client support network which allows us to service our clients, get to know them intimately and strengthen our relationships by providing them guidance, support and introductions to various networks we’ve formed relationships with. We are more than a software company; we’re a trusted industry partner always a phone call away,” says Steve.

“As LinkSafe developed and grew, there were many things I had to learn. At the beginning of this journey, I could concentrate on doing what I enjoyed: the creative side of product development. As we grew, I had to step out of my comfort zone and work on things like sales, marketing and managing overheads and staff. None of these came naturally to me, but I accepted that they needed to be done and had to do it. 

“I decided early on to employ great people and contractors and implement systems to take on the things I didn’t have the time or skills to do correctly. While this created additional costs, it was an investment that had to happen to grow the business to what it is today. 

“Without a solid and trusted team by my side and bulletproof systems and processes, LinkSafe could not have grown. I have found that you have to be passionate about what you do to develop a new business from scratch. This passion helped me get through the lean times at the start and helped me get support from friends and family. It then helped me sell the vision to staff and clients. 

“The thing I want to highlight for others who wish to start their own business is how important it is to ensure you share your vision and your passion with your staff and your clients, as this will help your business grow and thrive in a dynamic and changing market.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

The English translation of the Sanskrit word “Bhumi” is “Mother Earth.” In an industry rife with child labour and disastrous health effects from grower to consumer, Bhumi products take pride in being ethically made using organically grown cotton with no harmful pesticides, toxic dyes, child labour, and net zero carbon emissions.

“Seed to Shelf” refers to Bhumi’s ability to track the entire ethical and ecologically sound supply chain, from farmers sowing the organic cotton crop to the dyes used to colour the cotton fabric to the finished goods shelf. 

But Bhumi, like many eCommerce brands, struggled to maintain inventory levels that kept up with its rapid growth and allowed them to meet its true sales potential. 

This is the story of Bhumi, which began five years ago for Vinita and Dushyant Baravkar, and how Bhumi was able to triple its sales revenue in just one year.

The inspiration

When Dushyant and Vinita Baravkar moved from New York to Australia in 2010, they were passionate about living sustainably and being ethical consumers.

“The inspiration for Bhumi comes from my time in New York. I used to live very close to the Wholefoods flagship store, and I used to wonder why people would go there and purchase products at twice the price,” Dushyant Baravkar says.

“That led to my curiosity about the products sold, how they were made and if they were sustainable. I met Vinita there while she was working with the United Nations on the ground with WHO, and she was experiencing first-hand the negative impacts of textiles and conventional cotton.”

Vinita has been fortunate to travel to many exciting destinations and experience the beauty of nature and world cultures. With a background in Health and a Masters’ in International Public Health, Vinita saw first-hand the disastrous health and environmental impacts of traditional cotton growing with farmer suicides, child labour, pesticide poisoning, congenital disabilities, harmful dyes and toxic waterways.

Initial days

In 2017, Dushyant and Vinita founded Bhumi to pursue their passion. With Bhumi, they have created a range of premium products made from organically grown and ethically produced cotton.

Dushyant says, “the inspiration if I had to summarise everything in one word would be – curiosity. I’m your stereotypical corporate financial services person. I spent much time in the United States, primarily in management consulting, before moving to Australia, where I have been with ANZ on the institutional side and then Australia Post, among other roles. 

One thing led to another; Dushyant and Vinita came to Australia, and Dushyant decided to leave ANZ because of his curiosity to start a socially conscious business. 

After they launched, they started visiting small markets and stores where they found a huge demand from local customers. Neither Dushyant nor Vinita had experience in eCommerce, but after a few years of success selling their products through physical stores, they eventually opened their first online store with Shopify.

Getting suitable product material has proved a big challenge for Bhumi as it requires much capital. They considered bringing on investors to provide this capital but were worried it might impact their ability to deliver social impact.

Dushyant came from a career in finance, so he was well aware of the challenges he would face when trying to scale Bhumi. 

“This is a very capital-intensive business,” said Dushyant. Bhumi’s suppliers required a 30 per cent upfront payment for all stock, and at the pace, they were growing, they always needed to purchase more inventory than they had the cash for; “we often missed out on potential sales as we didn’t have the stock to sell to customers who were ready to buy” says Dushyant.

Managing cash for both inventory and marketing is a tricky balance to strike: “the two biggest issues for cash flow are related to inventory and spending on marketing. You have to have both of these hummings in parallel”, says Dushyant.

