Calum Stewart

CEO

Calum has primary responsibility for client relationships, business development and direction.

Calum founded Intuitus in 2002 following an earlier career in business development and project management with systems integration companies including IBM, ICL and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. He has a deep understanding of the value of technology and IT due diligence in support of a broad range of financial and strategically-sponsored transactions, what is important to both the buyer and the seller when undertaking due diligence, and how these services need to be delivered. His due diligence experience dates back to services provided to Lloyds Bank at the time of its merger with TSB in 2000.

Calum has an Honours degree in Business Management and French from Loughborough University. He loves the mountains and his personal interests include hill walking, road cycling, skiing and golf.

Adrian Astley-Jones

CCO

Adrian is responsible for client relationships and business development at Intuitus.

Adrian's career in IT has spanned both corporate IT and early stage technology companies. He spent 9 years at Computacenter plc in a number of senior roles, latterly as Business Development Director, and then several years as an advisor and Non-Exec to a number of early stage technology companies helping them to commercialise their offerings and structure their growth plans. He focused most recently in the software, mobile and general technology sectors.

Adrian has an MA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Dundee and a Master's degree from Strathclyde Business School. He is a keen rugby fan, plays golf and enjoys the wild parts of Scotland’s beautiful coastlines.

Garry Tough

Business Relationship Director

Garry joined Intuitus in 2014 and has led our work on over 200 engagements including buy-side transactions, sell-side, M&A, carve outs and portfolio value enhancement in the UK and the DACH region.  

Garry’s broad experience in technology and IT spans hardware, software, telecommunications and technology services since starting his career with ICL and then GE. He spent 9 years at Thus plc in a number of senior sales management roles including Sales Director reporting to the UK Board and overseeing a transition in the salesforce to a services-focussed business. Garry has also held several Country Manager positions for USA and UK based software services organisations, enabling them to build a presence and expand in Scotland.

Garry has a BA (Hons) in Commerce from Edinburgh Napier University and an MBA from the University of Stirling.

Alasdair Redmond

Technical and Digital Director

Alasdair has day-to-day responsibility for technology and client service delivery at Intuitus.

Alasdair has over 20 years of experience in technology leadership. He held leadership positions in a number of consultancies and systems integrators, prior to joining Convergys Corporation, a world leading BPO. As Global Vice President, he was responsible for all client facing technology solutions and services, creating value for leading global companies across a broad range of industries.

More recently Alasdair held a Group CIO role and was named to the UK CIO 100 in 2016 on the strength of the digital transformation he led. This work included research into the application of IoT (Internet of Things) and Machine Learning to enhance Education.

Alasdair has an Honours degree in Law from the University of Central Lancashire and in 2009 completed the Delivering Information Services programme at Harvard Business School. Outside of work Alasdair enjoys family life and the great outdoors.

Nancy Moore

Operations Director

Nancy has day-to-day responsibility for projects and client service delivery at Intuitus.

Nancy has an extensive knowledge of Retail Banking and the Life and Pensions industry, gained through a 28-year career in IT in blue chip financial institutions. An expert in defining technology strategies and development roadmaps, she brings significant experience in business and enterprise architecture disciplines.

Her 23-year career in Standard Life involved the delivery of strategic programme definitions, technology and capability roadmaps, high level target operating models, business and IT capability models and evaluations. Nancy then joined Tesco Bank to establish a strategic analysis function within IT. In 2015, Nancy acted as interim lead enterprise architect for Atom Bank, a new digital FinTech start up bank, where she was responsible for definition of its Strategic End State Architecture and development roadmap.

Outside of work, Nancy has a keen interest in art and literature, writes for a national archive and is enjoying bringing up her new puppy.

David Ford

Business Relationship Manager

David is responsible for client relationships and business development at Intuitus.

David has over 25 years’ experience in delivering business value from IT change. He is also a successful relationship manager who fully appreciates the importance of understanding our customer’s needs and delivering actionable business outcomes.

David has worked for Scottish Amicable, IBM and most recently Ceridian/SD Worx. He has a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from Strathclyde University. David also enjoys squash, keeping fit and spending time with his family.

Douglas Eadie

Business Relationship Manager

Douglas is responsible for client relationships and business development at Intuitus.

