At the beginning of 2009, The Guardian newspaper teamed up with PA and Cisco in a three-month experiment to introduce IT-enabled change to a small young business - the award-winning UK-based travel company Black Tomato. Below is the third update from this experiment, with a blog from PA's David Elton, who is representing PA in this initiative.
The third blog
I called Ben at Black Tomato. It took a while to get him – he is clearly busy, along with the rest of Black Tomato – so good news there. When I finally get to speak to him there is more good news: they are in control, are close to the technology and thinking about how it can help them change the way they do business.
The phone system is now business as usual, with ad hoc conferencing the norm (great given there is only one meeting room in the office). The Call Connector Soft Phone (phone on your laptop) is coming and will make a difference – and save money – especially for Tom when he is on the road.
Wireless access is being used regularly for supplier demonstrations. A supplier can come in and can connect quickly to the internet, making for effecting meetings and exchanges of ideas.
Most importantly, Ben is well advanced on planning the business launch for the online video conferencing software, Webex. They have access to a 'Producer' (a dedicated Webex specialist) and training is in place. And they are in preparation for their first web-based seminar (Webinar) which is seen as potentially a faster and warmer way of closing business than clunky email exchanges.
So what's the next big challenge? Making enough of a difference to take the business to the next level. But Black Tomato is confident that the technology, especially Webex, is going to add a new dimension to the way they work. Tom is committed to seeing the technology add something special to the Black Tomato brand.
Leadership and optimism from the top – a valuable thing when it comes to making information technology work.
More on this.
The Guardian - Diary 2 - The phone system is in, 10 March 2009.