Date: 2012-03-27 Category: Interviews
Interview - Rebecca Cooper of Cooply Solutions Ltd
ITWales brings you an exlusive interview with Rebecca Cooper of Cooply Solutions Ltd. Cooply Solutions has been developing web based solutions for the past ten years, and has recently seen a massive increase in demand for smart phone apps. ITWales sent one of its reporters along to find out more...
What's the history of your company?
It originally started off as a way to top up our beer fund money whilst at University; we started doing some free lance web development work in the evenings and the weekends, working mainly via word of mouth and another group of students from another University who were also running their own web development company.
Things pretty much snowballed from there, after leaving University we continued to do the web development work and also started working on a range of WAP sites, (it turns out we were about 10 years too early for mobile!, and this work dropped away after a year or two) and then we moved focus into providing more complex / custom web development solutions to design studio’s, quietly working away in the background.
Then in 2007 we changed from a sole trader style setup and converted to a Limited Company moved into bigger offices and started to grow the team we had working with us, in the past two years we have seen an increased demand for mobile apps and spending more and more of our time developing apps.
What unique products/services does your company provide?
We specialise in building custom bespoke solutions for our clients, so not your typical off the shelve software configuration and setup. We work with our clients to understand their real needs and work with them on a solution to their problems.
We mainly focus on Web and App development but do have a range of skillsets in house that can also cover pretty much anything internet related, and we also work with a great group of other companies on combined projects, so if we don’t have the skillset in house we know and trust a great company who will.
What is your IT background and what were your doing before Cooply?
I studied a HND in Business Information Technology at Glamorgan University in 1999, and most of the team have also studied a computing themed course at Glamorgan University over the past 14 years, and currently we have two part time students who study at Glamorgan University and Swansea University both software development courses.
What's been the key to your success?
The biggest factor I think is being able to respond to changes in the market, we have seen the .com bubble burst, the rise and the fall of some very big internet companies and I feel you need to be able to move quickly to try spot trends before others.
But the biggest key is making sure the work we deliver is the best it can be and on time!, and to also work closely with clients to fully understand their needs this is what brings them back time after time!
What made you engage with Software Alliance Wales and how do you see the ICT Company Certification Scheme benefiting your company?
We had a meeting with Martin Spicer from CEMAS talking about the mobile market, what CEMAS has to offer and the MINe network, and as part of the conversation Martin suggested we get in touch with SAW as he thought we could benefit with what they are doing as a project.
So we met with Jaime Hindle from SAW who explained the benefits to a local SME such as us and how SAW can help us. I have to be honest I’ve been amazed at the amount of support available and the benefit that we have gained from working with SAW, we have been on many workshops that have taught us about law, social marketing, identity theft, latest technologies such as AR and these have been great networking events, we have connected with lots of local companies and have started working with a number of them.
The CPD training workshops that most of our staff have been on, have included workshops on iOS and Android development which is ideal for us in the transition from web to mobile.
We are also working with two great Students on prototyping two of our ideas as part of their final year course. We are really pleased with the projects, they have both put in a massive amount of research and time in building the systems, and it shows they are both very professional and the whole process has been very smooth and has felt very organised.
We are currently working with SAW and AccreditUK on the certification scheme and know it will be a lot of hard work, but it will help build stronger foundations for our business. We are technical people, and can build great website and apps, but don’t necessarily have the experience and resource of running a range of businesses and the day to day issues that come with that but the AccreditUK scheme was built with this in mind.
This is where the AccreditUK program comes in, as we hope to learn and understand best practices that are targeted and aimed at SME in the IT industry. We also hope this scheme will lead to more work through the public sector as it demonstrates we have the right paper work and process in place which will help during the tendering process, and I’m sure we will as a business see big benefits with our day to day systems and process.
What one piece of technology (software/hardware/other) has benefited your company most?
Boring answer, the Internet! But the second biggest bit of tech is the growth of smartphones, the amount of gadgets built into the device and the pricing means it is opening up a new industry to use the latest technology to solve traditional off line problems, covering almost every aspect of day to day life, the technology is almost there the only thing holding us back is the ideas that people can come up with, it’s been a very fun ten years and the next ten look to be even better!
How has your business changed in recent years and where do you see it going in the next
couple of years?
During the recent years, I feel the business has progressed well with the continuous change in the web industry. As demand for more intuitive and friendly devices have increased we have tried to make sure we have done what we can to keep up to date with the improvements with the technology.
I hope to see the business progress into the connected device area further as I feel this is where the technology industry is progressing. As mobile phones, tablets and other connected devices arebecoming more and more natural in everyday lives now the increased demand for applications is forever increasing and I feel that this is the area we are heading for, and as the kit becomes cheaper the uptake will surge so very exciting times ahead!