Research into womens’ technology needs

RESEARCH INTO THE WAY THAT MEN AND WOMEN ACCESS AND USE NEW TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS DIFFERENCES IN MOBILITY AND CONNECTEDNESS.

This is the consensus of opinion among the presenters at the Mobile-ising Women in Business seminar held in Sydney recently.

Women want greater work flexibility and to ‘go mobile‘. The prefer the mobility of technological devices to communicate to whomever, whenever they want and wherever they are. They work in real time and are almost always online.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015 research
Kate Carnell welcomes delegates.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ms Kate Carnell, hosted the day-long seminar in Sydney with 12 outstanding speakers on the role of new technology and mobile communications for business women. It was held at Doltone House in Pyrmont. The information provided on transport options to Jones Bay Wharf near Doltone House was excellent.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015.
Sharing market research findings.

The event was managed by ACCI staff as part of ‘Women Mean Business’, a project to improve women’s economic empowerment. It was held with ‘Biz Better Together’, an ACCI initiative to improve productivity in the Australian workplace. The event was sponsored by the University of Sydney’s Business School.

The conference flyer was pitched at delegates from all management strata levels. The conference program listed speakers at all levels including CEOs, managing directors, heads of sales and marketing, and designer-innovators.

Angela Priestly, publisher of Private Media, based in Sydney, was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.  The day was busy taking in all the research findings from various speakers and their market research projects. It was an important event to attend: the latest commercial business thoughts on women’s interactions with technology for businesses in Australia were shared.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015 research
Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont, Sydney.
Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015 research
Angela Priestly.

Two week’s after this event, the ACCI administrative team for Mobile-ising Women in Business is still hard at work alongside most business owners in Australia. Thank you to Kirsten Lawarik, Administration and Events Officer in the Productivity Unit of ACCI for recently providing the speaker presentation and Cocktail reception and event photos from the Sydney event. They are listed here:

Six speakers’ presentations: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByPldPOeokVReDRpbzM4TzkxYVU&usp=sharing

The event photographs: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1670194646528949.1073741831.1647005575514523&type=3

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015.
Lucy Turnbull’s cocktail speech.

The Cocktail reception photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/135709200@N04/sets/72157660090835073/

Many delegates took notes on the day as there were no paper hand-outs of the speakers’ notes. Though, it was, after all, a mobile technology conference. Research details from six speakers’ presentations are provided here for your information:

1. Michele Levine (Roy Morgan) 2. Troy Roderick & Janice Cox (Telstra) 3. Bronwyn Yam (Commonwealth Bank) 4. Dana Fledman (LinkedIn) 5. Natalie Feehan (MYOB) 6. Helen Souness (ETSY).

1. Michelle Levine of Roy Morgan Research Australia (http://www.roymorgan.com/) talked about the uses of technology to aid women in business. As an example, her presentation showed 1950s fashion advertisements in newspapers promoting women’s fashion apparel.

In her role as a market researcher, Ms Levine was able to draw down some relevant statistic for the technology conference. For example, in Australia, among business decision makers, professionals and managers, about one in three are female. Of that one third in business, very few are over the age of 65. The Directors’ gender ratio is currently five males to every one female.

Ms Levine talked of technology being a great enabler and equality balancer in the business world. About 82 per cent of Australians have broadband, the ratio is 99 per cent of male professional business managers and 92 per cent female professional business managers.

Further, she said that 70 per cent of Australians have a smart phone of some kind as compared with 86 per cent of male professional business managers and 88 per cent of female professional business managers.

In terms of access to information ‘on the go’, the Roy Morgan Research company found that 59 per cent of Australians have a tablet computer of some kind as compared with 71 per cent of male professional business managers and 70 per cent of female professional business managers.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015.
Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont, Sydney.

Downloading apps is a new technology which only 51 per cent of Australians have managed to undertake. This compares with 78 per cent of male professional business managers and 81 per cent of female professional business managers using downloadable apps for work.

Overall Ms Levine reported that men and women in Australia are equally confident about business technology and their positive uses in technology. Both genders are similar in their approach to using technology in business but their personal values are different. For example Ms Levine said that men are more aligned with the need for success and visible achievements whereas women want to be more socially aware.

Interestingly she reported that 64 per cent of women in business agreed to the statement “I need a mobile phone for my personal safety” whereas on 34 per cent of businessmen thought this was important. This is an interesting research finding given that the domestic violence advertisements in Australia (for White Ribbon Day) promote the value that “women’s safety is also a man’s business”.

This Australian research finding is enlightening in terms of the ‘people smarts’ required of leaders in business. The research finding could also indicated a lower rate of emotional intelligence which business men and women in Australia are expected to show respect for women’s safety needs in the workplace and at home. While technology is evolving we might need to reflect and review how digital mobility is used for positive purposes in business.

2. Troy Roderick of Telstra (https://careers.telstra.com/Explore-Telstra#page=/Explore-Telstra/Diversity-Inclusion/Troy-Roderick-Diversity-and-Inclusion-at-Telst-(1)&filter= ) discussed workplace diversity and inclusion in this national telecommunications company.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015.
Dr Sarah Dods, CSIRO & Karen Devlin,  Building Bridges with Janice Cox, Telstra.

Janice Cox of Telstra talked about her role in managing customer sales and service. She also shared details on the winners of the 2015 Telstra Business Women of the Year with an online display of the winners receiving their awards. The Telstra Business Awards program recognises the achievements and enterprising spirit of small businesses across Australia.

