Get To Know: Dave Adamson, Chief Technology Officer, Espria

Get To Know: Dave Adamson, Chief Technology Officer, Espria

On the lighter side of things, we ask Dave Adamson, Chief Technology Officer, Espria, what makes him tick.  

Dave Adamson, Chief Technology Officer, Espria

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

I was part of a BID team delivering a presentation to a prospective customer who were having issues with their team in Australia accessing applications hosted in the UK and experiencing high levels of latency. I did a demo of using the cloud to host the apps, and at the end of the presentation revealed I had been running the deck from a VM hosted in Australia, showing how a well-architected solution could overcome their latency challenges. It landed well with the audience, and we were successful in winning the contract.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

My Dad had a work laptop in 90s which weighed about the same as a small house, and it came with the ‘secret’ game GORILLAS.BAS. Finding this led to me tinkering about with various settings I probably shouldn’t have, which helped nurture my love of problem solving. Nowadays the problems I help to solve are grander in scale but the mindset I developed as a child is still the same – wanting to know why something did or didn’t work. Curiosity and technology are natural bedfellows.

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

I keep it very simple – I manage my teams on their output and the happiness of their stakeholders – whether that be customers or internal colleagues. I place my trust in the individuals I hire, and they return it in spades, which I think works well for all of us. I don’t mind if you want to go and watch your daughter’s school play, or you need to take the dog to the vet. I am happy to roll up my sleeves; it’s important to me I wouldn’t ask people to do things I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself. Most of all, I try to say yes whenever I can, because why wouldn’t you?

What do you think has emerged as a technology trend and why?

I think it’s hard to argue for anything other than the rise of Generative AI, not only for the potential applications those of us in the industry are wrestling with but because it’s one of those subjects that has broken through into mainstream consciousness.

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

The continued cat and mouse game with the cybercriminals means security investment is still at the forefront. AI will undoubtedly see investment in the coming months, but we are also seeing lots of investment in sustainability, not necessarily purely in the financial sense. Sustainable procurement and ESG are board-level agenda items impacting IT purchasing.

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

I am pretty laid back most of the time, which helps with a busy job like mine. I have a 9-year-old son who keeps me busy sharing his enormous range of interests with me. This year we added our now year-old daughter to the mix and between them they conspire to consume my focus outside of work. The golf course is my happy place – I find nothing else compares as a place not to think about anything else.

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

I have been fortunate in my career that even in uncertain times, like facing redundancy, I have managed to come up smelling of roses. I don’t really regret any decision I’ve made so I’m not sure I’d change anything. I do often reflect on an inflection point in my career path, where I was fortunate to be able to choose between an offer for an R&D position for a cloud platform or moving into my first pre-sales job. I found my natural home in pre-sales, and it is that which led me to the position I find myself in today.

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

Our regulations and standards tend to be more stringent, particularly around privacy, so investing in new technologies which are based in the USA can sometimes pose challenges in that our demands around data sovereignty can be hard to meet. Europe is technologically dependent on the US and China; there is a technology conflict there which may escalate with Europe caught in the middle.

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?

Because my organisation has been through some complex M&A activity, I have been more inwardly focused than I have historically been – more CIO than CTO. In the next 12 months, I look forward to spending more of my time on the customer-facing proposition side of the business, seeing how AI impacts the services we bring to market, and spending more of my time with customers sharing perspectives.

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

I never aspired to a C-level position particularly; I am naturally a self-effacing person, so I try not to let my lofty title get in the way of just helping people out, which is what I’m in it for. I would suggest people try to understand what their personal motivations are and to accept that they might not be the same as other people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue the same outcome. Be nice to others, always be professional in your conduct, and never be afraid to pursue an opportunity. My Dad gave me some advice early in my career which has always stuck with me – ‘the time to turn down a job is when you’ve been offered it’ – meaning don’t be afraid to take a shot at an opportunity to do something, even if you’re not sure you’re ready.

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO Europe

View Magazine Archive