Making a Digital Difference with Odyssea™ for MATs

Typically, 75% of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) budget today is spent on people costs.  It begs the question:  Is your MAT modernising its approach to people management, investing in its most valuable (and expensive) asset?  Are your skilled people benefiting from a progressive digital revolution or evolution journey, or is your trust experiencing inertia—confused, stuck, or unsure how to begin.

No matter your MAT situation, de Novo is here to help.  This article showcases the capabilities of Odyssea™ for MATs and emphasises the crucial role of people management in achieving overall MAT goals.

Learn how de Novo’s expertise, recently recognised with a ‘HR Tech Innovation’ award commendation, can support you on your journey to a digitally optimised future.

With the emphasis today placed upon quality pupil education and engaging pupil experiences, Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) across the nation are under pressure like never before. Expected to simultaneously ‘juggle’ other operational MAT priorities alongside the needs of their pupils with an aim to deliver a well-respected, compliant, successful, safe, and performant MAT that the community is proud of.

To achieve those aims the role of people management should not be forgotten, understated, or delayed in lieu of other items on the MAT agenda as it is the people working within a MAT that impact pupils and contribute to the goals of the organisation.

The seemingly never-ending list of operational priorities and activities that MAT leadership teams are expected to focus on can often cause an inadvertent negative impact on other equally important aspects, such as people management.

The Pressures Facing MATs Today

These classical MAT priorities will not be going away anytime soon, and no doubt the average MAT Leaders’ to-do list runs the risk of expanding still further and with a potential change in UK Government who knows what the future will bring.

To help dispel a few urban myths that may exist it is important to confirm that a large slice of MAT priorities and focus areas can be better addressed through the effective deployment and use of cloud enabled digital technology to complete much of the heavy lifting.

Without balancing the time and effort spent on the ‘digital agenda’ versus other operational matters a MAT might well run the risk of missing out on the advantages that a modern cloud enabled people solution brings to the operation but more importantly to the people.

The heavy lifting typically associated with preparing and executing a digital transformation can be reduced by de Novo’s Odyssea™ for MATs, a purpose-built strategic HR / Payroll people management solution powered by Oracle Cloud.

With such a high proportion (75%) of MAT operational budgets spent on people related costs it is essential that such a precious and valuable investment (MAT people) is properly managed alongside well thought out people experiences.

Odyssea™ for MATs brings industry ready profiles, functionality and default settings that are specifically purpose designed to enable a MAT to make a fast start to their people transformation. de Novo’s experience in the industry has been gained through other MAT people and finance focused transformation projects. That knowledge means that de Novo is essentially simplifying and breaking the barriers of inertia that might on occasion paralyse people management progress within a MAT.

Navigate your Cloud Journey with Confidence

This is where our Cloud Readiness Assessment (CRA) becomes invaluable. CRA is performed in partnership with a MAT and reviews the existing working approaches related to people management, with that research in mind de Novo can advise on recommended way forward – be that revolution or evolution. de Novo’s team of experts can guide a MAT on project delivery approaches, future target operating models, functional capability discussions, cloud solution demonstrations alongside building the funding business case and value proposition.

People management and strategic HR is an imperative benefiting those working in a MAT enterprise whether they are Employees, Teaching Professionals, Operational Managers, Governors, or Volunteers. People working in a MAT environment have an impact daily on pupils – the next generation that will guide the way – and it is vital that these people feel valued, connected, and aligned with the MAT vision.

Supported at every stage of their employment journey with connected HR solutions that are modern and engaging ensures a person record is entered once and leveraged across the employment lifecycle.

People Management Lifecycle

Introducing Odyssea™ for MATs

Odyssea™ for MATs is a fast start, modular solution for people management – a solution that comes predesigned to support the needs of the education industry to ease the burden and expedite the digital transformation journey.

Partnering with several MAT clients has enabled de Novo to co-design Odyssea™ for MAT to be a solution that enables a digital people transformation strategy supporting either a one-step revolution or a more pragmatic and phased evolution journey.

Key People Management Capabilities

Navigating the Digital Transformation Journey

Advancing and modernising MAT people strategy or people management services will without doubt save time, money, improve efficiency, communication and collaboration across the organisation.

