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Wiggle CIO Mark Dermody wearing UK's retail yellow jersey

Mark Chillingworth | Sept. 17, 2013
"This business is about pace," says Mark Dermody, CIO of cycling and sport retailer e-commerce business Wiggle. "You can't grow as quickly as we are without pace," he said.

Wiggle and the UK's cycling retail industry has been an early innovator in its use of e-commerce, strong supply chains and international currency acceptance. Wiggle trades in 110 countries, in 15 currencies, and 10 languages.

"We deploy to the website every fortnight and the technology teams have the freedom to innovate using Agile and Lean methods.

"They showcase front end developments in a stand up in front of the whole company and they have to demonstrate to the company the business case and they get a lot of self esteem from that," he says.

Wiggle and Dermody have an IT team of 70, 10 of whom in a new outsourced operation in Minsk, Belarus, that Dermody says gives him the ability to scale projects up and down as and when needed. The UK team is split between its Portsmouth home and London with the capital offering key e-commerce skills, but the CIO says Portsmouth is increasingly providing key skilled staff to organisation like his. The Portsmouth IT operation recently added eight more to its headcount and Dermody says as the Wiggle brand grows in tandem with the rise of cycling and sport recruiting skilled staff is becoming easier.

"We've had an awful amount of success in Portsmouth and London as the Wiggle becomes bigger.

"The strategic partnership that we have formed this year in Minsk, called EPAM, will provide us with additional software development colleagues to deliver more technology change than we could deliver on our own."

The technology team is split between the back office operations and the organisation's shop, its website. When Dermody joined Wiggle he introduced a delivery team into IT, which was a first for Wiggle, and introduced business analysts and project managers to the team.

"As you get bigger you do need more process and as you add more process you must not lose the agility and innovation. In forming the technology management team I was fortunate in inheriting a team of talented colleagues, some of which were ready for promotion and I was able to bring in some new blood to complement the existing team," he says.

"I run, many of the team cycle. The passion this creates and opportunities for personal development mean we are run by our customers," Dermody says of the benefits everyone at Wiggle receives from the organisation through a promotion to be involved in the sports it relies on and the discount staff receive. The Portsmouth headquarters is very relaxed and reminded this scribe of a broadcasting company with bold images of the sports in every meeting room and on the walls. Hanging in every corner were helmets and running gear used by the young and vibrant workforce to get to work.


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