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Let’s Go 2021 – A Q&A with Davanti CEO, John Bessey

22nd March 2021

Author John Bessey

We sit down with John to find out what’s new – and what’s news – for Davanti in 2021.

John shares what’s next in Davanti’s evolution, what our customers are thinking and talking about right now, and what he and his team are focusing on in the year ahead to help New Zealand organisations take customer experience transformation to the next level.


What’s new for Davanti in 2021?

A small change with big impact: Davanti a Merkle Company

As of today, you might notice a small change to the Davanti logo to Davanti a Merkle Company. In July 2019, Davanti became part of dentsu international, leveraging a global network of 46,000 people focused on business transformation across the entire customer journey.

Today marks the next step in our evolution as part of dentsu, as we become Davanti a Merkle Company. Merkle Inc is the Customer Experience Transformation arm of dentsu and one of the largest customer experience transformation consultancies in the world, with an unparalleled focus on data transformation.


Davanti logo

What does this mean for Davanti and our customers? For all intents and purposes, the most important things don’t change: we are the same Davanti our customers – New Zealand commercial private and public sector organisations – have come to know and love since we started out in the world in 2007. As a Merkle Company, we’re incredibly excited to be able to leverage and grow our focus on the importance of data transformation within the all-important customer experience transformation equation and bring this global capability to our customers here in New Zealand.

We have always had a singular focus on helping our customers get closer to their customers and staying ahead through customer experience transformation, and today this just becomes even more meaningful.

We know that to achieve true customer experience transformation it takes more than just digital capability and consulting; it also requires market-leading data and integration capabilities combined with deep industry knowledge and solutions. From today, we’re excited to bring our customers a broader global capability in Customer Experience Transformation.

As New Zealand’s leading Salesforce platinum partner, we’re also really excited about joining forces with a team of 1,500 Salesforce experts globally. Already over the last six months we’ve been able to deliver solutions that we wouldn’t have had the skills for locally. For our customers and our team, being able to leverage a broader set of alliances, solutions and a Salesforce relationship at this global scale is going to be pretty exciting!


Looking to the year ahead, 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?

The thing that’s most important for me as CEO is to make sure that our customers, partners and our team really get the benefit of our singular purpose in helping customers get closer to their customers.  We deliver on that purpose by combining consulting-led Digital capability and Data transformation the product of which is measurable customer experience transformation.

It’s interesting to see how customer experience transformation has evolved – and dramatically changed – over the years. These days, we’re much more involved in things like organisational agility and operational excellence within a business, because our customers are now looking at their customer transformation engine and saying, How do I leverage that in and through the business?

What’s great about this for the customer is that this approach makes sure that they’re making the customer the focal point of their transformation.

Looking to the year ahead, for us it’s all about how we help our customers take their customer experience transformation to the next level. We also want to explore how we bring the strength of Merkle’s data transformation capability to augment our leading digital transformation capability to make an even greater impact. It’s all about making sure that we help our commercial and public sector customers and our partners to understand the breadth of transformation we can drive for them through their customer engagement platforms, using their data as a critical element of their customer experience transformation.


In your conversations with customers, what’s the one thing they’re thinking about and focusing on this year when it comes to transforming their customer experience?

In my conversations with leaders, I’m seeing them look more holistically at their businesses. Additionally, with recent uncertainties and constantly changing customer and citizen behaviour, I’m also seeing greater urgency and velocity when it comes to the prioritisation of their digital and customer experience transformation.

What we know is that how it feels to deal with you is the number one driver of trust in government agencies and the number one driver of competitive advantage in commercial enterprises worldwide. What we’re seeing in quite a pronounced way right now is organisations really ramping up their transformation through digital, with things happening much faster than they have in the past.


What are you reading right now?

Every year I reread Good to Great to make sure I’m helping my team to stay focused around:

  • Are we focusing on something that we can truly be the best at and deliver real value to our customers with?
  • Can we get our team excited about that?
  • How do we measure success?

I’ve also been listening to the Brené Brown podcast, Dare to Lead.


Favourite quote or mantra to live by?

Be good to people. There are a lot of people having a really hard time right now. I’m trying to spend more time in my day-to-day life walking in people’s shoes to help me understand what’s going on for them, especially if they’re behaving in a way that’s unexpected.



About Davanti Consulting

Davanti is a business-led technology consultancy with deep expertise in digital, data and customer experience transformation, working closely with leading New Zealand commercial enterprises and public sector organisations.

Davanti exists for the sole purpose of helping its customers get closer to their customers through customer experience transformation. To achieve this singular focus, Davanti brings together an incredible team of curious and driven people who work in cross-functional teams with clients to bring the breadth of capability that true transformation requires.

Davanti is New Zealand’s leading Salesforce platinum partner, with an 130-strong team spanning locations in Auckland and Wellington. It is part of Merkle Inc. and as such leverages one of the largest customer experience transformation consultancies in the world. Merkle Inc is the Customer Experience Transformation arm of dentsu.