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IsoMetrix Director of Partnerships, Benoit Froment, sat down with recently appointed IsoMetrix Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dr Giles Nelson to discover a bit more about him, and to discuss IsoMetrix’s recent growth despite tough economic conditions, as well as the product roadmap ahead.
Watch Benoit Froment interview Dr Giles Nelson in the video above.
IsoMetrix’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dr Giles Nelson, has barely been in his position for six months, yet projects an air of quiet confidence, both in himself, and in his new employer. Appointed in late 2020, Giles is currently tasked with developing IsoMetrix’s go-to-market and product strategies in order to scale the business and enter new industries. And with over 20 years of software experience, and as a graduate of the University of Cambridge, he brings to IsoMetrix a distinguished blend of academic expertise and practical experience.
Meeting with Giles in London one early summer’s day, IsoMetrix's Director of Partnerships, Benoit Froment wanted to unpack some of the matters currently on Giles’ radar as he settles into his new role.
Benoit Froment (BF):
Giles, you’ve been with us for around six months now. Tell us a bit more about your background and your role in the company.
Giles Nelson (GN):
I’m Chief Operating Officer (COO) at IsoMetrix, I started with the company in November (2020) and my background is 20 years in the software business. I’ve always worked for vendors, of varying sizes, and I’ve had a lot of experience taking product to market and with building product-based companies.
We’ve had a very good financial year at IsoMetrix despite the economic situation. Please tell us a bit more about this situation and what does it mean for partners and clients.
It’s been tough for everybody, with so much uncertainty in the market. COVID however, has provided an opportunity in that it has accelerated digitalization strategies amongst our clients in high-risk industries such as mining, oil and gas, and other industries as well. We’ve just announced our financial results for last year and have grown by 41% in revenue. We’ve been recruiting hard too, having grown our headcount by 30% over the last year, so we’re on a really good trajectory at the moment.
IsoMetrix is now a global technology company with offices in five continents. What are some of the challenges for a COO like you, working for such a company?
We’re going through a period of substantial growth, which means onboarding new employees, managing new customer engagements, working with new partners and introducing new technologies into the mix. This expansion is a challenge to manage, so we need to balance the investment from a product point of view, planning for the ‘now’ and what customers need today and tomorrow, but also maintaining a vision for the next 3-5 years. We need to have a concept of the type of products which the industry is going to need for the future, as well as what IsoMetrix will need to support our own company growth.
There has been a notable increase recently in the need to manage and report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. Can you give us your thoughts on this trend?
IsoMetrix is known for its environment, health and safety (EHS) software, particularly for high-risk global organizations that use our software to manage their risk on a daily basis. When we look at ESG, EHS is one of the key pillars supporting ESG. I think that the market is still exploring exactly what ESG means. On one hand you’ve got the financial point of view – how does a fund manager assess organisations for their ESG criteria, social issues, diversity, etc.? Operational information supports this. Companies are going to impact on ESG criteria in lots of ways and they want to be able to be in control of that.
Operational ESG software comes into its own here, and we will see that category developing significantly. Some of the more pertinent questions will include “How do we tie ESG reporting into daily operations in the same way that organisations do with EHS software today? How do we extract information from processes, human capital, and internet-of-things (IoT) digital devices, and bring it all together to report on it proactively, deal with ad-hoc requests, and comply with emerging standards like GRI and SASB?”
I think there’s a similarity between what industries are going through with their ESG reporting currently, to what financial services organisations went through a while ago in terms of reporting to financial regulators following the financial crisis.
Giles, you’re in charge of product strategy at IsoMetrix. What's coming up?
Our existing platform, and the solution templates which are built on top of that, deliver out-the-box solutions to our customers which have proven to be very successful, so we will continue to invest in them. We are also, in parallel, investing in a new cloud-based offering that will deliver new types of solutions and allow us to deliver the type of scale to support our growth. Historically, we’ve been specialists in high-risk industries, and this currently remains our core market. With the rise of ESG, we want to be able to expand the market that we address, and the types of customers we support. We want to be able to support customers in transport, manufacturing, and other verticals seen as medium or lower risk.
These types of organizations are looking for more out-the-box solutions, and don't necessarily have the deep expertise which high-risk organizations have in dealing with EHS concerns. IsoMetrix has gained experience over many years of dealing with high-risk customers. We've built up our knowledge, and with this new platform of ours, can put this level of expertise into our products to accelerate adoption for our customers. Our new product offering is going to be cloud-native, we’ll be using exciting new technologies to increase its flexibility and make it easier to deploy, it will look fantastic, and we’ll be launching it in the first half of next year.
We have a strong partner ecosystem at IsoMetrix. What does this new generation of EHS and ESG software solutions mean for our implementation partners?
Partners are key to our success and will continue to be so in future. These partnerships come in different ‘flavours’. One of these is implementing our software and working with our customers in conjunction with us, usually on delivering solutions. One of our challenges is to meet demand and expand our partner network, thereby enabling more partners to work with us on delivering customer solutions.
Our new platform will open more doors to collaboration. It will expand our ability to address our market, it will grow the number of customers we can support, and it will increase the opportunities for partners to work with us. We also have technology partners who are important to us. From an integration point-of-view, in terms of legal content, IoT devices, these technology partners really augment our proposition, and I’m open to discussion with any partner who has some good technology to offer our customers!
What drives innovation at IsoMetrix?
IsoMetrix has visionaries within its organization who have been dealing with our customers for a long-time and know the EHS market back-to-front. They are world-experts and leaders in thinking about what organizations can do next in terms of managing their EHS and ESG processes.
High-risk industries such as mining, oil and gas for example, are going through a digitization process. Many organizations still rely upon manual-based, paper-based, and Excel spreadsheet-based processes, which are expensive, error-ridden and inefficient. IsoMetrix supports the general digitization trend, which is not only about doing processes better, but also about bringing in technologies to leverage the data that is gathered.
Our customers have data-rich environments, and if you’re bringing data from IoT devices, people, and partner organizations into a central EHS or ESG system, that becomes a repository of the way your business is operating. One can then look, as we are, to use predictive analytics and machine-learning, which are all the rage in the tech industry at the moment, and applying them to better understanding the past, the present, and to look for variations. This approach gives organizations an early view on what's going wrong, as well as helping to predict the future. In essence, moving from being reactive to being more proactive.
Our product will benefit from the type of data aggregation you get in a cloud-based environment. While data privacy and protection are key to us and a guarantee to our customers, our ability to aggregate this view over many customers will provide them with opportunities to learn best practices from their peers. Once you have all this data, you can begin to do some really interesting things.
It’s time to wrap up. How would you summarize in three words, what’s coming up at IsoMetrix?
That’s a challenge, there are so many I could use! ‘Let me go with innovation, growth, and it has to be customer success.