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IJYI & Innovation Martlesham in Conversation – a new podcast

Laura Hood

In this podcast Chris Pont, CEO of IJYI, speaks with Nicky Daniels, Head of Innovation Martlesham about where we started, what we do and just what does the name IJYI mean?!

Chris explains why IJYI uses the term Software Delivery rather than Software Development and talks about IJYI’s Agile approach to delivering bespoke software solutions.

Chris and Nicky go on to discuss how IJYI’s Microsoft Gold Partner status has meant that the company has been able to quickly respond to the surge in requirements for Microsoft skills and services. Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent rapid change to working practices these expertise have been in more demand than ever – listen to the podcast.

 

Podcast Transcript

NICKY: Hello, I’m Nicky Daniels, head of Innovation Martlesham and today it’s great to be joined by Chris Pont CEO of IM company IJYI I’m delighted to be talking to you today Chris by phone to kick off our podcast I really would like to start by asking you about the history of IJYI and what the company is all about. And of course where did that name come from and listeners say it has a spelling I.J.Y.I

CHRIS: Yeah sure. That is always the first question we get asked actually and actually purchased brand but IJYI really stood out to us because it sounded like the Latin for the phrase “for example”, and we wanted to be an example of how bespoke software delivery should work. I think many of the organisations we’ve worked with in the past made software delivery quite a long drawn out process that was overly wrapped in layers of governance and lacked collaboration and trust. Obviously we’re doing bespoke software delivery, the keyword there being bespoke. We can we can put a framework around that but often we’re treading new ground and so that collaboration and trust is key. So we have a fantastic team now that deals with bespoke software delivery in a wide range of projects and platforms, everything from from data APIs for finance for the train industry right the way through to IOT devices and learning management platforms. We also do a bit of data automation and business intelligence so we help businesses to make sense of their data and to allow them to make informed decisions.

NICKY: Oh that’s really great. And a really good range of offerings as you’ve said for your existing or future customers. But I was really element that you offer. Could you expand on that please and maybe give me an example on a customer that you’ve worked with.

CHRIS: So we actually say bespoke software delivery not just development. And it’s a subtle wording change but development we see sort of the writing and testing of code and what we do is much wider than that. So we we often have customers who come to us with just a few bullet points in terms of requirements and it’s our job then to tease out what those features are, what they actually need and depending on how mature the idea is we’ve got a wide range of tools that we use. Often we’ll do something called a project inception workshop and we’ll get as many of the stakeholders as possible in a room for a couple of days and we’ll work out who the stakeholders are, who the products for, what the risks are, what the features are what’s what’s going to stop the project from going ahead if it’s something that we can we absolutely can’t do. And then what the restrictions are so their costs budget restrictions, are there time scale restrictions. What are we working with? It seems quite a long drawn out process, but actually those two days really help set the scene for the whole project and give us something to go forward with. We then take that into a more traditional development process so we’ll develop and test code and we’ll do that inside an agile framework. So we’re delivering something every two weeks and we automate as much as possible. So we then automate some of the testing we will automate the deployment and the monitoring. And once that’s all taken place we should have something eventually that is a minimum viable product for the customer to use. And then as Microsoft Gold partners we’re experts in the Microsoft cloud platform which is Microsoft Azure as well as the delivery tooling, something called Microsoft Azure DevOps and that allows us to automate all that testing, deployment, monitoring as the product takes shape. And it also leads to better decisions both during and after the product goes live because release overheads are then kept to a minimum. In terms of an example I think a good one is a subtitling platform that we developed as a software as a service offering. So we had a customer come to us a couple of years ago in about July with an idea for a subtitling platform and designed for YouTube, something where they could buy some credit to move the subtitles around change the fonts etc. to move the subtitles around, change the fonts etc. all within this platform. And they actually had a conference in September that they’d like to showcase this product in something called the International Broadcast Conference. It’s a massive conference out in Amsterdam and we developed that platform in just seven weeks from idea right the way through to some deployed software in the cloud ready to demo at this conference.

NICKY: So I was really pleased actually to hear about your relationship with Microsoft. How are you going to build on that going forward?

CHRIS: Basically we’re going to keep furthering our knowledge and skills in the Microsoft ecosystem. So our staff are always studying, they’re always themselves new qualifications which is really important for our staff to remain knowledge experts but also to cement the criteria for remaining Microsoft partners. We’re also parting with Microsoft on a number of new marketing campaigns that are going to be running over the next 12 months. So that’s really exciting. And with the current crisis there’s a huge demand for knowledge and skill with Microsoft technology and we’re we feel we’re really well-placed to help our customers with migration to the cloud, albeit it might be slightly accelerated in the current climate. Some of the digital transformation plans have been brought forward. And with that I think customers who need to address security or cost concerns as well as those knowledge gaps because they have been forced into accelerating those digital transformation plans with their staff or working remotely. And we have a team of Microsoft certified trainers who provide training aligned with the Microsoft learning paths.

NICKY: Well it sounds like you’re going to have a very busy time ahead of you. I wish you all the best with everything and I can’t wait to catch up with you in the coming months. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.

CHRIS: Thanks Nicky. Great speaking to you.