Digital Disruption Meets The Bush

We hear so much about digital disruption these days. How it is impacting us in our jobs and the opportunities people are making because of it.

We see footage of these great co-working spaces created out of old factories and warehouses where coffee and beer is on tap 24×7. Where people get around on roadster bikes and there are walls to write on and cushions to kick back on!

But guess what? That is only a small part of the story when it comes to digital disruption.

There are countless other stories of the quiet achievers chipping away and making a huge impact in their own communities.

One of these quiet achievers is Advance Computing who’s head office is based in the regional Australian town of Kyabram – check them out here on google maps so you get an idea where they are:

As part of my relationship as a brand ambassador for Microsoft, I had an opportunity to travel to Kyabram and meet the team at Advance Computing and learn about how they are punching above their weight.

To set the scene, Kyabram, which is 200 kilometres north of Melbourne, is possibly not the first place most people would think of, when it comes to digital disruption. But actually, it is positioned right in the heart of the Goulburn River irrigation district in the Shire of Campaspe.

I had a chance to meet up with Councillor Leigh Wilson of the Shire of Campaspe who shared with me that the council is responsible for over 36,000 residents across 4,500 square kilometres (Greater London for example is only 1,569 square kilometres!) and is a source of diverse agriculture as well as a solid manufacturing and services base.

So, I guess it is really no surprise after all, to see how the need for digital transformation was there across this diversity of businesses, local establishments, and community.

Established in 1999, Advance Computing has filled this gap by providing IT services that range from software development and support through to even a local retail outlet for computers where farmers walk in and just say:

“fix it – I will be back in the morning”!

As Managing Director Mark Schumman explained to me about the products they had developed for financial services:

“you do not have to be based in the cities to deliver compelling offerings”!

They also recognised the need to build local capability which for them meant supporting the schools and providing entry positions into Advance Computing – a legacy of this success is with one of their senior leaders, Bryant Alford, responsible now for Software Development, who started as one of their first trainees!

But of course, it is the clients that tell the story of how Advance Computing is making a huge impact.

This is where Chris Motton, Services & Sales Director, took me on a tour across the Shire to meet three of their current clients – Waterpool Co-op, Kagome and Greenwood Orchards. All very diverse businesses and also with very different challenges in which technology was to play a key part of the solution.

This just emphasised to me how important it is in any business that you need to be flexible in your own service offering if you are to be able to deliver great outcomes for your clients.

But the other thing I was impressed with was the level of support Microsoft was giving to regional Australia to support businesses like Advance Computing (who is a Microsoft Gold Midmarket Solution Provider). Steven Miller, SMB Director at Microsoft Australia explained it this way to me:

“digital disruption is everywhere – it is not just in the cities, no one person can claim ownership”

The days of the one size fits all is over.

If you want to leverage global digital disruption. If you want to set up, scale and sustain a business today then bespoke services and sustainable relationships are key.

Developing unique and innovative solutions to solve problems must be an imperative and this is best achieved when working in collaboration – not going at it alone.

What the team at Advance Computing is demonstrating is precisely this, and it was very inspiring for me to see this first hand and through the eyes of their clients.