IDC NZ and Conferenz announce new ownership for 8th Annual CIO Summit 2014

The ownership of the annual CIO Summit and CIO Summit Awards will revert back to IDC New Zealand and Conferenz, the original owners of the Summit.

Following Fairfax Media’s resignation from the licenses of CIO, Computerworld, PC World and Reseller News, it has withdrawn from its involvement in the New Zealand Summit.

“We started the journey of the CIO Summit together with IDC over eight years ago, before we invited Fairfax to join us.” says Steve Scott, owner of Conferenz. “Fairfax has been a fantastic partner over the past few years. Going forward, we will be taking a broader, multi-platform approach across various business and technology channels. We are still assessing new partnership opportunities.”

The CIO Summit has become renowned throughout the Asia Pacific region as the conference that has secured such heavy-hitting speakers as: Tim Campos the CIO of Facebook, Steve Rubinow the ex CIO of the New York Stock Exchange and Chris Vein the Chief Innovation Officer of the World Bank. It is the largest gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives in the Asia Pacific region with over 500 participants at the conference and 700 attending the CIO Summit Awards this year. The annual awards of CIO of the Year and Lifetime Contribution are eagerly anticipated each year.

Ullrich Loeffler, Country Manager of IDC says “We have had a dream team working on the CIO Summit and Awards. They have achieved a high level of collaboration to which we attribute its success. The Summit has become an integral part of the local CIO community and we are committed to continuing our investment to bring world class speakers and content to New Zealand.”

The 2014 CIO Summit and Awards will take place on 11th & 12th June 2014 at SkyCity – Auckland, with plans to further grow the event and associated coverage across multi-platform business and technology channels.

Conferenz continues to work with Fairfax on the CFO Summit and CEO Summit.

Further information on the 2014 CIO Summit and CIO Summit Awards may be seen at

Issued by Conferenz Ltd and IDC NZ Ltd

Media enquiries contact:
Steve Scott, Managing Director, Conferenz, ph +64 9 912 3616 or email
Ullrich Loeffler, Country Manager, IDC, ph +64 9 374 6690 or email

A tasty opportunity

New Zealand exports over 25 billion dollars worth of food produce a year and is one of only two countries in the world to export over half of its total food production. We are the bread basket of the South Pacific, blessed with a friendly climate, rich soil, a pristine environment and a good international reputation. In fact it’s New Zealand’s reputation that’s one of our key selling points in the international market. “Brand New Zealand” and the 100% Pure campaign are the cornerstones to our success as a food exporting nation.

Food and beverage is a high growth industry for New Zealand; but the challenge for us is to grow faster and higher.

The real opportunity for the New Zealand Food and Beverage sector isn’t in increasing our production by 50%. It’s about selling what we do export for 50% more.

It’s about turning milk powder in to baby formula, cream in to premium ice cream and base produce in to high quality, premium or functional foods. It’s about moving up the value chain and reaping the rewards that come with it. Even though we run one of the most efficient primary sectors in the world, we cannot (and should not) compete with the rest of the world on price.

There are also a lot of emerging markets at our disposal who are hungry for premium, natural New Zealand products:

  • China’s continued rapid growth and appetite for New Zealand products means that they will continue to be a strong market for the foreseeable future.
  • A free trade agreement with India, currently under negotiation, along with an explosion in their middle class, means that we should see a rapid rise in growth in that market in the short-mid-term future.
  • The TPP will open up markets in both North and South America
  • The ASEAN region is continuing to grow at above 5% and is likely to continue to do so
  • Japan will have a long term need for “clean” food in the wake of their tsunami and associated nuclear disaster
  • Our slowly increasing focus on halal products will continue to net our food industry business both in Southeast Asia and the Middle East

We just have to plan effectively and put the support structures in place at a national level to grow our many innovative medium-sized food and beverage companies in to the next Fonterra.

What are your thoughts? Where do you think the main opportunities are for the F&B sector and how can we harness these to increase our growth?

We will look at opportunities for the New Zealand food and beverage sector at our Business of High-Margin Food conference, taking place on 24-25 October at the Crowne Plaza in Auckland.


Enemies of Greatness

As New Zealanders we don’t tend to talk about achieving greatness a whole lot, although we do have some amazing kiwis that have done just that.

I was recently reading about Sir James Allen who was a prominent New Zealand politician and diplomat, and he said, “For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now? ”

I know everyone wants to be successful, however you might define success. I do wonder how many of us think about taking that next step up to greatness.

What are your thoughts on the subject of greatness?

Earlier this year I read this post on Forbes that talked about the six factors that are enemies of greatness and I thought it would be worth sharing.

I’ll leave you with another quote from Sir James Allen, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

Till death us do part: What’s your one piece of social media advice?

