How I got where I am today - Graeme



AGE: 38



What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

My own journey has been very much intertwined with that of Codify. The company was founded by Mark Griffiths in 2000 and Mark is still very much involved as owner as we prepare to mark our 15th anniversary this year. I joined in 2001 as a senior software developer, having graduated in 1999 and then spent two years with Goldman Sachs in London as a developer and analyst,  and it has been fantastic to play my part in our growth over the past decade and a half. We started life as Chive Software and rebranded as Codify in 2004, when I took on the role of operations manager and subsequently operations director. In 2012 I was appointed managing director. Although I have held different roles and responsibilities, my passion has always been for the products and solutions we create for our clients and that is something that is shared by the whole team.

How has your industry changed over the years?

The technology sector never stands still - that is why we love it. Just as there have been incredible leaps forward in hardware, the world of software has made giant strides since my first job. At Codify we pride ourselves in taking a balanced approach - we research and consider each key technology, but avoid jumping on every bandwagon. We adopt supported and stable technologies rather than grabbing for the latest 'big thing'. When we started out our focus was on building ready made products for developers but that quite quickly shifted to specialising in bespoke solutions for clients in a variety of sectors, including oil and gas. The majority of new systems we build are now web-based, due to demand. We have had to move with the innovations and changes led by the major players, predominantly Microsoft, and ensure we are in tune with those.

Best achievement?

The greatest source of pride for me and everyone at Codify is the relationships we have built with our clients. Some, for example Stork, have been with us from the very first days and many others, including ASCO and Balmoral Group, have worked with us on different systems over a number of years. That is incredibly rewarding and is the best endorsement we can have for what we do.

What are your ambitions for the future of the company?

I became Codify's first employee when I joined Mark in 2001 and since then the team has grown to 24. We are certainly planning for further growth and one of the challenges for the future is in breaking into the mobile application space, which is competitive but definitely offers room for innovation. I would say our biggest ambition is to build on our foundations as a happy, productive and respected company.

Greatest career influence?

It is impossible to single out one influence. My family and colleagues at Codify have obviously been very important and a great support during the journey - it is all about teamwork.

What do you want to achieve in the rest of your career?

Developing the company is naturally my prime focus, but I'm also proud to have recently been appointed as a director Scotland IS - the trade body of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry. The organisation has a remit to raise the profile of the industry, lobby policy makers on relevant issues and support members. I'm delighted to be flying the flag for Aberdeen and the north-east as part of the board of Scotland IS and really committed to raising the country's profile in what is a truly global industry.

Best career advice you would give?

To always be open to good advice. I think it is vital that our industry opens its doors to the next generation and since 2011 we have been offering placements to university students as well as work experience to school pupils with a keen interest in what we do. Many of those students have gone on to become employees and that gives us great satisfaction. It is a win-win situation as far as we are concerned - we benefit from fresh ideas and energy, whilst those joining us on placements benefit from the experience of our team and their willingness to share knowledge and expertise.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Family time with my wife Sarah and our four children is great, but in my spare time I do actually enjoying getting back to my roots and doing some coding. It was the passion for coding that got me started in the industry and it is still just as strong.

What's the best way to motivate others?

I think when everyone has an important role to play, motivation comes naturally. Our drive comes from delivering for our clients and that is the same now as it was 15 years ago. Myself, Mark and Lisa Thomson, our operations director, all try to lead by example.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced?

They say moving house is one of the most stressful experiences in life and moving office can't be far behind. We started life in a tiny office on Union Street, which wasn't the most salubrious, and since then have had three moves before settling in Migvie House in 2009. We feel like we're at home now. On a more serious note, when the global recession bit in 2009 and 2010 it did present a serious business challenge - but we're stronger for the experience and came through in good shape.

Most memorable moment?

There have been great times, not least getting over the finish line with challenging projects and delivering something amazing that you know will make a difference to people in their working lives. There have been lighter times too, including investing in a Microsoft Surface for our stand at Offshore Europe in 2009. It was a real crowd puller, a precursor to the tablet in table top form. It weighed a tonne and cost a fortune, but at the time was a real talking point. Now it makes for a good coffee table in the office!

How do you stand out from the crowd?

Sometimes the best way to be different is to be yourself. We have a really interesting group of people at Codify and we like to think that those personalities shine through, whether through our digital presence or day to day work. As managing director I try to encourage individuality and creativity, two of the qualities that have been so important in everything we have done, but at the heart of everything we do is our focus on our customers. In short, we want to make every client happy by delivering a great service.

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