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DIGIT Movers and Shakers | October 2020

Ross Kelly

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Movers and Shakers

The October edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column features recruitment and awards news from CENSIS, FinTech Scotland and Smarter Grid Solutions.

Recruitment News

CENSIS

CENSIS named four new board members in October as the organisation looks to add valuable experience from industry, entrepreneurship, and the public sector to its leadership team.

Anne McLister, head of digital economy at Glasgow City Council; Stuart Mitchell, global client partner and former head of IoT sales at Vodafone; Howard Perkins, tech entrepreneur and founder of Firestalk; and Andy Ward, chief technology officer and founder of Ubisense were all confirmed by CENSIS.

An engineer by training, McLister has more than 25 years’ experience in business change and management consultancy, leading projects across a range of sectors in the UK and Europe, including business and IT strategy.

She has worked with Glasgow City Council since 2016, holding roles in the smart cities integration and City Deal teams.

Having joined the Vodafone graduate leadership programme in 2011, Mitchell brings a different perspective to the board along with his extensive industry experience.

He currently leads an international team specialising in digital transformation, helping business leaders to reap the benefits of technology.

Perkins boasts a proven track record in the tech sector, as a founding partner of Kyria, Cygnet Technology and current venture, consultancy business, Firestalk.

Perkins has a background in engineering and is currently volunteering with the Scottish Tech Army; a support organisation for the third and public sector formed in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Andy Ward brings valuable technical and engineering knowledge to the CENSIS board, with more than 20 years’ experience in designing, developing and deploying complex IoT sensor systems. In 2002, Andy co-founded Ubisense, a business which provides location tracking technology for companies around the world.

Commenting on the appointments, Jacqueline Redmond, chair of CENSIS, said: “Anne, Stuart, Howard and Andy bring a range of invaluable expertise and experience to the CENSIS board. Each of our new appointments brings with them a different viewpoint and, with that, a diversity of opinion and knowledge to our decision-making.

“Collaboration between industry, the public sector and academia has never been more important in supporting businesses across the UK to adopt and embrace the potential of new technology.

“CENSIS has an important role to play in bringing people together from a variety of disciplines to develop new products, services, and ways of working which can help us all to adapt to the very different world we now live in, while continuing to help companies grow and develop.”


Merkle

Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency and part of Dentsu, has appointed Warwick Beresford-Jones to lead its combined analytics business across customer and digital analytics.

In this role, Beresford-Jones will be responsible for the ongoing integration of Merkle’s digital and customer analytics capability, which was brought together across EMEA at the end of 2019 in recognition of the increasingly sophisticated and fast-changing data and technology landscape.

One where cloud computing, AI and automation are driving constant innovation in business performance and customer eccentricity.

Analytics is now placed at the centre of everything Merkle does and helps drive material performance gains from marketing spend and the use of the data generated by some of the biggest brands across EMEA.

Beresford-Jones joined Merkle in 2017 when Aquila Insight, the Edinburgh-based business he co-founded in 2010 was acquired by the company.

He has since led a 100% growth of the business by supporting standalone analytics clients, such as Total, as well as those across Merkle’s broader set of capabilities, such as Volkswagen Group and NatWest to provide analytics and insight services that power their customer experience transformation journeys.

Aquila rebranded to Merkle Aquila upon joining Merkle.

Michael Komasinski, president of Merkle and CEO of Dentsu’s CXM Line of Business in EMEA, said: “Warwick will bring together our strong UK analytics practice and enrich this with our strong regional capabilities to ensure consistency, quality and scale across EMEA.

“The Merkle Aquila business has doubled in size since joining Merkle, delivering market-leading analytics to both Merkle and Dentsu clients and helping reinforce Dentsu’s commitment to placing analytics at the centre of its offering to clients.”

Beresford-Jones said: “Joining Merkle has been an incredible journey for the team at Merkle Aquila. It has provided us with the ability to grow and deliver analytics capabilities as part of a wider set of services to clients focusing on delivering a total customer experience across every interaction an individual has with a brand.