Everybody’s full of social media advice and best practices these days. So a few weeks ago I asked my peers in the Social Media Marketing group in LinkedIn to share their one piece of advice about social media based on their global experience. In this blog post I want to share some of those insights with you.

When I started to reflect on some of their advice I was reminded of the vows I made on my wedding day. I do wonder how much we acknowledge the vows we make in the context of our business/customer relationships.

Social media engagement is a long-term commitment

“For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part.”

Social Media is unique in that it allows you to engage instantly but we need to be prepared for the long-haul.

Look at it from a customer perspective. You’re having a conversation with a company about products, services and suddenly the company stops talking. The company has essentially thrown you out and shut the door on your face never to return except every once in a while to shout at you that they have a new blog post. As a customer how would that make you feel?

As with all relationships, you need to maintain on-going communication. Customer service never ends, tech support never ends, customer engagement and interaction never ends so why should the communication with your customers.

What most businesses fail to understand is that social media marketing is not like traditional marketing in any way… it’s more close to the new “inbound marketing” philosophy that is taking over the marketing space similar to how sales 2.0 is taking over the sales space.

We need to be committed to seeing our social media efforts through and to making the neccessary investments to make this possible.

Provide value

Implicit in the definition of relationship building is the idea of adding value to the transaction, going beyond simply being an order taker to being an asset in the business or personal lives of your customers.

The hard sell is pretty old and most people don’t go for it anymore, most are becoming savvy enough that it’s difficult to go for the hard sell as people can sense it and don’t feel comfortable with it.

Jeff Thull, President and CEO of Prime Resource Group and author of “The Prime Solution” in the context of sales methods says that “we must think for our customers, creating revenue-building solutions that the customers can’t come up with on their own. Everyone in the organisation should be concerned about creating and capturing value for the customer.”

The functionality of the web has changed; it’s no longer about having a website and directing people to it. It’s about being where the conversation is and offering up meaningful advice. Follow then lead when you find your voice, or your unique contribution and be consistent with rich content relevant to the audience you are targeting.

Pull people to your company instead of pushing the information at them.

Have a clear and strong objective

Everyone will admit that objectives are important but most of us are familiar with the old quotation, “Having lost sight of our objective, we redoubled our efforts.” I am sure just as many of us will admit to having been caught in this situation at one time or another.

We understand that consumers don’t respond to misguided marketing efforts or sloppy campaigns, how could we expect our customers to react any differently if our social media marketing has no direction—or it has too many directions. This can be especially frustrating when it comes to a social media because this relies so heavily on brand awareness and audience interaction.

Common objectives range from driving web site traffic to increasing customer engagement or we often start just with the general goal of letting everyone know who we are and what we are about.

Below are some initial thoughts on developing your social media objectives:

  • Reflect on your current presence online

What is your audience telling you? Read comments, look at your metrics and find out how your audience is reacting and interacting with your brand through social media. Take a look at your numbers over the past couple of months; see how many followers you’ve gained, what kind of links they have been sharing or clicking on, and what response overall has your audience provided.

  • What do you hope to accomplish through social media?

Use the information obtained through listening to your audience and examining the current state of your social media strategy to outline clearly defined objectives. For example, do you want to increase your target audience? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Do you want to increase your visibility?

Measure your effectiveness

Social media is a game-changing business platform for those with a clear purpose and the right tools to measure the “effectiveness” of their efforts

If measuring success is something you’re serious about, you have to solve the measurement mechanism problem first. If you want to increase customer retention but don’t know how you’re defining or calculating that metric, that’s the place to start.

What you measure is entirely dependent on your objective. If your objective is better customer service, you measure things that indicate customer satisfaction like reviews, sentiment, positive comments/feedback, decreased “incident” reports from the call centre. If your objective is brand awareness, you measure things like website traffic, share of conversation, media placements, volume of online chatter, or even standard market survey results.

Don’t try to measure every possible combination, pick three solid metrics that are relevant to your objectives and worry about those. Measurement is about tracking progress or the lack thereof, not analysing things to death.

In closing

The reality is that marriage is not as simple as it seems and the same can be said of social media. It takes a long-term commitment, a focus on bringing value to the relationship, a clear objective and a means of measuring your progress.

I think it is important to state that social media is also not the be all and end all.  Social media is one connection channel that needs to be integrated with other media channels to get engagement with a consumer.

Data proliferation: Do you control your own data online?

Have people just accepted a personal data trade off as part of the cost of being online, where they give up just a little bit of themselves to each site they log into, each time adding just a little more, until they reach the point where they figure why bother hiding anything. grid seem a thing of the distant past. More and more we are giving up our information for a seat at a social network table or to buy something on TradeMe.

What do you give out for information, do you make any attempts to control your identity online? What policies do you have in place for your employees? When was the last time you actually checked how much potential sensitive company data was on the internet?

