The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Andrew Hampshire

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Andrew Hampshire


Summary: Technology can seem frightening to people who don't have the background. In Creating Value Through Technology: Discover the Tech that Can Transform Your Business Andrew Hampshire discusses the tech that can add quantifiable value to your business and how to get the most out of it. He and Sue had a lot to chat about when he dropped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: December 2020
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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Technology can seem frightening to people who don't have the background. In Creating Value Through Technology: Discover the Tech that Can Transform Your Business Andrew Hampshire discusses the tech that can add quantifiable value to your business and how to get the most out of it. He and Sue had a lot to chat about when he dropped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Andrew Hampshire: Entrepreneurs, small business owners, business founders - individuals who all have a real passion for their businesses and what they do and who want to know how to navigate the myriad of technologies out there to find those that will help them build the business they envisage. Whether you run a restaurant, dance school or hedge fund, the importance of maximising the value you can create through technology is relevant.

  • BB: What prompted you to write Creating Value Through Technology and how long did it take you? In what looks like a busy life, how did you find the time?

AH: I have been lucky to work with many brilliant CEOs and one thing a number of them have in common is the huge amount of time, passion and energy they put into their businesses. The frustration they felt therefore when they would have an idea of what they wanted to do with technology to take their businesses forward only to be disappointed sometimes by the results not quite living up to expectations was clear. Many of them put it down to themselves not being ‘tech-savvy’ or speaking that language and yet I always felt you could look at technology, not through a technology lens but a financial or practical perspective and what I wanted to do with this book was get away from the more technical aspects of technology and provide a more practical guide to really getting the most out of it.

On the subject of finding time to write there is no easy answer – I found you really have to find a regular rhythm and framework to get into a pattern of making yourself write regularly.

  • BB: The tech I would hate to be without is a barcode reader: it cuts out so many silly mistakes, saves time and the same result appears in all our data. What's your favourite tech and why?

AH: Spotify – I am a huge music fan and I love that I can listen to any song or artist I can think of ‘on demand’

  • BB: I often wish that I'd been born later because I would have seen my future in computing. If you'd been born just after World War II, how would you have seen your career progressing?

AH: When I was young I liked taking things apart to see how they worked and then putting them back together - so I like to think I might have been clever enough to work with some of the early machines and computers post WW2 - adapting them and applying them to practical everyday problems.

  • BB: Much of your career seems to have involved finance. Was this a considered decision or was it accidental? Are you good with money at a personal level?

AH: It was a little of both - my dad always worked in the city so I was aware of how financial services works and the opportunities it can provide. However, I actually started out with my own company building software for financial services. Once I hired my first programmers I then realised I was better at applying tech to solving problems than I was at actually building the tech myself (!) and hence my career went into broader operations management and business building. I love the drive and pace of the city and have stuck with it. I like to think I am good with money on a personal level and clearly working in financial services and investing helps in that regard.

  • BB: How have you coped with lockdown? Did you manage to work from home and if so, how will you feel about going back into the office?

AH: Yes I am fortunate to be able to work from home - our business is built on modern technology and everything is cloud-based hence moving to work remotely was something we were well prepared for. A challenge is keeping that team spirit and culture going when you aren’t all together in person. Pleasingly we’ve managed to retain that in our business and that’s a testament to the brilliant people we have and their passion for what they do. I have enjoyed seeing more of my young children and that has been a big positive. We have continued to work in the office on a limited rotational basis to allow for social distancing etc and that has been helpful. I am looking forward to returning to the office on a more full-time basis - the camaraderie you get from working with others is hard to replicate. I have read numerous articles over the past 9 months that focus on the fact that lockdown has taught us that many businesses can work from home now and question the role of the office in the future. However, I would say If there is one thing we have learnt from lockdown it’s how much we value and enjoy face to face interaction and being with other people!

  • BB: In Creating Value Through Technology, you say that people have been forgiving about shortcomings when people were adapting to working from home, but that they will be more demanding when life gets back to something more like normal. What is the most important change that will need to be made?

AH: I think the biggest change will be businesses thinking about how they develop a more seamless integration between office and home office once there is a more regular mix of people working both at home and in the office. At the moment everyone is largely on a level playing field in that we are all mostly working from home and so most people are doing all meetings on Zoom or Teams. Therefore whether we want a quick chat with a few people or a formal meeting, we all do it largely online. Once people return more regularly to the office, making it easy for meetings to take place between 3 or 4 people sitting in a meeting room in an office and others who are at home will be important. The reality is it is quicker and simpler to jump into a meeting room in person for a brief conversation than getting everyone organised online. As such if businesses don’t have a slick mechanism for bringing office and remote workers together, businesses could see silos start to develop between those in the office and those working at home. Getting both the cultural aspects and technological aspects right therefore is very important and something I am very focused on.

  • BB: Is there is one piece of must-have tech our readers should have (a) at home and (b) at work what would these be? And why?

AH: Home:
I am going to say a combination of media storage and digital photo frames. When I was younger I loved going through the photo albums. We all take so many photos now but the majority of them live on our phones. As such unless you make an effort to get them printed into books they just get forgotten and you can only practically print a small subset of the photos you have anyway. We invested in a home media server and all our photos from cameras and phones go on to that. We then have digital photo frames around the house linked up to it so we get to see all our photos in frames around the house. It’s a great way to make sure you enjoy those moments again.

I would say digital process management software – organising and managing processes well is critical to the smooth running of most businesses and so having a system that can help manage that and even automate parts of it can be very value-adding.

  • BB: Do you get much time to yourself and if so, how do you spend it?

AH: I enjoy most sports but particularly motorsport, golf and football and of course spending time with my young family. I enjoy music - playing and listening and also look forward to doing things again we probably all took for granted - like having dinner parties with friends.

  • BB: What's next for Andrew Hampshire?

AH: From a professional perspective our firm is now 1 year into its 5-year plan and we have ambitions to grow and build the business both in the UK and internationally over that period. As such that’s a key priority for me and everyone in the team.

From a personal perspective, like many people I suspect, I am hoping next year allows us to return to a little more normality and as such socialising with friends and hopefully going on holiday!

  • BB: I think we'd all agree with your personal perspective, Andrew. Thank you for taking the time to give us such great answers.

You can read more about Andrew Hampshire here.

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