“Bringing together our digital and customer analytics businesses has enabled us to provide a fully joined-up offering that helps clients get value from their data by tapping into our leading teams in AI and automation, data science and cloud computing.”


Network ROI

Network ROI has appointed Keith Bevan as its new Chief Executive Officer and Neil Douglas as Chief Information Officer. The highly experienced duo to take up the newly created roles as employee-owned Network ROI further develops its growth and development strategy.

Sean Elliot, Chairman at Network ROI said the appointments were made to ensure we had the right team in place to lead the employee-owned business into the future, growing its services and client base further.

He said: “We have reached a point in our growth where we need a new mix of experiences and capabilities to take Network ROI to the next stage. Keith and Neil’s skill sets are complementary, Keith is a results-orientated business leader and Neil’s extensive technical knowledge is second to none.

“Keith possesses a wealth of experience in the development and growth of SME businesses.  He has taken previous companies from UK based businesses to global operations.”

Elliot added: “Although Neil has over fifteen years’ experience in information technology, he has never stopped learning and having recently been awarded the ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor, a worldwide standard of achievement, he can impart his high-level knowledge to both our employees and clients in equal measure.”

Commenting on his appointment, Bevan said: “I am excited to take up the position at Network ROI, as an employee-owned business I feel I am a custodian of the values Sean created and relish the challenge of growing the business further in the UK.

“While many industries continue to be challenged by the pandemic, there is an opportunity for Network ROI to help empower customers on their digital transformation journeys as well as by giving timely strategic advice in their cost-based decisions, such as downsizing their office space.”

Douglas commented: “I feel energised and thrilled to take up this newly created role, we have a great dedicated team at Network ROI and I feel now more than ever clients need our down to earth advice and support in order for them to come out of the pandemic stronger than before.”

Network ROI provides IT managed services to clients throughout the UK. As an Employee-Owned business, employees are co-owners and recognise the importance of service and value above all else, and work hard to deliver this to every one of their clients.


FinTech Scotland

FinTech Scotland announced last month that Chief Executive Stephen Ingledew will step down from his current role and assume the role of Executive Chair from November.

As Executive Chair, Ingledew will remain involved with the strategic leadership of FinTech Scotland. He has led the fintech industry champion since its foundation in January 2018.

Speaking to DIGIT last month, Ingledew said he will continue to work with the group, providing strategic direction and working to bring together participants from across Scotland’s fintech cluster.

He said: “As Fintech Scotland is nearly three years old, it’s time it evolved. And as the organisation evolves, you need to bring in that next stage of leadership.”

FinTech Scotland Strategic Development Director Nicola Anderson has also taken on the role of acting Chief Executive. She has been on full-time secondment with FinTech Scotland from the Financial Conduct Authority for two years.

Her appointment will develop the group’s leadership team to capitalise on its growth and build on its impact as a cluster management body.

In addition, FinTech Scotland’s current Non-Executive Chair, David Ferguson, has stepped down from the role which he has held for over two years. Ferguson will continue to actively support FinTech Scotland move into its next phase.

As Executive Chair, Ingledew will provide crucial support to Fintech Scotland’s team and continue its work developing Scotland’s fintech cluster.

He said: “Our key role is making sure that we bring together different participants, whether it’s helping the innovative SME community link with larger financial companies and other big global players, or getting the community to link in with universities, with consumer groups, with government agencies, or global hub connections.

Ingledew will also take on a part-time secondment to Scottish Enterprise as an interim director for six months from November.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.


Scottish Business Resilience Centre

October saw Mark Cunningham-Dickie join the Scottish Business Resilience Centre as Cyber Incident and Response Manager.

In his new role, Cunningham-Dickie will manage the SBRC’s recently-launched cyber incident response helpline. This will see him manage the helpline and serve as the callers’ first point of contact, filtering calls to other security experts.

The helpline is run by SBRC in collaboration with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland will also work with several trusted external companies around the country who can help in situations where an onsite expert is needed.

