Member Spotlight: Serge Taborin, Capita

Silicon Foundry’s expanding network of Corporate Members are driving transformation at some of the world’s most respected global brands — from leaders in mobility, mining and telecom, to beauty, retail, energy, financial services and beyond.

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Serge Taborin serves as Capita’s Chief Digital Officer, focused on leading company’s digital transformation and development of next generation of products and services. He recently joined the company from Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance group, where he was the Global Innovation Director and led the development of new digital services across the Group’s markets in Europe, Asia and North America. Prior to that, Serge was the CEO of Q App, a mobile payments business that he co-founded in 2013 and led to a successful exit three years later. Over the years, he’s worked in a variety of senior consulting, corporate and startup roles, including Managing Director at Archant Digital Ventures and Head of Group Strategy at Perform, which he helped develop into one of the fastest growing sports media businesses globally.

As part of Capita’s continued digital transformation, you were brought on six months ago in the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer. Can you tell us a brief overview of Capita’s digital agenda and your outlook for the rest of 2019?

Capita has always had an exceptional technology backbone, providing a host of ‘mission critical’ services to government, education, healthcare, infrastructure, utilities, telco and a number of other market segments, serving tens of millions of people every day. However, the company has traditionally been very reactive — developing solutions in response to our clients’ requirements and this has stymied genuine innovation.

Going forward, we believe there are opportunities to deliver value to our clients by being more proactively involved in helping them shape their strategies through better leverage of our deep understanding of their business processes. Some of this will happen through our broad portfolio of digital products and capabilities, data and distribution channels, but we will also be heavily focusing on innovation and partnerships in order to augment this and bring new solutions to market.

Your background covers a wide range of leadership experience over the years — what are some of the key stepping stones that got you to where you are today? What specific superpowers have you picked up from past lives that you bring into your role at Capita?

Superpowers may be too strong a word — but spending significant chunks of my career in both startup and corporate worlds, across multiple industries and living and working in different parts of the world have all been important building blocks.

It’s difficult to know what is involved in building and scaling a digital organisation or launching a disruptive product or a service unless you’ve been on that journey and experienced the many challenges that come with it.

In some ways, this has been a perfect preparation for Capita, which operates in many industry sectors and geographies and has a strong focus on innovation. Additionally, having a startup background is a useful tool when partnering with early-stage businesses, which is one of the core pillars of our innovation agenda.

The range of transformative digital solutions that Capita delivers to clients range from immersive reality technologies and robotics to aid customer engagement to operating one of the UK’s largest analytical chemistry laboratories to help detect emerging risks in the food chain. What other client initiatives have you been most excited about since joining?

This is one of the biggest reasons I joined Capita — the range of ‘toys’ in our portfolio is truly astonishing, as is the company’s level of access to some very difficult-to-reach market segments.

As well as the examples you mentioned, Capita is building the network on which one of UK’s largest IOT projects will operate (the ‘smart metering’ scheme to every home in the country), we provide information management software to 21,000 schools in 49 countries; deliver healthcare triage services to 320m people annually; handle and dispatch 30,000 emergency service calls each day; and provide control room software to UK’s largest police forces.

All of these industries will go through fundamental changes thanks to various emerging technologies over the next decade and we believe we are well positioned to help our clients through this evolution.

Capita has over 63,000 employees — how do you ensure digital transformation goals are injected into everything that the company does, and across every business unit?

Naturally, it starts with having a strong CEO who is totally committed to this vision but, just as importantly, we spent a considerable amount of time as an Exec Board defining what we mean by ‘digital transformation’ — what does success look like, how do we measure it and what needs to happen to get us there. This was a critical step, not only to ensure the clarity of direction and alignment by the key decision-makers but also because it sent another critical message: digital transformation is not the job just for the digital team, it is everyone’s job. This made is easier to establish the necessary changes to the metrics and processes, as well as help us find gaps that we needed to address.

What are some of your key goals and objectives in working with Silicon Foundry?

I am a strong believer that successful companies of the future will be the ones that are the most adaptable to change. One key aspect of this is of course the ability to innovate at speed and at scale, both through internal capabilities but also through effective partnering.

The objectives of our partnership with Silicon Foundry very much form a part of that puzzle and revolve around greater engagement with the startup ecosystem generally, but also around helping us challenge our own thinking and views on the industries in which we operate.

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Silicon Foundry is an innovation advisory platform that builds bridges between leading multi-national corporations and global startup ecosystems.

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