Douglas started his career in IT with Nortel before moving to a billing software company, working with mobile network operators across EMEA and Asia. More recently, Douglas has spent over 10 years in various commercial management positions with Bitwise, a specialist software services company, working with some of the world’s technology leaders across a range of business sectors in Europe and the USA.

Douglas has a BSc (Hons) in Mathematical Sciences from Strathclyde University. He is an enthusiastic golfer and enjoys travelling with his family.

Jill Smith

Business Relationship Manager

Jill is responsible for client relationships and business development at Intuitus, with a particular focus on Intuitus' activities in Benelux and Southern Europe.

Jill has over 20 years experience in technology and client relationship management, with a focus on telecommunications and data centre technology in banking and finance.  Jill has worked for Thales, Virgin Media Business, Vodafone, and most recently for IBM.

Jill has a BA (Hons) in Business & Finance from Brunel University and enjoys martial arts and hillwalking.

Fiona Diack

Head of Marketing

Fiona is responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategy to support business growth at Intuitus.

Fiona joined Intuitus in 2018 after 13 years in B2B and partnership marketing, with a focus on the technology and financial services sectors. Fiona’s experience includes roles at FreeAgent, Lloyds Banking Group and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Fiona has an honours degree from the University of Edinburgh, a Professional Diploma in Marketing and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Outside of work Fiona loves to travel. She also enjoys hiking, pilates and learning German.

Clarissa Rowe

Head of Quality

Clarissa has day-to-day responsibility for quality management and client service delivery at Intuitus.

Clarissa has over 20 years of international experience in business analysis, process definition and implementation, product design and project delivery. Beginning her career in the finance industry in Paris, she then moved to the US and spent several years as both a Program and Production Manager at Microsoft, managing all aspects of software creation from requirements analysis to delivery. Following her departure from Microsoft she worked as a consultant on a wide range of projects for corporate clients as well as for technology start-ups in Silicon Valley, and for non-profits and NGOs such as UNHCR.

Clarissa has widespread international experience, including many years living and working in both France and the US, and multiple missions to Africa and Asia. She is fluent in French.

Clarissa’s academic qualifications include an Honours degree from Oxford University. Outside of work she is kept busy with family life, but likes to travel and do outdoor activities whenever possible.

Rob Gibson

Managing Consultant

Rob is responsible for managing Intuitus’ due diligence teams through the delivery of client assignments.

Rob joined Intuitus following appointments as IT Director for various organisations. Prior to this he was a management consultant, managing assignments and delivering complex solutions to organisations across many sectors. Rob became expert in designing and delivering IT strategies to underpin business strategies. He is also expert in programme and project management delivery. In his earlier career Rob was an officer in the British Army, where he served in many operational theatres throughout the world.

Rob has an MSc in Advanced Information Systems Design from Cranfield University. He is a keen sportsman and has a particular interest in running, golf, offshore sailing and skiing, as well as being a qualified rugby coach and referee. He also enjoys playing the drums.

Mike Cessford

Managing Consultant

Mike joined Intuitus following a career of over 20 years as a senior Management Consultant focussed on M&A, Change and Programme Management. In addition, Mike has worked in interim management for over three years.

Working in the UK and Internationally, Mike is used to working with wide stakeholder groups, working with senior management teams and managing complex business problems. These £MM programmes have involved building new corporate capabilities in order to meet business and regulatory requirements, operational and organisational change, process improvement, and systems and data transition.

Mike is also a qualified ISO 9001 auditor and is accustomed to working with the disciplines of industry regulatory and operational standards / requirements. He also enjoys Ice Climbing, Mountaineering and Cycling.

Fiona Saunders

HR Manager

Fiona is responsible for the recruitment of Intuitus' highly successful and expert community of executive level consultants who provide technology due diligence and strategic advisory services to our private equity and corporate clients.

Fiona has a background in human resources and recruitment having working for Sun Life and Provincial Holdings, AXA and Guardian Royal Exchange.   

Fiona has an MA (Hons) degree in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management.

In her spare time Fiona enjoys cooking, keeping fit, walking her dog and travelling the world.

Rebecca Wilde

Consultant Community Manager

Rebecca manages Intuitus' consultant network community.

Rebecca recently graduated from the University of Bristol and has experience working in account management and administrative support roles.

Having recently located to Edinburgh, outside of work she enjoys finding out about the history of the city and has a keen interest in film and art.

Lenore Kennedy

MI and Reporting Analyst

Prior to joining Intuitus in 2016, Lenore ran her own online holiday letting business in Edinburgh for many years.

