In today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, talent solutions have emerged as indispensable tools for organisations seeking to attract, develop and retain top talent. These innovative technologies play a pivotal role in streamlining and optimising the entire workforce management process, from recruitment and onboarding to performance management and employee engagement.
The rise of the gig economy and the increase of remote working have significantly reshaped the modern workforce. Organisations are no longer confined to hiring traditional full-time employees; instead, they have access to a vast pool of skilled freelancers, contractors and independent consultants. This shift has necessitated the development of talent solutions that cater specifically to the needs of non-traditional workers.
Empowering enterprises with the best digital and IT talent
Collabera Digital is a pioneering global digital talent solutions firm with a rich heritage. Since its inception in 2010, the company has been at the forefront of innovation, assisting enterprises with the right digital and IT talent to navigate the ever-evolving technological landscape. As a whole, the group has close to 40,000 people across the globe, with Collabera Digital reaching 10,000 across 25 locations and 11 countries in APAC and Europe. With a strong focus on people-centricity, Collabera is committed to delivering to its customers and helping them achieve their digital transformation goals.
Collabera Digital’s mission focuses on enabling and helping organisations with very complex problems through digital engineering, AI, and co-owned, co-working, co-creation solutions. Andrew Diaper, Collabera Digital’s Executive Vice President and Head of Europe, says: “Our values surround the empowerment of our people. I often say to people, ‘You can be whatever you want to be and you can do anything with t.’ You've only got to look at what people are achieving - there's nothing that we can’t do.
“Commitment is a really big aspect too. If you say to a client we are going to do this, be committed to what you say you're going to do. Good leaders make quick decisions with limited information. Right or wrong, they'll stick by their decision and they'll own it.”
Leading the transformation
Diaper’s career began when he was studying to be a designer for a company called Acorn Computers, getting into the technology aspect in the 1990s, which was typically software and hardware at the time. He then transitioned to managed services, systems integration, and consulting, working primarily in the banking and financial services industry in London for 25 years.
With a remarkable track record in strategic growth and a proven ability to deliver exceptional results, Diaper is widely regarded as a highly respected business professional. His expertise encompasses a broad spectrum of services, from cloud transformation to complex business-critical projects and bespoke consulting engagements within the dynamic and regulated banking sector.
Diaper attributes a great deal of his success to his experience at Capgemini, where he was empowered to build a business within a business, before moving to IBM in 2020. “I'm really very fortunate to have experienced some proud moments,” he says. “Going through Capgemini as Senior Manager, Director, Senior Director, Principal, and then getting onto the leadership programme – which in those days was an 18-month programme – was intense business learning. To be one of the few who was then named as Vice President of this big, well-known organisation was a very proud moment for me.”
In 2023, Diaper joined Collabera Digital as Executive Vice President and Head of Europe, to help the company expand its European presence. Speaking very candidly about some of the biggest challenges that he’s faced, Diaper explains: “The biggest challenges for me were threefold. One was taking on the responsibility of changing the direction of an organisation. Not just growing the organisation, but changing the mindset and behaviours of people, bringing governance, structure, and belief, and showing the people that we're going to do something different.
“That is a big challenge; much bigger than being in an organisation where everything is in place. And there were just so many things that we didn't have, including an office in London, so now when I look back, it's actually quite scary to think what we've achieved over 12 months.
“The second one was balancing out the leadership needed with the inspiration and motivation for the people to achieve the jobs to the best of their capability. You need to be this leader and put everyone under your wing, while at the same time saying, ‘We've got to go faster, harder, stronger, and we need to do it with a completely different view and build the brand.”
Another challenge that Diaper identifies with is one many leaders can relate to; self-doubt. “I think this is where a lot of leaders aren’t very authentic when they look back at the challenges that they faced,” says Diaper. “Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are undoubtedly a challenge. Every good leader I know will have gone through it because we all have bad days and it's impossible not to question whether something is going the right way.”
The strategy for digital transformation
Collabera’s unwavering focus on client success has earned it a reputation as a trusted partner of Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies worldwide. The company’s deep understanding of its clients’ business challenges, coupled with its unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional service, has positioned it as a driving force in the digital talent solutions industry.