Dushyant and Vinita explored the option of bringing on investors. Still, they were worried that giving up control of their company would hold them back from delivering on their social impact mission. 

“We wanted to grow organically, not taking on investors who would dilute the value of our brand and challenge our ethos”, says Dushyant. However, their need for capital did not go away “if we don’t get the funding we need, at the right time, it would be a big issue,” tells Dushyant.

The Bhumi team approached Wayflyer to discuss how they could find a solution to this problem. What appealed to them about Wayflyer’s offering was the ability to get the funds they needed to grow without giving up any control or ownership. Bhumi decided to take capital from Wayflyer to fund their inventory purchases and have gone on to take multiple rounds of funding for each order they make.

“We tripled our sales last year; we simply could not have done this without access to the right capital”, says Dushyant. This growth has also significantly boosted the social impact they deliver. Every Bhumi sale has a positive environmental and social impact, helping to fix many of the current problems in the textile industry. More sales for Bhumi means more social impact for people and the planet.

The vision

Dushyant has long had a passion for socially conscious enterprises and textiles. Dushyant’s vision for all businesses today is to have a purpose beyond profits. He firmly believes that companies should be financially sustainable and at the same time provide economic, social and environmental benefits to local and global communities.

Vinita and Dushyant knew it was time for positive change. Vinita’s background in Health and years in the field meeting with amazing NGOs, combined with Dushyant’s finance and technology background, has seen Bhumi grow into a global platform.

Making a difference with its efforts

According to the company, since Bhumi chose to use certified organic cotton over conventional (non-organic) cotton, 1,361,464k of driving emissions have been avoided, and 7,1910,375 days of drinking water have been saved, and 645,500m2 of land have been farmed without pesticides.

After the United States of America, Australia has the second-highest global textile consumption rate per person. Each Australian uses 27 kilogrammes of new clothing annually, and 23 kilogrammes of that clothing are discarded in landfills, making up 93 per cent of the textile waste produced, according to the Department of Climate change, Energy, the Environment and water.

Fast fashion, which refers to clothing retailers selling inexpensive, primarily synthetic garments inspired by the newest trends and intended to be worn for a brief period of time before being discarded and replaced by new garments once trends change, is a significant factor in this situation.

Second-hand clothing stores contribute to lowering landfill waste from textiles. There are 10,000 charity collection bins, 33,000 volunteers, and 5,000 jobs supported by Australia’s 3,000 charity and social enterprise retailers. However, more must be done to lessen fast fashion’s adverse effects and landfill waste from clothing.

More about Bhumi here; more on Wayflyer here.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

As India celebrates its 75 years of independence, many world leaders, including the prime minister of Australia, conveyed congratulations to Indians living in Australia and other countries. 

Many academics and think tanks believe that India represents the best possibility for the Western democracies looking to counter China as a strategic partner and market.  Whatever the reality on the ground, the possibility of a secular democracy with a sizable population, aspirational English speakers, and a thriving economy has long been a glimmer. Australia has contributed significantly to the alliance’s expansion.

India and Australia have a solid and purposeful bilateral relationship. The scope of Australia’s relationship with India has grown in tandem with India’s rapid economic and strategic growth, supported by trade and investment. 

According to government data, India was Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner in 2020, with two-way trade valued at $24.3 billion and the sixth-largest goods and services export market, valued at $16.9 billion. 

Interestingly, Education is Australia’s largest service export to India, valued at $6 billion and accounting for around 88 per cent of the total in 2020. At the end of 2020, Indian students in Australia numbered 115,137.

A modernising economy

The post-independence economy of India (1947–1991) was notable for its planned development, heavy regulation, and protectionism. India started a phase of economic liberalisation in 1991 that aided in its transition to a market-based economy. 

The Indian economy grew at an average yearly rate of over 7 per cent for a decade starting in the late 1990s. India’s GDP increased seven times since 2000 to reach USD3 trillion. Since the 1990s, tens of millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty. The nation’s economic progress is still uneven, though.

Notably, India’s independence marked a turning point in its economic history. The Indian economy, which is currently the sixth-largest by market exchange rates, was valued at $3.04 trillion in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). India’s economy is also among the fastest-growing in the world, with average annual GDP growth of 5.8 per cent during the past 20 years.

A decade in the making

The inaugural Australia-India Virtual Leaders’ Summit took place on June 4, 2020, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, attending. The 2009 bilateral Strategic Partnership between the two Prime Ministers was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at this meeting (CSP). 