Originally from Canada, Lenore graduated from the University of Waterloo (Canada) with a Bachelor of Mathematics. She has worked in a variety of software companies in the UK holding roles from software programmer, business analyst and technical support. Lenore brings a wealth of experience to her role from project administration, systems management and client management.

Outside of work, Lenore enjoys walking and going to her morning spinning classes.

Susanna Mieskonen

Delivery Support Manager

Susanna manages our Delivery Support team at Intuitus and co-ordinates the PMO of our client projects.

Prior to joining Intuitus in 2014 Susanna had been working in technical support roles supporting B2B and B2C clients in a call centre operation.

Susanna is originally from Finland but has been living in Scotland for several years; she carried out her Masters degree at Glasgow University.

Adeline Childs

Delivery Support Administrator

Adeline works within our Delivery Support team. Prior to working at Intuitus, Adeline studied maths at Glasgow University and completed her Masters in Mathematical Biology. She has a keen interest in technology and enjoys coding in her spare time. Outside of work, Adeline can often be found walking her dog Watson or knitting.

Calum Purdie

Senior Business Relationship Associate

Calum supports the Business Relationship Managers with all transaction and client activity at Intuitus.

Calum has experience working in client support at a web development and marketing firm as well as having held positions within accounting and business advisory.

He graduated from Edinburgh University in MA (Hons) Business and Accounting. In his spare time Calum likes to participate in sport and has a keen interest in politics and current affairs.

Josephine Tipper

Business Relationship Associate

Josephine supports the Business Relationship Managers with all transaction and client activity at Intuitus.

Prior to Intuitus, Josephine worked in several early stage start ups based in Edinburgh. She holds an Honours Degree in History of Art from Edinburgh University and recently completed an Accelerated Law Degree from Glasgow University.
Outside of work Josephine enjoys travelling, attending concerts and exploring art galleries. 

 

Sean Nugent

Business Relationship Associate

 

Sean supports the Business Relationship Managers with all transaction and client activity at Intuitus.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Sean moved to Edinburgh in 2012 to attend university. He has also spent time living abroad in Germany and Spain. Sean holds an MA (Honours) degree in Business Management from the University of Edinburgh.

In his spare time, Sean enjoys running, learning languages, and gardening.

Thomas Exton

Business Relationship Associate

Tom supports the Business Relationship Managers with all transaction and client activity at Intuitus.

Originally from Australia, Tom moved to Edinburgh in 2010. Previous to Intuitus, Tom worked as a Project Analyst in financial services and has experience in both Business Development/Technology roles in the Philippines and Utah.

His qualifications include a BA (Honours) degree in International Business and Economics from the University of Strathclyde. Outside of work, Tom enjoys playing the drums with his band and cycling and running in his free time. 

Peter Robinson

Finance Director

Peter advises Intuitus on financial management and governance.

Peter is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) with more than 25 years’ experience in a wide variety of sectors both in the UK and overseas. Working with a client portfolio of entrepreneurial companies in Scotland, Peter is driven by team success, efficiency of operation and strategic focus.

Outside of work, Peter is an avid sports fan and an enthusiastic cook, barista, world traveller and Scottish craft gin taster.

Frank Carter

Special Adviser

Frank Carter has recently joined Intuitus as a Special Adviser. He brings a wealth of experience from the Private Equity and Corporate worlds both in the UK and overseas. Frank is an adviser to KPMG, having recently retired from the partnership after more than 30 years with the firm.

One of the founding members of KPMG's Corporate Finance business, Frank was Head of Mergers and Acquisitions, London and UK Head of Financial Sponsor Coverage. He has worked extensively overseas, including running the KPMG Corporate Finance practice in France for three years.

Frank was educated in Scotland and graduated from Heriot-Watt University with a degree in Accounting and Finance in 1983. He is a Fellow of the ICAEW and a member of its Corporate Finance Faculty and, in 1999, completed the PMD Executive Management Programme at Harvard Business School.

He is also Non-Executive Chairman of AIM listed Search and Selection business, Norman Broadbent Group plc, a Board Member and Trustee of the National Literacy Trust and a Freeman of the City of London.

Efficiency killers, getting hung up on the wrong things, testing issues and more - Intuitus consultant and software expert Paddy Falls looks at how software companies can remove the blocks and boost their productivity.

