Elly Yates-Roberts |
Digital transformation has been one of the main priorities for business worldwide in recent years, but Gareth Burton, CEO of Orbus Software, believes that the term has become outdated.
Despite the continued need for companies to focus on technology to streamline operations, cut costs and reach new revenue streams, Burton feels that today’s businesses should already be a long way into their ‘digital transformation’ journey.
“Companies transform all the time, and if you haven’t already started doing things digitally, then you are way behind the curve,” he explains. “Only 30 per cent of businesses actually succeed in this kind of digital enablement programme, and that’s because it isn’t just about the technology – it’s about having greater visibility and giving people the information that they need to help them succeed.”
The term ‘digital transformation’ has been so overused that it may be becoming meaningless. “We’re already using the tools that were once only a vision of what ‘digital transformation’ could mean,” says Burton. “Companies must now focus on creating a business transformation strategy first and supporting this with technology.”
Burton began his new role as CEO of Orbus in October 2022, but this ‘business first, technology second’ approach has defined his career as a technology leader. With experience in chief information officer and chief technology officer roles, he feels he is uniquely qualified to understand the business case for a technology company like Orbus.
“I’m able to understand the customers’ point of view, because I’ve been there, I’ve experienced the same challenges and opportunities as many of them,” he says. “Since Orbus’s products are directed at people like me at other companies, I can add a new perspective by helping our internal team to understand how CIOs and their teams work, how enterprise architecture works, why some things are important and why others are not.”
Burton also brings a rejuvenated passion for partnership to his new role. “One thing I’ve learned from running software companies is that – especially on this scale with customers worldwide – we can’t be everywhere all the time,” he says.
Orbus launched its partner programme in 2022 to drive growth and reach new markets for itself and its partners, but Burton believes that the value of partnership goes beyond this. “Go-to-market partnerships are the most obvious, as they are particularly helpful in areas where we have less of a foothold,” he explains. “But there are two other areas: solution providers and technology partnerships.”
Burton outlines the importance of solution provider partnerships with large consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte that use Orbus products internally and as part of their toolkits to help customers continue growing and improving. “We hope that when they work with customers and show the value of our solutions, those customers will come to us themselves,” he says.
“Technology partnerships are also incredibly important to us because we can’t be everything to everyone. There are natural synergies between companies, particularly in software. We can’t build everything ourselves, so it makes sense to partner with those that are already offering the services that naturally align with ours.”
An example of this is Orbus’s partnership with Microsoft through its iServer365 offering. “We have coupled this product very tightly to the Microsoft 365 suite and there’s a good reason for that,” says Burton. “Lots of large corporations have already made that commitment to Microsoft and we want to integrate with those standard tools to gather and enrich the information that our partners have, using the tools that they are used to.
“The value of iServer365 is really tangible when you think about those large global corporations, like those I used to work as a CIO for, and how they can keep on top of their technology, processes and applications. I like to describe iServer365 as the intersection of business and technology strategy. You need to support that business strategy with technology, and that’s why enterprise architecture is so important. Businesses need a toolkit to realise their goals and that’s what we provide.”
Burton believes there is unprecedented scope for where iServer365 could go next. “We’re in a privileged position in that we see a lot of what’s happening across different industry sectors,” he says. “We can use this to provide new value to our customers by giving them more insights into how they’re doing relative to others, based on industry, geography and other factors. We hold a lot of information in our platforms, so we have a team currently developing solutions that turn this into intelligence. That’s where I think there will be a lot of value in the future; bringing an economic lens to technology.”
This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.