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Philip Dutton

Philip Dutton, CEO and Founder, Solidatus

Describe your career to date   

I started my first software company that delivered e-commerce solutions just after graduating university in 1998, growing it successfully alongside two friends before moving to the UK.   

 

I spent my first ten years based in London, working for a global IT consultancy, Formicary, helping it grow from seven to over 120, with it being sold to Accenture in 2012. In 2001 I started working on web and content management software before moving into the complex world of trading systems, where I was working with many of the largest global financial services organizations.  

 

In 2011, alongside an ex-Formicary colleague, I started Threadneedle Technology, a consultancy and funding vehicle for Threadneedle Software. I continued to consult and help deliver large data and regulatory transformation projects while funding the build of a software product, Solidatus, which I knew was going to be critical to fundamentally changing the way we executed effective and sustainable data transformation.   

 

Solidatus, went general release in 2017, quickly gaining traction in globally/domestically systemic important banks where we were able to solve critical regulatory report evidencing. In 2022, I moved to Houston, TX as the CEO of Solidatus, to further penetrate the North American market, one that I believe brings with it the most challenges and success. 

What key skills or attributes do you consider have contributed to your success in your current role?   

I believe the most important attribute that contributes to success in a leadership role and in data is openness. In an environment that is constantly changing there is no space for ego or definitive resolve. The ability to accept and conceptualize new must be coupled with an insatiable curiosity, the ability to wonder and ask why and challenge the status quo. After that you need to be resilient to the point of lunacy and be able to inspire people to believe the destination is worth the journey.     

 

What level of data maturity do you typically encounter across your client base and what tends to hold this back?   

The shifting sands of data are constantly evolving, so what we believed a year or two ago was best practice is now seen as objectively flawed and so data maturity isn’t a fixed well-defined scale, it is constantly being iterated on.  

 

We work with the full spectrum of organizations from the largest and most complex organizations in the world, to the smaller digital first organizations just starting their data governance journey. What is interesting about the mix of clients is that you can’t pinpoint data maturity on the size of the company. Much of it is based on the people in the organization and their desire to be data literate and data mature. I find that if you think that what we have been taught or have done is the past will continue to work today, then you are holding back you and your company’s success. The reality is the data and its impact has so dramatically changed that a revolution in thinking is required.  

 

I encourage focusing on building foundational modern data capabilities and a scalable operating model, encouraging everyone to start early, start small and prove value. It also helps that our software in complementary to this recommendation, allowing them to build an operational control center, with visibility to how the data is connected so they can immediately understand the impact and be agile. This enables them to provide rapid incremental improvement vs boiling the ocean.     

 

What trends are you seeing in terms of the data and analytics resources your clients are demanding from you?

The trend continues to be at the exciting end of the spectrum wanting to build big and more complex data driven insights, through analytics or generative AI. Which isn’t unusual, we as a species have always naturally drawn to the edge of ambition, the interesting change we see is that juxtaposition of growth against sustainability. No longer growth or profit at any cost, now more socially responsible growth is coming into vogue. Insight, agility and execution are still critically important capabilities, but they must be coupled with the boarder connected, sustainable focus. No butterfly flaps it’s wings in an organization without impact. Unfortunately, we have a lot of retrofitting of data foundations into organization due to the constant and rapid evolution of data best practice and so we are seeing the pain of that play out for heavily regulated industries like financial services and pharmaceutical firms. The positive trend is what amazing capabilities there are now available to move forward with agility quickly that weren’t before. 

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your clients and on the industry as a whole?    

I feel data is reaching an inflection point where a fundamental shift will have to take place. The data and technology ecosystems have been atomized, which has reduced dependency of monoliths and enabled best of breed point solutions to dominate, however the unintended consequence is the exponential increase in complexity. Managing change over one system is simple, managing change over 100 highly connected is complex, managing change over 10,000+ highly connected systems is organizationally debilitating. And that’s before we talk about the impact on the continued onslaught of increased regulation – and given the recent market happenings, this will only increase. The impact for all this is that stress levels will increase and those that can navigate through change and effectively manage, protect and re-use their data will thrive, whilst others swim in unknown and untrusted data decisions, with no way to evidence what is needed to comply. 

 

How are you tackling the challenge of attracting, nurturing and retaining talent?  

This has become important now more than ever, with the shift to hybrid while growing 600% in three years, we have had to quickly adopt the ’new’ best practice…all while trying to build company culture. We opted to have an in-house team to do most of the recruitment, bringing in only outside help with new geographies, executives and specialized skills. We also work closely with the Imperial College of London’s internship program and year on year have grown the number of interns and then hires. We plan to do the same with US universities. We have ensured we have optimal benefit packages, including offering our employees the ability to work anywhere in the world for up to 30 days per year. New thought requires time and space to evolve and we try to encourage this while also growing at a sustainable yet increasing pace. 

Philip Dutton
Philip Dutton
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2023 (USA)