Published on the 27/06/2017 | Written by Newsdesk
An online marketing chatbot and a cloud-based cybersecurity advisor…
That’s just two of the ideas developed by Auckland tertiary students to make life easier for small to medium sized businesses as part of the National MYOB IT Challenge. The initiative gives teams of students five days to develop technology solutions to real-world business problem.
In a statement, MYOB’s NZ GM Carolyn Luey said the challenge helps students turn theory into practice.
“Business is all about people working together to innovate and create solutions for customers, often in short time frames. The MYOB IT Challenge offers students the opportunity to experience exactly that – to collaborate in a team and create a solution to address a real business issue.”
At the two local competitions in Auckland, student teams from AUT and The University of Auckland presented solutions and business plans to a panel of judges from MYOB and other businesses, including ANZ.
AUT co-winners ChatGrow pitched a virtual reality marketing portal that saves costs by assisting with some aspects of advertising, while University of Auckland Nexus designed an online cybersecurity advisor to enhance cloud-based accounting.
ChatGrow team member and B Eng student Amrit Kaur said the MYOB IT Challenge is a way to apply what they have learned in class to a real-life situation. “Competing with other young innovators is thrilling, especially with such a short timeframe on offer.”
Kaur and teammate Michelle Extross designed an application that allows users of cloud-based accounting software to interact with a virtual assistant. Through a trained chatbot, users ask questions while the application provides a suggested course of marketing action.
The MYOB IT Challenge is run in conjunction with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club.
Tertiary student and club member Mildred Wong said the competition reveals students who understand the issues employees face and can use today’s technologies to create innovative solutions. “The IT Challenge encourages the kind of entrepreneurial mindset that will have a key role in shaping how Kiwis do business in the future.”
Luey said the criteria for the competition was deliberately left open to allow students the freedom to explore new concepts. Any programming language and operating system could be used, and the final product could either stand alone or integrate with an existing MYOB solution.
“We wanted to see the trends ideas in design and development come through in the entries, with products that are easy to use and deliver value to business owners.”
Luey said that as an employer of local developers, MYOB is always looking for ways to grow the talent pipeline through schools and universities.
The MYOB IT Challenge culminates in a national final in Auckland at the beginning of July where the top teams from each university will go head-to-head for a share in the $5,000 prize pool and a leg-up in the IT world.
For more information about the MYOB IT Challenge.