Many software businesses are frustrated by a decline in the productivity of their software development teams. It seems each release costs more, takes longer, and the business value in the release is less.

It’s an emotional subject that is key to the success of the business, and one with many stakeholders. Management teams know they need to move faster to capitalise on commercial opportunities, and investors are concerned about the impact that missed milestones have on market position and company value.

So what are the key factors that affect development productivity? Over many years Intuitus has performed technology due diligence on hundreds of software centric companies at key inflexion points in their history. Within these we have reviewed a wide range of software development teams and seen how they have contributed, both positively and negatively, to growing the business. This has helped us develop a methodology for measuring productivity.

It would be nice to have one easy answer as to how to improve software development productivity. Some companies pin all their hopes on one particular methodology - more on that later - but, as ever, life is more complicated and during our work with companies we have identified 7 problem areas that have the biggest impact on software productivity.

Different factors affect productivity at different points in a company’s growth. The characteristics that are critical to the efficiency of a startup team are not necessarily the same as those that are causing management conflict in a more mature company. So before reviewing the success (or failure) factors, let’s look at key points in the software development life cycle and the evolving pressures companies face:

Startup

Most successful software products take many years to mature to a point where their product revenues exceed their annual development costs. Many products never reach this point. The ones that do are mostly a result of extreme dedication and perseverance from a small team.  

Early growth

As the product revenues grow, the business invests in larger development teams and higher cost individuals.  

Rapid growth

While revenues continue to grow, there is often increasing frustration with software development productivity. Typically, this results in some common actions. Top of this list is adopting an Agile software development process. Next, or sometimes at the same time, there is often a change in development management. While these actions may improve productivity, without understanding the factors that affect productivity, the gains can be disappointing.

Maturing market

This is the point where revenue growth is levelling out. Only then does it become a business imperative to “fix the product”. Unfortunately, in many cases, the opportunity to address the biggest issues has passed. The result is lost longer term profitability for the product as high software development costs cannot be justified given the product’s return.

The problems we discuss here will have greater or less significance for companies depending on which of these stages they are at. But it’s important to note that the decisions made early on can make big differences a few years down the road. Are you in this for the long haul? In that case, software productivity good practice needs to start early in a software product’s life cycle.  

There are trade off decisions to be made. In an ideal world everything could be planned out for optimal productivity, but in reality there are commercial pressures which will force compromises. Nothing is black and white and you have to weigh up the pros and cons yourself and make some tough choices along the way. Software development productivity does not need to decline as a product matures. Tackle these seven productivity killers before they become a problem and the payback isn’t just improved development speed, but also products with longer market life and greater profitability.  

1.   Using the wrong technologies

It may seem obvious, but the long term impact on software development efficiency from the wrong choice of technologies can bring a premature end to many products. This is more of an issue for younger companies but has a knock-on effect further down the line when they find themselves trapped with the wrong tech.

Fashions in technology come and go as they do everywhere else and some companies can start out with a programming language or development environment because it is the flavour of the month, or because it’s one the founders used at a previous job and know well, or because it seems easy to use, or is cheaper, or any one of a number of other reasons. Then the companies find the technology doesn’t last the course. It’s not being maintained well or doesn’t have the required functionality. Lack of compatibility with the latest browsers and operating systems is a common problem. Or, as the company grows, it becomes evident that there are not enough developers who know the programming language.

Young technology companies are breaking new ground themselves so are more open to using new languages and development environments, but they really need technologies that will live for years. The one exception is if you are developing purely for mobile. This is a different environment. Things change a lot, and change quickly. Otherwise, using well established programming languages, such as C# or Java and building on industry standard software frameworks such as Microsoft .NET has many advantages.

2.   Thinking Agile is the answer to everything

Choosing the right development methodology is important, but it’s not a panacea that will solve all your development problems.

The two most common development methodologies are Agile and Waterfall. While Agile is considered modern and superior, and Waterfall is often labelled as dated, they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Agile is best for cloud applications that need frequent new releases, typically weekly or less. And if making more releases is your main challenge, then Agile will help address that. Waterfall has benefits where the software is complex and needs to be installed on end user devices or servers. In this case the release cycles tend to be longer, in the order of months, and productivity depends on maximising the functionality and quality of each release.

If they are the right choice, then either methodology can provide for an efficient development process. But neither of them is going to fix all your productivity issues. So, if you think that’s it, that the problem is solved just because you’ve picked Agile, then think again!

