Ev­ery busi­ness these days has to think and act like a tech com­pany. But thanks to com­pa­nies like Born Dig­i­tal, that tech can be har­nessed in ever-more-in­no­va­tive ways to help busi­nesses grow.


Let’s say you have a busi­ness, and your busi­ness needs a web­site. But not re­ally a web­site – what you re­ally need is tech that can help you fo­cus on what your busi­ness is about, and al­lows you to fo­cus on your busi­ness, rather than the man­age­ment of it.

Or think about it like this: if your busi­ness is a fancy car, you still can’t drive it around with­out wreck­ing it un­less there’s a road. And in that sense, one could think of Auck­land-based Born Dig­i­tal as a com­pany that helps build those roads for busi­nesses.

Manag­ing di­rec­tor Brett Han­cock says Born Dig­i­tal works with busi­nesses to cre­ate a va­ri­ety of tech so­lu­tions to al­low them to fo­cus on their core ser­vices or prod­ucts. “Our first cloud based soft­ware app was in 2009, for Odd Man­age­ment, who are a tal­ent man­age­ment com­pany,” he says. “Us­ing the same tools that we use to build web­sites, we cre­ated a sys­tem that let the tal­ent man­agers fil­ter their data­base for the right matches for a client brief, then drag and drop the cho­sen pho­tos onto a cast­ing email back to the client. It was pretty cut­ting-edge at the time.”

Han­cock says the staff has grown from just two peo­ple to 17 to­day. Born Dig­i­tal also uses no fewer than 22 soft­ware-asa-ser­vice (SaaS) ap­pli­ca­tions to run his com­pany – which means they have plenty of hands on ex­pe­ri­ence with some of the best in class web based tools.

There are a few projects Born Dig­i­tal is work­ing on that Han­cock is es­pe­cially proud of. “We are de­vel­op­ing a pa­per­less SaaS-based app for any New Zealand­based com­mer­cial boat op­er­a­tors to en­able them to stay com­pli­ant with the Mar­itime Op­er­a­tor Safety Sys­tem (MOSS) stan­dards,” he says. “What is great about this project, is that the prof­its are be­ing used to sup­port a very wor­thy char­ity – Sea Clean­ers, who clean up our har­bours.”

There’s more, too. “We have also been de­vel­op­ing a web-based tool for a US con­struc­tion com­pany to man­age all their projects and staff time and costs. The own­ers of the app are con­sid­er­ing com­mer­cial­is­ing the IP so that other sim­i­lar busi­nesses can use it.

“We are also about to launch a web­based man­age­ment coach­ing plat­form that guides coaches through a proven method­ol­ogy to get re­sults from staff.”

But why cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tions, in­stead of just the afore­men­tioned web­site-build­ing?

Han­cock says busi­nesses have changed – and that, es­sen­tially, ev­ery­one is a tech com­pany nowa­days.

“When cloud based soft­ware first got started, you would go to a large IT firm and spend hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on your en­ter­prise so­lu­tion,” says Han­cock. “Cloud-based apps are a log­i­cal pro­gres­sion for ex­pe­ri­enced web­site devel­op­ers, be­cause they com­bine ag­ile soft­ware devel­op­ment with strong us­abil­ity, user ex­pe­ri­ence and UI de­sign, most of these are over­looked by the big IT com­pa­nies.”

Han­cock be­lieves busi­nesses are also savvier than they ever have been when it comes to un­der­stand­ing tech – which has trans­lated into an in­ter­est­ing growth model for Born Dig­i­tal.

“The vol­ume of cloud-based soft­ware projects has been slowly in­creas­ing de­spite no real at­tempt from us to get that kind of work,” Han­cock says.

But he sus­pects there’s a rea­son they keep get­ting asked to help. “It’s symp­to­matic of the evo­lu­tion of client needs. The size and tech­ni­cal com­plex­ity of projects has evolved.”

But thank­fully – go­ing back to that first anal­ogy – it would seem as the tech in cars has got­ten fancier, so too has the tech for the roads that they are driv­ing on.

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