Manchester Digital interview with our CEO
Updated: Jul 26, 2021
One iota is a proudly Mancunian business, so when Manchester Digital called our CEO Chris Brooks, to be interviewed for their "In the Spotlight with" feature, he had to find time in his schedule. He chatted all things One iota, retail, in-store and mobile, tech and of course, Manchester - and he even took a selfie!
Here's the interview or if you prefer you can read it on the Manchester Digital website here.
What does your organisation do?
The team at One iota work with the teams at brands including Hugo Boss, Quiz, Superdry Woodhouse, JD Sports, Regatta and Life Style Sports. Working across fashion, ath fashion, outdoor and sports we design, develop and deliver their data driven in-store and mobile apps which elevate and improve the customer experience and ultimately drive sales conversion.
We have over 11 years experience of designing, developing and delivering in-store and mobile apps as a managed service. We have developed separate iOS and Android apps but also developed ‘cross platform’ apps from a single code base using Flutter by Google. The latter ideal for the SME market as it is cheaper to deploy and maintain and also faster to deploy features using Flutter’s hot reload capability. Having focused on ecommerce in the retail sector for so many years we also have extensive experience of integrating with core ecommerce platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify and Magento2.
We also have a range of long term partnerships with the likes of AWS, Gimbal for proximity marketing and Adyen the global unified payments solution provider. With AWS we not only deliver our apps from their cloud infrastructure but now also deploying their multichannel communications services including Pinpoint.
What do you think is currently the biggest issue facing the tech industry?
For many companies in fast growing tech hubs like Manchester, Bristol, Leeds and others the common challenges have usually revolved around attracting funding, finding talent when growing teams and the training once on board. I think these remain a but an emerging theme is how we help younger people to better learn when remote from the office and team dynamics. I know of leading tech companies who have seen increased learning ramps impact their plan so I think shared learnings on this topic in the tech sector would be welcomed by many.
What is your organisation’s biggest achievement?
As a privately owned Manchester based business we are very proud of the portfolio of global brands that we work with and the fact that we have built software that has been rolled out and operates in retail flagship stores across the world in cities including New York, Milan, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Paris and Tokyo.
What would you consider to be your organisation’s biggest challenge?
As with many businesses in the tech space we are constantly trying to ensure there is a balance between the revenue focused project work and R&D activity to ensure we are building longer term value and engage the team in interesting work. We have been incredibly busy since the MBO in June ‘20 but have managed to both deliver projects and through R&D build some valuable frameworks and components to help us accelerate the delivery of apps and so we have a platform from which we can scale the business.
What do you think the future looks like for Manchester’s tech sector?
Manchester is now the fastest growing Tech Hub in Europe according to Tech Nation so we have a fantastic opportunity to supercharge our growth through investment and talent development to move us from the European to the global stage. With the shift in working having been accelerated due to the pandemic, business rates less than half those in London, increased private equity investment and an already thriving digital ecosystem in Manchester we are primed and ready. Full disclosure I am a born and bred Manc so I have no doubts at all that we can do it and as Tony Walsh says in his poem…
“The Mancunian Way to survive and to thrive
And to work and to build, to connect and create and
Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great”
Tell us something that we might not know about your company?
People ask where the name One iota came from and many people will know it is a commonly used phrase i.e. “not one iota of difference".
The word’ ‘iota’ is a term often used to describe small items and when the company was founded back in 2010 the focus was on mobile and the name was chosen as these were the smallest devices that people carried. Fast forward 11 years and here we are still building out Apps for mobile but having gained masses of experience along the way and now definitely making a lot more than one iota of difference!