Founder and Owner
Exploring WordPress internals at WPtrace.com to get back into working with code after a decade in business development
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Founder and Owner
In the software industry since 1980, I held senior development, marketing and strategy positions at software companies in the UK, US, France and Germany before founding software solutions company http://ISVfocus.com in 2007. I started WordPress internals blog http://WPtrace.com in 2012 to get back into working with code after a decade in business development.
Specialties:Strategy, marketing, business development, software development, presentations, speaking, publishing, international business, software development tools, design, user interfaces, user experience.
I founded software solutions company http://ISVfocus.com in 2007. In the software industry since 1980, I've held senior development, marketing and strategy positions at software companies in the UK, US, France and Germany. I started WordPress internals blog http://WPtrace.com in 2012 to get back into working with code after a decade in business development.
Blogs (retired blogs are archived on ISVfocus.com):
* WPtrace.com: The blog where software industry veteran Andrew Biss explores WordPress internals to get back into working with code after a decade in business development.
* StoryComplete.com: A [retired] blog about helping ISVs sidelined by innovation and new players entering the game to acquire the new strategy and marketing skills they need to get back onto the field, re-enter the game and win.
* SellToCamera.com: A [retired] blog about helping software professionals with presentation experience make the move to web video, addressing the concerns many feel when first asked to speak directly into a video camera’s unblinking eye.
* PaaSTalk.com: A [retired] blog about what Platform as a Service (PaaS) will mean to ISVs making the move from using traditional tools and techniques to the very different mind-set and approach required to build, deploy and operate Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
* ISVsurvival.com: A [retired] blog about what Software as a Service (SaaS) means to ISVs who will be forced by the market to adopt a new business model that exposes them to the financial and reputational risks of running production applications.
Selected consulting projects:
* Helped international financial services ISV to respond to an urgent RFP from a large French financial institution.
* Helped two enterprise ISVs from enterprise application development tools and core-banking sectors to more effectively present their core marketing messages.
* Acted as interim COO at an international core-banking ISV seeking to raise a new round of VC funding.
* Advised leading Indian systems integrator (SI) considering entering the German market to offer outsourcing services to ISVs.
Joined Delta Software Technologies GmbH as VP International Business Development to drive new business and set up strategic partnerships. The company acquired the rights to the Delta/ADS enterprise application development tool in 1994.
Designed and implemented strategy to move company away from its rigid traditional development focus and towards how to become a successful software products business. This required quite a lot of internal discussion and selling to start to move away from the traditional business model.
Worked closely with resellers in UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France to relaunch their business and create a plan for growth, focusing on the traditional markets where Delta/ADS was strong: larger banks and insurance companies
Founded Delta Software Technology Italia S.r.l. in Turin and submitted a joint bid with CSC for the massive "INPS" project to modernize Italy's pension administration and payment system. It was interesting to see how a company was formed in Italy, and how different it was to previous experience in the UK and Germany.
Presented at international trade conferences and raised the visibility of the company with updated positioning, branding, web presence, product packaging and a focus on product quality. Also spoke at a number of customer and partner events to raise the image of Delta and to be seen as more of a modern product company.
Introduced the "Solution Selling" process for prospecting and sales management to resellers with custom training materials and real-time support. Helped sales team to achieve targets when prospecting and processing the sales pipeline by learning to say "no", unblocking the sales process and leading to substantial additional sales.
Deeply involved in strategic investment in web application development tools specialist ViewSoft, Inc. (Provo, Utah). Dynasty invested $2M in cash for 20%, plus a further 8% from swapping 2% of Dynasty for the 8% stake owned by HP in ViewSoft. Citrix Systems, Inc. acquired ViewSoft for $32M in July 1999.
Pitched Dynasty to VCs in Houston, Europe and Japan. Wrote business plans and supporting documents for a successful $5M funding round. This was my first direct involvement with the investment community in the USA, Europe and Japan, and it was very enlightening to see first hand the difference in approaches.
Appointed VP Strategy and Marketing and drove strategic shift to promote applications developed using the DDE through Dynasty's international sales channel. The main application partner was CAD IT (Italy) with SIBAC Core Banking which was conceived to target a large, profitable vertical market.
Managed relationship with key AI vendors Hugin Expert A/S and Dezide ApS (Denmark), and Hi-Flier (Italy). Presented AI-based solutions at industry conferences and to development partners.
Joined Dynasty Technologies in Paris as head of customer service for the Dynasty Development Environment, a patented application framework used to build enterprise-class transactional applications.
Responsible for all customers worldwide (15 countries, excluding USA). Managed support team based in Paris, working closely with international resellers to increase customer satisfaction in Dynasty's period of rapid growth. This role also involved an internal sales role within the company, as well as frequent customer interaction.