There are a range of Telstra Business Awards including the Australian Business Women of the Year, the Start-Up Award, the Entrepreneur Award, the Award for Purpose and Social Enterprise, the Government and Academia Award, the Corporate and Private Award, and the Young Business Women of the Year Award.

The Telstra Australian Business Awards were known as the Telstra Small Business Awards. The program helps profile Australian businesses. The Awards enable businesses to promote their achievements to the broader community, including the media, potential customers and new partners.  They also help businesses develop new business relationships, reward hard working staff and share in a substantial national prize pool. To nominate for these awards click here. Or go online at https://www.telstrabusinessawards.com/

3. Brownyn Yam of CommBank (http://www.all-energy.com.au/en/Contributors/450653/Bronwyn-Yam) talked about turning your mobile phone into a payment device to accept anytime of e-banking. She loves the idea of compact terminals, Bluetooth, apps and hand held devices being used to conduct business anywhere anytime. She particularly likes the idea that mobile devices assist women in business to multi-task in the home as well as ‘on location’.

Ms Yam says that in January 2015 there were just over 400,000 women in business in Australia. About one third of the Australian business population is female. As an innovation-driven economy, Australia needs to respect that 93 per cent of business women run only small businesses. This means women have a small or micro workforce to manage and need to also need to manage their time and resources as well as their staff. They juggle everything.

Ms Yam says that as a result, women in business need technology which is simple to use, makes them more time efficient, and assists them to prioritise and manage multiple demands. Ms Yam said women need technology which enables them to conduct business on the go…This point of Ms Yam’s was picked up by Heather Souness of Etsy.

Photo License Fiona Rothchilds 2015 research
LinkedIn’s Dana Fledman and colleague Jemma.

4. Dana Fledman of LinkedIn Sales Solutions (https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/s/apac/15/8/ps/social-sales-summit/speakers/speakers/dana-feldman) talked of how to sell, market and buy via LinkedIn. She also discussed how to create a professional brand; find the right people; engage with insights; and how to build strong relationships using LinkedIn.

Of particular interest was her segment on how to write for a potential customer rather than for a personnel recruiter. She was firmly of the mind that business women are working in business, running business and not looking for someone to hire them.

Ask the question of your own business: what do my buyers look for online before they look for me?

She’s also keen to encourage LinkedIn members to measure how well they are doing in business. Are you looking for laggards (late buyers) or leaders?

5. Natalie Feehan of MYOB discussed the top five reasons that women started their own businesses: control their own destiny, continue to be passionate about what matters to them, flexibility of work time and place, enjoy a more pleasant lifestyle or work environment, and yet be able to spend time with family and friends. Women want a mobile, flexible work environment which adapts to their changing needs.

Ms Feehan says that in Australia about 40 per cent of Small-Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) are owned by women. In essence, she says business women want to balance financial returns with flexibility. This requirement for a new and modern way of working is changing the existing workplace. Women want the workplace to respect their needs for flexibility and diversity. They want mobile technology to assist them to be ‘on the go’ and to be able to work more flexible hours.

6. Helen Souness of ETSY Australia (http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/aroundtown/features/14208/helen-souness-on-etsy-australia) says her company offers an online marketplace where people around the world connect to make, sell and buy unique goods. The sellers, the buyers and the marketplace can be accessed anywhere anytime through the ETSY website.

Ms Souness’ research findings suggest that most owners (65 per cent) of start-up businesses seek as small capital loan or investment from angel investors (friends, relatives, neighbours or colleagues) to help kick-start their micro-business. They keep their business finance’s lean. They also seek flexibility, creativity and some fun in their business world. She says that, for many women, business is an outlet for their creativity which helps supplement their – or their family’s – income.

For other women it offers greater opportunities to earn an income without being tied to the office or a computer desk. Ms Souness also said that some started a micro-business because they saw a business opportunity or wanted to fulfil a personal dream. According to Ms Sounees, buyers searching online at the ETSY website are “buying good things from real people”.

Photo license Fiona Rothchilds 2015 research
CEO Kate Carnell.

Which is exactly how the Mobile-ising Women in Business seminar appeared too – it was full of good people – from different walks of life interested in technology and business. To add to this point, Ms Lawarik of ACCI emailed this week suggesting “those interested in ETSY of their new shop link (etsy.me/etsyresolution) <or https://blog.etsy.com/au/2014/12/19/join-etsyresolution-and-love-what-you-do-in-2015/>, which will be live from 4 January 2016, and those interested in keeping up to day with Roy Morgan to sign up to their free newsletter (http://www.roymorgan.com/newsletter).”

Ms Lawarik advised that ACCI will hold its next Mobile-ising Women in Business event in Brisbane on Tuesday, 22 March 2016.  According to Ms Lawarik, there is an early bird special of 50 per cent discount ($200) off the full rate of $400 which is available until 15 January 2016. After that time, the discount is set at 25 per cent discount ($100) off the full rate of $400 until 05 February 2016.

Tickets can be purchased from the ACCI website http://www.acci.asn.au/. Look for the Events & Service header: https://www.acci.asn.au/events/mobile-ising-women-business-Brisbane .

Thank you to Kate Carnell and to Zoe Piper of ACCI for my conference items and for ease of access to the Sydney seminar of ‘Mobile-ising Women in Business’.

Copyright of text by acknowledged authors and Fiona Rothchilds.
Copyright of photographs Fiona Rothchilds.
Uploaded 23 December 2015.