'We all need to embrace technology to compete'
Scott Kennedy, a director at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, talks about the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards and the local economy
1. Why has Cleaver Fulton Rankin chosen to sponsor the excellence in technology award?
Northern Ireland urgently needs to rebalance its economy from one which is heavily dependent on the public sector to one where the private sector leads the way.
Realistically it is only companies who embrace technology and can offer a unique product or service who can hope to be able to compete in the global marketplace and drive the Northern Ireland economy forward. By promoting technology and innovation we believe we are supporting 'Northern Ireland plc'.
2. Can a company thrive in the current climate without embracing technology?
It is difficult to see how it might. Technology can enable businesses to improve customer service, response times, improve product design and supply chain efficiencies and communicate with a global market place to list a few.
If you are not using all the technology available to you so that you are constantly improving your offering to your market and ensuring that you remain as competitive as possible, you can be sure that your competitors will be.
3. How has technology impacted on CFR's own workplace?
Technology enables us to communicate with our clients faster and involve them much more deeply in our work.
Today we can provide clients with direct access to their files which assists transparency and their ability to monitor progress.
We can also provide deeper and more relevant management information on their cases which in turn helps them plan and budget. We are also able to access the information we need to do our jobs more or less instantly through use of on-line research tools and resources – the days of needing physical legal libraries and books is long gone.
Quicker access to legal resources ensures we can advise clients more efficiently allowing them to make their key decisions more quickly.
4. Judging on the experience of its clientele, what does CFR think of the present economic climate?
It is still very challenging. Outside of certain sectors availability of credit remains an ongoing problem.
We are seeing signs though that the low level of returns available to private clients fortunate enough to have funds on deposit is encouraging some to invest that money privately with a view to generating a higher level of return. This is generating some extra deal flow in corporate work.
5. How has CFR progressed or changed in recent times? What areas of the practice have experienced growth?
It will not come as a surprise that our litigation practice has grown significantly in recent years with procurement law advice increasingly required.
However, we are committed to growing our talent and market share across all core areas in order to maintain our high levels of client service.
6. Are awards like the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards important in difficult economic times?
Of course, and perhaps even more so in difficult times. Awards like these offer a great reminder that NI has some fantastic companies and provide the benchmarks to which we should all aspire.
Belfast Telegraph Business Awards
Closing date for entries: Thursday February 28 2013
Link: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business-awards (for entry form)
Event: Wednesday April 17 – Culloden Hotel
Tickets: £100+vat or Table of 10 £900 + Vat
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel JPR 02890760066