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.
This time on Meet the SME, our guest is a United man in Liverpool. As Head of Alliances and Partnerships, Lewis Brown knows the value of collaboration and mutual support, and practices them with our clients and partners just as much as when he cheers for his team.
Great to have you with us, Lewis. What has brought you into the tech industry?
Good question, I’d be surprised if there is any same one answer for this. I’ve worked in pharma, energy, and retail before. When I started working specifically in tech, I really felt at home and comfortable, and I’ve been here ever since. One could argue, however, that many organisations are part of the tech industry today; they just offer different things to their consumer, like Uber for transportation, Airbnb for accommodation, TikTok for content, the list goes on.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
I remember attending a Microsoft conference in Barcelona, back when Microsoft first published their new low code platform. It has evolved massively since then, with many other platforms becoming available as well. I think this has massively driven innovation, for example the rise of the citizen developer and interactive dashboarding, shifting away from your classic spreadsheet.
And what is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
Of course, I’m biased here – I see partnerships as a massive opportunity. We should be open to prospective partners and embrace collaborating with them, particularly where we have the same end goal. Collaboration will enable you to get there faster – faster for you, your partner, and your customers.
In a recent chat with Don Campbell, you mentioned the 3 building blocks of a good partnership: a solid foundation, technical capability, and shared values. In your experience, how can we bolster and build these up if we think there’s still something missing?
Take a good look at your existing ecosystem and identify your capability gaps. No organisation can do it all on their own. That’s the definition of partnerships, bringing the best of both together. Sometimes you have to place your bets and invest – it’s a balancing act that requires input from the whole business, from execs, delivery teams, sales, and marketing.
How can a business find the right partnerships in an ever-growing landscape of providers and competitors?
Engage early and be transparent. It is in the best interest of both parties to assess the fit of a potential partnership early to avoid dragging out the process and wasting time. Be clear about must-have criteria and stick to them. No partnership will be the same and cultivating it will require reasonable effort, so you should have a good idea of what you want to achieve from the beginning – a well-working partnership will be invaluable.
Moving on to a few more personal questions… what was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Calisthenics. I knew there’d be some difficult elements, but what an incredible feat of strength some of the movements require. It’s amazing, I recommend anyone to give it a go!
What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
Who would be your 5 famous dinner party guests – real or fictional?
Roy Keane – Manchester United legend
Richard Dawkins – Amazing scientist and author
James Bond – For his gadgets
Alex Ferguson – Best manager ever and for the uncomfortable banter with Roy Keane
Jennifer Aniston – High school crush
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” (Roy Keane, Manchester United captain)
Thank you, Lewis, for being a good sport and joining us. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next part of our Meet the SME series!