The Australia-India Chamber of Commerce (AICC) held several activities across Australia in February 2022 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Australia Day, and Indian Republic Day.

Then, in April, India and Australia agreed to a transitional free trade deal, which will increase bilateral commerce to $50 billion in five years while lowering restrictions on the movement of people and tariffs on various Australian goods. The Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed by Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, and Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. 

More than 6,000 Indian industries will be given duty-free access, including those producing textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery, and machinery. The Australian government is working to diversify export markets and lessen Australia’s reliance on China, its top trading partner. Both have participated in several diplomatic confrontations that have led to Beijing banning particular Australian goods.

The deal with India lowers taxes on more than 85 per cent of Australian commodities sent to India, worth $12.6 billion. Over 10 years, that percentage will increase to over 91 per cent, worth $13.4 billion. The deal would offer huge prospects for trade diversification for Australian producers and service providers exporting to India, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

The Australian Government has also started the Australia India Commercial Exchange (AIBX) programme to encourage more business collaborations between Australia and India. From industry-specific insights to advice on conducting business with India and breaking into India’s online retail market, AIBX offers various services to assist Australian businesses in entering and establishing in India.

Further information can be found on the Austrade website.

India-Australia ECTA

In a recent interview, India’s Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between India and Australia would create roughly 10 lakh employment over the following four to five years. 

The recently concluded trade agreement with Australia is anticipated to increase bilateral trade from USD 27 billion to USD 45-50 billion over the next five years. The government of India anticipates creating one million jobs in that time. The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed on April 2 by both nations.

ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade and provides an institutional mechanism to improve trade between the two countries.

Meet the new generation of India’s diaspora

The Australian Indian diaspora should be utilised and utilised as a national economic asset. The Indian government makes a significant effort to engage this diaspora. This also applies to the Australian Government. 

The future productivity and resiliency of the Australian business sector will be improved by leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit of this rapidly expanding group, notably its willingness to experiment and take risks, as well as its familiarity with the Indian market. Between 2006 and 2016, there was a sharp rise in migration from India to Australia, more than doubling the population of Indian descent.

The professional Indian diaspora in Australia has not yet attained the same level of influence in higher echelons of state and federal politics, academia, and business as the diasporas in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore. Their presence in important economic sectors and the creation of vibrant business groups have especially contributed to the development of trust and understanding needed to increase trade and investment with India. 

They establish links with state governments and industry organisations and offer insights into India’s corporate practices, cultural landscape, and linguistic variety. They advocate for more regular visits, delegations, and conferences between government and business, and they press their governments for stronger commercial and political ties with India. Additionally, their varied perspectives support the adoption of new procedures and technology.

Investing in India-Australia Collaboration

The Indian diaspora in Australia exhibits the same spirit of entrepreneurship that is seen everywhere. Businesses owned by Australians born in India increased by 72 per cent between 2006 and 2011, compared to a 40 per cent increase for those born in China. Additionally, the transport, postal, and warehousing sector saw the greatest increase in Indian diaspora entrepreneurship between 2006 and 2016.

Like Chinese students, Indian students make up 15 per cent of the second-largest international cohort at Australian universities (34 per cent). Since 2014, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Indian international students enrolling in postgraduate programmes in Australian universities. 

But among Indian students, master’s by coursework is by far the most popular option (70 per cent), followed by bachelor’s degrees (22per cent), and it has been expanding quickly since 2014. In Australia, only 2per cent of Indian students seek PhD degrees.

India was one of the top three nations from which Australian academics were recruited between 1993 and 2013 (the other two being the United Kingdom and China). International students made up 30 per cent of all postgraduate researchers in 2014; this percentage was higher in the STEM fields of engineering (54.2 per cent), information technology (51.5 per cent), agriculture and environment (45.6 per cent), and natural and physical sciences (45.7 per cent). (36 per cent).

The India-Australia ECTA agreement has unquestionably offered a kind of road map for a successful engagement with India in the current international environment, and its relevance must be evaluated in that context.

More of these conversations may take place, and it remains to be seen how effectively the two countries’ relations will develop in light of their shared potential and principles.

More here.

More on India’s diaspora.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Recalling that she was “always trying to scheme up ideas for businesses” as a young girl, one of entrepreneur Jacqui Bull’s first successful ventures was a dog walking business.