Commenting on the appointment, he said: “There are many ways a business can experience a security incident, with different levels of complexity. Whether a cyber incident occurs through deliberate targeting or human error, the end result is the same: a disruptive effect on business operations.”

Cunningham-Dickie boasts a wealth of industry experience, having previously served as Senior Technical Auditor at Police Scotland.

SBRC Chief Executive, Jude McCorry, added: “This helpline is the next step towards ensuring businesses get the help they need to recover from cyber incidents with limited impact on their operations and customers. With our cadre of security experts and expertise across a range of industries, the SBRC is uniquely placed to help Scottish businesses understand, contain, and recover from cyber attacks.”


Smarter Grid Solutions

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) unveiled the appointment of Euan Davidson to Chief Technology Officer last month as the firm continues to drive its ambitious product program forward.

SGS’s software solutions connect clean energy producers and other low carbon technologies to the grid, helping grid operators tackle the climate emergency and moving the grid and market towards net-zero carbon emission targets.

In his new role, Davidson will be based at SGS’ Glasgow headquarters, where we will help develop the firm’s product range, drive new business with energy asset operator, distribution wires utility and microgrids customers.

He will also look at broadening the application of SGS’ products to a wider set of value streams in digital, smart, clean and resilient energy systems.

Since joining SGS in 2012 as the company’s first R&D engineer, Davidson has significantly contributed to the delivery of the firm’s research, product, system delivery and go to market strategies. He has led significant company projects, including SGS’s system delivery to Scottish Power’s Accelerating Renewable Connections trial in East Lothian and the Borders, and more recently the company’s first product delivery in Germany.

SGS Chief Executive Brent Marshall commented: “This is a pivotal time for SGS as we are working towards an ambitious program of product releases to meet the needs of our markets and customers.

“We have appointed Euan because not only does he possess the deep technical expertise to pursue world-class solutions, but he has a vision which aligns with SGS’s technology and product roadmaps.”

Marshall added: “We want to create energy solutions of and for the future. We have already enabled the management of over 425 MW of DER and delivered over €200 million of cost savings and value to our customers worldwide. We aim to have a total of 3GW of clean energy assets under control in 2021 and Euan’s work will be instrumental in achieving this.”

Commenting on his appointment, Davidson said: “It’s an exciting time to be taking the reins on technology development at such an innovative company. Right now the climate emergency is of utmost importance and we are carrying out essential work to decarbonise and balance our grid supply and demand with renewable energy.

“During my time at SGS, I have seen pioneering work carried out by the firm, including its role in the launch of an ‘energy-as-a-service’ platform with SSE in the UK, and work with Con Edison and GI Energy to deploy and integrate large utility-scale batteries in New York.

“We are going through an extraordinary period of growth and are reaching new and exciting markets, including Canada and India. I am excited to lead the delivery of our range of world-class DERMS solutions and continue to deliver green energy innovation to our customers on a global scale.”


Scottish Enterprise

Linda Hanna was appointed interim CEO at Scottish Enterprise in October, replacing Steve Dunlop after several years at the organisation.

Linda previously served on the Scottish Enterprise Executive Leadership Team and commands substantial experience working within the organisation in senior leadership roles.

Welcoming the appointment, Scottish Enterprise chair Lord Smith said: “Linda will provide stability and continuity for the organisation in the short term, until a permanent CEO is appointed through the full Public Appointments process being led by the Scottish Government.

“I am confident that this is the best interim arrangement for Scottish Enterprise and its customers, providing strong and effective leadership for the period ahead. I look forward to supporting Linda as she settles into her new role.”

Hanna added: “I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead an organisation with committed colleagues that I know so well. I’ll give my absolute best in the time I am interim CEO, particularly at such a critical time for Scotland’s businesses and communities as we start to build Scotland’s green economic recovery.”


PwC in Scotland

More than 100 graduates started their career at PwC in October after an innovative approach to virtual recruitment enabled the firm to grow across its three Scottish offices.

