Unlocking Success in the Software Industry: Lessons Learned at the Best Practices Summit
The latest edition of a Volaris Portfolio's Best Practices Summit recently wrapped up in Edinburgh, Scotland, with attendees gathering from North America, the UK and Asia. Facilitated by senior software leaders within the portfolio of companies, the internal knowledge-sharing event focused on exposing growth strategies across several functional departments including Data Security & IT, Customer Care, Professional Services, and Research & Development.
Combining interactive workshops with functional breakout sessions, and team-building activities, more than 70 leaders collaborated to share common challenges and proven strategies within the software industry.
Portfolio Leader, Tony DeSilvester, commented on the event as a fortifier for growing software companies, “Knowledge sharing is unequivocally a core driver for business success. I credit one thing above all with respect to growing software businesses – investing in, nurturing and challenging your organizational talent. It’s events like our Best Practices Summit that allow our leaders to draw on the successes of their peers, and ultimately drive organizational success within their own companies.”
The Best Practices Summit fosters knowledge sharing beyond the event, empowering participants to leverage ongoing support from their peer network. Volaris Group Leader, Trey Drake, commented post-event, “The Best Practices Summit has inspired continuous knowledge-sharing throughout our portfolio. Each functional group has established long-term strategies, such as dedicated Teams channels, functional communities, recurring meetings, or a mix of these approaches, to sustain meaningful conversations for years to come.”
Data Security & IT
Data security is of paramount importance and integral for software companies to protect confidential information, maintain customer trust, comply with regulations, and preserve intellectual property.
Director of IT Security & Risk of Volaris Group, Anuj Johri stated, “Joining Volaris brings numerous advantages, including the opportunity to share best practices among different functional departments within a software business, particularly in the realm of Data Security & IT. Through engaging offsite events, we facilitate interactive sessions, workshops, and panel discussions that foster the exchange of ideas. This collaborative environment allows attendees to uncover innovative approaches to protect sensitive information effectively. By strengthening defences against data breaches, we ensure that we stay ahead in the dynamic technology landscape.”
IT and Data Security experts took time to consider challenges around eighteen core themes for IT management and governance; they rapidly found a common interest in discussing four areas in greater detail:
- Security strategies: tools & vulnerability management
- Business continuity planning
- IT strategy & governance
- Asset management
"Being new to the Volaris Group, it was good to meet the other Volaris Business Units and get a general feel for the group. The breakout sessions were informative, and it was reassuring to see that we all have similar challenges. The knowledge sharing is immense - it was great to bounce around ideas and see how others tackle similar problems. A very well-organised event and the accommodations were superb"
-- James Kilner, IT Systems Administrator, CELCAT (Coventry, UK)
"We discovered ways to better serve ourselves and help our businesses cut through the vast amount of information they generate to focus on what is important. For Kinetic, we’ve immediately improved processes for automated patching of applications, simplified and extended our live penetration tests, saved some money along the way, and found ways to improve our security planning. Continuous improvement is at the heart of how we work and events like this help us learn from others."
-- Occam Founder, David Wilkes, CTA, Kinetic (Milton Keynes, England)
Customers are the heart of every business. As such, the Customer Care department is essential to ensure prompt and effective resolution of customer issues, enhance user satisfaction, and foster long-term customer relationships.
Customer Care experts across the Volaris Group portfolio of companies identified key pain points known to create friction within a software company’s Customer Care department and supportive mitigation strategies. Participants shared tribal knowledge and actionable takeaways on a variety of topics during the Customer Care breakout sessions:
- Customer Care reporting and metrics
- Best practices for reducing costs
- Strategies to support a growing customer base
- Successful methods for spreading knowledge
- Tactics to support ticket reduction
- Customer Care systems
- Efficient onboarding & alternative recruitment options
- Training materials
- Methods for reaching international customers
- Understanding and optimizing NPS and CSAT
- Tips to encourage Customer Care and DevOp communication
- Triaging tactics
- Knowledgebase resources – keywords & subjects
"My experience at the Best Practices Summit was both informative and invigorating; very powerful! For companies like ours, that previously did not have a peer group to share knowledge with, we discovered other businesses’ biggest challenges in the Customer Care arena are just like ours. This assembly gave innovative ways to tackle these obstacles while increasing cost-efficiency and revenues. A++"
-- Tami Theisler, Support Supervisor of Tribute (Ohio, US)
"The workshops offered invaluable insights into the operations of other vertically managed software companies. Exploring their approaches to common pain points proved to be highly enlightening.
