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How To Be A Digital Champion

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The benefits of seeking assistance.

For small businesses looking to utilise new digital technologies and improve digital literacy across different aspects of operations, it may well be worthwhile seeking out assistance and exploring some of the state and federal government programs on offer.

From the Queensland government’s Small Business Digital Grants Program through to the federal government’s Small Business Digital Champions Project, a number of different programs have been implemented in recent times, designed to assist businesses and enhance digital technology uptake. it may well be worthwhile seeking out assistance and exploring some of the state and federal government programs on offer.

From the Queensland government’s Small Business Digital Grants Program through to the federal government’s Small Business Digital Champions Project, a number of different programs have been implemented in recent times, designed to assist businesses and enhance digital technology uptake.

Adelaide-based equipment supplier Tree Care Machinery (TCM) is one such company that has been proactive in embracing digital opportunities, which has ultimately led to it becoming involved in the Digital Champions project.

Launched last year, the Digital Champions project has seen 100 small businesses around Australia selected to receive a digital transformation, provided with both funding and expert assistance.

Exploring Digital Possibilities

TCM Managing Director Shane Cavanagh told AA he had identified a need to provide customers with accessible equipment information shortly after starting the Tree Care Hire division of TCM’s business, which hires out trucks, wood chippers, stump grinders and elevated work platforms.

“I soon realised that even those people who have been in the industry for many years did not have a solid understanding of how to operate this type of machinery safely,” he explained.

“So I began to think of ways to provide easy-to-use instructions, available while using a machine in the field.

“A phone App was clearly the answer, but I had no idea how or where to start or who to approach, so I didn’t take the idea any further.”

Opportunity, however, presented itself when Shane received a government email inviting him to apply for a spot in the Digital Champions project.

In applying to take part, TCM outlined the benefits of adding a digital product to its machines, with an app linked on the operator’s phone, providing insight into machine operations as well as a range of safety benefits.

Shane described the Digital Champions project as having been “sensational”, stating that, in addition to financial assistance, it has provided TCM with a range of benefits, including connecting it with professional services company Deloitte, which has provided guidance and put it in touch with experts to help develop its ideas.

“Having a digital audit done to identify the areas of the business that would benefit most from new technologies was a game changer,” he commented. “It became clear that there were several areas of the business that would benefit from digital technologies that we did not know even existed.”

Digital Technology: Embrace It Or Be Left Behind

Shane told AA that TCM’s operations have evolved dramatically since he bought the company in 2006, with TCM having its first computer system installed that year.

“Among the other technologies the company has adopted is an automatic gate controlled via app, allowing customers to pick up and drop off hire equipment when it suits them.”

In the years since, TCM has embraced a range of digital technologies, including: a new website and online store, social media, and business management software that is pivotal in consolidating and speeding up the company’s operations.

Among the other technologies the company has adopted is an automatic gate controlled via app, allowing customers to pick up and drop off hire equipment when it suits them, along with CCTV cameras accessible via app.

“We have invested an enormous amount of time and money into digital technologies to improve productivity, make life easier for staff and, most importantly, enrich the experience our customers have when engaging with us,” Shane explained.

“Businesses that choose to ignore digital technologies will not survive – 85 per cent of the world’s adult population now have a mobile phone, and younger generations have embraced digital technologies to a point where it is the only way they purchase goods and communicate.”

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