The infographic, courtesy of, while European centric, is still pertinent the world over.


The innovation equation

One of the great benefits of working in a conference company is that I get to hear a number of fantastic, thought-provoking speakers each year. A word I hear constantly in conference presentations is innovation; the importance of it, how to create an organisational culture around it,  and so on. nike free trainer 7.0 reviews
But the more I hear talk of innovation, the more I wonder if people have a real grasp of what it actually means. In our obsession with innovation, has the word become hollow and lost its meaning? I overheard a CFO of a major New Zealand company at our CFO Summit earlier in the year actually refer to innovation as “one of the biggest weasel words in business at the moment.”

While that’s probably a little extreme, it does raise a valid point. The main problem with innovation for me is that it means so many different things to different people, and can be used to conceivably refer to anyone or anything. It can be used in reference to product, R&D, design, marketing, business models, pricing structures or culture – to name but a few. nike womens free 5.0
Think of how innovation is used in your business: do you know what it means for your business? Who is responsible for it in your organisation? Is it one person or an entire business unit?

At our recent One Stop Update for the Accountant in Business, Clemenger BBDO CEO Andrew Holt said that innovation is too important to be left to “creative” types – that it should be the responsibility of every person in the organisation. Here are his five tips on how to get more ideas:

1)      Get weird: if you want to stand out – sometimes it’s worth getting close to your “outliers” – your staff and customers. It’s a great way of provoking change and innovation!

2)      Get granular: Related to the above, the future is here, just not evenly distributed yet. Look for the “next big thing,” think how it will change your business, and act to meet it.

3)      Get social: Innovation is a team sport, and creativity is better nurtured when you share it with others.

4)      Get angry: be dissatisfied with the status quo – use this as your driver for change.

5)      Get tenacious: Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. Good ideas rarely come from nowhere, so don’t be afraid of trial and error.

How does innovation work in your organisation – is it used as a buzzword, or with a specific purpose and role in your organisation’s success?

Building a Super City

In an earlier blog we explored the concept of Housing Affordability in New Zealand. We pointed to a Massey University report which ranked Auckland as the least affordable place in New Zealand to own a house. nike free mens

However, a city is not just rated on the quality and availability of affordable housing. In order for Auckland to become a world-class city, we need to have world-class infrastructure to support its economic and social growth. It needs to be paid for now, but sophisticated and complex enough to deal with the challenges of the future. A difficult challenge indeed. new balance 410

One of the most obvious questions in my mind is around the funding gap. The Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy estimated it will cost around $63 billion over the next 30 years to fund Auckland’s major transport initiatives – but the Auckland Plan acknowledges around a $ 10-15 billion shortfall in funding these projects. This figure does not cover other types of infrastructure such as power, water, broadband connectivity and social infrastructure (housing, hospitals, schools and the like). nike womens free 5.0

This means that we have to have a defined methodology or criteria to ascertain which projects are going to receive those scarce funds. The Auckland Council recently published a discussion document Getting Auckland Moving which looked at a variety of alternative mechanisms such as congestion or network charging, tolling, or regional fuel taxes. Whatever gets decided will likely meet fierce opposition from either ratepayer or business interests, so Auckland politicians need to walk a fine line to avoid a ratepayer backlash.


The other question worth asking is “whose infrastructure is this?” This goes some way to providing some guidance to the prioritisation of project and the allocation of funds – as well as who should pay for it. Is it the most important to develop “productive infrastructure” which will contribute the most to the economic growth of the region? In such a case a more traditional cost-benefit analysis may suffice. But that does not necessarily give enough weight to social infrastructure – Ultra Fast Broadband to schools, roading networks around new hospitals, prisons etc. new balance shoes

No matter the order in which these projects get completed, or who pays for them and how, the issues are clear. To be a world class city, Auckland needs to be a great place to live, work and play.

  • We need an efficient multimodal transport system that is futureproofed against changes in fuel prices, populations and land availability
  • We need a reliable, robust energy network
  • We need an ultrafast broadband network that unleashes Auckland economic and educational potential
  • We need to underpin this with effective social infrastructure that meets the life needs of all Aucklanders


And unfortunately – we need it with urgency.

This is an issue that affects all Aucklanders, and by extension, all New Zealanders. Where do you stand? Where and how do you think our scarce resources should be allocated to make Auckland better?


We’ll be looking at the planning, funding and delivery of Auckland’s Infrastructure at the Auckland Infrastructure Forum taking place on 17-18 July. With speakers from across the range of stakeholder groups across central government, local government and the private sector, it is a fantastic opportunity to debate and discuss the issues with your peers.

Who are your key staff?