Whether the digital transformation is done in a single leap (revolution) or a series of purposeful steps (evolution) it is essential that progress occurs. Inertia is not acceptable.

Progress can begin with a CRA, a conversation that is supportive and not judgemental – it is about supporting a MAT on their own unique digital journey so that the organisation can better focus on delivering better educational outcomes for all.

It takes time to develop a mature, high performing people management strategy and that elevated view and ambition should not be set as a success measure from day one.

The digital people management journey takes time and requires the regular input of multiple parties to help ensure adoption, innovation, efficiency do not ‘scare or destabilise’ the MAT’s primary activities – namely, pupil education.

Value as a Service™ (VaaS™): Supporting MATs Beyond Implementation

de Novo provides additional aftercare and managed support services for MATs beyond the implementation process and the point of go-live with Value as a Service™ (VaaS™). VaaS™ helps MATs to continue maximising their Oracle Cloud solution capability beyond go-live de Novo’s innovative approach to delivery excellence continues forward into expert aftercare designed to ensure MATs feel supported at every step.

Unlocking Efficiency and Substantial Cost Savings for Multi-Academy Trusts

An optimised people management strategy will impact that 75% spend ensuring you are getting the most from that investment.  Helping a MAT to save on:

A modern people management strategy is the future, but it is not always easy to achieve or even prioritise. With de Novo, MATs can navigate the path toward a digitally transformed and optimised future for people management. Our proficiency and expertise in HR/People Management systems have earned us industry recognition, notably with de Novo Solutions receiving Commendation in the ‘HR Tech Innovation’ award category at the prestigious ERP Today Awards.

So, why not have a discussion with de Novos’ MAT experts and hear more about Odyssea™ for MATs, our past projects and learn how the CRA first step can ensure evolution becomes revolution and inertia is bypassed successfully.

Ready to embark on your journey to leading-edge People Management?

Unlock MAT Excellence with Odyssea™

Experience Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Author:  Richard Twelvetrees, Experience & Value Enablement Director, de Novo Solutions

de Novo Solutions are passionate about the end-to-end experience. 

We support Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) in achieving their goal of implementing modern cloud based, back-office and shared service finance management software.

UK Government articles such as Moving your school to the cloud – April 2019 have been painting the picture of why a cloud enabled school is a likely better operated business that one remaining with an outdated approach to finance.

Odyssea™ by de Novo Solutions is powered by Oracle Cloud – one of the worlds most renowned and trusted technology platforms for finance management.  Odyssea™ focuses on harnessing those UK Government way markers such as:


Cloud enabled finance management is the future – it is that simple.

Odyssea™ will enable your MAT to experience a myriad of benefits for not only the core back-office finance management and shared service team but also the wider extended MAT community spanning Senior Leadership Teams, Governors all the way to active academic staff.

Financial Challenges Facing MATs

MATs are facing a complex landscape of financial challenges that demand strategic navigation and innovative solutions:

Key Benefits of Odyssea™

Odyssea™, powered by Oracle Cloud, offers a range of features and advantages for MATs including:

Odyssea™ can help your MAT with:

Financial Transparency & Control

Choose Odyssea™ for a Best-in-Class Finance Solution
Embrace a Culture of Continuous Innovation with Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Only with de Novo Solutions can your MAT speed its way to a modern finance digital transformation – improving operational agility, transparency, scalability, and competitiveness, providing your MAT with proven businesses tools that will thrive in your organisation’s financial landscape. 

Ready to embark on your journey to leading-edge finance management?

Unlock MAT Excellence with Odyssea™

Experience Value as a Service™ (VaaS™)

Press Release

de Novo Solutions Recognised for Delivering Customer Success with Oracle Cloud

de Novo Solutions achieves Sell Expertise in Oracle ERP, EPM & HCM

Langstone, South Wales — 6th October 2023 – de Novo Solutions, a fast-growing digital consultancy and member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today announced that it has achieved Sell Expertise in Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), and Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions.

Expertise is a core tenet of the modernized Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) program and allows Oracle partners to highlight their capabilities in a focused area. Ultimately, Expertise is designed to make it easy for customers to identify partners that can deliver quality results and minimize risk for their specific needs as they adopt Oracle Cloud.

