The five-minute CIO: David Stenson, ConX

25 Sep 201571 Shares

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Pictured: David Stenson, ConX

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“Having a product roadmap to forecast where additional costs will be required for upcoming projects has worked well,” said David Stenson from ConX, a recruitment site for construction workers formed originally in Australia by Irish entrepreneurs.

ConX is a dedicated construction jobs site and specifically matches tradesmen to building contractors via clever technology that was developed in-house.

Founded originally in Australia, the management team are Irish and consist of a mixture of tradies, techies and entrepreneurs.

 ‘We run our infrastructure on Amazon’s AWS, and the platform is built on Ruby on Rails. We have a number of integrations, notably Stripe to handle payments and Twllio for its text messaging facility’
– DAVID STENSON

What are the main points of your company’s IT strategy?

Keep it simple. All new functionality must pass the tradie test, we are a construction specific platform so if it’s not making sense to trade workers and it’s not easy to use, we revise. We try to keep it all about the customer, and are continuously iterating in response to feedback.

Can you give a snapshot of how extensive your IT infrastructure is?

We run our infrastructure on Amazon’s AWS, and the platform is built on Ruby on Rails. We have a number of integrations, notably Stripe to handle payments and Twllio for its text messaging facility.

In terms of managing IT budgets, what are your key thoughts on how CIOs/heads of technology should achieve their goals?

Having a product roadmap to forecast where additional costs will be required for upcoming projects has worked well. Our operational costs to “keep the lights on” are fairly stable and are not a cause for discussion.

How complex is the infrastructure, are you taking steps to simplify it?

We have scaled down our test and staging areas recently to reduce infrastructure costs and are constantly looking to improve efficiency operationally. We are currently also looking at our messaging strategy to see if improvements can be made.

Do you have a large in-house IT team, or do you look to strategically outsource where possible?

It’s a pretty lean operation with the majority performed in house. Where we do have to outsource we have trusted contractors to take on the work at hand. Our CTO dictates what resourcing is required based on timeframe and budget of specified work to be completed.

What are the big trends and challenges in your sector, and how do you plan to use IT to address them?

The big trend with two-sided marketplaces is introducing trust into the transaction. Services like Uber or Hailo are a classic example of this. We have a two-way rating system in place to capture construction specific criteria on the job placement, and capture all relevant information employers are looking for on a user profile based on feedback and user testing, to keep the process as transparent as possible.

The main challenge is that there is no central platform to connect for construction work. Taking the multiple personas and tiers that exist within the construction industry, and shaping a product that is both easy to use and relevant is a step-by-step process.

What metrics or measurement tools do you use to gauge how well IT is performing?

Performance: A large amount of our traffic is served on mobile. Fast response and load times are very important to our customers.

Availability: Keeping the platform available 99pc of the time.

What other projects do you have lined up for the year, and what will they contribute to the business?

Continuously growing the marketplace of trades jobs whilst transitioning the ConX platform towards a SaaS model with an enterprise solution. Building a product that our customers absolutely love and cannot live without is our core focus.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com