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Brisbane IT guru says digital solutions come from collaboration.

Connect with other businesses to find out how they use technology to enhance their operations – that is the advice from Brendan Baker, tech guru and business development manager at Brisbane IT company Opengear.

According to Dr Baker, participation is the key, but gone are the days where simply having a website is enough.

“To have a successful online presence, you need to participate in the web community through things like social media and blogging,” he said.

“Building relationships with customers this way can be highly effective, and if you can somehow make your website an information source as well as a point of sale, then you’ll reap the rewards.”

Opengear was established in 2005 and the company designs solutions for remote management of critical IT and networking infrastructure.

The company now exports 80 per cent of its products overseas from its Brisbane headquarters, selling appliances that enable technical and support staff to securely and remotely monitor, access and manage virtually any IT and communications equipment around the world.

But even a company whose core business lies in the technology field had to build its web presence and technological capital from humble beginnings.

“Our web presence and content has evolved over time,” Dr Baker said.

“We’re currently in the process of rolling out a new website worldwide, with content management and the ability to provide relevant regional content.”

The company engaged external consultants to provide the architecture for its online presence and sought advice about how best to go about website redesign and transferring existing content from its nationally-targeted site to suit a global audience.

“It’s important to have an easy-to-maintain website, but also the ability to provide some local content,” Dr Baker said.

“In the past we have also engaged analysts firms that specialise in looking at future trends in IT.

“Our future digital development plans stem from a mix of direct market research, advice from external experts, and of course by talking to our existing and potential clients at trade shows and events.”

Opengear is so dedicated to staying abreast of digital trends it has employed a dedicated product manager whose role is to examine technology trends and steer the company’s evolving product line.

Dr Baker said finding the right technological hardware was also vitally important to building a truly technologically-savvy and efficient modern-day business.

Opengear uses hardware devices which incorporate 3G/4G cellular technology, allowing technical staff to gain high-speed access to equipment at remote sites to diagnose and fix faults, even when the primary network is down.

The appliances are also utilised in applications where no hard-wired network infrastructure is available.

Dr Baker recommended that businesses looking to improve their technological understanding, web presence and adoption of digital technology looked towards their peers in the first instance.

“Participating in social media is also something everyone in the company can help out with on some level,” he said.

“If you see some relevant news in your company’s field, why not engage in the discussion?”

He suggested Brisbane businesses seek out local sources of information.

“I'd encourage anyone to head along to industry group events, but also some of the community organised ‘meet-ups’,” Dr Baker said.

“There are monthly gatherings around town dedicated to topics like digital start-ups, web content management, and search engine optimisation.

“They're great networking events, and invaluable in terms of advice.”

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