Interviews, News

“We’re reimagining the relationship between people and technology” – Endava

CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Nick Curran, Head of Endava MENA, for the front cover feature of December’s edition of the magazine to find out more about how the global leader in intelligent automation is harnessing the capabilities of their platforms to help industries like banking and retail to completely transform in the new digital economy.

Endava has cultivated a reputation for being a global leader when it comes to intelligent automation services since its inception in 2000. Why have you decided that NOW was the right time for you to expand your services and operations and enter into the Middle East market?  

Despite launching in the Middle East earlier this year, we’ve been working with organisations in the payments, banking and retail space for almost 4 years now. 

A combination of the UAE’s largest economic expansion in 11 years, a dynamic and vibrant private sector, and the government’s vision and leadership, means we couldn’t have hoped for a better moment to announce the establishment of our regional headquarters in Dubai. 

Our strong global engineering footprint and proven expertise across customer-centric industries such as payments, banking, and retail can yield a significant difference for businesses in the Middle East market as they plan to face further disruption, strengthen their collaboration with existing clients, acquire new ones and enter new geographies. 

We look forward to contributing to the growth of the region by supporting local digital economy initiatives and helping businesses to thrive by partnering with them to define, design, and execute against their digital acceleration journeys. 

As aforementioned above, Endava has enjoyed huge success globally, signified by the fact the company went public on the New York stock exchange in 2018. However, can you tell our readers more about your capabilities – and what differentiates the company from its market rivals?  

Endava is reimagining the relationship between people and technology. We have helped some of the world’s leading Payments, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Media, Technology, Consumer Products, Retail, Mobility, and Healthcare companies accelerate their ability to take advantage of new business models and market opportunities. 

We created a technology company based on a simple philosophy, focused 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. 

From the very beginning, we set up our business to accelerate the technology revolution, basing our user-centric approach around agile multidisciplinary teams that blend in-depth knowledge of the industries that we work in with the strategy expertise of a consultancy, the user-experience capabilities of an agency and the engineering excellence of an IT services company.

This combination of strategy, experience and engineering drives change for our clients and provides exciting and challenging careers for our people. 

We are passionate about understanding how and why users want to engage with a product or service, and we put that knowledge at the centre of everything we build to enable users to get the most out of their interaction with a business, and their product or service. 

By ideating and delivering dynamic platforms and intelligent digital experiences, we help our clients fuel the rapid, ongoing transformation of their business. 

By leveraging next-generation technologies, our agile, multi-disciplinary teams provide a combination of Product & Technology Strategies, Intelligent Experiences, and World Class Engineering to help our clients become more engaging, responsive, and efficient. 

Can you explain to our readers what is ‘digital acceleration’, what are its fundamental characteristics – and how does it help enterprises become more cost-efficient and productive?  

While the term digital transformation is more prevalent in the current business scenario, it transformation implies a clear and finite ending, yet companies’ digital journeys never end.

New technologies, changing business conditions, and competitive pressures mean that companies must always be moving forward and changing their digital properties. 

Needing to constantly re-examine, update, and improve use of digital technologies to solve business challenges is why companies should approach their use of digital technologies as not a one-and-done transformation process, but an ongoing, continuous process, better described as digital acceleration.

This is not to say there should be no overarching strategy, but that it should be a set of tactical, achievable milestones connected by that strategy. 

To achieve such an accelerated approach to digital, organizations need to consider a series of small steps, each with practical deliverables. Then, by focusing on these milestones, they can create the new digital processes that will allow them to launch, develop, and mature their business lines 

Organisations no longer have the technology blank canvas that “transformation” suggests. Market conditions have clearly accelerated and pushed new adoption in all areas.

So, it’s important that businesses are able to acknowledge and build upon those choices, get the most out of those investments, refine them, and iteratively improve.

This also allows them to innovate more freely and respond in a more agile way to the market and changing customer demands. 

Using an iterative approach to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and market conditions acts as a safeguard, as it compels organizations to constantly re-evaluate their current approach and technology capabilities, matching it periodically to meet their goals.

