Article

Richard Roper – The man behind the systems that drive our business

01 Oct 2020

Richard, tell us a little about your background

I originally started out in Cloud Services and data hosting in the sales arena, but even then, I was interested in how systems could help me do my job better. I began customising the CRM so I could get to the valuable data I needed as quickly as possible. Soon, other salespeople in the organisation were asking me to do the same for them so they could work more efficiently.

It was a slow evolution, but I ended up doing that 100% of the time. Then I did some formal training in customising Microsoft CRM, and the rest is history.

And you already had ties to Sweden prior to joining Avinode Group I believe

Well, my wife is Swedish. We met in Australia and then moved to the UK, but my wife really wanted our children to speak Swedish, so we moved back here. 

I was working remotely for a UK company while living in Sweden, but when I saw that Avinode were looking to recruit someone with my experience, I jumped at the chance. It’s a great company to work for and I’m glad I took the step. Ironically, I’m now back working remotely, at least while COVID-19 is with us.

What does your role entail day-to-day?

A lot of what I do is map the messy real world into a logical system world. It’s about striking the balance between capturing the information we need, while giving users the freedom to work the way they want to. That’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between being too strict around what we want to capture and being too lax and not capturing enough. 

I’m typically involved in a lot of discovery meetings with people who want to use the systems to capture information in some way, and we work together to agree a solution that balances process and flexibility.

And your remit covers all the group’s products

Yes, I work across Avinode, Schedaero and Paynode. At any given time, I have projects on my board for all three, each with unique requirements and at different stages of maturity. It’s safe to say that myself and the Commercial Development Team are always busy.

You have a pretty big role to play in the future then

I hope so, yes. We have clear goals as a business, which are to reinforce Paynode’s position as the number one payment platform for private jets, and Schedaero’s position as the number one scheduling platform for private jets. 

The improvements that I can help make to our internal systems ultimately contribute to achieving these goals.

How have you found the culture at Avinode Group?

It really is unlike anywhere I’ve worked in the past. There’s a real willingness to embrace new tools and take on new ideas. You enjoy a lot of autonomy as an employee, and if you want to work slightly differently, you can. The hierarchy is also very flat, which is refreshing. 

Then there’s the little cultural traditions that I really like, such as Fika, but there are lots of similarities to life in the UK too.

When you’re not thinking about systems, what do you enjoy doing?

I like to socialise. Sweden doesn’t have a pub culture like the UK, so I built my own Tudor-style pub in the barn behind my house, and I invite the neighbours over for a beer. 

But it’s all about moderation, and the business is great at supporting a healthy lifestyle and the idea of making time for yourself. Right now, as a team we’re doing a virtual walk from the top of North America to the tip of South America. The whole business is involved, logged activity on our watches and phones. It’s a very Swedish thing to do and I love it.

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