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Undertaking transformational development projects

FPE Capital recently held a webinar for all portfolio CTOs to discuss how to maximise success when undertaking transformational development projects. Dominic Aslan, CTO of the IWSR, the beverage alcohol data business, presented on his work rebuilding the IWSR’s internal research systems and the customer facing database products.

The IWSR has been investing significantly to transform their front and back office systems, moving away from disparate systems and manual processes to a consolidated and scalable platform that will both increase internal research efficiency and provide customers with a far more effective database and toolkit to analyse and derive greater value from IWSR’s datasets.

Dominic provided valuable insight into his experience undertaking such a large scale, business critical project, covering project scoping, co-ordinating internal and external development teams, and stakeholder management. With the platform now ready for deployment, the key area of discussion amongst the group was the benefits and risks of a ‘big bang’ deployment versus an incremental rollout.

A key takeaway from the discussions was the need for CTOs and development teams to be well linked in with the commercial side of the business. Whilst a ‘big bang’ approach may be desirable from a technical perspective, such a strategy may be highly challenging from a customer perspective. Such an approach can be derailed by issues specific to each customer, potentially as simple as having key staff absent on the go-live date, or more complex challenges such as lacking technical capabilities to make any internal changes before the go-live date. Excellent coordination between the technical team and account management is therefore crucial to ensure effective communication of new software deployments, management of customer adoption, and ultimately the success of the deployment.

As growth capital investors, FPE understands the challenges common to all rapidly growing software and tech enabled services businesses. FPE facilitates and encourages its portfolio companies to share knowledge and best practice in multiple areas including software development, sales and marketing, and talent recruitment and retention. The CTO forum is a recurring event designed to facilitate such knowledge sharing, and to discuss key developments occurring within the FPE portfolio.

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