In the final post of our blog series, we interview our Chief Commercial Officer, Julian Bull. As one of the founders of Endava, Julian celebrates our 20th anniversary by looking back over the past two decades and answering 20 questions about his time with Endava, his fondest memories, and the industries he thinks are undergoing an exciting technological transformation.
1. The 8th of February 2000 is a significant date for you. Tell us about it.
It was the date when a team of people who really didn’t know each other got together and laid the foundations for the company we are today. We all knew we would be successful, but I don’t think any of us could have predicted just how well that would turn out!
2. Why then?
We had just experienced the dotcom boom and were watching the bubble burst. This provided two key insights. Firstly, it confirmed what we already knew: we had to build a technology company with a sensible, valuable and sustainable offering! Secondly, it showed us what was possible with the new generation of technology post dotcom, and how it could transform the way people interacted with technology to live, learn and work. We decided to focus the business on helping clients reimagine the relationship they had with their customers through digital technology – a decision that has delivered success and growth for our clients and ourselves over the last 20 years, and we see no sign of it slowing down.
3. Who was by your side when you were starting Endava?
Rob Machin, John Cotterell and Graham Lee, our former Head of Legal, who retired in 2019. Soon after we were joined by Steve Harding, Robert Spittal and Barry Risby.
4. Who was the first big, game-changing client?
Much like our COO Rob Machin’s answer to this question, for me, it has to be BACS, back in 2001, who went on to become Mastercard. Rob and I went to the first meeting, which was in the old factory where De Havilland Aircraft were once built. It was on a residential housing estate in North London. While on the long walk up the high street, past the shops, schools, pubs and takeaway restaurants, we genuinely thought the partner who had introduced us had sent us on a wild goose chase. Thankfully they hadn’t, and we gained a long-term client who formed the foundation of our payments sector. It was here that we also met Chris Cooper-Bland, our Group Head of Architecture, who was on the original selection team for BACS. It was definitely worth the walk!
5. We have been looking back over the past two decades at what has changed – what was your favourite thing about the way things were in 2000?
I think the impact that technology has had on people’s lives over the past 20 years has been the biggest change. My favourite thing about the year 2000? My hair.
6. What is your favourite law of physics?
I don’t have a favourite. I love them all the same.
7. What is the current focus of Endava as a business?
Pretty much the same as it always has been: helping people be the best they can be and helping clients stay competitive and relevant in their industries. The numbers are just bigger!
8. Tell us about industries Endava is looking to expand into.
We have nine industry verticals that we focus on. The newest are Mobility and Health, which are both very exciting opportunities, as technology is enabling them to undergo a major transformation. We are constantly looking for other industries that are leveraging technology to transform themselves.
9. Would you say that the experience of working for Endava has changed you over the years?
In some ways very much so: I’m learning to let go of things that I would have once wanted complete control over (probably not fast enough if you ask my team). I’m fortunate to have an extremely bright and talented group of people around me who are well equipped to support me in meeting the demands of our growing organisation. And in some ways not: I remain fiercely protective of my team and get a real kick out of seeing them grow as people, leaders, and in recent years as partners, husbands, wives and parents. I like to think I’m a work in progress.
10. Did you ever consider starting to do something else instead?
I’ve always fancied being a professional photographer. Maybe one day.
11. What is the secret of CCO longevity?
Never stop listening and learning.
12. What are some emerging/future trends in IT that will impact Endava and the industry in general?
The main ones for me are AI, Automation and the Future of Work.
13. What are the “deadly sins” of being a CCO that you have seen with your peers?
Believing your own hype.
14. Endava has grown quite a bit over the last few years. How do you manage to spend time in each of our delivery centres?
For me, in my role, it’s very dependent on where the clients and the sales team need me to be. I do love visiting them though, as I always learn something new about our company, our people and our capabilities.
15. Which other CCOs/executives do you look up to?
I look up to anyone that challenges the norm. The two that spring to mind are Steve Jobs, who everyone has heard of, and someone not quite as famous (yet): Terry Rubenstein, the founder of iHeart Principles, a charity I’m honoured to be a trustee of. Terry and her team are really challenging the norm around how we deal with mental health, especially in young people.
16. What is your fondest memory of your time at Endava?
Thankfully, there are too many to choose from. However, it’s probably seeing my colleagues join the Sales and Marketing organisation as young, hungry 20-somethings and progress to become leaders of Endava. Long may it continue.
17. Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?
Back in 2000 Brad Pitt, now Bruce Willis.
18. What was the scariest moment since starting Endava?
2 a.m. in a bar in Amsterdam singing “I’m still standing” on karaoke with Paul Chapman. Terrifying!
19. How would you describe Endava in one word?
20. If we could send you back in time, is there anything you would change about Endava and your journey with the company?
I’m sure there are many things I could change with the benefit of hindsight, but if we’d have done things differently, we wouldn’t be who we are today, and I’m really proud of who we are today. I’d rather look forward and take what we’ve learnt and use it to make everyone involved with Endava as fulfilled and successful as possible.
Chief Commercial OfficerAs one of the founding members of Endava Julian is responsible for sales, marketing, business development, propositions and go-to-market strategy. When he’s not working for or thinking about Endava, he spends his time as a trustee for the mental health charity iHeart, exploring the Dorset coast with his wife Jax and their 2 dogs, trying to convince his 2 teenagers that exploring the Dorset coast is better than Xbox or social media (with varying degrees of success), or eating in the many wonderful restaurants the area has to offer.
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