In an interview with Insights Success, John Cotterell, CEO of Endava, shares insights on various trends in ICT industry. He also speaks about the challenges faced by the industry while optimizing those trends. Moreover, he discusses about company’s core competencies and the solutions it provides.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between John and Insights Success.
Give a brief overview of the company and its vision.
In 2000, inspired by the way that technology was becoming increasingly central to the way we lived and worked, I wanted to create a company that radically redefined how humans interact with technology and the world around them by combining deep engineering expertise with experience minded and creative sensibility. I based the creation of that organization on a simple philosophy: “to focus on helping people succeed”, the people who work for us, the people who engage with us, and the people who use the systems and applications we design, build, and operate. As a result, we began on a journey to reimagine the relationship between people and technology. Eighteen years later, that philosophy continues to drive our success.
How do you diversify your products and solutions in order to benefit your customers?
We have a track record of building deep, long-lasting relationships with numerous clients across a range of industries. These relationships give us valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by our clients and the markets in which they operate. As a result, we have built a range of solutions that make our clients more responsive by being more agile, more engaging through being more digital and more efficient through automation. These solutions are underpinned by a range of service offers including strategy, design and engineering that gives us the flexibility to construct products and services that meet the individual needs of our clients. Examples include an insurance company wanting to automate manual processes so their staff can spend more 1-1 time with clients, or a high-end retailer that wants to create a more engaging customer experience by combining ‘bricks and mortar’ with digital.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learned that have shaped the journey of Endava.
One of our most significant achievements is helping both our customers and colleagues to build interesting, challenging and rewarding careers. Through perseverance, we have also learned how to take niche and specialized services that were traditionally delivered onsite with a client and deliver them across distributed locations. Our near shore approach gives us the ability to improve response times and scale to meet the enterprise needs of our clients while exceeding the quality, creativity and customer service expectations achieved through more traditional models.
What are the evident challenges in the ICT services industry?
The challenge of any services industry is deciding which emerging trends are going to be most valuable for your clients so that you can build that expertize and then apply it to their businesses for maximum effect. Currently, we see rapid development in a wide range of areas including digital transformation, application architecture, machine learning, VR and AR, DevOps and Agile ways of working, software robotics, novel devices such as wearables and big data. We strategically evaluate which of these will have the most impact on our clients’ businesses and help to position them most effectively in their fast-moving marketplaces. In parallel, we see a skills shortage in many of these areas, as the demand for people with these emerging as well as more fundamental software engineering skills outweighs the supply, meaning that our position as an employer of choice in all of the markets that we operate in is very important to our ability to continue to hire and retain top engineers.
Describe the significance of Automation in ICT space.
Automation itself is not a new concept. In fact, we have been automating business processes successfully since the dawn of computing. Automation has evolved to include novel and emerging approaches like machine learning, big data and software robotics. These new technologies allow us to solve automation problems which have been intractable until now. We can handle unstructured and unpredictable data, non-textual data like images and adaptive processes, automating systems that were never intended to be automatable. This has unlocked a number of new opportunities to automate repetitive, tedious processes that historically have needed human intervention, freeing up people to use their cognitive abilities on more valuable and rewarding tasks.
What are the current trends that are driving the industry?
As you begin to break down industry trends, there are two main needs that businesses are focusing on, namely experience and efficiency. Through the lens of experience-based trends, we are seeing a need to create business platforms that deliver rich digital experiences which increase both customer and business user engagement while simultaneously automating portions of traditionally complicated or difficult tasks. Businesses realize that the best possible digital experiences are ones where users expend less effort engaging with the products and processes to achieve their objective. In support of this, in the consumer space, we’ve conceived and built a platform that uses dynamic image recognition, machine learning, and natural language processing to automate the often skipped and mundane process of warranty registration. In the business user space, we’ve conceived and are building a platform to solve the very costly issue of ongoing communication and distribution of key program and system status, health, and function. Through an intelligent interface, we illustrate the status and progress of business activities using Machine Learning to predict completion times and potential hold-ups.
From the perspective of efficiency-based trends, we are seeing a notable increase in the demand for strategic assistance in introducing a DevOps culture into traditional enterprise settings. Broadly speaking, the demand is for expertize in the design and realisation of continuous delivery pipelines as well as the enabling techniques and changes that teams need to embrace to build a DevOps culture. This change in demand mirrors our observation that moving to a DevOps culture further accelerates agility within organisations. Moving beyond simple continuous integration (CI) systems to a whole-scale continuous delivery (CD) approach allows enterprises to embrace automation, take advantage of large-scale test automation efforts and reduce service downtime. Endava has become well placed to support this demand by bringing our cross domain expertizes to high-volume enterprise clients.
Where does Endava envision itself in the long run and/or what are its future goals?
As the pace of technology change continues to accelerate, we are excited about the opportunities to help our clients incorporate new technology and accelerate change in their organisations. We have recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which is the beginning of a new phase for us as a company. London was a great place to start, but our horizons have really opened out, and we are looking to the world as we expand and grow our business.
Considering the rising number of ICT solution providers, how does Endava stand out from its competitors?
From the start, we built Endava around agile, cross functional, multidisciplinary teams that blend in-depth knowledge of strategy and user-centric design with an expert understanding of technology and engineering, that when combined addresses today’s need for engaging technology platforms and services. After many years of working in this way, we are now able to deliver these solutions at scale from multiple locations and time zones.