3.   Getting your testing wrong

For Agile especially, if any one issue on this list has the biggest impact, it’s this one, and the seeds are often sown early on that cause problems later. Testing needs to be ultra-efficient when releases are going out every week.

Product quality combined with frequent releases depends on automating the test cases so that they can be run quickly. Payback from automated testing is huge, but the problem is that the initial expense of automated testing makes it hard to justify early on. But if you don’t build it in from the start, it’s hard to do it later. Creating the automated test infrastructure early means it can be maintained and built on as the product grows.

The ideal scenario is that developers own the responsibility for building and maintaining the automated test systems, rather than hiving this off to a separate test team. Developers need to own both the quality of the product and the responsibility for making it easy to test. There is still a need for test engineers, but if developers have created the automated test environments, the test team can focus on maximising quality.

4.  Lack of long term product strategy

Many businesses do not have a long term strategy for the product. Or they did - once - and have lost sight of it. Instead, short term customer needs drive the software development process. While these changes help drive early revenue growth, many make the product harder to maintain and support, resulting in ever decreasing software development productivity.

In extreme cases, companies may have a small number of very large customers, and have a different version of the product for each one.  Unsurprisingly this has a huge impact on overall productivity. Every product change needs to be applied to and tested on all the multiple versions.

Obviously if you have some good customers you want to respond to their needs, but the question is how you do that while still maintaining a single version of your product. You have to make some decisions about your overall product strategy and consider your clients’ requests in the context of that strategy - are they compatible with your long term growth and business model? It could be the difference between ending up as a niche business or growing to be a large scale global success.

5.  Weak product management

As the product gets to the early growth stage it’s important to adopt management processes that will maintain efficiency. Coupled with a long term product strategy, a solid product management process is key not just to driving short and medium term market needs, but also ensuring sufficient development time is invested in maintaining a modular and single code base. You need strong people in place to look after the product, not just focused on the short term revenue, but also keeping the strategy on course.

Your product manager needs to be the guardian and driver of the product plans, both to meet the market requirements, as well as to ensure there is investment in a sustainable product. Taking longer to develop a release in order to make sure it is maintainable may seem to slow down rather than improve productivity but - like many of the points in this article - it’s about improving the picture in the longer term.  Typically at least 10% of development time should be invested in maintaining a modular architecture with a single code base that will facilitate future enhancements.

6.   Teams split across multiple locations

This is another one that’s very important in an Agile environment. People like to believe virtual teams are just as productive, but it’s just not the case, despite the improvement in communications technology. For instance, when Agile is the chosen methodology, then daily face-to-face meetings called Scrums are core to its efficiency - and there’s a reason those daily meetings are part of the process. The immediacy and focus they bring is a significant boost to productivity. Without having the developers and test engineers for a product at a single location, much of the efficiency of Agile is lost. Where there are multiple products, then these can be developed at separate locations, but all the team members on a single product should be in the same office.

7.  Efficiency killers

Software productivity fundamentally depends on the efficiency of the people. A work environment that minimises interruptions is incredibly important. Don’t underestimate the negative effects of a ‘buzzing’ open plan office environment. Open plan offices are NOT a good thing for software development!

Based on its own experience, Microsoft typically has a maximum of 2 developers per office. Whether or not 2 is indeed the magic number, as a developer myself for many years I can speak for the fact that developers need to be able to have a quiet work environment, get their heads down and focus on writing whichever piece of software they’re working on. Many studies have shown that maximum efficiency is achieved when developers are “in flow” for at least 2 hours at a time. Each time the developer is interrupted by a question, phone call or meeting then it takes 15 minutes for them to get back into flow.

Smaller companies will suffer from these problems less. If there are 10 or fewer people in the office then there’s fewer interruptions. But when a company hits a rapid growth stage it’s tempting to invest heavily in new people. This can sometimes be counterproductive. The most productive teams are small with a core of experienced people who have worked on the product for at least three years.

Larger teams, with constant interruptions, can dramatically reduce efficiency.

Paddy Falls is a highly experienced Chief Technology Officer and entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience with class-leading software companies and a successful track record in leading companies and teams from concept to delivery of complex software products, and from startup, through early-funding rounds to exit.

If you would like to discuss how to improve software development productivity or any other technology issues, please contact us.

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