Xiatech is a Data and Integration solutions provider with a global reach specialising in System Integration, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Reporting and Analytics as well as Digital/eCommerce, CRM and ERP.
The company provides real-time technology, technical advisory services and programme delivery to organisations looking to drive change. Working across multiple industries, Xiatech has made its system-integration and data analytics platform and the related business transformation its core service proposition.
Xiatech’s offers its flagship Single Data View Platform which is based on Big Data technologies and an Event-based Microservices architecture.
Xiatech’s Single Data View© Platform delivers:
1. Real-Time system integration
2. Single View of data – e.g. Customer, Sales, Product, Inventory, Orders, etc
3. Real-Time Business Intelligence, reporting, dashboards, insight and analytics
Xiatech also provides a full-service portfolio of IT Strategy, Architecture, Business Transformation, System Integration, Programme Governance and Assurance, IT due diligence, Programme delivery and Innovation as well as DevOps Software Engineering and Application Development to enterprises.
The Mission to Deliver Actionable Insights
Xiatech was established in 2003. Through various transitions, the company reinvented itself in 2013 when it started to concentrate on unlocking the potential of data and what that can do for its clients.
The company began by building bespoke data solutions for each client and then realised that it can provide a more efficient and powerful solution if it could deliver a repeatable platform as a subscription-based, managed service in the cloud, using leading-edge technologies in collaboration with its partners, which include Couchbase, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. In that way, the company could continue to stay at the forefront of technology by adopting the latest releases as they happen.
This began the inception of the Xiatech Single Data View platform, which combines:
1. The power of a very lightweight Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) through the company’s event-based, MicroServices architecture.
2. A real-time, single consolidated view of data.
3. Real-time Business Intelligence, Reporting, Dashboards, Analytics and Insight.
The Leader with an Innovative Passion
The company is led by Jonathan Summerfield, CEO. He has a background in driving technology-enabled business change. His roles at Marks & Spencer, Tesco & Tesco.com and also as CTO at Ladbrokes has enabled him to drive transformational change through using enterprise scale technology, including the dynamic use of data. In fact, Jonathan was the project manager for one of the first Retail-focussed Data Warehouses in the UK whilst he was at Marks and Spencer in the mid-1990s.
Subsequent to that, he has delivered multiple transformational architectures for multiple businesses, including the International Tesco Operating Model, a repeatable blueprint across the Tesco global landscape and a very large Digital Transformation at Ladbrokes, one of the world’s largest Betting & Gaming companies.
Through these change programmes, Jonathan has selected, designed and implemented enterprise-scale integration and data platforms. As the advances in technology rapidly evolved in the cloud, through Xiatech and its leading-edge Technology team, he and his colleagues were able to draw on previous learnings to create a much more lightweight data and integration platform, the Single Data View. This has enabled Xiatech to provide a lower Total Cost of Ownership for their clients to deliver a real-time integration and data solution in a way previously not possible.
As CEO, Jonathan has introduced new ways of working which he believes attracts the top talent to the organisation. For example, the company allows the team to work freely with no set office-hours and no enforced location so they can work remotely at their convenience. “We have followed the likes of other like-minded technology companies such as HubSpot and Adobe to allow our team to be 100% remote or work on client site. This transition to a remote workforce has allowed Xiatech to work much more productively and efficiently, whilst reducing our overheads. Our team is now enabled through technology to work at a much faster pace and provide a very robust, flexible and proactive service to our clients” Jonathan said.
Leveraging Disruptive Technologies to Serve Clients
The technology industry is evolving at a rate previously unseen. As the Single Data View platform is built on the latest technology, with partners such as AWS, GCP, Couchbase and Tableau Xiatech can provide a combined platform that evolves with the latest trends. The company’s approach to R&D allows it to fail fast and learn quickly but also provides the team with the ability to deliver innovative new technologies that keep pace with the industry.
With the latest technology advances and adoption of Agile methodology, Xiatech automatically inherits and releases these technologies onto the Single Data View platform on a fortnightly basis, where it provides value to the company’s clients and therefore, they benefit from these technologies’ way ahead of their competition.
“For example, the SDV platform provides Google Big Query as our real-time Data Lake. Recent releases from Google has now enabled Machine Learning as a feature. All our SDV clients can now automatically inherit this new capability and have access to these new tools without lifting a finger, Jonathan added.
Innovation Driven by Strategic Partnerships
Xiatech has built the SDV by collaborating with its key partners such as Amazon, Google and Couchbase. These organisations are continuously innovating and releasing new technologies which the company can adopt and automatically provide to its clients. As Xiatech clients have access to the SDV through the monthly subscription and managed service, these new innovations are passed on and inherited by the clients’ implementation of the SDV.
“We actively participate in our partner customer forums and conferences as we are both a customer and service provider of these technologies. In such a way we contribute to the evolution of their innovation which subsequently benefits both ourselves and our clients”, mentioned Jonathan.