The ability to gather unique ideas that have proven successful in other businesses was of immense value to me. I eagerly anticipate future sessions where I can continue to gain insights for our own business while also contributing to the growth and success of others."
-- Deepak Chandrababu, COO, Technology Blueprint (Leamington Spa, UK)
The professional services department is crucial to a software company as it enables customized implementation, training, support, and expertise to maximize client satisfaction and software value.
Software leaders pinpointed crucial challenges that often cause Professional Services difficulties and proposed effective strategies to alleviate these issues. Participants actively exchanged valuable insights and practical solutions on a range of topics:
- Professional Service management tools
- Resource planning and strategies
- Project schedule management/customer delays
- Tracking and measuring PS performance
- Paid service models
- Balancing serving multiple markets
- Onboarding / internal change management
- Maximizing revenue through expanded service offerings
- Employee onboarding for PS
- Pricing valuation of service
- Customer experience & measurement
- Post-implementation/customer success processes
- Balancing PS resources across multiple departments
"A great opportunity to learn how professionals in similar roles are successfully tackling shared challenges in the Professional Services realm. Tapping into the expertise of my peers has enabled me to identify solutions more efficiently within my team at AssetWorks Facilities. The Best Practices Summit has provided me with priceless professional development benefits, including valuable networking activities and exposure to the strongest leaders within our organization. I highly recommend this event."
-- Bob Baker, VP of Professional Services, AssetWorks Facilities (Texas, US)
"A fantastic learning experience. I was privileged to participate in the Professional Services track where we discussed issues limiting Professional Services growth and ideas to alleviate them. There were so many ideas shared throughout the event that I will certainly use to enhance the professional services we provide to our customers here at ASSET InterTech"
-- Michael Johnson, Project Manager, Asset InterTech (Texas, US)
Research & Development
Research & Development is vital for driving innovation and product development; it is the key to keeping a company at the forefront of technological advancements. To ensure competitiveness and growth in their respective verticals, R&D experts homed in on a variety of discussion points and built strategies to overcome common obstacles across the R&D space:
- Automated deployment techniques
- Balancing resources between maintenance, tech debt and new features
- Retaining and re-establishing thought leadership
- Modernization without re-platforming
- Products initiatives and prioritization tactics
- On-boarding best practices
- Product management role/practices
- Cloud technology exposure
"I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event – Every moment was meaningful and I left with a feeling of confidence in our decision to join Volaris Group.
One highlight was the eye-opening realization of how numerous organizations face similar challenges, making the discussions interesting and valuable. I was impressed by the inclusive nature of the event, where every participant was given ample opportunities to share their input and contribute to the development management discussions."
-- John Van Drunen, IT Specialist Programmer, (Rotterdam, NL)
"An incredible, highly educational experience. Meeting fellow product managers with diverse backgrounds and extensive expertise was enriching. The engaging breakout sessions sparked new ideas and provided a fresh perspective that will undoubtedly shape our future endeavours. It was reassuring to discover that other business units encounter similar challenges to ours, providing a sense of solidarity.
Most importantly, it instilled a renewed confidence in me, knowing that there are passionate individuals out there who are willing to share their knowledge and help others succeed. Overall, the conference was an invaluable opportunity for growth, learning, and networking."
-- Martin Julyan, Product Manager, Sunrise Software (Surrey, UK)
A Fun-Filled Conclusion: Inspiring Growth Together
The Best Practices Summit in Scotland was an exceptional gathering of professionals from diverse functional departments within the software industry.
Attendees not only had the opportunity to exchange invaluable insights and best practices but also had a remarkable time bonding and networking during the lively social events. From spirited ceilidh dancing to the enchanting melodies of a live band and the unmistakable sound of bagpipes, the evenings were filled with joy and camaraderie.
This event served as a catalyst for bringing fresh strategies and inspiration back to attendees' respective businesses. It was truly a memorable experience that exemplified the power of collaboration and the transformative impact of shared knowledge.