Aspect Enterprise Solutions President and CEO Steve Hughes joins Avanade CEO Adam Warby for a chat on how cloud technology is impacting the CTRM and ETRM industry. Steve also discusses why women make up the majority of the Aspect Enterprise Solutions management team and how the music industry isn’t so different from the software industry.
Adam: Today I’ll be on the move with Steve Hughes, President and CEO of Aspect Enterprise Solutions. Come and have a seat on my fine bus here.
Steve: This is a beautiful bus.
Adam: It’s a wonderful bus. Tell us a little bit about Aspect Enterprise Solutions, what it does and what you do.
Steve: Basically we provide commodity trading and risk management solutions and decision support systems to commodity trading firms worldwide. We’re 16 years old and we started the firm in the cloud and have always been in the cloud.
Adam: There’s a lot of talk about digital transformation broadly in the industry at the moment, what does that mean to you as a CEO?
Steve: From a software and commodity trading standpoint, the commodity trading industry is not, forgive me customers, the most advanced in the world or the biggest adopters of technology but it’s definitely moving along. One of the things that has helped that transformation is in fact the cloud. Only because what it means in terms of cost of ownership and the time taken between yes I’d like a system and it going live in weeks.
Adam: Any down sides to cloud or things to watch out for?
Steve: Cloud apps are built differently and so you have to take that into mind when you start to build them. I think the other big thing is in memory database. That does nothing except make things ultra quick.
Adam: So fascinating themes, this focus on user experience, the consumerization, speed, the digitalization and cloud brings, and then, something that says, things have to be done differently in the cloud…that you can’t just do things the same way as you did before.
Steve: No, and I think one of the key things, because although this is getting less of a concern for our customers and our new prospects, its still a big concern and that’s security.
Adam: You’re passionate about music.
Steve: But there are tremendous parallels between what happens in the music industry and particularly you know, what’s happening in terms of digital stuff and what’s happening in the software industry. One of the key things it’s doing is changing expectations of its users. Everything is now, not yesterday, everything is incredibly simple to operate.
Adam: You’re in the technology software business, and unusually you have a direct report team that is all women.
Steve: It’s true. The reason those people are imposed is Aspect Enterprise Solutions is absolutely a meritocracy and as I explained to some new colleagues recently, the reason those three people are in those posts and joining me on the management team is because they are the best people in this company currently.
Adam: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given in your job?
Steve: The best piece I’ve ever been given and follow all the time is do something that you really really enjoy. So stealing a phrase that was attributed to Confucius, find a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life. The only other thing I would say is when you’re doing something that you really love, you can lose discipline. So, it’s not this kind of laid back, chilling, I love being on the beach. You have to throw some real discipline in there to make sure that you’re changing things every day.
Adam: So Steve, it’s been fascinating discussion. Good luck with Aspect Enterprise Solutions and thank you very much for being with me on the move.
Steve: My pleasure, thanks for inviting me. See you again.
Adam: Join me next time, on the move, when I’ll be speaking with some of our newest apprentices and graduates in the UK.