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Get to know: Andrew Conway, CTO, Proteus developed by Xergy

Get to know: Andrew Conway, CTO, Proteus developed by Xergy

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What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

In 2020, Xergy was awarded a significant research and development grant from Scottish Enterprise. While this was a great achievement for the team, it was meaningful in a much bigger way. It was a true milestone that symbolised what our hard work and dedication were able to afford and our capability as a team. One of the criteria for the award was to promote local job creation in Scotland, so we funded a team in the area. Interviewing local talent and thinking about how their skills, passion and ethics will fit together to create a fantastic product development team is something I genuinely love to do.

The award also gave us an endorsement from a highly recognised institution that believed in the innovation and aspirations we had set out in our research and development (R&D) activities. This achievement was important as it is now accelerating everything we want to do with Proteus. Now we have the team in place, I am continually amazed by the talent and passion of the team I am surrounded by every day.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

Creative jobs are a challenging art form and I have immense respect for its artists. Be it furniture, artwork or baking – the use of physical craftsmanship and the mind to produce something greater than the sum of its parts is gratifying.

Software development leans into this idea. Being able to dream up a concept, design or function to formulate into an application using essentially nothing which communicates and engages with thousands of users is exhilarating.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

The core of my management philosophy is empathy. The fundamental piece of the management puzzle is to reciprocate the environment you would thrive within. What you put into your team is what you will get out. What goes hand-in-hand with this? Transparency. Justifying decisions by management must be communicated to your peers. The good, the bad and the ugly. Breeding trust and empathy will yield results internally and externally.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

The topic still at the forefront of business’ minds is COVID-19 whether we like it or not. Workplace structures have been shaken in a way that they were gravely unprepared for. What has held currency in supporting the thrust into remote working dynamics is the cloud concept. A cloud-based ecosystem has enabled businesses to manage themselves remotely. From sales, project management, budgeting, HR, finance, systems are changing.

The real danger is over complicating the cloud-based applications, the tools and additions within a business’ ecosystem. Without oversight, businesses can quickly disconnect, with systems overlapping, lacking functionality and ultimately hindering execution.

Proteus solves this problem by becoming the thin thread that runs and connects the disparity. Proteus will not be everything to everyone. What it will be is the surface that enables employees to focus on the task at hand.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

Podcasts have been a great outlet for me to take time out. Late to the party, but I still arrived! Brilliant conversations are happening all over the world and podcasts are the fly on the wall allowing you to listen in. Reply All and RadioLab are my go to for all the latest technology chat while on my daily walk. The story-driven approach of these shows really consumes your mind, letting the stress of the day drift away.

If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?

Delegation is a challenge many leadership teams struggle to master, if at all. We are all guilty of allowing the power ownership holds to overwhelm us, which was something I was privy to when I was in the early stages of my career.

Delegation is essential for productivity. Effective implementation of this within teams not only enhances training and development but strengthens internal communication channels. I now see delegation as an opportunity to draw on decision-making from various experiences and skills, which helps to strike an operational balance to deliver optimal performance.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

The Digital Transformation of legacy systems driving the industry is a key area for investment. The pandemic has ripped up the rulebook when it comes to operating systems and companies have had to find new ways of conducting workflows to remain competitive. As we look to the future post-pandemic, there is an opportunity for companies to invest in the permanent overhaul of the software driving their business. Think of all the time and resources saved by modernising systems with a cloud-based operating platform like Proteus OS that fully integrates into existing software stacks. By automating the management and collaboration of teams, efficiency and productivity, as a result, is a game-changer.

What are the specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?

The gig economy is growing and the pandemic has further incited a cultural working shift. Technology is an excellent way to attract, engage and open up the door to a global pool of talent. However, when new ways of operating occur, so does legislation, laws and policies.

Implementing technologies to support gig workers in EMEA will require companies to collaborate with the government in navigating compliance and ensuring the protection of those employed on a gig worker basis. As we better understand the implications and opportunities of working together, negotiating with unions, representatives and workers will be paramount as we navigate deploying technology in EMEA.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

We have seen a shift from a product to client focus. The past year has shown the importance of delivering on people’s needs and tangible results, not just adopting a shiny new tool because it’s the hot commodity right now.

As CTO, having an in-depth discussion at the client implementation stage on the effective seamless integration of software within existing systems is key. This will be under the microscope even more for professionals at this level as the vaccine sheds light on the industry’s landscape in the coming 12 months. We’re moving away from technical jargon and the software deliverables to a broader overview of the power of integrating a software stack like Proteus in achieving business goals.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?

Technology and software development is constantly changing. Sustaining awareness of the latest updates is challenging for any C-level professional navigating the mountain of priorities the role presents. Investing in laying the foundations to building a fantastic team is a key skill and carries longevity. Drawing from different areas of expertise within your team will broaden the knowledge pool driving your business. Look to your talent to help democratise the burden of technological innovation and progress. Empowering teams to harness each other’s capabilities will strengthen both the core inputs and outputs. Small implementations such as this will foster a great leader and team, which is essential for any C-level role.

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