Meet Digital Direction’s Specialist Advisor
Digital Direction has a new team member, Peter Rowe. We asked him a few questions about himself and what he’ll be doing…
What made you apply for this post?
It combines three things I know about and like – people, business and IT. I run a small business myself so I know the challenge of trying to improve how the business works whilst in the thick of day-to-day challenges. It’s amazing how different companies use IT in quite different ways and I’m a keen observer of what works in practice and what doesn’t. Most businesses owners don’t have the time or the opportunity to do this, so I think I have some useful experience to offer.
Are you an IT geek?
No I’m an engineer by background but my working life has mainly been spent managing IT projects – though actually it’s been spent working with people. My role has always been to solve problems and to make things happen. I try to listen as much as possible, that’s always a good starting point.
Why do you think you’re well suited to this role?
Partly because of my background in IT, but also because my sector knowledge is quite broad. I’ve worked with all kinds of process and production systems such as water treatment, steel production, cars, power generation, brewing, mines and quarries, food production, libraries and archives and environmental protection. I’ve also worked on back office stuff including networks, servers, office applications, web sites and e-commerce. I use cloud-based services in my own business, I’m learning all the time about using social media. I don’t have a particular axe to grind, I’m more interested in what’s the right solution for the particular problem.
Name three things that have made a big difference to how your business works?
There are a few simple tools that are free or virtually free that spring to mind – we use online services for site hosting, accounting, document sharing and for backing up our business-critical information at the push of a button. In fact all the things that have worked best for us have been free or nearly free: Dropbox, Skype, Amazon Web Services and our £20 a year web hosting provider.
What will you be spending your time doing?
Helping people to identify where IT and digital technologies could solve a business problem and support expansion. My core role will be taking people through the online diagnostic, helping them to draw up an Action Plan and then working with them to select and secure the right supplier to implement the Plan.
How do businesses access your help?
By contacting the Sheffield Enterprise Agency in the first instance – either by phone on 0800 043 55 22 or by email on: email@example.com. A SENTA Business Advisor will help to clarify that you’re eligible for support through the Digital Direction programme and discuss your business requirements with you.
Any immediate advice?
Get in touch! I really hope that Sheffield businesses will make the most of this opportunity.