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, we’re joined by David Boast, who has been working together with us for a long time on the client side, and we’re very proud to have him join us. David is currently based in London and will soon go on a new adventure and move to Dubai in his role as our Delivery Director for the MENA region.
We’re thrilled to have you join us, David. What has brought you into the tech industry and the payments sector?
I have always loved technology from an incredibly young age. My Dad ran his own typewriter business and took the big step of evolving that from the mechanical days through to word processors and then computers. He had to adapt quickly to keep his business relevant, which was a great life lesson for me, and the early access to personal computing technology had me and my two brothers hooked from the start.
Payments, on the other hand, happened by chance back in 2001 when I landed a contract for a company called Bacs, who later became Voca, then Vocalink. I quickly learned about the payment landscape and returned on four occasions to deliver payment systems, both batch and real-time. Being a part of something that enables the payment of salaries, bills, cheques and access to cash is something I was incredibly proud to be a part of, and I consider it a privilege to have brought three payment systems to life.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
I think there have a been a number of significant innovations. The most profound of course was the rise of the internet and mobile communication. Interconnectivity between computers and people has allowed the world to shrink around us, and the pervasiveness and quantity of data and processing power is delivering opportunities in abundance. In payments, it is enabling any payment, anywhere and on any medium. The rise of cryptocurrency and the maturation of quantum computing will bring further exciting changes and opportunities.
Looking at the Middle Eastern market, what is the biggest payments challenge and opportunity right now? And what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
Payments in MENA are booming, with more and more innovation and new products coming to market every day. This is why I joined Endava to lead the business in MENA. We have the ability to work with our clients to rise to this challenge and provide the scale and quality to meet this demand. Operational resilience, system performance and security will continue to be front of mind as these things are non-negotiable with payment systems and services.
Businesses need to think about all of these aspects when planning their payments strategy and ensure that they are considering the intended and unintended consequences of the products they are bringing to market. Regulation will only increase, so planning ahead, being transparent and truly challenging outdated thought processes is the only way to stay in front of the competition and be ready for the regulatory tests and challenges that will come.
What project in your career are you especially proud of and why?
Working with the Endava teams to deliver a payment system from concept and design all the way through to processing live transactions in less than a year. It had never been done before and was the most complex payment system ever delivered. Cheques are over 300 years old, and to turn these elegant payment instruments into an image that could be processed for next-day clearing was very special.
On the flip side, what is a project or technology that challenged you and where you had some setbacks? And most importantly, what did you learn from it?
Great question. Most complex projects present themselves with challenges, and having run many project rescues over my career, I’m used to adapting and pivoting to maintain momentum and solve problems that come up. The thing I have always reflected on is that you cannot achieve anything without a team that shares one vision. Ensuring you have a basis of respect and openness – both within the team and with your customers – is key. And so is working as ‘one team’, which creates alignment and shared ambition within the entire supply chain and a safe space to raise issues because together, they can be overcome. As a good friend once told me, “Bad news takes the elevator, good news takes the stairs!”
Let’s move on to a few more personal questions… What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
Gadgets. Any consumer technology from electric cars to home automation. I probably should also say payment system delivery…
Who would be your 5 famous dinner party guests – real or fictional?
Albert Einstein, John Cleese, Jim Jeffries, Barack Obama, Elon Musk
If you were not working as a Delivery Director at Endava, what would you be doing instead?
Running a yoga or spiritual retreat... I think my other half would prefer it if we ran a spa/retreat and she was a customer!
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
Pre-historic times – walking with the dinosaurs would be fascinating. I would caveat that with having modern technology and protective equipment with me!
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
“Try your best and be kind to others”, the advice I give to all my 4 children. I also love ‘carpe diem’, though the first one kinda catches 99% of situations!
Big thanks to David for sharing his experience and life with us! Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next parts of our Meet the SME series.
DELIVERY DIRECTOR, MENADavid has spent 20+ years in payments and financial services, working with a broad range of customers in the UK and abroad. Understanding complex environments, he can unite diverse teams with competing goals to ensure successful delivery and also understands the importance and demands of regulation, risk, audit and compliance. With a proven track record in programme delivery and project rescue, he is well placed to grow our business in the MENA region as Delivery Director. Outside of work, David enjoys spending time with his wife and 4 children, travelling, going to the gym and has aspirations of getting back on the golf course. He is also a huge fan of Star Wars, cricket and Formula 1 and has a renewed interest in football since Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought Wrexham Football Club and their documentary.
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