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AND in Manchester: Behind the scenes and looking ahead

With our second Manchester Club - Jemison - recently opening, we’re excited to continue our journey building the bustling and ambitious Manchester tech scene with the city’s wider tech community.

But what’s happening in the city? And why is it such a great place to be working in tech? We spoke to Jemison Client Partner Farooq Ansari to get his perspective on the tech industry in Manchester and the part he sees AND Digital playing in it.

Hey Farooq! Thanks for talking. What’s happening in the market in Manchester right now?

Farooq Ansari: It’s a really exciting time to be part of the tech scene in Manchester. As far as we can see, the market is rich both in terms of demand and also in terms of the various skillsets our clients are looking for. There’s obviously been some disruption owing to the pandemic but we have very carefully accounted for that and have not only the talent but also the ways of working in place to ensure we can optimise value and mitigate risk.

Here at AND - and specifically in our Manchester Clubs - we have always been strong in certain core areas - we’ve seen a lot of demand around React, for example - and we continue to build upon our core capabilities there.

Over and above that, we also note that many of our clients are taking a much more product-centric view as they forge ahead. That’s why we are equipping Jemison to ensure we’re really well placed to guide, build and equip our clients to ensure they are best placed to counter any challenges in this fast-changing and disrupted world.

What are our clients’ biggest challenges? What are they asking us to help them with?

There are numerous challenges our clients face, from large-scale and hugely complex integrations to upskilling their staff so they’re prepared to face the challenges and rigours of a constantly evolving market.

Ultimately, many of our clients are involved in holistic and transformational projects. With our immense capabilities across the board, we’re well prepared to provide focused solutions that add real organisational, commercial, and social value. It goes without saying that from our perspective it’s always exciting and invigorating to address our clients’ needs in a rigorous and well-articulated way.

Has COVID significantly changed customers plans or are they starting to return to business as usual?

COVID was obviously a significant obstacle to customers, but as a Club that was founded during lockdown, we’ve put ways of working and comms in place that hopefully mitigated our clients’ issues. Our clients have been able to press on with their wider business objectives and I hope that we’ve played a significant part in that.

Has the market changed since COVID hit?

Clearly there has been an impact on areas such as ecommerce, and potentially there has been an impact on certain sectors such as education and the arts. However, the focus on remote working, remote buying and remote learning has really accelerated people’s appreciation of the values of having a digital-first approach.

What makes Manchester a great place for tech companies?

Manchester, as we know, is one of the foremost tech hubs in Europe. We’ve spawned many unicorns, attracted global businesses here and have a vast pool of talent. I think our culture is synonymous with innovation, and also with a “can-do” attitude that allows talent to flourish, whether it’s the amazing young talent spilling out of the many great educational institutions here, or old-timers like me!

Do you think your approach as clubs has changed now we are returning to some semblance of normality?

Essentially our Club model remains strong and consistent, as demonstrated by AND’s growth across the country during a challenging period. We continue to build, and attract some of the brightest talent across our nation because the model gives us the perfect blend of agility and strength in-depth.

To continue to build upon the amazing progress we have made as an organisation. It’s taken a lot of commitment and focus but we’re really well placed to work on our core mission to accelerate digital delivery, both in terms of how we service our clients, but also over and above that in the sense of working with our wider communities to ensure that our work has a positive social impact.

Thanks for taking the time Farooq!

To discuss how we can work together, get in touch.

To make AND the next step in your career, explore all open roles in Manchester and beyond.