Jeremy Nees, chief product officer at information technology firm The Instillery, talks getting creative and what the brainchild of his colleague is hoping to achieve.
What does your business do?
The Instillery is just over 4 years old, an Auckland-based company founded as a startup in the cloud computing space by Mike Jenkins. The firm was set up to be different to traditional IT companies, it is focused on emerging technologies and innovations that enable Kiwi companies to perform better on the world stage.
What was the motivation for starting the business?
Mike has a long history in the New Zealand tech sector and having worked for a number of corporate organisations, he travelled and looked around a little bit to see what was fundamentally shifting in technology. After spending a period of time looking at that he decided to start The Instillery on the basis that he didn't see anybody else taking advantage of technology.
Everybody's had this view that the future of technology often involves flying cars but what we've seen is all of these changes that aren't fundamental, things like Uber, Airbnb. And if you look at what banks are having to do these days, they've fundamentally changed how they've engaged with customers and that brings a whole new level of creativity to the IT space as opposed to it being traditional and boring such as installing programmes and replacing company laptops.
How big is the team?
A lot of our team are either fresh starts in the IT industry or have been in IT in the past, but come to the business looking to do something new. We are 20 people.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day involves a lot of customer interaction, working with people around what their products may be, new initiatives and that ranges from meeting with customers to see what's new in their business, what they're trying to achieve, through to getting into the guts of delivering something, prototyping, testing new systems with our customers. It's quite varied but very customer-centric in that we work back from the client and what we're able to achieve.
What challenges are you facing within your industry?
The challenge and opportunity is really just the rate of change. I've been in this industry for 18 years now and the rate of change seems to be speeding up every year which is really exciting, and always challenging to stay up-to-date. Which is what you always want to be and ahead of what is coming next, but not too far ahead that it's not relevant for everybody. We get very excited about technology but [often forget] the impact for the people we're trying to deliver something to, if it is the right time to do so, what's best, what's too new, what's too old. We're at a point in the industry where the rate of change is ever speeding up.
Where did the business name The Instillery come from?
Mike was sitting about one night thinking about what he wanted to achieve with the company and the idea of instilling something, that creativity, something that keeps going sits behind the name The Instillery. It's all about inspiration and that parting of something with that leaning towards being creative with technology.
What projects are you currently working on?
We're working on some really interesting projects with government organisations through to some of New Zealand's largest corporates. Regardless of whether it's about helping a small business or a large corporate, generally the things we're working on are for people wanting a fundamental shift in their business.
We're talking about shifts that are so different, that potential an organisation in the way its done business and the product that's sold looks totally different in the next five to 10 years. So there's a lot we're preparing for that and for different ways in engaging people. A lot of what we are doing is looking how the world is changing and we're always looking for people to bring fresh eyes to the business because the same old answers won't produce results we need to be competitive tomorrow.
What are your long-term plans?
Our focus isn't to be the biggest IT company or anything like that, we just really want to be reputed by the results that we can deliver and being able to support more and more businesses. We want to be on the cusp of changing technology and delivering great outcomes. We don't want to take over the world, we just want to help businesses push forward.