In addition, the company is continuously learning from its customers and the industry as a whole about their requirements and evolving business models. “In a way, we follow a similar approach to the Open Source community where our platform is shared (although implemented independently for each of our clients to avoid ‘data leakage’). When we build new functionality for one customer, our other customers automatically benefit from these new features. When a company hires us and adopts our SDV platform, they are buying into this shared ecosystem and community”, he further states.
Xiatech also prides itself on its people. The amazing team we have comes from all over Europe where they have exposure to multiple technologies and techniques. The company actively encourages its teams to bring new ideas and innovations which is used to drive the evolution of its SDV platform and the growth of the company.
Big Data Analytics Adoption to Grow Significantly
Jonathan feels the use of Big Data and Analytics in certain industries is still in its infancy, although the take-up and adoption are rapidly growing. The company does a lot of work in Retail and it is still fascinating to see how much effort its clients go through to persuade the Board to spend money on Big Data and related analytics. The company helps to develop compelling business cases for its clients in the use of Big Data solutions such as the SDV platform but in the reality of Retail where budgets are tight, the clients are often struggling to find the sponsorship to deliver on the promises of Big Data.
“Despite this, thankfully we are still being engaged to deliver our SDV platform to transform the integration and data capability for our clients. Where we often find a bigger challenge is the ability of the organisation to actually adapt to the change required for transforming the way of working around the use of Big Data and Analytics”, he states. According to Jonathan, one of the largest and most challenging aspects of any SDV Big Data implementation is the analysis and subsequent implementation of the new processes and organisation change that comes with a data and digital transformation. The organisational inertia in the ways of working with siloed data and spreadsheet-driven behaviours is pretty hard to influence and Xiatech spends an enormous amount of time coaching and training organisations in how to flex the team structure and process change required alongside the implementation of the new data management and integration platform.
Jonathan said, in the future, once organisations have learnt how to adopt the Big Data ecosystem and related analytics, companies will be much more in tune with how to use data to make decisions. Once this happens, organisations will find that their teams’ activities will be adjusted to spend more time analysing data rather than the current situation where analysts are spending huge amounts of time preparing and cleansing data. It will take time to learn to trust a new source of data which is why Xiatech’s typical approach is to roll out the SDV incrementally in small manageable chunks.
“Advances in Big Data such as those offered by Machine Learning and AI will drive adoption as organisations strive to quickly benefit from the efficiencies and insight gleaned from this type of technology. Big Data will shortly become the norm as the cost and ease of implementation becomes easier and the barrier to entry reduced,” he opines.
Transforming Businesses with Unmatched Insights
The company has transformed its clients’ business by unlocking their data silos and integrating their legacy and new systems in real-time through the SDV platform. Their clients have achieved a far-reaching transformation within their business. Firstly, by allowing them to integrate new systems such as their eCommerce or ERP system in record-speed time to market, but also by providing real-time insight into their data in a way that they have previously not managed to do.
The unlocking of this previously untapped data has allowed them to make operational decisions by allowing them to see their data and processes in real-time or provide visibility on critical data such as inventory across the various operational departments within the business. In addition, the SDV platform allows its clients to provision views of data that in the past has taken other business many years to develop, such as a Single View of Customer, critical for insight, analytics, segmentation and personalisation.
Xiatech’s technology platform has received multiple accolades and was recently shortlisted for the Retail Week Tech Awards.
Commenting on the challenges, Jonathan said, the company can probably break the challenges down into internal and external issues.
Internally its challenges have been to prioritise features and functionality of the SDV and which technologies to adopt. The industry is awash with amazing technology and Xiatech’s leading-edge Engineering team is right at the forefront of these advances.
“In addition, our internal challenges are also to ensure that our team can work across clients and share experiences. We are sometimes guilty of having our heads-down on client-facing work and not spending enough time with each other as a team to gain from company-wide synergies, particularly as we are geographically dispersed,” he added.
Externally, aside from driving new business opportunities and developing its pipeline, other challenges include finding the best talent in a candidate-driven market. Xiatech employs some of the best people in the industry, but the company needs to continue to attract like-minded engineers, architects and technology leaders. In addition, probably the toughest challenge according to the company is helping its clients land the technology change within their organisations. Historically the team focused on the technical solution too much and not enough time was spent on helping businesses understand what the new SDV solution means to their teams and the impact on people’s activities and processes. Xiatech now has a dedicated Business Change team whose sole focus is to understand these challenges and to implement this change alongside its clients.
Commenting on the future of Big Data, Jonathan said it is almost impossible to predict, as the rate of change in the industry over the last 5 years has been exponentially higher than the previous 20 years.
However, he hopes to see an incremental growth in the capability of the SDV solution and a parallel impact of its clients’ return on investment.
“The industry is evolving quicker than any one individual can understand and it is up to our team and myself to educate ourselves and try to keep up with the rate of change so we can offer the best pre-packaged solution for our clients,” he said.
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