David Galea, Chief Executive Officer at BEAT Limited – a specialist firm providing integrated business transformation solutions – talks to Sarah Micallef about the firm’s origins, service offering and what makes BEAT stand out in a competitive market.
“BEAT stands for Business Excellence in Achieving Transformation,” CEO David Galea explains as he looks back on the firm’s origins in 2007. Set up in response to a growing need in the market to help companies manage their change transition during periods of growth, BEAT assists with the different processes, structures and systems required to make the leap. Since starting out, Mr Galea affirms, “we have sought to become the leader in Malta in the provision of business transformation solutions, striving to help client companies reduce their total cost of operations, and become more competitive in their own sector.”
By 2010, BEAT had penetrated the UAE market, and in 2012, the firm developed an alliance with Informa – the world’s leading player in the conference training and exhibition market. “Through this alliance, BEAT continues to provide training to an extensive suite of clients in the UAE. Our search for partners of international repute has since led to other alliances, including with TUV Nord from Italy, the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce, Prime Advantage in the UK, and Auraportal in Spain,” Mr Galea maintains, adding that in 2013, BEAT branched out into project management and incubation, primarily in response to the lack of proper management discipline evident in many projects which were being implemented around the island.
Speaking of BEAT’s service offering, the CEO explains that the firm’s core expertise lies in the provision of integrated business process management services, as well as portfolio, programme, project and change management. “In layman’s terms, we essentially help companies to become leaner in their operations, and manage their projects in accordance with time, cost and quality objectives. We also assist companies in prioritising and maximising the return on investment on a range of programmes,” Mr Galea explains.
Among BEAT’s areas of specialisation is business optimisation – a primary niche area in which they have proven themselves time and again. The CEO breaks down the services offered in relation to this area as falling within the scope of business transformations, project incubation and implementation.
“As far as business transformations are concerned, we are aware that one rarely gets a second chance at turning a business around, and therefore our job is to help clients get it right the first time,” he says, explaining that this is done by identifying, developing and implementing the fundamental changes which will enable an organisation to cope with evolving markets. “As a result, their business will benefit from improved profitability and enhanced shareholder value. Our service portfolio in this respect includes the laying out of strategic blueprints and the formulation of performance management systems, as well as the provision of organisational and business process design capabilities,” he affirms.
Meanwhile, BEAT’s project incubation services put the firm’s extensive experience and expertise at the service of their clients, to help them develop and leverage ideas into pragmatic business concepts. “These services encompass the whole cycle of this process, from concept origination to determining the project’s technical, economic and financial feasibility, as well as its commercialisation,” the CEO explains.
Finally, for any project undertaken, BEAT are on hand to guide and support clients in implementing measures to achieve the long-term sustainability of their organisation. “Whether our clients require hands on support to implement and manage change, or to maximise the value and impact of their project and programme investments, we will direct our experience and expertise towards ensuring that these deliver the desired business results,” Mr Galea says.
Asked where the company’s strength lies, the CEO cites the team’s dedication to supporting clients in leveraging and realising equity value from their business activities by adopting a holistic, customised and personalised approach to every project or assignment. “Over the past years, we have developed a reputation based on our commitment to provide dynamic, innovative business solutions. These solutions are designed to support our clients in improving their overall performance, and helping them reach their strategic and tactical objectives,” he maintains.
“We have found that our clients greatly appreciate the high level of innovative strategic thinking we put on the table, complemented by practical advice tailored to organisations’ financial and operating realities. We regularly receive feedback complimenting us on our ability to manage change and to infuse the right mindsets to encourage change to take place, among other things. Clients have also pointed out our strong technical, analytical and yet pragmatic approach in resolving operational issues, particularly in stream lining critical processes and achieving process integration,” Mr Galea continues, adding that although the firm leads and implements the various projects it undertakes in conjunction with company owners and management, “we place considerable attention on the transfer of knowledge and expertise to ensure ownership and the long term validity of our work.”
