Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple — Dr. Seuss
BMI Regional - Head of IT & Digital
Initially taking on a Senior Developer role, I was quickly promoted to Head of IT & Digital, responsible for the online platforms and physical IT needs of a regional airline, servicing 450 staff comprised of flight deck, cabin crew, office-based operations and 24-hour support teams..
Whilst the IT side of the role required a lot of careful delegation and learning to properly service an entire airline, the team succeeded in supporting the business. However, the digital challenges provided much more room to innovate and move the airline into the 21st century.
The design and engineering of our internal system 'BMI Connect', built in React using Core UI, enabled Ground Crew, Flight Crew and Cabin Crew to report in real-time from 4G-connected iPads whilst on the ground. Optimised for touch controls, this enabled the operations team to file safety reports and other CAA requirements on-time and with the correct level of fidelity.
The crowning moment of my time with BMI was the redesign, development, release and marketing of flybmi.com. Working closely with the Amadeus platforms (both booking and GDS) and migrating to EE Systems booking platform provided a lot of technical insight into the workings of the airline industry. However, with heavy optimisation of SEO, Accessibility and API-driven integrations, I enabled a >100% increase in site traffic and a 70% increase in online ticket sales within 12 months of launch.
Sadly, due to operational issues and the downturn of the airline industry in general, the business ceased trading in 2019. This required my involvement in the successful closure of the website through the switching of the 'dark' website. This was a highly optimised single-page black-and-white website that informed the public of the ceasing of operations. The expected massive influx of traffic, enhanced through direct links from the BBC News homepage, was handled successfully with zero downtime.
QBD - Development Manager
10 years taking lead on the design and production of thousands of websites for a mixture of clients of all shapes and sizes gave me an appreciation for the value of scaling operations and automation.
In order to achieve a high throughput of bespoke-designed websites, I designed and built a CMS which provided the ability for developers to apply custom CSS and HTML to a templated website system and then deploy websites instantly with staging and testing baked-in.
Each public-facing site was eCommerce capable and optimised for speed and minimal back-end operations.
With the introduction of frameworks such as Gatsby and many, many more, this is now considered a legacy product. However, for its time, this served a bespoke business need without dependencies, one of the business owners' key objectives.