A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to meet Michelle Crosby (Digital Transformation and Applications Lead) and Jenna Ingoe (Community and Diversity Lead) for DXC Technology on Cobalt Business Park.
Now when I go to, or indeed host meetings it is usually in a board room, get out the notepads and let’s talk, but not this meeting. On arrival I was greeted with a warm welcome at the front desk, asked if I wanted a cup of coffee and sat in a very open and airy reception area. Michelle and Jenna came to meet me, and from the very second I shook their hands, they were so engaging and so enthusiastic, a reflection on the business itself as I would find out. They then took me through into the Digital Transformation Centre, my pre-conceived impressions were that it would be like many other large technology companies, desks of computers, masses of data, an open office with everyone behind a screen working away. This may sound a bit left field, and is meant in the loosest terms possible, but I am still not sure if DXC have a computer.. That is a good thing and I will come on to why…
To set the scene a little, working in my previous business in the North West of England, I spent 6 years in the clinical systems space, assisting NHS Trusts in their projects and implementations. For the majority of that time I was focused solely within Lorenzo EPR, which was made and implemented by a company called CSC. I was lucky enough to be heavily involved, supplying contractor resources direct to Trusts to assist in implementing the system. From an NHS perspective I knew them as a business that provided solutions to large scale projects and implementations, supplying both the product itself as well as the subject matter experts to be able to assist the client in making sure that their project was complete. CSC were the supplier of choice to many Trusts across the UK over that period, and had the contract to deliver the National Programme for the IT with their Lorenzo EPR system. I knew CSC as a longstanding, American organisation who provided IT solutions to various sectors worldwide including, Finance, Defence, and indeed Healthcare.
HP I have had no dealings with except as a customer, and to be honest the most I knew about them was a supplier of hardware, printers, computers, laptops as well as software solutions and that they worked in selling and supplying products. I knew them as large organisation working worldwide and like CSC had customers in various sectors.
So, when I heard that CSC and HP were merging to become a new organisation, I was intrigued to see what kind of business it would be. Would CSC simply be taking HP staff and running their business under a different name, or would HP do the same and run their business how they always have? To the point of going to meet Michelle and Jenna I still wasn’t 100% sure. What I would learn is that DXC is so much more now, and although in their infancy, they are making great inroads into a fantastic way of working both internally and with their clients.
They say themselves that they are “a global organisation offering IT solutions and services to a vast array of clients”, as do many organisations in a similar space, but it is how they do it and their approach to the market that really impressed me. Stepping into the Digital Transformation Centre Michelle and Jenna took me through the background and history of DXC’s fledgling 18 months. That hour and a half of walking around and talking about the DXC story, what they are trying to achieve and the great work they are doing felt like 10 minutes. It was as if they were selling the business to me they were that excited and involved in the ethos and culture there. Jenna commented that “they are on a mission to change the way in which people work internally and how the business operates and is perceived externally”. The difficulty can be changing attitudes of staff in the fact that they are working for a “new business”, and also to let their clients and the market know what type of organisation they are now and their approach, but they have made a great start.
Newcastle Digital Transformation Centre is DXC’s flagship transformation centre and is the first of its kind to focus entirely on digital transformation to enable businesses to change at unprecedented speeds and with unparalleled performance. The fact that they are a worldwide organisation and the North East has their “flagship” transformation centre, speaks volumes for the region and the skills that DXC have here. It focuses on the development, delivery and ongoing support of next-generation digital services and solutions including applications, cloud computing, cyber security, data analytics, and intelligent automation that serve the company’s global clients. What helps them stand out from the crowd is their enviable work culture, the implementation of small self-managing teams, a flat management structure and the enablement and empowerment of their staff to make decisions which creates an outstanding working environment.
Now coming back to my ‘left field’ comment at the beginning of the article; DXC do of course have computers and technology and all the things that you come to expect from a global IT solutions and services organisation. However the way that the transformation centre is set up, is designed to be thought and idea provoking with staff constantly engaging with each other. There are sections of blackboards, whiteboards, and story boards for such interaction, no computers in sight. There are no managers in the business only leaders, Michelle admits herself that although her job title is one of a lead position, she is there to guide and encourage, and it is her ability to let her team solve issues and promote new ideas that is the key to moving forward, and makes everyone feel involved. All employees are seen as Scrum Masters whether you are two weeks through the door or have been there for 10 years, to allow freedom of ideas and a fresh approach to working. Yes, they have leads who head up client projects, but help is asked for across the business to produce the right outcome. New concepts are being thought of every day and better ways of working. One of the best ideas coming from a graduate student in setting up an internal “dating app”, for new recruits to select which experienced members of staff they would like to mentor them. This sounds so simple but it is empowering individuals to choose their own path for learning and development from day one. Brilliant!!
On-boarding of new talent is of the highest importance. They recognise that the skills and expertise they need can’t often be found in such a skill short market, and even if they do, then finding the attitudes to fit into their culture can be difficult. Breeding new talent and engaging with up and coming professionals is seen as the way forward. No individual is left alone to just get on with the job, support and development are ingrained in all that they do.
How the business is set up and their approach is something that I didn’t expect, and why I can say it is one of the most refreshing and surprising client visits I have ever been on. What I thought I knew about them, I didn’t. Any new business always has its issues both from an internal perspective but also to be able to launch themselves into the marketplace. It could be argued that to start a “new business” with a new approach after a merger is even more difficult, but the first 18 months it seems for DXC has been on the whole hugely positive.
In their own words, “The Digital Transformation Centre provides a fantastic opportunity for partnerships as it showcases innovative and evolving approaches in serving clients by drawing on the company’s global experience in digital transformation, leveraging its independent partner network, and creating an environment for the incubation of ideas, learning and development.” I couldn’t have put it better myself in explaining what they do and what they are trying to achieve. Nothing is perfect of course but it is a fantastic foundation from which DXC now operates and what they do there can transcend across the business and also to their clients as their reputation grows by the day.