In order to achieve a Sell Expertise, partners like de Novo Solutions must meet a series of qualifiers that demonstrate their experience and success in resell of Oracle Cloud technology within a defined geographic region. Requirements generally include having certified Sales Specialists and Solutions Engineers within the same region. Learn more about Expertise, including viewing the complete Expertise Catalog, at www.oracle.com/partnernetwork/expertise.

Since joining OPN in 2022, de Novo Solutions has established an impressive understanding of Oracle Cloud technologies, leading to the forward-thinking digital consultancy achieving Sell Expertise in Oracle Cloud ERP, Oracle Cloud EPM and Oracle Cloud HCM.

Mark Sweeny, Founder and CEO of de Novo Solutions, said, “Collectively, the de Novo teams boasts over 100 years’ experience in working with and leveraging Oracle Cloud technologies, and in the last two years alone, we have developed multiple industry cloud solutions utilising Oracle which now deliver true value to our customers. I am delighted that our hard work and commitment to Oracle has been recognised with this latest achievement and now look forward to continuing to advance our industry position as a top Oracle partner for years to come.”

Guy Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Applications for the UK & Ireland at Oracle, added: “Businesses today need access to applications that allow them to reduce costs, increase control and better access to data and improve productivity. Oracle’s Fusion Cloud Application Suite provides this to customers across the world.

Today’s news from de Novo Solutions means that more customers will be able to make use of the Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, allowing them to unleash the potential that moving to the cloud enables.”

This latest achievement follows a period of success for de Novo Solutions, having been recognised by multiple awards in the last six months, including the ERP Today Awards, UK Business Tech Awards, Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and IoD Director of the Year Awards.

The only tech business to combine expertise in ServiceNow and Oracle Cloud technologies, de Novo Solutions is dedicated to adding significant value to the private and public sector, and already works with organisations across Central and Local Government and Secondary Education.

For more information, visit: https://www.de-novo-solutions.com/
Learn more about Expertise: https://www.oracle.com/partnernetwork/expertise


About de Novo Solutions

The Experience Economy Consultancy

We are de Novo. We create data-driven, personalised experiences over standardised business processes for the experience economy, providing organisations with valuable insights into their customers and employees.

It is our unique entrepreneurial background and diverse thinking that fundamentally differentiates ourselves from our competitors. We work across all industries, combining our experience as entrepreneurs, consultants, and practitioners to deliver innovation and generate value for our clients through the power of Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies.

We are a team of innovators, disruptors and straight-talkers, who are not afraid to challenge the status quo in order to support our clients in pioneering change in the fast-moving experience economy.

Excel in the digital world. Experience a different approach. Engage de Novo.

See how we’re different.

Please visit www.de-novo-solutions.com or emailcontactdenovo@de-novo-solutions.com.

#wearedenovo

About Oracle PartnerNetwork
Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) is Oracle’s partner program designed to enable partners to accelerate the transition to cloud and drive superior customer business outcomes. The OPN program allows partners to engage with Oracle through track(s) aligned to how they go to market: Cloud Build for partners that provide products or services built on or integrated with Oracle Cloud; Cloud Sell for partners that resell Oracle Cloud technology; Cloud Service for partners that implement, deploy and manage Oracle Cloud Services; and License & Hardware for partners that build, service or sell Oracle software licenses or hardware products. Customers can expedite their business objectives with OPN partners who have achieved Expertise in a product family or cloud service. To learn more visit: http://www.oracle.com/partnernetwork

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Trademarks
Oracle, Java, MySQL and NetSuite are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation. NetSuite was the first cloud company–ushering in the new era of cloud computing.

Press Release

de Novo Solutions Announces Key Sponsorship of Wales Tech Week

de Novo Solutions is set to take on the role of Silver Partner at Wales’ premier technology event, showcasing their expertise in Digital Transformation

Langstone, South Wales — 18th August 2023 – Fast-growing local tech business, de Novo Solutions, has been announced as a key partner for Wales Tech Week, set to take place at ICC Wales this autumn.

An international, hybrid Tech Summit bringing together some of the world’s best tech minds to learn, connect and do business, Wales Tech Week has been developed to showcase Welsh technology and champion the industry on the global stage – connecting, promoting, and developing Wales as a centre of expertise for enabling and emerging technologies.

