Can you tell our readers about yourself, your role and the organisation?
I am the CIO and Executive Board Member for Radius Payment Solutions, a PayTech business focused on Fleet Management providing, fuel cards, telematics, insurance, credit card, vehicle check and vehicle hire services. Radius has over 1,000 employees located in 13 countries and more than 20 offices. The multi award-winning IT staff of 120+ people are based across the Headquarters in Crewe, the Technology Centre in Manchester and offices in Wrexham, Kuala Lumpur and Caldas da Rainha.
I am an MBA graduate with over 20 years of IT industry experience working in both B2B and B2C markets focused on delivering transformational IT programmes of change. I am a CIO100 member who is actively involved in the Technology Community as an Advisory Board Member for several groups and a Fellowship Assessor for BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
What is it like working for such a fast-growing organisation, especially into international markets?
In the last 3 years, the company has increased headcount by over 60%, and diversified its product range to become a leading provider of fleet management services. The organisation has expanded into new territories in South East Asia, with an eye now on a move into North America. This level of growth means that we have a portfolio of exciting and engaging projects for the IT group to deliver that is helping to push significant change across the organisation. The fast growth has required technology to keep pace and to drive appropriate governance and behaviour throughout the business.
You have recently opened offices in South Asia; what has been the main focus or challenges when entering this market?
From an IT perspective, we have need to ensure that our systems are scalable and flexible for global expansion and meet the regulations of the markets that we operate within. We have a foundation architecture that supports our global expansion plans and provides a consistent approach to systems, tools, and service support. We have expanded our support and provision for local language variances in South East Asia to ensure we provide a globally reliable customer experience.
Why do you think it’s important for organisations to invest in IT and technological innovation?
Technology innovation helps to provide organisations with valuable IP and providing a competitive advantage thereby increasing the company valuation. Smart application of technology can help to lower operating costs and push improved efficiencies.
Radius Payment Solutions won an award at the 2017 Real IT Awards (RITA). Tell us a bit about the project you submitted?
Radius Payment Solutions developed an IOT platform as the foundation of their telematics product, “Kinesis”. This platform combines fuel data with telematics data to offer a more complete picture of fleet behaviour. The market has responded well to this product and the user base is growing rapidly, already overtaking that of established market players. The Kinesis team has built upon this success by identifying another opportunity for innovation within the area of driver behaviour, employing Big Data approaches to analysing driver behaviour.
The Kinesis advanced driver safety solution makes use of sensor readings from the tracking devices and combines this with external data such as accidents statistics, road types and school locations, in order to provide a rich picture of driver behaviour. This data is all fed into a proprietary algorithm to identify whether the driver’s behaviour presents a risk to road users, and allows fleet managers to identify opportunities for improvement.
Telematics, which has traditionally been seen as a tool for tracking employees and monitoring fuel expenditure, can also be a positive tool for change in driving behaviour. This means that fleet managers can begin to rely on this data and act upon it, where they currently do not because of the growing awareness that traditional solutions can penalise even the most sensible drivers.
What were the main challenges and benefits associated with this project?
The Kinesis advanced driver safety project involved a number of challenges and required a management approach which would foster innovation and push the boundaries of technology whilst also delivering the project to deadline and to budget. Traditional project management methodologies require a more rigid approach to planning and time management, which in the experience of the Radius team, sometimes prevents the ability to explore new approaches to solving problems. An agile approach can be better at supporting the flexibility required for technical innovation but does not always allow effective tracking to budget and deadlines as easily as a waterfall technique can allow.
Given this we devised and utilised a hybrid process of project management which fused elements of traditional project planning, high-level planning and capacity management, with dynamic workload management of agile methodologies, encouraging development teams to prototype new ideas and rapidly iterate on their designs within the agile framework. Key to the success of the hybrid approach was the hands-on project management style that involved frequent contact with the team and close tracking of the low-level tasks involved in the development.
The real-world implications of a more effective driver safety solution have been a key driving force behind the project. If we didn’t believe that this was something that could make a real difference to how people drive and that, in turn to how safe people are on the roads, we wouldn’t have seen the extra effort and enthusiasm that has been vital to making this project a success.
We don’t expect a radical transformation in every organisation that makes use of our service, but even a marginal improvement in people’s attitude to how they drive, seen across the many tens of thousands of installed telematics units that we have this solution deployed to, is something powerful and worth celebrating as a good and innovative use of information technology.
What are the main focuses or projects happening in the next 12 months?
Radius is underway with an ERP project to deliver Oracle Cloud Financials to replace the legacy financial, billing and invoice system. There is also a focus of achieving ISO27001 before the end of 2017 and ensuring that all processes are EU GDPR compliant in Q1 of 2018. There is ongoing work to implement a global Cisco telephony solution and consolidate IT infrastructure in a virtualised environment. Product develop is ongoing throughout, with our Research and Development team focusing on best use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning within our customer portal.