This reduces business risks associated with digital adoption, and both the public and private sectors will be able to analyse, acknowledge and fine-tune their digital strategy upon the new trends, actions, attitudes and plans with future-proofing in mind. 

Ultimately, the path forward in digital adoption is acceleration, not transformation.

Employing such a mindset and strategy will free up business resources for more agile innovation and reaction, deliberately driving progress that is far more meaningful and purposeful. 

In this world, digital is not about transformation anymore. It is about acceleration — constantly re-examining, updating and iterating on your digital properties.

Those who embrace this approach should find themselves being able to improve their digital properties on an ongoing basis rapidly. Those who don’t risk finding themselves left behind their faster, more digital-savvy competitors. 

It has been well documented that in the IT stratosphere there is a huge talent acquisition problem across the industry on a global scale. Can you explain to us how Endava plans on leveraging their knowledge and expertise to help enterprises overcome these challenges?  

Talent Acquisition and training is a significant priority in the region. This can be illustrated by the launch of the UAE Strategy for Talent Attraction and Retention earlier this year which aims to boost the country’s attractiveness to foreign investments and talents.

Moreover, one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Saudi Vision 2030 is for 40% of the workforce to be trained in basic data and AI skills. A recent report found that more than four in 10 employers in the UAE said applicants lacked crucial work experience and necessary technical skills.   

ME businesses have a huge opportunity to bolster their international competitiveness, but if innovation is the engine for competitiveness, then people are its fuel. The challenge lies in having the capabilities, the people power, available to create a platform for innovation. 

As regional business seek to address attrition rates, they seek a strategic partner that not only understands their culture but can also demonstrate proven leadership and strong retention levels within their own business.

There is a real benefit to having a partner who can both develop sophisticated digital tools to support and enhance employee experiences and understand industry-specific workforce issues.  

One of the ways we help businesses is that we enable them to better leverage data and connectivity internally to support employee retention, growth, and opportunities, and minimise the strains that have brought on The Great Resignation.

By continuing to reimagine the relationship between people and technology and developing people-centric systems for innovative HR that allows them to keep up with the changing pace of the employment market, people and businesses we enable them to work smarter, not harder. 

We want to leverage our global lessons learnt and work with local governments and local universities to help attract, retain, and develop top technology talent.

Our goal is to give talented individuals an opportunity to work in careers that are driving digital change in the region. 

We are hearing more and more about new concepts like the Metaverse, but in terms of use-cases, there doesn’t seem to be anything concrete established. From your perspective, what is your view on it – and which industry do you see primarily benefiting from the Metaverse?  

Dubai is embarking on a journey to become a global metaverse hub. Dubai Metaverse Strategy, the metaverse sector is expected to support 42,000 virtual jobs and add $4 billion to the city’s economy by 2030.

There are many indications that it is good for many companies and organisations to already start thinking about, setting up a strategy, and planning for what and how they want to use the metaverse to their advantage. 

In terms of how enterprises should approach the metaverse, the key is to look at all available technologies – such as VR, AR, real-time 3D, AI, and cloud-based – not in isolation but as an architecture, and think about how to make the best use of them.

To do so, companies need to consider which scenarios are appropriate for their particular business, products, or services and how they can be implemented.  

Companies seeking to understand if and how they should integrate the metaverse into their digital strategy should start by understanding the trends that have led to today’s Metaverse moment. 

Rather than upend their entire business to accommodate the metaverse, most companies should seek to integrate the metaverse into their existing digital strategy by takings small steps, each with practical deliverables, to launch new metaverse initiatives that will grow their business. 

An ongoing, iterative digital acceleration approach to the metaverse reflects that a company’s business is likely already at least partially digital, and thus does not need to be fundamentally transformed to accommodate the metaverse. 

As they determine if they should launch a new metaverse initiative, companies should ask themselves three questions 1) does the metaverse initiative address their business needs, 2) does it generate data that they can use to improve business outcomes, 3) does it deliver an experience that is user-centered? 

An example of an industry that can benefit from the Metaverse is Banking. Banking gives customers a convenient and highly immersive user experience. 

Personalised services can be provided by banks virtually without the need for customers to visit the bank’s physical locations.  

December 2022 |

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