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Innovation ‘The Old New’

BY Lee Whelan |

20th February 2019 |


At Acuity we invest heavily in our ‘Innovation’ pillar to allow delivery on our commitments to our ‘Customers’ and ‘People’.  Innovation as a word, seems to promote newness but a quick glance back at History shows us innovation is as old as Humankind and a true constant, ask the clever individual who chipped a stone into the shape of a wheel!  Please feel free to read my blog as an introduction to our ‘Innovation’ pillar and if you like it then do please keep an eye out for my next two, being about our ‘Customer’ and ‘People’ pillars.

Last weekend I went on a visit to The Design Museum in Kensington with my Son Miles, we were on the hunt for some inspiration for his Graphics project on the Journey of Technology.  We had fun (Well I did!) with me trying to explain what the big black vinyl disk did and what are those big tapes called VHS!  It ended up being a little bit of a trip down memory lane for me as I lovingly eyed an Acorn BBC ‘B’ computer running off of a tape loader and it even had the cardboard insert for the great ‘Elite’ game too.  With regards to the project, they had a great display on a wall of equipment through the ages and my beloved BBC ’B’ was in the path that even concluded with my current technology beau of a MS Surface Pro.

Design Musuem

I found myself drifting into thought around one of the 3 pillars of Acuity, that being ‘Innovation’.  Which permeates how we engage with Customers and Prospects and how we retain and develop our talented people, it is a constant driver within the business and my head.  Heraclitus said something along the lines that ‘The only constant is change’ a good many hundreds of years ago.  As much as we obsess about Innovation and the ‘New New’ the reality is change is more correctly the ‘Old New’ and needs constant attention in business and as such remains in Acuity’s DNA.  The display at The Design Museum followed later that day at the ‘Information Age’ exhibit in the Science Museum, demonstrated and reminded me about what has been achieved in such a very short period of time.  From the mechanical calculating concepts drawn by Charles Babbage and Alan Turing’s valve driven computing machines, to what we have today in the palm of our hands, massively more powerful than the first computing machines but wouldn’t exist without those innovative genius’s.

Innovation Collage

Even in my short time in business, I’ve seen the innovation from using my Kalamazoo book-keeping paper systems & cathedral analysis books & HMRC tax tables through to computerising on Sage accounting software.  I’ve been present on the move from DOS character-based systems into the mouse and windows world, other changes like adoption of client/server technology and here we are now in the world of cloud computing.  Not necessarily new technology but for our sector we’ve now hit that tipping point where adoption is escalating.  It’s true to say that the huge majority of Accounting Solutions (ERP) are still on-premise or hosted privately but as we have now seen in prospect engagement there are more opportunities requiring a ‘Cloud’ solution than we are seeing requests for on-prem’/private hosting and the trend towards true ‘Digital Transformation’, in which we have many projects delivered to date.  So, I’m pretty pleased our Innovation pillar and ethos put us in good stead for our sector a good few years before the majority in what we do.  By working with Sage and SalesForce we now have a considerable portfolio of app’s and delivery methods to cater for our Customers’ needs alongside an ever-growing & accredited team.  A great side effect has been the need to ‘grow our own’ talent via Grad schemes, as the reality is that there are very few experienced people in this area.  We did not want to deplete the Talent we have in the core heritage business of many hundreds of supported sites across the Globe, so investing in the enthusiasm of youth and supported by the masses of experience has really been a true eye opener and probably the one strategy I can pin our recent growth to.

SBC & Salesforce 2

Our Innovation pillar also underpins our ‘Choice’ behaviours, it allows us to offer choice to current Customers so that they can continue to get a return on their investment, yet still have the choice, at a time that is right for them, to switch technology via our Upgrade & Migration packages.  It gives new potential Customers a broader choice of technologies to suit their current business strategies.  Plus it gives our current and future talent the choice to stay in the space they excel at and continue to be the ‘Gurus’ they are in their discipline or for want of a better word ‘Migrate’ their skills into new tech as and when they are ready to unleash their experience on their ‘New New’.

 I hope you found this brief Blog around our Innovation Pillar interesting and I’m looking forward to discussing our ‘Customer’ and ‘People’ pillars in forthcoming pieces.  Do feel free to contact us if our drive to innovate is of interest to your growth, whether you be a Customer with a Technology challenge or a talented individual who is looking for a new Challenge in your Work Life!

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