Decades on, she’s the co-founder of Australia’s and New Zealand’s largest online staffing platform, reinventing casual and temporary staffing in industries like aged care, retail, hospitality, promotions, warehousing, and events.

Some of Sidekicker’s big-name clients include influential industry leaders like AusPost, Crown, and AirBnB.

“We came up with Sidekicker from the premise of empowering people to choose where they work, what they want to do, and how much control they can get over their work,” Jacqui said.

“Our product solves staffing problems while adding a lot of value to our customers. We found that competitors or incumbent providers in Australia weren’t innovating or adapting their business model in line with what we were seeing globally.”

Since launching in 2013, Sidekicker has provided work opportunities to over 40,000 casual workers at more than 5,000 organisations. They estimate placing an average of 2,500 ‘Sidekicks’ into jobs per week.

Most recently, Sidekicker secured $20 million in funding from SEEK investments to accelerate expansion across Australia and Zealand, and toward platform upgrades.

“I’d definitely credit our obsessive focus on being the best place for workers to get jobs,” she grinned. “We’re focused on being the best place to get the best rates, with quick response times.”

Why Sidekicker works

Jacqui first met Sidekicker co-founder Thomas Amos while completing her degree in accounting and marketing at Monash University. While her curiosity was piqued then by presentations around entrepreneurship in the tech sector, she chose the more traditional path of a grad role in accounting at Deloitte.

She decided it was time to take the plunge into the tech space when the idea for Sidekicker came about.

Jacqui elaborated, “I didn’t have a background in tech so there was a lot to learn! My naïve understanding as a 22-year-old was that you go to a development agency, you build a product and take it to market, and the rest is sales and marketing.  A decade later, I learned my lesson that tech and development remain an ongoing process.”

Sidekicker’s technology disrupts the traditional recruitment model by providing a platform for Sidekicks to access casual work as and when they choose. It also provides a two-way rating and review system for businesses, which drives the reliability and accountability of staff.

Sidekicker co-founders Jacqui Bull and Thomas Amos. Source: supplied

However, as Jacqui candidly admits, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

“One of our biggest mistakes at first was launching into cities too quickly. We launched in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne as opposed to really focusing on building a hyperlocal marketplace first. We’ve had to relaunch in Brisbane a couple of times now,” she said.

“We also tried out a number of different industries, such as cleaning, but those roles can be very subjective. The idea of cleanliness really differs from person to person, so finding the right person for these roles was really labour intensive and time consuming.”

Instead, they decided to pick a handful industries they could service well.

“In terms of staffing, there are certain roles that can be objectively assessed, for example aged care where there’s a huge demand for workers and certain qualifications to be met. We realised we could really work in this market by attracting workers with a wealth of experience who are looking for the best rates.”

As an entrepreneur, one of her happiest milestones was the realisation that they truly had a good, successful product.

“It was a really special moment when we got our first seed investment and the investors could really see that we were disrupting and innovating the staffing market,” Jacqui smiled.

“Now as we get bigger, it’s a mark of pride to see our team living and breathing the values of Sidekicker. Seeing them understanding what we’re trying to build and being as passionate about the business.”

READ MORE: Conquering adversity: Female leaders reflect on resilience in the face of overwhelming odds

The team at Sidekicker. Source: supplied

The importance of representation

As a woman in the tech space, Jacqui is often asked if she’s had to ‘prove’ herself to male counterparts.

“There are a lot of statistics that show that women are underrepresented in this space and underinvested from a VC perspective,” she agreed. “For me personally, I do like to put pressure on myself to ensure I’m treated with the same level of respect and authority as my counterparts, which I don’t think you have to do as a male.

“At Sidekicker, we’re lucky to have built a very diverse business and leadership team. I work with incredibly talented men and women every day. And importantly, having that kind of representation attracts more women to the business. Our heads of engineering and product are women – unheard of in the tech sector – and this helps us attract more women to the tech industry.”

The best advice received

Ultimately, she breaks down the best advice she received to ‘knowing where you can add the most value and doubling down on that.’

Jacqui explained, “In business, it can be tempting to try to meet every demand and broaden your scope. When you’ve got a creative mindset, it’s easy to think ‘this will work’ or ‘this person will love this and this’. But it’s a lot of work to get a product up and running in the market and you can end up stretching yourself too thin. It’s a skill to know when to say no.”

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

READ MORE: Founder Friday with Liz Agresta: the secrets to building a $15m beauty empire 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Newer Posts