Complexity and growth are biggest challenges, says online gaming company CTO Martin Davies...
When bet365 CTO Martin Davies joined the online gaming company in 2001, it employed a single permanent programmer and six contract developers, having been founded in a Stoke-on-Trent Portakabin the year before.
Fast-forward 10 years and the company now has a 300-strong tech department consisting of 160 developers and 140 infrastructure support staff, which Davies has built up with the help of bet365 co-founder and CEO Denise Coates.
The company has a total of 1,400 staff still based in Stoke-on-Trent, turned over £5.4bn in 2010 and has a website that is live in 17 languages, with four million users across 240 countries.
Stoke native Davies has been involved in IT for 30 years. He was a software developer, helped build the tech infrastructure at a start-up company and worked as an IT consultant during Y2K.
Having joined bet365 when it was still a fledgling online gaming platform, Davies is now dealing with the challenges presented by rapid growth and an increasingly complex technology infrastructure.
Speaking to silicon.com recently, Davies discussed how he and his team are facing these tech challenges and how technology is core to bet365's success.
A tech-driven organisation
As a web-based company, bet365's business is inseparable from its technology. It invested £60m in tech in 2010 alone. However, most of the technology development work is carried out inhouse so the company has as much control over technology as possible.
The tech team is divided into 11 areas of expertise, including database administration, middleware systems, mobile, net architecture, product development and security.
"So we're very keen on designing, building, managing and supporting everything ourselves. We don't use managed services at all unless it's absolutely unavoidable," Davies told silicon.com.
He added that developing and running technology inhouse allows bet365 to achieve better service levels than if third-party technology was used, as it means the people who developed the technology - and have the best interests of the business at heart - can be easily reached when users have issues.
The company occasionally links up with other companies when it comes to technology in which it doesn't have the necessary expertise, such as certain payments systems, but inhouse tech development remains a strong focus.
The role as CTO
Davies' role is embedded in the technology side of the business. As a result...