Matt Lovell, CEO interview: Thinking Differently in Technology

By Matt Lovell

27 July 2018

Matt Lovell, CEO of Centiq, gives us a little insight into his thoughts on SAP HANA, technology in general and creating a smoother user process.

Why is there a need for a new way of looking at these challenges?

The first thing is: understanding the problem we must solve first often requires a change in mindset. If not, you invariably start in the wrong place.

Matt Lovell

Dr Matt Lovell

That means often it’s about how to solve problems and how this is relevant to existing customer challenges and issues.

Secondly, companies are under incredibly cost pressure today. From retail to manufacturing to professional services, and with the speed of transformation, many must achieve more with less.

So, the gap between companies’ inertia to change and the speed at which that change is accelerating means there’s a growing void and sadly we’re seeing big brands struggling to wrestle with bridging the gap.

However, it’s not that Amazon has killed companies off, it’s that buyers want the experience to be smoother and easier. And it’s easy to underestimate how hard it is to achieve that without having to make changes to how you run the back office and fulfilment operations.

How much of this is the influence of software on those expectations?

Ease of use has a massive influence on how people select and view value. But the relationship between technology, process and people is more complex than it seems.

THERE IS A NEED TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT LANDSCAPES AND SYSTEMS AND HOW THESE EVOLVE AND CHANGE TO RESPOND TO DIFFERING BUSINESS DEMANDS.

In fact, implementing SAP HANA can be automated and implemented quite easily. But migrating from where you are today to a more agile and flexible platform and processes is much more complicated.

SAP has often taken years to implement and customise through big, complex and risky projects. Some business processes are documented, others have been lost, superseded or morphed from tactical workarounds or been patched up. And there’s a lot of governance, compliance or automation that goes hand in hand with this.

As a result, you have governance processes which may necessitate a schedule of 32 days to complete a change which only involves 3 hours of actual work.

But it doesn’t have to be like that — the company has the ability to change that if they choose to. It often requires a mindset change, not just in technology or applications teams, but across the business to affect the greatest transformations.

The question is: can you achieve governance, high availability, testing and all the features you love but take advantage of the flexibility of something like a public cloud.

So it’s about balancing these priorities

I was told this right at the beginning of my career: technology is about doing yourself out of a job. It is a constant evolution and learning curve, adapting and adopting new ideas and reviewing smarter ways to do existing and new processes, continually. Or risk getting left behind.

There’s a need to respond to demand ease of use, but still, keep stability. There’s a need to respond to enhanced testing through automation to maintain agility and flexibility with quality control.

There is a need to think differently about landscapes and systems and how these evolve and change to respond to differing business demands. You need codification and simplification but you can’t let it stop the business from innovating.

You have to go right to the beginning on a project and say “Why?” as well as “what’s the reason for doing this? What is the problem we are trying to solve”. Is it to be more agile? Is it to deliver to customers faster? You need that purpose and context but you must qualify why the problem needs to be solved in the first instance.

By Matt Lovell

27 July 2018