Speaking of his own experience, Mr Galea reveals that his own baptism of fire came when he first started out, working for a Big Four company, before moving to the Office of the Prime Minister, where he was involved in the restructuring of major public organisations. Later high-profile appointments included those of Head of Strategy and Knowledge Management at Malta Enterprise, and the role of General Manager responsible for Financial Control at Air Malta plc. He also served as Non-Executive Chairman for Mount Carmel Hospital in Malta.
In the United Kingdom, Mr Galea was involved in a variety of project management initiatives, including the development of international project management standards for a global oil and gas company, the development of a business case for the consolidation of plutonium contaminated material into a single site, as well as the setting up of a Programme Management Office for a major telecommunications company.
However, he believes it is his involvement in business transformation, project management and performance management assignments that set him on the road he eventually under took with BEAT, particularly in key BPR and Change Management projects at Maltese blue chip and best-in-class organisations engaged in the utilities, ICT and financial services, as well as in the public sector.
“During this time, I acted as the Programme Director for a multi-billion euro deal involving a long term Power Purchase Agreement and Gas Supply Agreement, the first of its kind on an international scale, bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of international experts using Agile Project Management methodologies to fast-track the project. I also led a number of international commercial negotiations, including a Power Purchase Agreement with a leading international electricity power generation company,” he maintains.
On the other hand, Mr Galea’s partner and the company’s COO, Joseph Micallef, is an engineer by profession, with a penchant for guiding organisations along the road leading to operational effectiveness, value-adding activities, and customer-centric, high-quality performance through business excellence processes. His career, originating in manufacturing, involved his engagement along a very broad spectrum of industrial processes, which later expanded to encompass the services sectors.
“Within the manufacturing industry, Joseph has occupied various senior management roles in research and development, quality management and health and safety. His corporate career developed primarily through the medical devices industry, and later within the high-tech electronics industry. Meanwhile, his consultancy experience started off with an experimental project in 1999. Since then, it has developed into a fulltime professional passion that has seen him successfully undertake a broad portfolio of projects, both locally and overseas,” Mr Galea explains, adding that his partner also has a strong background in providing coaching or mentoring services, designed to facilitate the establishment of effective, value-adding and quality-driven business pro cesses within organisations. “A regular speaker and facilitator at a number of training seminars, workshops and conferences, he has trained hundreds of middle-management level and executive management delegates in Malta, Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.”
Turning his attention to the local land scape, I ask BEAT’s CEO how the industry in Malta has changed since he first started out. Maintaining that what drove BEAT initially was a passion for excellence in helping client companies cut down their costs and improve their operations, Mr Galea explains that at the time of BEAT’s inception, the consulting industry in Malta was relatively immature, with a market size of around 100 million Liri. “It was a period which saw a number of large-scale IT projects mushrooming around the island, and a growing acceptance of integrating ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. At the same time, however, most of these projects were IT-led with limited importance being given to the changes in the business model,” he says.
Nowadays, given the increased competition from abroad – particularly since Malta joined the EU in 2004 – as well as a change in the ownership structure of companies and the handover of operations to the younger generation, BEAT’s CEO believes that there is a growing acceptance of managing change as a profession. “Importance also started being given to engaging outsiders to help in the shaping of new and improved processes. Today, with technology revolutionising many businesses, the demand for process improvement and project management is set to increase significantly, and will become increasingly recognised as a fundamental service. Just as in the early 2000s industry embraced technology specialists, we have seen – and are likely to see in the future – a growing recognition for the need for more business process specialists.”
Meanwhile, looking towards the future for BEAT, Mr Galea explains that the aim is to expand its global scope of operations and become the most internationalised advisory firm in Malta. “We aim to achieve this by developing our business processes in line with international best practices, by seeking international recognition such as ISO certifications, and by investing extensively in the training of our staff members, who are our strongest champions and ambassadors for growth. We are constantly striving to develop a customer-centric organisation by achieving growth, without losing that personal touch with the customer which has defined our modus operandi since day one. Finally, we will continue exploiting opportunities for further partnerships and joint ventures in the international scene with a view to gaining a wider reach on the global market,” he concludes. BA
Original article published on the Business Agenda, Issue 32, pages 30,31.