Taking place at the ICC Wales between 16th – 18th October, followed by a virtual playback on 19th –31st October, the 2023 event is set to welcome over thousands of attendees.

Headquartered in Langstone, South Wales, de Novo Solutions are pioneers within the technology sector, specialising in the implementation and support of innovative Finance, HR, and Payroll solutions. Having honed a niche in the “Experience Economy”, the company is re-imagining the world of work through the delivery of data-driven personalised experiences over standardised business processes.

The only UK Tech SME to combine both Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies, de Novo Solutions is dedicated to adding significant value to the private and public sector and has successfully accelerated growth by an impressive 525% over the last 12 months alone.

As a silver partner of Wales Tech Week, de Novo Solutions will introduce delegates to the value of the experience economy through a dedicated speaking engagement delivered by Founder and CEO, Mark Sweeny, while reinforcing its position as a key player in the Welsh tech landscape.

Mark confirmed: “Wales Tech Week is an exciting event on the Welsh business calendar, which not only brings together the most innovative businesses under one roof, but also provides the opportunity for like-minded professionals to network and collaborate while driving the future of tech in Wales.

With our roots firmly in South Wales, we are delighted to be confirmed as a silver sponsor for Wales Tech Week and plan to not only leverage the opportunity to showcase our specialist niche in the experience economy, but to also help exhibitors and delegates alike gain more insight into the power of transformative cloud technologies.”

Avril Lewis MBE, Managing Director of Wales Tech Week and Creator of Technology Connected, added: “We are excited to have de Novo Solutions on board as a Silver Partner for Wales Tech Week. Their expertise in technology-enabled digital transformation and cloud-led innovation aligns perfectly with our mission to showcase Welsh tech capability and help attendees discover how technology can enhance and transform the way they work.”

A partner of FinTech Wales, de Novo Solutions is dedicated to adding significant value to the private and public sector – where its clear focus and distinct set of specialised skills make the digital consultancy a valuable partner for organisations looking to modernise their operations and improve their use of technology.

Wales Tech Week 2023 is free to attend with attendees required to register in advance.

For more information, visit:

https://www.de-novo-solutions.com
https://www.walestechweek.com


About de Novo Solutions

The Experience Economy Consultancy

We are de Novo. We create data-driven, personalised experiences over standardised business processes for the experience economy, providing organisations with valuable insights into their customers and employees.

It is our unique entrepreneurial background and diverse thinking that fundamentally differentiates ourselves from our competitors. We work across all industries, combining our experience as entrepreneurs, consultants, and practitioners to deliver innovation and generate value for our clients through the power of Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies.

We are a team of innovators, disruptors and straight-talkers, who are not afraid to challenge the status quo in order to support our clients in pioneering change in the fast-moving experience economy.

Excel in the digital world. Experience a different approach. Engage de Novo.

See how we’re different.

Please visit www.de-novo-solutions.com or emailcontactdenovo@de-novo-solutions.com.

#wearedenovo

Press Release

de Novo Solutions Shortlisted for 3 Prestigious ERP Industry Awards

    

Fast-growing digital transformation consultancy, de Novo Solutions dedicated to ‘re-imagining the world of work’ has been shortlisted by the prestigious ERP Today Awards in 3 different categories

Langstone, South Wales — 16th August 2023 – Launched in 2021, de Novo Solutions are pioneers within the technology sector, specialising in the implementation and support of innovative Finance, HR and Payroll solutions. Having honed a niche in the “Experience Economy” the company is re-imagining the world of work through the delivery of data-driven personalised experiences over standardised business processes, using Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies.

Committed to adding significant value to both private and public sector organisations through tailored tech solutions, de Novo Solutions has been nominated for ‘ERP Tech Innovation of the Year’, ‘HR Tech Innovation of the Year’ and one of its forward-thinking graduates also shortlisted for ‘Young Professional of the Year’.

As de Novo Solutions celebrates its second year in business, the remarkable extent of the company’s accomplishments becomes evident through its attainment of an exceptional growth rate of 525% over the previous year alone. This success is driven by its innovative approach to market and capability to develop tailored tech solutions for its growing client base.

Now in their 3rd year, the ERP Today awards recognise and celebrate the most talented and impactful companies involved in the Enterprise Resource Planning industry, with 30 businesses shortlisted across 11 different categories.