Performed cost-benefit analysis role in international sales opportunities and worked closely with leading customers, including CAD IT (Italy), BNP Paris (France), Hansabank (Estonia), Rabobank and Interpolis (Netherlands), Logica-CMG a global systems integrator and HPD (UK), Premiere, Deutsche Post and MSG (Germany), and Novo Group Oyj subsequently acquired by Logica-CMG (Finland).
Took over the International CTO role to work with key customers and to advance relationships with major resellers and technology partners, including BEA (now Oracle), Oracle and Tandem/Compaq (now HP). Moved back to the UK to be more flexible when travelling. Stepped in at short notice in 2000 to manage the user conference in Cannes. Presented on behalf of Dynasty at various customer events and industry conferences.
Took leadership role in partnership with IBM to bring DDE to IBM mainframe platform. Pitched new target to potential partners in Australia and South Africa. Presented at industry events, including IBM partner events. Managed development partner project with Enterprise S.p.A. in Rome, which involved a lot of political skills to handle the differences in project planning between northern and southern Europeans!
Moved to Germany to be closer to mainland European customers and key projects at customers in Germany. Appointed Director of Strategic Projects and then VP of Strategy, which again mean more interaction with customers and prospects.
Founded Attitude Software in the UK to focus on Windows-based application development and object-oriented design. This was my first hands-on experience with OO; the tools I had been working on up until this point were based more on the concepts of Jackson Structured Programming.
I developed a number of niche commercial applications during this period using Borland Delphi, at least one of which is still running unchanged today.
Performed in-depth quality assurance review of PC-based development product for German software tools company. This project covered both the software and the supporting documentation. Travelled to Germany regularly to report on progress. Also developed an automated Windows-based product demonstration for use at trade shows and other sales events.
I also translated a programming standards manual from German to English for BMW.
Joined Delta Software International Ltd in 1988 in the UK to manage the IBM mainframe team for the Delta/ADS enterprise application development tool. This was initially a mostly technical role with an important element of negotiation with head office in Switzerland and the German development team.
Delta/ADS was the market leader in its niche in Europe and was used by many large banks and insurance companies, which meant customer visits and general pre-sales and post-sales support, both in the UK and internationally.
Moved to Germany in 1990 to join Delta Software GmbH after managing the UK development organization and working closely with development teams in Germany and Switzerland. Started to learn German, where my progress was helped by my colleagues deciding from one day on another to completely stop speaking English with me.
Quickly appointed Development Group Manager for the German development team, which meant close liaison with other development groups in Switzerland and France, as well as strategic sub-contractors in Germany.
In 1991 this team was spun-out of Delta Software GmbH into a separate company - IBSI CASE Development GmbH - following Delta's acquisition by IBSI (a big Delta/ADS user in France). This meant even more travel, this time mostly to France and Switzerland, and my first attempt to learn French.
Managed a team of 20 with profit and loss responsibility and a turnover of EUR 2 million for IBSI CASE Development GmbH; profit and loss, hire and fire responsibility. Drove the technical strategy and supported international sales. Spoke at a number of user conferences and customer events.
Assumed VP Product Development position in 1993 with transfer of all Delta/ADS development to IBSI CASE Development GmbH, at which point the development centres in France and Switzerland were closed.
Worked with the managing director on starting-up the new application development division for the leading independent provider of systems programming services for IBM mainframes.
My role involved a lot of customer and prospect visits, with sales presentations and general business development. I also presented the application division at a number of company-wide meetings.
Managed project for the Equity & Law insurance company to develop a replacement Broker Funds management application within a tight timescale of six months. This project was based onsite within the end-user department, so I had daily contact with both the end-users and senior management.
Consulted on a range of development projects for M&G Investments, The Salvation Army, Harrods, Desoutter, Cullinet, Hitachi and TRW. All these projects were a mixture of pre-sales, post-sales, hands-on development and technical consulting.
Managed 20 people on two year project for the Municipal Mutual insurance company to develop a new life assurance application. This project was my first real experience of managing a large team, and the associated presentations both within the team, onsite to the customer’s IT management and to CMG management back at head office.
Worked as senior developer on reinsurance project for SwissRe, as well as performing a number of one-off consulting activities for CMG customers.
Developed actuarial systems for the Equity Research department of this leading City of London stockbroker, with a special focus on investment trusts and gilts.
It was at Mullens that I became a professional programmer, with excellent exposure to systems software, frameworks and software architecture and design. Worked in small team based in the end-user department, so had a lot of direct contact with both business users and senior management.
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