- Jan 06 • 1 year ago
Walk & Talk with Mark Scerri Pace 1 of 3 – Product Delivery Division as NetRefer’s Technical Foundation
To commemorate the Company’s 15-year anniversary, NetRefer’s C-Level and Heads step onto the stage in a docuseries entitled ‘Walk & Talk with Team NetRefer’. We take a candid look at NetRefer’s inner workings through the eyes of the Company’s leaders.
Taking up where we left off with Charlie Williams’ – Head of Business Operations – three-part interview, today, we’ll meet Mark Scerri Pace – Head of Product Delivery – for part 1-of-3 of his interview. We’ll be visiting Valletta Contemporary – an independent exhibition space and art gallery that showcases the work of influential local and international contemporary artists – run by the META Foundation. Here, Mark will open with an overview of his division and its individual departments and responsibilities, while demystifying the internal technical workings that rest at the foundation of NetRefer.
Mark, welcome, and thank you so much for talking with me today. You’re Head of Product Delivery at NetRefer. Tell me a little about the chief responsibilities of your group and how it fits into the corporate structure.
Product Delivery is the division sitting behind Business Operations, headed by Charlie Williams, and we’re mainly responsible for three different streams.
The first one is what we call Technical Solutions Delivery. So, this means the projects we do for our clients on top of our platform, and my team is responsible for the delivery, which then goes to the Solution Consultants within Business Operations.
The second stream is User Support. There, we’re collaborating with the User Success team within Business Operations as well. Any questions, queries, problems of a technical nature our clients might have when using our platform go to us so we can offer adequate support and make sure everything is working as it should be.
The third stream is Product Development – this is where the fun stuff and creativity happen. We get data from Business Operations – Solution Consultants and User Success teams – and process and analyse it. And based on the insights gleaned, we come up with solutions that then, we implement as features within our platform.
When we talked with Charlie in that previous Walk and Talk, he mentioned telemetry, the data, that was coming from how your clients are using your platform. It sounds like, at a high level, what you’re trying to do is take all that data, make some sense of it and draw these insights.
Yes, basically we’re doing two things. The first is to get that data to see how we’re delivering in terms of performance. So, we use that data to optimise our processes, our mode of delivery.
The second area is where we use that data, which is basically how our clients are using the platform, what problems they’re encountering, etc., and coming up with solutions, which then we deliver as features in our platform.
Let’s delve further into this. Tell me about your individual departments that fall under your purview as Head of Product Delivery and how they contribute to the technical operation of NetRefer’s platform.
The division has eight different departments. We usually start with Product Management. They’re the ones who are analysing that data; they’re the ones who are coming up with creative solutions.
Then, it moves into execution – the tech side of things. There we have developers, who are coding these solutions or integrating other products into the platform as well.
We also have quite a substantial data team. As you can see, our Company is quite data-intensive. Not only do we process data coming out of Business Operations but we also manage data within the platform itself.
Then, there’s the Quality Assurance department. They’re making sure that whatever is coming out of Product Delivery is of high quality.
A new addition is the DevOps Team. They are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure, but most importantly, to automate the infrastructure. So, they’re constantly processing data, optimising our infrastructure based on that data, in an automated fashion.
The last one, who is making sure that everything is working harmoniously, is our team of Technical Project Managers. They come up with the plans and ensure that everyone is delivering on plan, and if not, they try to understand how we can correct so as to deliver on time.
It sounds like a lot of moving parts, within this one group that you’re in charge of.
It’s the biggest division, so within itself, that’s quite challenging, but I think that we’re living in quite exciting times. And considering the new stuff that’s coming out, I’m very happy to be heading this division.
Linking that to a previous Walk and Talk, we met Jackey Backman, CPO in our first Walk and Talk, who talked a little about the legacy and the history of NetRefer; also about this idea of seeing things clearly and doing things differently. It sounds like your group is particularly charged with implementing that concept.
“Seeing things clearly” refers to how we’re processing data and gaining insights from that data. And then, based on those insights, we’re doing things differently by optimising differently, both in the way we operate and when it comes to how our platform operates and the service our platform offers to our clients.
One of the other things I discussed with Jackey was the legacy of the company. You’ve reached 15-year milestone. And really, the Walk and Talks that we’re doing here are about trying to understand where the company’s been and where it’s headed. Talk a little about the legacy of NetRefer’s Performance Marketing Platform. Technically, what was the evolution of that?
When Raphael, our CEO and Founder, started NetRefer, the idea was to build a lightweight rewards engine that calculates commission for operators to their affiliates. That was the plan. It was executed and launched, and it was quite successful. But due to its success, then, operators started coming back and they wanted this and that, and we started adding to our offering. This resulted in quite a large platform, which at that time, was hosted on individual clients. But based on the size, it didn’t make sense to keep it that way. So, we changed the business model, the architecture and the infrastructure, and we started hosting the platform on our own infrastructure.
Of course, despite the increase from a handful of clients to 120 clients, my division is still responsible for operating and maintaining that platform on one infrastructure but for 120 different clients.
With that initial product you mentioned that Raphael had created, if you’re deploying it to individual clients and then, rolling out features to all of them, that just doesn’t scale, right? That becomes an administrative nightmare.
Yes, correct. In fact, that’s why we got all the platforms sitting on our infrastructure. That way, we could make it more scalable – that was the first evolution of our Performance Marketing Platform.
Very interesting. Thank you, Mark.
Watch the 2nd installment of Mark’s 3-part interview to gain deeper insight into Product Delivery’s current projects and developments.
A special thank you goes out to Andrew Bonello for conducting the interview.
17 years of Transformation – Founder and CEO, Raphael Arnold, leads the discussion on NetRefer’s Company structure and evolving business strategies.
We’re proud to announce the appointment of Dexter Cutajar and Benjamin Briffa to their new roles as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Finance & Operations Officer, respectively. In order to commemorate their achievements, we’ve invited Raphael Arnold, Founder and CEO of NetRefer to answer a few questions about the Company that led to this momentous milestone in the business’ growth. He offers an extensive look at NetRefer’s history, and the decisions taken which led the Company to where it is today.
- Jan 16
After last week’s part-two-of-three of our fifth entry in the docuseries – Walk and Talk with NetRefer – we’re back with Mark Scerri Pace for the third part at the Valletta Contemporary.
- Jan 27