Winners of the 2023 awards will be announced at the ERP Today Awards & NHS Fundraiser event on the 14th of September at Ascot Racecourse.

Mark Sweeny, Founder and Chief Executive of de Novo Solutions, confirmed: “2023 has been an incredible year so far for de Novo Solutions, where we have not only launched new solutions in VaaS™ – our Managed Cloud Support ‘Value as a Service™’ offering – and Odyssea™ – an innovative cloud solution for Secondary Education – but we have also helped a number of organisations significantly improve processes and outcomes through our innovative and unique approach to market.

To be recognised for our success by the ERP Today Awards is a fantastic achievement, particularly as one of our graduates has also been nominated for their hard-work and commitment to the sector. The team and I now look forward to the awards ceremony next month and extend the best of luck to all other finalists.”

Giacomo Lee, Editorial Director at ERP Today, said “We congratulate de Novo Solutions on their hard work and nominations, and look forward to hosting the team at the ERP Today Awards. It’ll be another fantastic day for enterprise tech to enjoy and celebrate its successes over the last year, and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store.”

Headquartered in Langstone, South Wales, de Novo Solutions is quickly disrupting the typical cloud and SaaS implementation and support services sector.

This latest achievement follows a period of success for de Novo Solutions, having been recognised by multiple awards in the last three months, including the UK Business Tech Awards, Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and IoD Director of the Year Awards.

For more information, visit:

https://www.de-novo-solutions.com
https://erp.today/
https://erptodayawards.com/


About de Novo Solutions

The Experience Economy Consultancy

We are de Novo. We create data-driven, personalised experiences over standardised business processes for the experience economy, providing organisations with valuable insights into their customers and employees.

It is our unique entrepreneurial background and diverse thinking that fundamentally differentiates ourselves from our competitors. We work across all industries, combining our experience as entrepreneurs, consultants, and practitioners to deliver innovation and generate value for our clients through the power of Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies.

We are a team of innovators, disruptors and straight-talkers, who are not afraid to challenge the status quo in order to support our clients in pioneering change in the fast-moving experience economy.

Excel in the digital world. Experience a different approach. Engage de Novo.

See how we’re different.

Please visit www.de-novo-solutions.com or emailcontactdenovo@de-novo-solutions.com.

#wearedenovo

About ERP Today

Since its launch in 2019, ERP Today has established itself as the independent voice of the enterprise technology sector. It has interviewed many of the industry’s most influential leaders along with a stellar cast of business forerunners to bring their stories to life. It also works with virtually every major player in the business technology sector and continues to develop new relationships with the world’s leading brands. In an antidote to digital fatigue, ERP Today is the only print media title dedicated to enterprise technology.

ERP Today augments its print offerings with a digital platform that delivers daily industry news to 20,000 subscribers along with live interviews, documentary films and expert analysis.

Hosting The ERP Today Annual Awards Event, it invites and celebrates the best names in the industry. ERP Today also gives back to the community and looks to the future with its Young Professionals Network, supporting and recognizing the latest talent in ERP and enterprise technology.

For more information, please visit https://erp.today/

Press Release

de Novo Solutions Forms New Partnership with Multi-Academy Trust Association to Transform Education Sector

Langstone, South Wales — 9th August 2023 – Fast-growing tech company, de Novo Solutions, has formed a new strategic partnership with Multi-Academy Trust Association [MATA] – a dedicated organisation for education Trust leaders – to help transform the education sector.

Founded in 2020, de Novo Solutions are pioneers within the technology sector, specialising in the implementation and support of innovative Finance, HR, and Payroll solutions. Having honed a niche in the “Experience Economy”, the company is re-imagining the world of work through the delivery of data-driven personalised experiences over standardised business processes.

A membership organisation dedicated to ensuring Multi Academy Trust [MAT] leaders have the best possible support; MATA was founded by Trust leaders to shape the future of the education sector.

With its core focus for 2023/24 academic year being AI, Growth, Finance & Fundraising, Estates and People, MATA has formed a new strategic partnership with de Novo Solutions to help more MATs leverage the power of tech and benefit from the latest advancements in cloud technology.

