In this 'tell us about your tech' interview, James Rosewell, Founder and CEO of 51Degrees, discusses his biggest tech challenges and how he overcomes them.
What is your business’s best tech investment?
Moving our development and testing servers to a dedicated co-location data centre has been one of the best investments we made. Having someone else look after the servers rather than using expensive cloud solutions from Microsoft or Amazon saves money. The benefit of having the servers securely offsite frees up office space and staff time.
What are your business’s biggest tech challenges & how do you overcome them?
Processing billions of data points is quite a challenge. We’ve overcome this by moving to open source big data solutions which enable us to aggregate data in parallel without using bespoke solutions that require expensive professional services and licence fees.
What new tech are you excited about?
Personalisation by device type enables a web server to understand the type of device that’s accessing it, the size of the screen and which input methods are supported. Armed with this knowledge the web site can adapt content, processes and user interface to provide the best possible user experience. For example; a fast food chain can recognise someone accessing the web site is using a smartphone and that they’re 500 metres from their nearest restaurants. A targeted landing page can be presented focusing entirely on a customer offer and instructions on how to reach the restaurant. This drives profit for the fast food restaurant as this person is more likely to buy food than someone who was presented a bland generic landing page.
What tech advice would you give to other business in your sector/generally?
Technology has become so complex the software/product licence costs are now less than 50% of the deployment costs. Staff need to be both capable and trained to operate the technology. Factoring this into technology procurement process is essential. Choosing the best product, but not being able to get value from it, is an increasing problem. Easy to use solutions that require minimal training should always be favoured, as should recruiting staff that are flexible and capable of learning new technology when the time comes.
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