“The strategy for transformation was that we needed to move away from being a people placement organisation to a digital engineering company, and we needed to do that over a period of time with some of our existing clients and many new clients,” Diaper explains. “We had quite a lot of enterprise accounts as existing clients, but maybe through third parties. So it was making sure that we were focused on the right accounts and making sure that we were at the forefront of the business.
“We needed to build our own services and products, and that takes time. Then it’s about making sure that you've got the frameworks in place, the transformation, the co-engineer, the co-own, and the co-develop, before you can start to lay down some foundations that enable the growth and the transformation.”
Growth and expansion in the European market
Recognising the increasing demand for remote work arrangements, Collabera has established itself as a leading provider of global remote talent solutions. The company’s extensive network of remote professionals spans diverse geographies and skill sets, enabling organisations to tap into a global pool of talent without the constraints of physical location.
“Europe wasn’t one of the strongholds for the organisation,” says Diaper. “North America was really strong, Asia-Pacific was really strong and Europe was mainly a delivery centre. That’s completely changed. Currently, we’ve got four countries in Europe, and about 1000 staff, and that journey has grown over six years. Now, we are trying to flatten the structure a little bit, so instead of it being siloed, we’re more like one European organisation, and throughout the years, we’ve overcome a lot of challenges, from COVID-19 to the current economic situation.”
As with any organisation, attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge. Diaper explains that upon joining Collabera, it was his responsibility to attract new talent. “I think the attraction is we're building something incredible,” he says. “We are challenging the norm and we’re going up against the biggest organisations in the world, many of whom have been going for more than 50 years and everyone knows who they are, I don’t need to highlight them.
“So it is a case of saying, let’s go and make a change. Let’s do things differently from what we've done before, and I think for our talent, it’s about being part of something where they are making a difference.”
Diaper truly believes that the workforce is everything to a company. “Whether you are the best company in the world or you are a company going through a transformation, the people are the core to its success,” he says. “Technology is an enabler, of course, but you need the people to work on that technology and have the right skills in place.
Strengthening the future through partnerships
In the past year, Collabera Digital has acquired a strong network of partnerships and strengthened many existing relationships, solidifying its foundation for sustained growth. These collaborations, including Stripe, Starburst, MongoDB, DAC, Ping Identity, and Armadillo Managed Services, have been vital in stabilising the company’s offerings and defining its go-to-market strategies.
“Although we’ve strengthened some corporate alliance partners that we've had for some time, including Salesforce, Snowflake, AWS and Microsoft, in addition, we’ve had two major acquisitions within six months Pracedo and Digiterre, which is unheard of in organisations of this size. And both of those bring new partnerships with them, so we've got the new, the strengthening, the existing, and we're going for the emerging.
“We're looking at new partnerships around GenAI. There’s not a day when we can’t open the news and see what’s going on, and that's hugely important to us. With some of the new AI companies, you have to work out what they bring, but Ketonic and Advanced AI are both organisations that we’ve got good partnerships with, and we’re working with them on a number of client engagements and I think they're going to bring success as the months go on.”
Diaper considers that the rise of in-house AI prompt engineering will have a profound impact on the AI landscape, which will lead to the creation of a new generation of AI solutions tailored to the specific needs of enterprises. Additionally, it will foster a more collaborative and knowledge-sharing environment within the AI community.
As Collabera Digital embarks on the next phase of its journey, it’s clear that its partnerships will serve as a springboard propelling the company towards continued success in 2024 and beyond. Diaper explains how 2023 was the ‘year of change’ for the company, with the next year being the year to stabilise. “When you're going through a level of transformation like this, there's going to be pain points and rough edges, but those will smooth out. This year, we'll stabilise and enhance our offerings; we’ll make sure that we've got the most relevant offerings to go to the market.
“And the last thing for the future is being aware of the economic situation. We just need to make sure that we don't run before we can walk and if we do that, then I think we'll be in very good, strong shape.”
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