This comes just a few months after de Novo Solutions unveiled the launch of Odyssea™ for Multi Academy Trusts – an innovative cloud-based solution for the education sector, which is built upon cutting-edge Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies and delivers a pre-defined platform of experiences supported by leading processes that meet the demands of MAT business operations.

Mark Sweeny, Founder and CEO of de Novo Solutions, confirmed: “Odyssea™ for Multi-Academy Trusts was developed to help solve core and recurring challenges within MATs, while bringing about positive change in people service and finance transformation to help education providers benefit from improved operational transparency, control, and growth.

Forming a new partnership with MATA not only enables us to align with an organisation which shares our vision to help digitally transform the education sector but will also enable us to engage with more MATs looking to future-proof their institution while streamlining processes and automation for increased productivity, student support and resulting growth.”

Matt McDermott, Founder & Chair of Advisory Board of MATA, added:

“We are excited to partner for the upcoming year with de Novo, who match our passion and dedication to helping this amazing sector develop. This partnership means we can better support trust leaders with great resources and expert opinion from the helpful team at de Novo.”

Headquartered in Langstone, South Wales, de Novo Solutions boasts extensive experience within the public and education sectors.

Having accelerated growth by 525% over the last 12 months alone, de Novo Solutions is the only tech business to combine expertise in ServiceNow and Oracle Cloud technologies.

Launched in 2021, MATA now supports over 550 Trust leaders with its membership forecast to grow by a further 100 trusts during the forthcoming academic year.

For more information, visit:

https://www.de-novo-solutions.com
https://www.matassociation.org/partners/de-novo-solutions
https://www.matassociation.org


About de Novo Solutions

The Experience Economy Consultancy

We are de Novo. We create data-driven, personalised experiences over standardised business processes for the experience economy, providing organisations with valuable insights into their customers and employees.

It is our unique entrepreneurial background and diverse thinking that fundamentally differentiates ourselves from our competitors. We work across all industries, combining our experience as entrepreneurs, consultants, and practitioners to deliver innovation and generate value for our clients through the power of Oracle SaaS Cloud and ServiceNow technologies.

We are a team of innovators, disruptors and straight-talkers, who are not afraid to challenge the status quo in order to support our clients in pioneering change in the fast-moving experience economy.

Excel in the digital world. Experience a different approach. Engage de Novo.
See how we’re different.

Please visit www.de-novo-solutions.com or emailcontactdenovo@de-novo-solutions.com.

#wearedenovo

About The Multi-Academy Trust Association (MATA)

The Multi-Academy Trust Association (MATA) is a free to join association for current and aspiring Trust leaders, currently supporting over 500+ MATs across England.

MATA’s mission is to support the growing community of Trust leaders with a service that allows our members to collaborate and network with one another, as well as connecting education leaders with trusted suppliers in the space. With nearly 2 years under the belt it has been a very exciting time for the association, and would be nothing without the assistance of the advisory board, which is made up of MAT leaders across a variety of trust size, region and demographic.

For more information, please visit https://www.matassociation.org

In the cloud era, the ERP market that serves an organisation’s back office business operations is dominated by the tier one players of SAP, Oracle, and Workday, supplemented by the tier two vendors such as IFSUnit4, and FinancialForce et al who have focussed upon the smaller to medium sized enterprises. The software vendors’ proposition that has served them so well over the past decade, as cloud platforms and SaaS took hold, is itself now changing. 

The argument around feature-function servicing finance, procure-ment, HR, payroll and supply chain – either in silos or for those who were smart enough to re-engineer their applications for the cloud – is no longer enough. The markets they serve are now learning from their experiences of dealing with customers through the front office and they are putting their employees front and centre, not only in how we build systems, but fundamentally how we ‘work’. Don’t underestimate the impact of this as it is more than just the next fad of IT as it affects workplace culture and ultimately an organisation’s performance. 

The conversation is changing and it’s going to have a profound impact on the back office

Giving employees more power to shape business 

The conversation is changing and it’s going to have a profound impact on the back office enterprise. It is this that suggests a new frontier of opportunity for those with entrepreneurial flair. 

