PayFit’s Pierre-Alain Bouchard: ‘Scaling fast comes with its own demands’

24 Jan 2020

Pierre-Alain Bouchard. Image: PayFit

Pierre-Alain Bouchard, VP of engineering at HR management software company PayFit, discusses how the French start-up is scaling its business.

French integrated payroll and HR management company PayFit recently raised a €70m in a Series C funding round fronted by lead investors Eurazeo and Bpifrance.

We caught up with Pierre-Alain Bouchard, vice-president of engineering at the company, to find out more about how the start-up has scaled since it was founded in 2015.

Tell me about your own role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy?

I drive PayFit’s engineering organisation, building top teams that reflect our priorities as a company. We started out small and have grown rapidly – while this is very exciting, fast scaling on this level comes with its own demands. 

In an ever-shifting work environment, I’ve found anticipation to be a useful tool. For example, thinking about potential challenges and expecting there to be areas that require organisational changes means I can plan appropriately and sustain a healthy workspace. This helps generate a fulfilling atmosphere for each PayFit employee while preserving our core values – passion, excellence, care and humility. 

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

We have nothing to announce at present. 

How big is your team? Do you outsource where possible?

Overall, PayFit is 400 people. In our team, there are 70 of us and we expect this number to increase to over 100 by the end of January. As we are a young and fast-growing company, we continuously adjust to the needs of our customers. 

Simply put, our role is to provide a seamless experience for HR professionals that saves them time. While we are still building new experiences, we need to be delivering excellence at every turn, and to maintain this standard while outsourcing work would call for more management overhead than we have at present. With this in mind, we don’t outsource and have no plans to do so, at least not in the short term.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

Digital transformation is at the heart of our product. At PayFit, we provide solutions to automate and delegate time-consuming HR tasks. We want to enable our customers to spend less time on organisation and more time on the core of their business. 

Our evolution has run in-line with digital culture, meaning we’re very used to adapting our internal processes. We make sure we utilise new technologies, and enjoy taking advantage of digital offerings on the market. 

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

Consumerisation, though not an especially new idea, is a trend we’ve seen have a massive impact across many different sectors. In our case, the consumerisation of HR has seen it expand and develop, opening up fresh opportunities and new roles. 

Alongside this, the advancements in big data and machine learning are changing the way we work. As they mature, they give us new sets of tools with which to fine-tune the experiences of our customers.  

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

Firstly, it’s really important to stick to security industry standards. Trying to build your own security is only likely to lead to complications down the line. Security and data protection regulations like FedRAMP and GDPR are opportunities to build and offer a best-in-class solution. In making sure that this is part of your company’s foundation, you can continue to build on it over time and keep it up to date.

Educating your employees on the protection of data is essential to ensuring it is protected and secure. Furthermore, it is important to keep your employees up to date with all the changes that occur, while making sure that they know why the system is in place and how it works without leaving room for ambiguity. This doesn’t need to be boring and ideally should be part of your employees’ onboarding.

Make testing your security, both internal and external, a priority. Never believe you are perfectly secure. 

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