Out of the quake comes innovation

Not only will new buildings rise out of the Christchurch earthquake aftermath, but also new ways of doing business.

Not only will new buildings rise out of the Christchurch earthquake aftermath, but also new ways of doing business.

Software companies in New Zealand are developing a "business-in-a-box" product for those organisations whose records and systems are in ruin.

The offering stems from the work of companies involved in an "information flow" sub-committee of businesses set up by the Business New Zealand lobby group.

It is one of 12 sub-committees created at the behest of the government to coordinate help for Christchurch from big businesses, and is headed by Microsoft New Zealand managing-director Paul Muckleston.

The Canterbury Business Recovery Group estimates that, disregarding retailers, there are about 5000 small firms that will need to relocate "semi-permanently".

"Of those a third will probably find it hard. Another third will be OK and won't need any help and there will be another third that really need a lot of help to get restarted," Muckleston said.

"Probably about a third have no records at all. The issues we are looking at is how do you even do your payroll if you have got no records?"

The "business in a box" would be designed to help those firms, he said.

"Once you have decided a business is viable, maybe you need to get some financial software from Xero, some payroll stuff from Datacom, email from someone like us and customer relationship management software from whoever. As soon as we get some hard data from people on the ground about what is needed, we can start to put those things into action."

Such concepts already exist overseas. There is actually a "Business in a Box" product that concerns all the legal documentation and systems you will need to start a business.

In Spain, "Business in a Box" provides websites, marketing, IT and accounting support for small and new firms.

Certainly, the "one stop shop" concept of various software packages will deliver dividends during the recovery and rebuild of Christchurch.