A Q&A with Greg Brown, Davanti’s General Manager Sales and Alliances – Southern
24th June 2021
Author Greg Brown
“We’re very excited to have Greg join Davanti’s leadership team. Greg brings with him a strong track record as a leader who has played a role as a trusted partner within the Wellington market across both public and private sector business throughout his extensive career.
We’re very much looking forward to the role Greg will play in connecting and engaging more closely with our Wellington-based clients and leading Davanti’s public sector strategy, helping us to stay connected with the things that matter most within the public sector and for New Zealand citizens and to work in partnership with agencies to help them make New Zealand a better place.”
John Bessey, Davanti CEO
Tell us a bit about your role and what it entails… And how does it help organisations get closer to their customers or the citizens of New Zealand?
I’ve recently joined Davanti in the role of General Manager Sales and Alliances – Southern (Wellington). My role is to help public and private sector organisations to look at the art of the possible and, where possible, to accelerate our clients’ digital journey. I am looking forward to working with our existing Wellington-based clients as exec sponsor, and discussing with businesses who do not yet know Davanti how we could help them transform and innovate within their own business.
Davanti is all about building relationships with our customers and understanding their business so that we can help them add value and innovate. Core to our capability is a strong combination of CX and human-centred design and business transformation teams delivering digital solutions that enhance the experience for our customers’ customers, be they internal or external. Davanti has a strong pedigree assisting our largest Fintech companies in New Zealand to do exactly this. In government, we are all about improving the delivery of public services and the experience the citizens of New Zealand have with government. Gartner refers to this as total experience transformation – and we have a proven track record of delivering this right here in New Zealand.
What attracted you to Davanti?
I’ve worked with Davanti and Davanti’s people over the years, so coming to Davanti feels very familiar to me!
Today’s business is all about solving business problems and delivering outcomes, underpinned by modular SaaS-based or cloud-based solutions that allow organisations to be more nimble, adaptable and responsive to change than ever before – all with the goal of delivering better experiences, and outcomes with a lower long-run cost model.
Davanti delivers New Zealand organisations the outcomes they need as they transform the experiences they provide for their customers and citizens, and for their own people. Technology has made phenomenal leaps and bounds and it’s an exciting time to be helping clients transform.
Technology integration used to be very complex, and in some instances it still is. Our job is to assist customers to simplify this and support their move to lower-cost options, often leveraging cloud and SaaS to deliver lower TCO with improved business outcomes. Davanti is very good at this and is strongly positioned to support our customers on this journey. Another great example is how we can support our customers to democratise their information assets and data to support data-driven decision-making – Davanti’s partnership with Tableau allows us to support our clients to make better, more informed business decisions.
One of the best-kept secrets (which won’t be for long) is the global pedigree Davanti is able to draw on as we are owned by dentsu and Merkle. These two powerhouses offer a real opportunity for our clients as we work with them to deliver total experience transformation.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I’ve spent 20 years or so in the ICT sector. Having worked in the software business around the dotcom era, most recently the formative part of my career has been with Gen-i and Spark where I have worked with some of the industry’s top-performing leaders. I am very appreciative of this and it’s great to see many of these folk are still making a difference.
Most recently, over the last six or so years, I have held leadership roles in NTT and Spark, responsible for the client engagements and growth of the business, specifically within large accounts across the public and private sectors.
Tell us about your mission in life and what gets you out of bed in the morning…
I’m all about running high-performing teams, deeply understanding customers’ businesses and becoming a trusted part of their team, helping them address new challenges, issues or requirements.
Values are very important to me. In everything I do, I always do the right thing by the customer and our people, and it’s because of this that customers and people trust working with me. I operate with a high degree of integrity, I’m trustworthy, I’m honest and not afraid to have the grown-up or tough conversations.
What do you love most about your role?
I enjoy helping New Zealand organisations with the big hairy complex opportunities and challenges that require months – and often years – of planning, to help them meet a really big objective or future goal. I love establishing strong relationships, bringing together high-performing teams, making sure we’re bringing together the right people, the right partners and the right technology to get the best results.
I love working with people. Throughout my career I’ve worked in teams with a diverse group of people and skills, helping bring the team together to solve some very different and often complex challenges and problems for our customers. I really enjoy working in environments with smart people who all have the opportunity to add value. I love being a team player and I’m quite happy to lead. Change and challenge are my friends.
Looking to the next 12 months, what’s the one thing you’re thinking about and focusing on that will help Davanti’s customers get closer to their customers in 2021?
As citizens, our demands and expectations of the services we consume from government are high – as are our demands and expectations of technology. So, for our Wellington customers, many of which are in the public sector, we’re looking at how we help them plan and set themselves up for success in meeting their priorities, and how we support them through this and provide the right capability.
The future of business lies in experience transformation, and organisations across the private and public sectors are increasingly looking to technology not simply to help them drive cost out of their operations, but to add value and to continually increase and grow this value over time – for their customers, their citizens and their people. That’s the biggest opportunity and the conversations we’re having with our clients right now are focused on how we can help them make this experience transformation a reality.
In your conversations with customers right now, what’s the one thing they’re thinking about and focusing on this year when it comes to transforming their customer experience?
Elected government representatives have high expectations of government agencies, and agencies are being asked to do a lot – all at a time when we have high demand for, and limited access to, skills and capability in the ICT sector.
So, one of our biggest opportunities and challenges is how we help agencies to achieve their goals in the face of these constraints whilst growing Davanti’s own business to support their needs at every step of their transformation journey.
It’s also a time of growth and evolution for Salesforce technology within the public sector, as Salesforce becomes more widely adopted. Salesforce has evolved its offering to include agency and citizen-specific modules, and is being recognised by government agencies as a powerful and fit-for-purpose platform. Wholesale system re-development has a high TCO and takes a lot of time, and businesses are now looking to start with the experience transformation lens and look at what technologies can deliver to continually deliver quick value and transformation at a lower TCO.
When you’re not busy helping our clients get closer to their customers, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy making time for the things I love in life – which is now mainly my children, Matt and Sophia. I’m a work-to-live not a live-to-work guy and having children has taught me this! I love the outdoors – I’m a keen surfer, love going fishing, hunting and diving. I’m also a keen gardener and am handy around the house. My two children both love surfing and fishing with me, and a while back I bought an old caravan we did up so we can head to the far north. This is where you’ll find us over the summer holidays, doing a whole lot of fun stuff together.
What are you reading at the moment?
Right now, I’m reading a book called Stags Galore – I love buying these older books in second-hand bookstores and reading about how the old guard hunted back in the day before GPS and EPIRBs. They were a hardy and resilient bunch and I reminisce about the times I would go camping and tramping as a very young Scout when things were pretty basic and simple and the internet did not exist.
Favourite quote or mantra to live by?
Life is short – eat your dessert first.