Who: Spark Consulting
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
Why we think they’re awesome-sauce:
With a background in Mechanical Engineering and a casual MBA under his belt, Anton Hill of Spark Consulting is anything but ordinary. His creative yet logical way of thinking means there’s no business he can’t help improve – no matter the size. With his passion for Vend, the cloud and all things retail he’s transforming businesses all over Cape Town to ensure they’re future-proofing themselves for all the new ways of doing business.
How did you get started?
I worked in large listed companies for the better part of 20 years, and was involved in IT project management and implementation, large scale rollouts of ERP solutions and customized application development. A big part of my role was to leverage technology to help these companies work smarter and more efficiently. Technology enabled business processes and using technology effectively literally changed the face of these companies and how they ran their businesses. The future economic growth in South Africa will come from the SME sector, and understanding this as an opportunity to apply what I learnt in helping large clients, I turned my focus to the smaller business owner, and Spark Consulting was born.
We have seen an enormous need for integrated business systems that are simple and easy to use, but that manage all the critical business requirements without costing a fortune and thus enabling the small business owner to concentrate their efforts on growing their business as opposed to getting stuck in the tedious day-to-day administration. In order to accomplish this we partner with companies who share this vision and approach, and who are passionate about how technology can make a difference in the success of any business.
Why the cloud, and why Vend?
Cloud computing is the future, it is evident in how companies and consumers have started embracing mobile devices to work on the move and still have access to all the information they require. The ability to store, share and collaborate remotely has become a critical part of our daily lives. Companies partner to create more functional and integrated solutions that are cost effective and not reliant on expensive hardware and software licensing. The cloud makes that possible.
That was the main reason why we decided to build our business around implementing cloud-based business solutions for our clients, and why we identified Vend as the ideal POS partner in the retail space for our clients. Vend shares the vision of how POS could be simplified whilst providing the power of back office information and functionality that takes care of all inventory management and reporting requirements. We pride ourselves on the high levels of customer service we provide to our clients, and Vend’s support team has never let us down in making sure that we make this a reality. They are young, smart and dynamic, the kind of people we love working with.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Most of our clients are very afraid of technology, and need to have their hand held throughout this daunting journey. However, business solutions like Vend make is so rewarding when a customer turns around and says, “I got it, you can let go now”. Business owners become empowered to manage their business the way that they need to, using real time information to drive business decisions.
In your opinion, what do retailers need to start doing to future-proof themselves?
We believe that retailers can only be successful if they buy into the “new” way of doing business, in anticipation of what will be coming at them in the future. In a nutshell this means that the face of retail is changing rapidly, and is aligned to how changes in technology impact and affect the future possibilities for retailers. This means that as a retailer you need to be ready and open to technology that might scare you to death. Selling on social media and online might be what’s hot right now, but give it a year and there will be other opportunities that your competitors will be embracing. So, aligning the thinking about a current business with what future technology will enable will ultimately be the biggest factor in future proofing any retail business.
- Anton Hill, Founder / Technology Sensei, Spark Consulting