Hello and welcome to Vizula.
My name is Andy Trott and I have more than 35 years working passionately in the electronics and technology industries.
I started as a software engineer in 1986, developing computer audio products for a small company called Studiomaster. Four years later, I moved into the communications industry, which was my first management role, leading a small team of engineers developing satellite TV products, which was in its infancy at that time.
This led me to Pace Micro Technology which was a rapidly growing business in the set-top box industry. I stayed at Pace for 8 years, taking the roles of Engineering Manager, Engineering Director and then divisional CEO, running a team of 70 high calibre R&D engineers. The business enjoyed massive growth, growing from £50m to £500m within that 8 year period, developing world leading set-top box technology.
From Pace, I went back into the audio industry, joining US based Harman International in 2002 as Managing Director of mixing console manufacturer Soundcraft and then a year later, integrating another Harman business, Studer based in Switzerland, into my Business Unit. This formed a $100m mixing console group. In 2009, I was aked to add AKG to my Business Unit which by then had become a $200m business, employing approx. 100 engineers across the three businesses.
I was also on the Executive Team of Harman Professional, which by 2013 had become a $1bn division of Harman International Industries.
So how does this link to Vizula?
Well, whilst at Harman I had two hats…
The first hat was my Business Unit hat which kept me focussed on driving and growing Soundcraft, Studer and AKG, both independently and as a group, sharing ideas, resources, best practices and technology across the three businesses.
The second hat was my corporate hat, which led me to focus on Harman Professional as an integrated division as part of the Executive Team. This focus gave me a key interest in sharing processes, best practices, workflows and methodologies across the division in order to maximise growth. There were four Strategic Business Units, including mine, incorporating a total of 11 audio businesses including my three, so it was quite a challenge to get all these businesses coordinated and syncronised whilst balancing both needs of each business and needs of the division.
The contrast in these two focuses was significant and often created conflicts. What was good for the BU may not have been good for the division, and visa versa. So as the Executive Team of Harman Professional, we were always looking for tools to help us improve our productivity, visibility, data analysis and lessons learned. A lot of this was achieved through the implementation of SAP which gave us strong visibility into the financial aspects of each business and BU. But SAP didn't offer much for NPI management.
The Importance of NPI Management
Strong NPI Management is a critical task at any high-growth technology business and indeed this was absolutely the case at Harman. It was a major focus of our division and for all the BU leaders. But Harman Professional had grown through acquisition and consequently, every BU operated its own processes and workflows. As a division, we agreed on basic workflows and high level strategies, but we never had a way of implementing a single corporate wide process or quickly forecasting revenue coming from new products, something which was a critical metric in our division. This was all done independently in each BU via multiple spreadsheets and keeping the spreadsheets up to date took a lot of work.
This is an area which has always interested me, and I felt that software tools focussed on improving NPI Management, process, visibiolity and anaysis could really assist all sizes on business from startup through to corporates.
In 2019, I finally had the opportunity to follow the dream and so I started Vizula Limited. Vizula is the result.