Name: Robert Doherty
Position: Business Operations, Quality & Information Security Manager
Company: SwarmOnline Ltd
Can you give us a little background on your company please?
SwarmOnline is an Enterprise Mobile & Web Application Development company specialising in cross platform applications for businesses and consumers, large or small.
We are the UK’s premier select partner for Sencha development; our founder having authored industry recognised reference books on the subject and we enjoy an enviable global client list as a result of our partnership and approach to app development. We’re not just wedded to Sencha, we work for clients utilising all sorts of technology stacks, but always with an eye on what is right for that client. Our clients love what we do, and the agility in which we move is refreshing to many of them in getting things right, first time, on time, every time.
Tell us about a business challenge you have faced (new product designed/client challenge/etc)?
A lot of our projects are super top secret (or rather, our clients like to keep them that way), but one of the key challenges we face in growing our business is not having our tender submissions filed in the bin because we don’t meet the minimum quality standards. As such last year, SwarmOnline embarked on a quality programme that would secure us certification in ISO 9001:2015 to have ‘grown-up’ Business Management Systems in place.
Sounds daunting right, well… yes and no; daunting ‘yes’, that it was a whole bunch of new paperwork we hadn’t envisaged having to do, but ‘no’ in that people tend to forget when implementing such things, that it is still your business not the accreditors….
What was your solution?
Now I’ve been around the block a bit; having spent time in Construction, Engineering, Submarines (yes, really), Banking (logical step), IT, Business Analysis and Operations Management and so have gathered quite a bit of quality management experience over the years and the one thing that we brought to this certification effort, was to only implement the elements that added value; so often I’ve seen management systems that try and address every element of a standard for a form or a process never to be used in anger… at the base of this is a need to only control what will hurt you if it goes wrong and make sure you know what to do if it does.
So that’s exactly what we did, and we have been having internal audits and management reviews ever since with a tweak here and a tweak there… addressing the occasional non-conformance and updating our processes in reaction. There is no point inventing a wheel that doesn’t have to roll anywhere!
But we didn’t stop there….
Our founder you see, Andrew Duncan, thought “well that was easy…let’s get ISO 27001:2013 as well”… “ oh, and can you get it in by February?”
Gulp… went the team… “it’s December!” but actually, we looked at the calendar and built an internal team (small army) who gathered together a plan which was executed perfectly and 40 working days later: ‘ping’ ISO 27001: 2013 certified with NO Major or Minor non conformities.
So that’s the simplified version obviously…. Here’s an infographic that gives a sense of the numbers involved, and if you want to know how many hours we booked to our ISO 27001 effort? 579!!
Tell us about the benefits of your solution to the initial problem?
Since gaining certification, its opened up new contracting routes to us, given confidence to our existing clients that we do things the right way round here and best of all, we have a team that owns the entire process top to bottom and makes sure that it’s tweaked whenever we spot something that needs updated.
Oh and I get to wear another hat to place on my ‘virtual hat stand’
Why did you join ScotlandIS?
ScotlandIS allows SwarmOnline to tap into some of the greatest movers and shakers on the Scottish Digital Tech Scene and we like to be a part of that action, naturally!
What have you gained from being a ScotlandIS member?
We get the ability to network at the events that you hold and can establish some very rewarding opportunities with other members and clients looking for partnerships or our services.