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.
Another year means another opportunity to get to know one of our SMEs! This time, meet David Marsh, our Principal Industry Consultant for all things Payments based in Sydney, Australia. With a diverse background and a passion for innovation, David helps our clients in the Asia-Pacific region to thrive in the face of industry disruption.
So good to have you here, David. First of all, we’d like to know, what has brought you into the payments industry?
My journey into payments is probably best described as “following the breadcrumbs” … I started my professional career working with publishing technology for newspapers, and I’ve worked with several mastheads in both Australia and the UK. Back then, when the internet was strictly for hobbyists, newspapers enjoyed double income streams from customers paying to place ads in the paper alongside customers buying the paper to read the ads. Newspapers presented a fantastic foundation for my technology career as they leveraged an extensive mix of state-of-the-art tech to collate stories and images from journalists based all around the world, alongside huge amounts of advertising content, in a deadline-driven environment.
Changes in the newspaper business not only spurred me to switch industries, but it also instilled in me why innovation in the face of disruption is so important. I then spent a few years working for a travel-focused software engineering company before the breadcrumbs led me into banking a little over 15 years ago. Here I gained extensive insight into the inner workings of corporate payables and receivables from within the institutional banks of Westpac and CBA.
The parallels between media and payments are uncanny – both are mature industries with a pressing need to adapt to an increasingly digitally native customer base.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
Mobile phone adoption has revolutionised payments, and it has happened so quickly! Whilst I doubt that we will see a cashless society any time soon, I do expect we will see continued innovation on mobile and wearable devices as payments become increasingly enriched with data – with the appropriate consent and privacy controls, of course!
What is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
In terms of challenges, recent cyber security incidents in Australia have highlighted that bad actors are actively seeking to exploit areas of weakness. Whilst it can be tempting to prioritise projects that are associated with new revenue streams, this should not be to the detriment of your existing business. Australia needs strong technical leadership that can advocate for continuous, sustainable technology investment, and receptive business leadership who can look beyond low-hanging fruit and quick wins and focus on a long-term strategic roadmap. Cutting corners in the current environment could prove catastrophic: in payments, trust is a gate opener for opportunity – it’s hard-earned and easily lost.
In regard to opportunities, I think the combination of payments, digital identity, and data enrichment through the Consumer Data Right has the potential to serve up a new generation of digital services. I was fortunate to spend some time focusing on Digital Identity whilst working for Australia’s self-regulatory body for payments (AusPayNet). I think we haven’t yet scratched the surface of how interoperable digital identity could benefit consumers and businesses.
Endava is relatively new to Australia, what attracted you to join us?
Payment innovation is increasingly being influenced by global trends, yet there remains a distinctly Australian nuance to our domestic industry. Endava’s presence in Australia presents an opportunity to tap into our international experience and apply those learnings to Australian innovation. That’s a pretty interesting proposition, made all the more appealing by Endava’s growth aspirations in this region. As you might have gathered from my answers thus far, I’m an advocate for innovation. The prospect of contributing to, and learning from, an interesting project is hard to walk past.
Speaking of learning, what is a major takeaway from your experience in the industry? Any major challenges you overcame that turned out to be valuable learnings?
I’ve learnt important lessons from every role I’ve worked in, whether that be about delivery, technology, people, or business. Despite having gathered these lessons from a diverse range of roles in different industries, all of them are relevant to my work today. User-centric payment solutions need to strike the right balance on a number of fronts.
What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
Payments, obviously! But assuming you are looking for another dimension, it would probably be Digital Identity. It was a key focus area during my time working with AusPayNet.
What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Skiing. I reckon I’m probably one of the least flexible people on earth – honestly – when it comes to the snowplough, I have the ability of a legoman!
Would you be brave enough to share one of your guilty pleasures with us?
I own some DJ equipment which hasn’t really had the exciting life it deserves – though I did play some tunes on New Year’s Eve, so who knows, my investment might still pay off.
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
I don’t think I have a favourite quote – it seems a bit limiting to be defined by a few short words spoken by someone else when the human experience is so expansive. However, here are two general concepts I tend to agree with: “We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience” and “You only fail when you stop trying”.
Big thanks to David for making the time and sharing his experience and thoughts with us. If you would like to get more of his insights, make sure to read his other blog articles and watch his appearance at Ausbiz TV’s Startup Daily and this talk on super apps with Fintech Australia.
Finally, stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next parts of our Meet the SME series.