Meet the people who help our clients design and build innovative technology solutions to benefit their businesses as well as their customers: our subject matter experts aka SMEs. In this series, we’ll discover how they came to work in the industry and the changing role of technology in our lives. We’ll also get a glimpse into what makes them tick as people outside of work.
First off is Adrian Bugaian. Adrian is one of our Delivery Partners, helping clients in the Payments sector, and whilst he was made in the USSR, he’s now being inspired by Marina Bay, having recently relocated to help us with our expansion into Singapore.
First, we have some questions around your professional experience. What has brought you into the Payments and Trading world?
I have been interested in national and international money movement from a young age – I guess the movie “Wall Street” impressed me. I was sure I’d go into Banking and Finance until I started to look at IT as more than a hobby. Now I have the lucky opportunity to combine them in my professional career.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
This is a tricky question, as all current innovations rely on previous breakthroughs in both the technology advancements and people needs. However, looking at Payments, one big innovation is the ability to make funds available in a very short time – like real-time payments – through almost any means you have at hand: you can transfer money from one person to the other just by knowing their phone number or email address.
When it comes to Trading, I’d say it’s the ability and need to digitise, or tokenise, an asset or product and transact it on a distributed ledger (DLT). Though initially this was a hot topic in the crypto currency world, we are now seeing it as a growing trend in the area of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), mainly starting with the carbon credit trading exchanges and marketplaces. Simply put, this allows companies and other entities to trade carbon credits in an open market, with an end goal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
And what is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
The biggest challenge will be for existing players in the market to innovate despite their current technology debt. Innovation is regarded as either “play to win” or “play not to lose”. We have seen and are still seeing now, during the pandemic, that established companies with a “play not to lose” mindset are struggling to keep up with the acceleration in services and product roadmaps that some of the new digital companies are able to provide to the public. So, the best thing would be to act now – there was never a better time to start accelerating your digital roadmap.
What is the Endava project you are most proud of and why?
That would be a project we delivered for a UK/European national company that allowed customers to process a cheque using your mobile phone, and we shortened the processing from 7 days to just over 24 hours. It had all the complexities you can think of: distributed delivery across multiple parties and time zones, project alignment, technology complexities, but most of all some of the people involved in the project did not believe that the timelines were doable. But we delivered the system to the agreed timelines and quality criteria – it was a major success for all parties involved and showed the true nature of partnership engagement.
On the flip side, what is the project or technology that challenged you the most and where you had some setbacks? What did you learn from this?
We were delivering a project in the early 2010s for a global bank’s trading arm. What looked like an uncomplex technology project turned out to be a very difficult delivery due to the distribution of the teams and the lack of a “one team mentality”. After a prolonged time of difficult interaction, we asked one of the project sponsors to allow us to take more control of the delivery and ask some of the other parties for transparency in their decision and thought process.
The learning was that when entering some organisations, you might be perceived as a hostile party, or even an enemy, and not someone who’s here to help. So, until you gain that partnership trust, there needs to be a period of rigorous rules, and this is where leadership comes in.
And to finish off, we’d like to get some more personal insights. If you would not be working as a Delivery Partner at Endava, what would you be doing instead?
Product or service promotion.
What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
A thing I have been talking to colleagues and people in the industry about is that we, especially in technology companies, are very good at building technology teams. However, our ability to build a cohesive team of managers (not a management team) is not instinctive. We often struggle to make them feel like a team; usually it’s more like a group of individuals.
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
Ancient Rome or Ancient Egypt.
And finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
“Learn to listen in order to understand, not in order to answer.”
Many thanks to Adrian for being our ‘guinea pig’ in the pilot of our Meet the SME series. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans!