Software

3 business lessons we took away from Xerocon 2017


Last week, some of the MNE team attended Xerocon in London, a huge three day conference attracting accountants, bookkeepers and finance professionals not just in the UK but across the globe.

We have been a Xero Partner since 2011 and have since achieved Xero Silver Champion Partner status. This essentially means we serve many Xero clients and adhere to their exacting standards of quality. Xerocon offered opportunities for our team to get exclusive insight into advancements within Xero’s cloud accounting software, hear from thought leaders, discover tools to help our clients and make new connections.

Below are 3 lessons we took away from our Xerocon experience.

1. Fail to embrace technology and you’ll get left behind

Advances in technology have altered the way business is conducted and redefined how companies operate. It’s a fairly generic statement, it’s something most people realise and understand, but how many of us are actually doing anything about it?

Those who are embracing technology are winning, whilst those who are trying to run successful businesses based on traditional methods are losing. In fact, Richard Susskind, a pioneer in IT and the professional services and one of the keynote speakers at Xerocon suggested that companies embracing cloud technology were seeing faster growth by 30%.

When businesses think they’re untouchable much like Nokia thought at one time in the height of the mobile revolution, it’s a dangerous place to be. After all, there is always a business in the wings waiting to whip out an iPhone and turn everything on its head. In our industry, Sage was the clear dominant market leader in accounting software until Xero came along and put accounting software in the cloud. Now, there are conversions from Sage and other accounting software solutions to Xero every 15 minutes according to their CEO, Rod Drury.

2. Much of what could only be done by a human, can and will be done by computers

Maybe 15-20 years ago, it would have been perhaps a little more difficult to predict how important the emergence of a new technology would be, and perhaps this is why there is a reluctance for businesses to jump on something straight away. However, the reluctance to see the exponential rise of digital technologies to augment business processes and the like is born out of pure ignorance. Whereas previously prediction has often been based on professional opinion, this can now be done by harvesting and processing vast sums of data.

Susskind announced something that really hit home at Xerocon: “Computers can already out-perform a human, but by 2050, a computer will be able to out-compete the whole of humanity.”

This isn’t to suggest that there will be no jobs in the future because everything will be automated to an extremely detailed and technical level, more so that there will be a redeployment of people to professions across most industries.

You can either compete against this change or learn to develop alongside new systems that will replace our old ways of working.

3. Be the hole!

Susskind’s opening gambit to his keynote was an anecdote about a new Black & Decker employee being asked in sales training what the company sold.

His response, “Power tools obviously”, to which the trainer replies, “We sell a hole’.

It’s a great anecdote because it illustrates why businesses need to sell results, the benefits and perhaps even further, the aspirations of their product or service.

Overall, this statement highlights the mindset required to be successful. Small business owners need to go beyond the surface of their profession.