We spoke with CTO of Echo Entertainment, Rob James, about his experience of Optus Vision 2013 and what he sees as the key issues facing business today. James believes that there is room for improvement in investment in innovation and better tools for identifying business problems.
This is another edition in the series of Q&A sessions with business leaders and experts. If you'd like to be involved in a Q&A session with Optus Business, get in touch with us at @optusbusiness on twitter or email us at email@example.com.
OB: First of all, tell us about yourself and your company and tell us why you decided to come along to Optus Vision.
RJ: My name is Rob James, and I am the Chief Technology Officer for Echo Entertainment. Echo is in the casino business and we have 4 casinos; The Star in Sydney, Jupiters on the Gold Coast, Treasury in Brisbane and Jupiters in Townsville. As an it business unit we manage everything from gaming systems, hospitality and hotel systems, corporate systems and everything down to the car park. Part of my role at Echo is to drive innovation through technology. I am constantly trying to work with the business to understand their issues and how technology and innovation can help solve them. I went to my first Optus Vision last year and was pleased to see that it was a discussion about the future of technology rather than the current landscape, hence which I was delighted to be coming along again.
OB: What do you see as the key issues that need addressing for the future of Australian business?
RJ: The world is changing at a rapid rate, the growth of Asia as well as the gobalisation of absolutely everything is throwing challenges up in front of everyone. The major issue that comes out of this is the ability to adapt quickly. Everybody wants to do it, but not many can. The ability to be nimble, agile and to react to an ever changing market place is critical for any business that wants to survive in today's economic environment.
OB: What business services do you feel need greater innovation?
RJ: I actually don't think there is one. I think they all do. Otherwise it becomes a game of 'me too'. It's interesting when organisations identify a period of transformation in their timeline. Transformation is constant. If you don't transform, you die. You need to adapt and compete, and the only way you can do that is by transforming your business through innovation. Jack Welch famously said "control your own destiny, or someone else will".
OB: How do you think innovation should be fostered in Australian business?
RJ: Yes, yes, yes. And more importantly, government needs to provide more support for businesses to drive innovation. Business can do this through process & culture, but business needs all the support they can get in trying economic times. Government needs to provide incentives and support for organisations demonstrating the ability to introduce new and innovative products, business models or processes.
OB: If you had to name one piece of technology that you think could transform business, what would it be and why?
RJ: There are so many, but I think any technology mechanisms that assist with consuming, digesting and interpreting information would be critical. The volume of data that is flowing around us in our personal and professional life is monumental and unsustainable. We need to have the ability to have the critical information bubble up to the surface at the right time. No one has effectively done this yet.
OB: Finally, who would you love to hear from at next year's Optus Vision and why?
RJ: I found Peter Hinssen very inspiring and was the reason that I wanted to come back. Rachel Botsman also had a great presentation this year. More of the inspirational futurist speakers would be ideal and you'll see me back!