AVEVA, the UK’s biggest technology group, was launched out of Cambridge University in 1967 to provide 3D computer-aided design and simulation to industrial companies and has grown steadily with small bolt-on acquisitions.
James Kidd, CFO and deputy CEO of AVEVA, has played a vital role in developing the business to become an £8bn giant in his 16 years there, becoming CEO along the way before stepping into his current role.
That happened when AVEVA announced its merger with the industrial software business of French giant Schneider Electric two years ago.
Kidd is now pushing through a finance transformation programme featuring a new ERP system using Oracle Fusion. “Aveva had never really used outsourced office functions before, but now we’re using a third party to provide basic transaction processing. We were never previously big enough to justify that, but the scale we are now means we can do that,” he says.
“Part of this transformation is to make more use of AI and other tools to help provide insight from data, enabling to support the business in areas such as integrating acquisitions much quicker,” says Kidd.
Another important step forward in raising the performance of the group has been increasing the use of finance business partnering. “We have finance business partners allocated to each of the functions. We have teams that are supporting the business on the ground, as well as corporate functions around the main disciplines of finance, FP&A, tax, treasury, financial reporting and consolidation,” Kidd explains.
The ultimate aim is to develop a finance function that can support the group’s ambitions to rapidly grow its global footprint, using the end-to-end offer created by the Schneider deal to capture business in lucrative markets such as the US and Asia.