Recent disruptions at the Port of Auckland and the on-going negotiations at AFFCO has forced me to really consider the question of which group of workers my business couldn’t do without.

As managers, we often need to consider who within the team is the most valuable and what impact it might have if they suddenly left. The reality in our market is that often we do find some of our team getting better offers of work elsewhere or demanding pay hikes to stay. Other organisations, especially in the public sector are still feeling the squeeze and managers there may have the difficult decision to make of which of their team they will have to let go.

A recent article I read suggested we ask ourselves the following questions:
Who is paid the most?
Who takes care of emergencies?
Who could be replaced the most easily?
What will fail at the slowest rate?
What could you replace from outside?
Who has the longest list of accreditations?
Who would be missed first by other staff?
What could other staff learn to do without?
What do you need most right now?

I’d be interested in what you thoughts were on these questions and what else you might ask yourself. Personally the question I would add to the top of this list is: Who contributes to business growth?

Sorry is the hardest thing to say

None of us are perfect, in life or in business, and there are occasions where our experiences with a business do not meet our expectations. Yet for many organisations, “Sorry” seems to be the hardest thing to say when something goes wrong. nike free runners
Apologies range in their effectiveness and sincerity – from the genuine to the vaguely insulting. A quick, genuine apology for the incident that caused offence or did not meet expectations can often turn around a dissatisfied customer. The more genuine the apology, the more likely people are to forgive and forget. After all – we are all only human.

An effective apology has a number of characteristics. They are:

Directness: Be up front and say you’re sorry. Note the important difference between apologising for something going wrong, and apologising for offence being caused. The first is more genuine, while the second puts the onus back on the “victim” for being offended or disappointed. How often have we heard businesses (or politicians) deliver an apology along the lines of “we are sorry if the remarks caused offence” – this isn’t an apology for saying them in the first place! new balance 996
Timeliness: Whether it’s a small issue with a slightly unhappy customer, or a large scale PR crisis that has hit national headlines, it’s easier to fix a small problem before it turns in to a big headache. The longer an issue takes to fix (or at the very least, to be acknowledged) the harder it is to win back that customer. Timeliness is also a mark of respect. With the advent of social media, people have increasing expectations and high service demands of the companies they do business with.

Humanity: If you want people to believe you – and ultimately forgive you, there’s little point in “apologising for any inconvenience caused.” That sounds hollow and overly corporate. Be up front, honest and real in the language of your apology. nike free gym
Detail: A good apology will go in to detail on the causes of the situation that provoked the complaint. This shows that you understand the underlying issue, the hurt it may have caused and proves that you are not brushing over or paying lip-service to the apology.

Action-orientation: Related to detail, say what you’re going to do about the underlying issue, if appropriate. If the dissatisfaction was based on an error in process, explain how it is being fixed so that it won’t happen again. If you are going to make some kind of restitution by way of a credit or refund, let them know how and when that will be processed. nike air max 1
In an increasingly competitive environment where businesses are searching for new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, excellence in customer experience is a great way to create a point of difference. Many businesses claim to be customer-focussed and customer centric, but few follow up words with actions.


We’ll be exploring apologies, and customer experience delivery in general, at our Customer Experience 2012 Conference on 26-27 June.

You’ll be sorry to miss it!

Conferenz wins at Asian Conference Awards


The inaugural Asian Conference Awards ceremony took place last night at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore. Around 200 people gathered from across the conference industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Representatives from New Zealand, Australia, China, Singapore, Japan, India and Malaysia were in line as finalists across the awards categories.  


Conferenz was shortlisted as finalists for two awards – Best New Product Launch and Triumph in the Face of Adversity. We were excited to receive a special  judges’ commendation for the Best New Product Launch for our ENEX New Zealand Oil and Gas event that was launched in New Plymouth last year to an audience of over 450 participants. max air

Triumph in the face of Adversity was the final award of the night and we were certainly overwhelmed when we found out that we had won this award in the face of some great finalists.  We won this award for our efforts during our Emergency Management conference last year. The first day of this event saw 200+ emergency management professionals gather in Wellington on the 22nd February 2011. Little did we know that this day would transform the landscape and history of New Zealand. 


At 12.51pm, during lunch on the first day of the event, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city. 185 people lost their lives. Where 200 delegates went to lunch, only 30 returned as the central nervous system of New Zealand’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management sector frantically tried to make their way down to Christchurch to assist in the emergency response to the disaster. nike air max 90 premium

It quickly became clear that it was necessary to postpone the conference. The Conferenz team did an amazing job during the event to help all attendees with a wide variety of needs. The team set up a live media feed at the event for those attendees still trying to get to Christchurch. 


It was a privilege to hold the (postponed) Emergency Management conference earlier this year in February. It provided an opportunity for the industry to reflect on the lessons learnt from Christchurch.