AND Digital is a specialist digital transformation consultancy. In a nutshell, we’re a tech company focused on accelerating digital delivery. We achieve this by building products in tandem with our clients, providing access to the right expertise to bring a concept to life much faster and more effectively.
Technology, and software in particular, is becoming the fundamental building block and competency of every company looking to thrive and adapt to our increasingly unpredictable and connected world. Technology is therefore vital. Yet, it’s often the case that businesses see their technology capabilities as the main driver to growth, leading to them overlooking the relationship between technology and people; two factors that must work hand-in-hand to avoid the creation of a significant digital skills gap. As such, a key part of what we do is to encourage businesses to look beyond technology.
By combining our tech talent with clients’ in-house teams, our approach ensures that businesses are futureproofing their operations and skills whilst simultaneously shipping fantastic new digital services and products for their customers. How we interpret and harness data underpins the success of digital experiences, so our mission is to guide businesses and show them the value of taking tech transformation seriously.
AND Digital operates a unique ‘club’ model, where each club is an autonomous unit of around 100 people – we have 11 clubs across the UK. These groups have access to the resources of a major company as part of AND, but they also work autonomously which keeps them nimble and agile, able to service client needs quickly. Since being founded in 2014, AND Digital has worked with the likes of Gousto, Intuit, Open Money, British Airways, N Brown Group and the Department of Education. The company now turns over £50 million and secured an investment of £11million from the BGF last year.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
AND Digital was founded back in 2014 when it was becoming clear the world was changing at high speed. I saw a number of digital transformation projects failing because they simply didn’t have people with the right skills to support them. Technology alone isn’t enough to drive success: as I mentioned, you need people with great digital skills in the right environment, too. Often, with all the shiny new technology and platforms that emerge, it’s easy to forget that people are the ones behind the wheel driving the success – and it can’t be underestimated how crucial a strong digital skillset is within this current landscape.
The digital skills discrepancy is a problem that won’t go away, so our focus is to help bridge this gap as much as possible whilst executing some impressive projects at the same time. We’re founded on an idea shared by Jim Collins, author of the book ‘Built To Last’, which challenges the idea that companies are oppressed by the ‘Tyranny of the OR’ and can only focus on one thing and do it well. Instead, at AND, we believe that great companies don’t just channel their focus on one thing at a time. It’s possible to merge ideas which often seem contradictory.
With this in mind, investing in peoples’ skills and driving commercial success is perfectly possible: it’s all about mindset. When digital skills become a key priority alongside innovative tech solutions, that’s when companies really start to thrive. Our core mission at AND is accelerating the two in tandem.
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What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Especially when you’re starting out, it’s so important to make sure you are connecting with fellow entrepreneurs in your industry and building a network you can tap into throughout your business journey. Collaborating and knowledge sharing early on means you have allies on board with you and learning from your peers is a great way to breathe new ideas and innovation into whatever projects and products you have planned. Make sure you are always listening; you never know what you might learn from others.
Staying confident in your mission and keeping a firm eye on your next big milestone will help with maintaining perspective. By establishing a clear focus and a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) to aim for, everything else will fall into place. Building company culture around strong values from the moment you move forward with your concept and surrounding yourself with like-minded, ambitious individuals is also very important.
As a leader, it’s easy to feel like you should have the answer to everything but sometimes you won’t, so remembering to stick to what you know and hire experts to handle the rest is my advice. Investing in the right people is never a waste of time or resource, Finally, trust yourself and your gut instinct when making decisions.
What can we hope to see from AND Digital in the future?
We have big plans for the future. Rounding off 2020 with £50m revenue has shaped our financial goals for 2021, so we already have decisive figures to work towards. We also set ourselves a broader BHAG every five years with the idea of pushing ourselves to think differently. Our current BHAG for 2020-2025 is becoming a company which makes a remarkable impact on a global scale.
This means delivering solutions that make our clients’ lives easier, improving the digital skills of millions of people, and driving global growth to open new clubs – all whilst staying true to our roots as a people-first business. Futureproofing organisations by equipping them with convenient, seamless software and data solutions is fundamental to overall success, so we will continue to work with teams and give them the tools they need. Above all, AND Digital’s mission is to help close the world’s digital skills gap, so this is what we will always aim for.
Already last year, despite the pandemic, we hired 300 new recruits and we have ambitious growth goals. Our aim is always to act like a big and small company simultaneously – no matter what size we reach, we want the tight-knit team feeling to remain so that’s a big focus for us. We believe any business focused on putting data and technology at the core of their business can benefit from our expertise, so we’ll continue to support them by helping to accelerate the journey from digital ambition to high-value outcome.