Australian Information Industry Association

  

AIIA turns it’s attention to SMEs in a COVID world

Joining a Board of Directors is challenging at the best of times, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) had four new members join at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis. Each Director had to deal with dramatically changing circumstances in their own business at the same time that the AIIA was facing what seemed at the time to be an insurmountable crisis.

Above: Karl Sice, Vito Rinaldi, Rupert Taylor-Price and Craig Baty

The new Board members represented a build of the AIIA’s refocus towards Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) with three of the new members being the CEO’s of Australian technology companies. Efforts quickly turned to internal AIIA challenges that would be familiar to many SME leaders, the COVID19 lockdown meant that the primary revenue sources such as events and sponsorship had dried up.

The Board and executive went into overdrive to reshape the business, simultaneously,  executing plans to support their own businesses and AIIA members who were each facing their own crisis. The AIIA turned to technology, bringing both meetings and events online, coordinating the technology response with the Government and reinventing new revenue streams. Even their flagship event, the iAwards were rebuilt to thrive in a COVID world.

“We were worried that our members would be in financial stress and not be able to afford to stay with the AIIA, but it turned out that our members needed the AIIA more than ever and our member numbers have grown during the crisis” said Karl Sice.

“We have dubbed ourselves the class of COVID 2019. While the journey is not over, we have pulled through this crisis and shown that industry associations are more important than ever in uncertain times. Our efforts have now turned to working with Government and understanding how we can rebound the economy to a new better normal with technology at the core.” said Craig Baty

After an unexpected and intense few months the new Board members are focused on the task they joined for, growing the Australian technology industry.

“When we joined the Board, we were determined to get Australian technology companies on the world stage. Now we are seeing that the Australian economy needs Australian technology companies to succeed, it is no longer a nice to have. SMEs are the great Australian employer and we are going to be working with Government to ensure that our local companies can become the economic vaccine we desperately need.” Said Vito Rinaldi

“I think we have all had a wake up call on how important domestic capability is. Hand sanitiser and masks were not a sovereign capability any of us were thinking about a few months ago. It’s not just about jobs, Australia needs to build its digital sovereign capability to secure Australia and we will all benefit from the economic windfall. I have been passionate about this my whole life and I am excited to have been elected to the Board of the AIIA to serve this purpose.” Said Rupert Taylor-Price

“These members represent the diversity of the Australian digital economy, including large Australian companies, multinationals and small and medium sized businesses,” said the Chair Rob Hillard.

Craig Baty is Principal and Founder of DataDriven , an Asia/Pacific based research and advisory firm with a focus on creating fact-based research, insights, marketing strategy and content to support localised thought leadership and content across all hi-tech markets and digital transformation. Craig is also a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML), Vice President of the Australian Computer Society (ACS NSW) and additionally, serves on the GAP National Standing Committee on Digital Trade. He is personally motivated by the challenge of ensuring that Australia continues to develop strong internationally competitive STEM technical and leadership capabilities.

Vito Rinaldi is the Managing Director of Blue Crystal Solutions (BCS), national headquarters in Adelaide. He is dedicated to driving innovation and maximising business performance. By putting the customer at the centre of everything he does. Vito has created a personal approach to application/database management and cloud consulting.

At Blue Crystal Solutions, Vito oversees all operations nationally within Australia, with more than 25 years of experience in IT and forming strategic partnerships. Vito’s passion for digital transformation and AIIA voice heard, not only large multinationals but the small to medium organisations punching above their weight.

Karl Sice, Country Business Leader ANZ of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise(ALE), provider of enterprise communications and network infrastructure solutions, delivering purpose-built technology for verticals including Government, Healthcare, Education, Transportation and Hospitality.  Karl has over 20 years of tech industry experience during which he has held sales and business leadership roles with recognized industry players such as Dell, Staples, Gartner and Sun Microsystems. He also has an outstanding track record of success in consistently and profitably achieving and exceeding challenging targets in the face of intense competitor and market pressure in demanding economic and business environments.

Rupert Taylor-Price, founded Vault Cloud in 2012, driven by his strong desire to improve citizen’s lives through the Government. He has a long history of handling sensitive data, stemming from his eight years as Chief Executive Officer at JN Solutions. At JN Solutions, Rupert developed a world-leading Software-as-a-Service Information Management Platform for the Australian Government which provided extensive services to the community services sector.