Park IT Solutions Ltd (PITS) are a high growth SaaS business who specialise in the provision of an optimisation technology platform and parking solutions. The business develop innovative car parking software to help parking operators improve both the efficiency of their car parks and the experience of their customers.
Having delivered ‘three fold growth’ over the last three years, it continues to make significant commercial progress and has developed partnerships with high-profile Airports giving them 40% coverage of all UK Airports. This has translated into rapid growth both in terms of revenue/staff resources and underpins a 5 year plan and strategy to scale and grow the business globally. The targeted geographies include Canada, Australasia and the USA, with the business already going live with an operator in Canada and includes a healthy pipeline with further commercial mandates planned to drop in Australia and New Zealand.
Given this key milestone being reached and aspirations to scale, the board identified the need to appoint an experienced Operations Director whose primary objective would be to deliver a Professional Services transformation programme and prepare the business for significant international growth. Aligned to this would be the provision of strong leadership of general business operations and the continued successful delivery of a large portfolio of both domestic and international B2B projects.
Given the proposed growth agenda, current pipeline and the need to transform and professionalise operations, it was agreed that the new Operations Director would be required to exhibit core competencies and capabilities in driving the development of Professional Services and multi-discipline operational teams, thus enabling the delivery of high levels of accelerated and sustainable growth whilst maintaining exceptional levels of customer service. It was also agreed that the appointee would be able to demonstrate extensive experience in supporting high-growth, scale-up operations underpinned with exceptional success in leading technology businesses in delivering concurrent projects with the highest degrees of governance, compliance and rigour. PITS also indicated a strong desire to appoint someone with experience in a SaaS or PaaS environment.
We focused our research on high growth Software businesses that had had a sizeable liquidity event within the last 2 years, indicating a potential investment in infrastructure and resources. We then refined our research to focus on businesses that had a similar offering in the provision of optimisation solutions across logistics, asset utilisation and automation. From this data, we were able to identify approximately 30 Operations Directors and Head of Operations from a variety of b2b software companies.
The key was to identify an executive who demonstrated a sound understanding of the challenges facing accelerated growth coupled with strong operational leadership and conclusive experience in driving transformation and enhancing/maintaining high levels of customer experience.
Following an extensive search, we presented a strong shortlist of four candidates – two ‘Heads of’ from larger SaaS businesses with an international focus; and two Director level candidates from similar sized SaaS businesses to Park IT. Client interviews identified strong interest in two of the four; one from an optimisation software solutions business focussed on logistics and one from an optimisation solutions business focussed on workflow efficiencies. Second round interview feedback on both candidates was excellent. Both candidates demonstrated sound leadership experience in managing teams of Project/Programme Managers delivering wide portfolios of domestic and international B2B projects.
However, the stand out candidate for the client exhibited extensive leadership experience in both scale-up and large corporates and displayed expertise in managing Software Project implementations underlined with an exemplary record of delivering significantly improved Operational and Professional Services functions. In their last role, the successful candidate was responsible for the PMO and a large team of Principal and Senior Project Managers including full project financial governance and compliance of a 50+ concurrent project portfolio with a TCV of £18m. The individual delivered a global remodelling of Professional Services including significantly improved management reporting and performance metrics leading to greater visibility and control of both domestic and international implementations. This translated into increased billable utilisation of project consulting staff by 35%. These core competencies and achievements were pivotal in PITS’s decision to appoint the successful candidates as their new Operations Director.