We are delighted to announce the appointment of David Keeling as the new CEO of Centrality. As Mike Davies moves to the role of Chairman, David takes on the responsibility of the day-to-day leadership of Centrality.
David arrives at Centrality on the back of a celebrated career at organizations such as Logica, Acision, Bango and Anatwine. With a remarkable track record of nurturing talent and leading global teams, David brings with him the experience and vision to drive Centrality forward on the next step of its journey.
Here, David talks about his vision for Centrality, what attracted him to the role, his past achievements, his leadership style and his passion for driving teams to great success.
What excites you most about the new position at Centrality? What attracted you to the role?
Principally, what excites me about the position is the opportunity to take Centrality onto the next chapter of its growth. Centrality has an exceptionally good reputation in the industry and is revered as one of the top 5 Azure cloud gold partners in the country. Obviously, it already has a great recipe for success. As the new CEO, I intend to leverage this proven recipe to grow and scale the company even further.
What do you think is at the heart of Centrality’s success?
One of the things that differentiates Centrality is that it has already transitioned its entire service model to a subscription-based cloud offering. Centrality’s proposition is not focused on selling product licenses, which is the traditional model. It understands what the customer’s problem is and understands how through technology we can solve that problem – ideally with a Microsoft First approach, given the strength and breadth of their offering.
Another quality that makes Centrality stand out is its excellent reputation for the quality of its people and services. At its heart, Centrality is a people business. We provide experts to solve customer problems utilising technology – and I have been very impressed with the quality of the Centrality team.
What are the key challenges standing in the way of Centrality’s future business growth?
A key challenge is the continued consolidation in the industry as technology evolves and the continued drive towards SAAS, IAAS. It is a difficult operating environment, but one that Centrality is particularly well positioned to thrive in. The company has a phenomenal opportunity in front of it, given the complexity in convergence between desktop, phone, internet and the cloud. More and more companies will need specialist IT help.
What are the key challenges facing Centrality’s customers?
There is one common thread I see and that is digital transformation and the need for business to be more agile in the way they operate. Look at what’s happening in the retail market, where traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are having to battle it out with e-commerce providers. Most retail providers are pushing through significant digital transformation programmes. Recently, I was working with one of the main high street department store chains and have seen first-hand how it is investing in a new back-end infrastructure, cloud migration and new point-of-sale devices to transform itself.
Customers today have high expectations and demand a personalised service. Businesses looking to meet these expectations require the right technology to make this happen. Their staff need the ability to work on any device at any time, in any location and in an always connected manner. This way they can drive productivity, collaboration, agility and efficiency.
All of this technology needs to be powered and supported, which presents a huge opportunity for Centrality.
What do you hope to achieve in the short term and the long term?
One of the first things I want to look at is our talent acquisition and retention strategy, with a particular focus on how we develop our people. Because, make no mistake, Centrality is a people business.
At Bango, I introduced an apprenticeship scheme, which won regional and national awards and led to the company being listed as one of the best 100 companies to work in. The Sunday Times wrote a piece about the culture we had created, which was focused around acquiring young talent, providing coaching and mentoring to build high performing talent.
I will also be building a Sales, Marketing & Business development function. My aspiration is to treble the size of the company over the next three years. We aren’t going to be able to do that without one.
In the short term, it is about understanding what we do, how we do it, the people and their capabilities, building out the top-level organisation structure and then putting in a plan for how we can acquire and further develop our talented team.
How would you describe your leadership style?
As a demanding customer myself, I have very high standards. I am driven and competitive, but with a leadership style that delivers through helping others achieve their goals through coaching and mentoring. I am a big fan of OKRs and ensuring everyone has clarity about the plan for Centrality and what this means for them. For me, leadership is about enabling the team through trust, empowerment and coaching. I get a big kick seeing people achieve their own personal goals and progressing their careers.
I remember an early mentor who offered some sound advice, “If you make your teams successful they will drive your success.”
What drives you personally and professionally?
My passion is developing talent and helping others. I couldn’t sit on the side-line watching my son play football and rugby – so I became a qualified football and rugby coach. I get enormous enjoyment from seeing the players grow and develop mentally and psychologically. Being a positive influence in their lives is a real privilege.
Centrality are Microsoft experts and leverage the right technology in the right combination to deliver true digital transformation for our clients. To find out more about Centrality and how we can help your business, get in contact with us today.