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Introducing our digital master, Michael Wright - CEO

Introducing Michael Wright

In this post in our blog series, where we shine the spotlight on our executive staff members – our digital gurus, we introduce you to our digital master, Michael Wright.

From humble beginnings with three people in Michael’s converted garage, Striata is now a ‘visionary’ on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for customer communication management. Read on to find out more about Michael, his business philosophy and why he thinks your kids should learn to fly a drone…

What’s your backstory (how did you come to be working for Striata)?

I’m an accountant by training but quickly immersed myself in technology as part of the Computer Assurance Services department of PWC. I was luckily also involved in online security, the sales of a consolidation software solution and then national proposal support. Subsequently, as Managing Director of a leading web design studio, I learnt firsthand about enterprise solutions and integration. I founded Striata to digitally bridge the gap between businesses and their customers. We naturally have a focus on financial communications and security.

How has the business changed since you joined?

We started with 3 people in my converted garage. Striata is now a ‘visionary’ on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Communication Management and we have offices on 5 continents and 130 staff. Yeah – it’s changed quite a bit.

What has remained constant in the business since you joined?

We have always focused on doing the right thing and striving to meet our customer’s stated and unstated goals.
We value our people and our culture reflects this in how we grow staff and maintain a family atmosphere.
We have coded our way of working into the 10 Big Values which are regularly reviewed and refined and taught to each new employee as part of their extensive induction.

What’s your personal split between bills by mail and electronic bills?

The majority are digital – however I keep a few on paper to experience firsthand the various approaches to digital adoption and motivation.

How often do you log into a website to view your personal documents?

Each time I have to login and it takes more than a few minutes. I’m annoyed at how I’m being asked to do the work.
Then when I’m presented with a flat PDF document, I’m tempted to switch back to paper.
I do log in to my bank – but mostly to make payments and to view recent transactions – I tend not to login on the prompt of a new statement – just too much effort at that exact minute.

Is there any type of correspondence that is ONLY available to you through the mail?

HSBC sends me notifications of foreign funds deposited into my accounts – a single sheet in a single envelop for each transaction – must cost them a fortune.

You work for a digital company, what is it about digital that you are passionate about?

Instant access to information and self service are the best elements of the digital information age.

Also living far away from friends and family makes the social aspects of technology very important, but most of all I love instant messaging and VOIP. I’m never really too far away – as long as I’m online I’m in constant contact with work, family and friends.

How do you think digital is going to change businesses in the next 5 years?

Big businesses have legacy systems that will take a long time to become fully digitally enabled. Although there are many tech disruptors that are nibbling away at these businesses, it will take more than 5 years to radically change how the market place looks.

My personal bet is on Artificial Intelligence and its ability to learn our needs and connections faster than we can teach it – in that way many jobs will be displaced and efficiencies will be forthcoming.

On a personal note, drones will become part of the everyday apparatus around us – so start teaching your kids how to fly a drone – because it’s a whole lot of fun.

Michael Wright

Michael Wright

Chief Executive Officer at Striata

Michael is the founder and CEO of Striata. A Chartered Accountant by profession, he started his career at PwC where he was responsible for Internet Strategy & Services and Business Information Services. The technology bug having firmly bit, he moved to VWV Interactive as Managing Director before establishing Striata in 1999.

He was the founder of the South African chapter of First Tuesday, the "Global Thought Leadership Network". As Striata's CEO, Wright is responsible for the company’s vision, direction and the business’ global expansion.

Read more of Michael's blog posts here or connect with him on the following social channels: