The five minute CIO: Jason Roe, ParkYa

27 Mar 2015

“My role is helping the business translate our customers’ technical challenges into practical solutions,” says Jason Roe, CTO of ParkYa, a parking solution that will serve 30,000 car spaces across Europe.

ParkYa’s technology makes it possible for people to find car parking spaces in real-time and pay for them using their smartphones.

The company was founded by Kirk Donohoe, Jason Roe and Paul Flood.

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

ParkYa is a platform that makes parking easier. We help drivers find & pay for parking spaces and we simplify payments and bookings for car park operators. We achieve this through our smartphone app and website.  Our strategy is to leverage our cloud based infrastructure to deliver parking reservations for our customers.

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

We use cloud based infrastructure such as Amazon ASW and RDS, Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

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

It’s important for us to be able to scale up resources on demand.

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

Our infrastructure is constantly developing.  As of May we are about to launch with over 30,000 parking spaces across Europe.  It’s important for us to be able to scale quickly while keeping control of costs.  Last year we consolidated a lot of our infrastructure into Amazon AWS.

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

We have an in-house team but also work with a number of partners for management of our database infrastructure.

What are some of the main responsibilities of your own role, and how much of it is spent on deep technical issues compared to the management and business side?

My role is helping the business to translate our customers  technical challenges into practical solutions. A lot of my time is spent communicating the advantages of our parking platform to very traditional businesses.

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

We find ourselves working more and more with Geospatial information and helping our customers deliver location based recommendations and insights. Geospatial analytics is a very exciting area that is showing huge signs of growth. Associating this information while maintaining users privacy is also an important consideration.

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

We are very focused on the user experience of our parking products. We use a number of web analytics tools across web and mobile platforms. More recently we have started using Intercom a user intelligence and communication tool.  

Are there any areas you’ve identified where IT can improve, and what are they?

Access control and integration with physical barriers are a huge challenge within the parking industry as there is a huge amount of vendor fragmentation and lock in. There are a lot of opportunities within in this space for partnerships and consolidation of access control.

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

In May we are launching ParkYa across Europe. We will have 30,000+ spaces available to reserve via our mobile parking app. We are also pushing out an own branded solution of our platform to over 750,000 customers.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years