The old adage “look after your employees and they will look after your customers” is very real. Taking the lessons learned from the front office, and two decades of unprecedented learning from the powerhouse platform known as Salesforce, we are in a new era where we are replicating the move from ‘customer service’ to ‘customer experience’ but now focussed on the ‘employee experience’. In doing so relatively new players like

ServiceNow (definitely the one to watch in my opinion) are coming to the forefront and opening up the experience economy.

No longer are we talking about which software vendor has the best feature-function in the cloud. It is assumed, rightly or wrongly, that all the major players have basic standard process capabilities. Now we are looking across an organisation’s enterprise and recognising that employees will interact with various ‘data sets’ outside the core functions of the ERP platform. 

This move is more than subtle as we transition from being process driven to data driven. Machine learning and adaptive intelligence (a subset of artificial intelligence) are taking hold to play greater roles in deciphering what we need to know, when, and what to execute. So, finally, we are seeing that tech platforms can be even more useful in helping employees to maximise customers. To take this up a level, employees need to be fully engaged with the tech best suited to their market. 

The challenge for many start-ups or SMEs is to convince someone to ‘give it a go’

Where to focus innovation today

With market economics in full flow and the oligopoly of the tier 1 players firmly secured, coupled with consolidation of the tier 2 players, just where are these new opportunities? I believe we find them in two areas.

Innovation usually comes from start-ups and the ‘S’ in ‘SME’ so, for me, this is the place to look. Success in the cloud game favours those suppliers that can provide niche industry solutions to operational problems. And there is nowhere better to look to find breakthroughs right now than the UK, not only in London, but with regional tech hubs emerging all over the country. The large vendors don’t focus upon industry solutions (save for IFS and Infor that have highly specialised applications for industries and micro-verticals), they leave this to the wider ecosystem to use their platforms to solve these problems. 

But real innovation in the ERP market today has to start with the basic premise that the world doesn’t need another ERP or HCM SaaS application in the cloud. However, what is required are solutions to those industry functional specific gaps, or gaps focussed on the employee to untap new ways of working that to date have not really been considered or leveraged. If you can bring both elements together then so much the better. In doing this there will be an element of connecting the front office to the back office seamlessly and leveraging new data driven technologies to predict and inform employees as to what’s next in the world of work.  

Challenges for changing up

By carving out a high degree of specialism with vertical solutions, such companies are then easily targeted once they are proven to be snapped up by bigger fish in the sea. This is the natural order of things, before the cycle starts again as usually the original founders of such companies become the new business angels for the next generation. However, innovation – often unproven at scale – usually has its detractors and the challenge for many start-ups or SMEs is to convince someone to ‘give it a go’. Whilst risk can be mitigated through minimum viable products, prototypes and pilots, it is those corporate sponsors that are brave enough to metaphorically ‘put their head above the parapet’ who we should all be really grateful to. The problem is finding them.

Paul Sheppard, founder and chief executive of start-up We Build Bots, said: “I have long believed that the public sector, especially central government, can be the catalyst for innovation and change. Contrary to belief the public sector environment is extremely fast moving and the challenges constantly mounting from the demands being made. But in order to take advantage and benefit from such innovations, government needs to be brave and buy the offerings the SME market has to offer. It is the SME market that often, in the face of great adversity, will try to solve problems that the larger software vendors do not necessarily see as priority. We have to constantly encourage and educate the buyers in government to look at what is coming.”

And Pamela Cook, CEO at Infotech and panel member of HM Government SME, commented: “Whilst not every solution is ‘GovTech’, it is one of the biggest growth markets and possibly the hotbed of future innovation for the private sector. A reversal for what for many years has been private sector advances influencing the public sector.”

Follow the money…

Time will tell if my observations are right, but by judging how much business angel, private equity and VC money is now focussing on the ‘enterprise’ and B2B applications, rather than having to deal with ‘fickle’ consumers in the B2C market, the new decade will see an influx of start-ups and niche SaaS solutions focussed on the employee and industry vertical solutions. At the extreme, by the time this new decade ends, we probably won’t be talking about ERP platforms anymore and the very acronym could be finally consigned to the history books. Paul – you might need to rename the magazine by then!   

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, companies I invest in or am associated with. In addition, my thoughts and opinions change from time to time and I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind. This article is intended to provide a semi-permanent point in time and as such any thoughts or opinions expressed within out of date posts may not be the same or similar to those that I hold today.