The record autumn intake of 108 student joiners had to rely on digital induction after taking delivery of company laptops to their homes as ongoing Covid-19 restrictions have prevented them from meeting their new employers face to face.

In total, 51 students joined the firm’s Edinburgh office, with 43 in Glasgow and 14 in Aberdeen. The majority (79) of the new starters are joining PwC’s Audit practice, with others working across Tax, Deals, Consulting and the growing Technology, Data & Analytics practice.

The new joiners represent an 11.5% increase in headcount, taking the number of partners and staff at the firm in Scotland to 1,045.

Claire Reid, Regional Market Leader for PwC in Scotland, commented: “Like all businesses, we have had to quickly adapt to a new way of working, and that has extended to welcoming our graduate intake for 2020 – while I’m used to meeting graduates in a packed room, it was quite the experience to address more than 100 people on a video call.

“I hope to meet them in person soon, but the priority, for now, is making sure we have a safe, welcoming and collaborative environment that will give them the best start to their working lives as they learn new skills in this new world.”

Reid added: “The business has shown great resilience since the onset of Covid-19 and that is reflected by the fact we are able to welcome more than 100 graduates through our virtual doors. I am really proud of the diversity across our graduate population – more than half of whom are female and an increased number coming from ethnic minorities.

“It is vitally important that businesses draw from all areas of society to enable PwC to have a greater impact in its work. We want to ensure that someone’s future is determined by their talent and determination, not by their background.”


Awards & Recognition

TVSquared, pureLiFi & Intelligent Growth Solutions

pureLiFi has been crowned Scotland’s most innovative technology company for 2020 after securing backing from both a high-profile judging panel and readers of tech publication, BusinessCloud.

The Edinburgh-headquartered firm is a world leader in a fledgeling technology which enables secure data transmission via the light spectrum rather than radio waves and is already capable of achieving gigabit internet speeds, with the potential to reach tens of gigabits per second.

Commenting on the award recognition, CEO Alistair Banham told BusinessCloud: “It’s a great honour to be crowned Scotland’s most innovative tech company. Innovation is one of our core values and it’s extremely rewarding for the entire team to be recognised for it.

“We all have one vision in mind: to take this LiFi technology mainstream.”

pureLiFi led the way in BusinessCloud’s regional ranking, which compares companies of all sizes creating innovative technology, after finishing 14th in 2019.

Second in the ranking was Edinburgh’s TVSquared, which provides analytics for TV ad campaigns and was up two places from 2019. Vertical farming tech firm Intelligent Growth Solutions was third after topping the ranking in 2019.


Intelligens Consulting

Intelligens Consulting has been awarded Telecoms Consultancy of the Year 2020 at the Scottish Enterprise Awards.

The telecoms firm was granted the award for “excellence, commitment and dedication” in its respective field.

Judges at the awards said Intelligens Consulting was able to “demonstrate expertise within their given field, dedication to client service and satisfaction, and commitment to excellence and quality”.

Iqbal Singh Bedi, Founder and Director at Intelligens Consulting said he was stunned with the announcement but puts it down to the pragmatic advice they offer clients and their ability to deliver results.

Intelligens Consulting is a boutique telecoms consultancy providing investors, local authorities, telecoms operators, transport operators and policymakers with technical, strategic and commercial advice.


Bad Dinosaur

Edinburgh-based digital product design company Bad Dinosaur was recognised at the ScotlandIS 10th Annual Digital Technology Awards where it won Start-up Business of the Year.

Announced on October 1 at the CmdR ScotSoft 2020 conference, the awards, sponsored by the Scottish Government and The Data Lab, recognised some of the most innovative companies working in Scotland’s tech sector.

Founded in 2013 by experienced developer Kyle Whittington, Bad Dinosaur creates digital products from design and development to hosting, supporting clients over their product’s life cycle.

“ScotlandIS has created a buzzing community among their member base, we’re proud to be part of it, and even more proud to have won their ‘Startup Business of the Year’ Award!” the company stated.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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