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Build It Better

The home for everything we write about tech, software development and product management.

University careers fairs: how to make a strong impression with Enable

Build It BetterNovember 30, 2018

Over the past 18 years, Enable has forged strong relationships with some of the finest universities, bringing in the brightest students that they have to offer — with 79% of our analysts and developers graduating from one of the top 25 featured in the Times 2018 UK rankings.

We are particularly focused on recruiting on high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Masters or PhD in their chosen field of study. This provides us with exceptional employees who not only possess outstanding technical skills, but also the ability to translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

Careers fairs provide an excellent opportunity for us to engage and network face-to-face with students, whist giving them a real insight into our company and culture. We regularly attend these events and have formed close ties to the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham.

These events generally only last a few hours, so it’s important to get the most out of your opportunity to speak with one of our representatives. With that in mind, let’s dive in to our top five tips that will help you stand out from the crowd and make a strong impression with Enable on the day.

4 min read

Enable continues expansion with new offices

Build It BetterNovember 9, 2018

Following another successful year, Enable is proud and excited to announce details of our new office — Unit 15. The newly refurbished office is fully air-conditioned, and all employees are provided with high specification Apple Macs with dual monitors and Herman Miller Aeron chairs.

2 min read

Employee Q&A — Lukasz

Build It BetterOctober 19, 2018

Over the past 17 years, Enable has forged strong relationships with some of the finest universities, bringing in the brightest students that they have to offer — with 79% of our analysts and developers graduating from one of the top 25 featured in the Times 2018 UK rankings! We regularly hold recruitment events and have formed close ties to the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham. This gives us the opportunity to engage and network with students, whist giving them a real insight into our company.

We particularly focus our recruitment on high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Masters or PhD in their chosen field of study. This provides us with exceptional employees who not only possess outstanding technical skills, but also the ability to translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

Lukasz graduated from Wroclaw University of Science and Technology with an MSc in Computer Science before joining Enable as an Assistant IT Manager. Before long he took on the role of Helpdesk Manager, and is at present working as a Client Services Manager. He focuses on delivery of software projects to Enable’s clients and works to support both test and live applications.

Rather than passing responsibility to third-parties, Enable provides software support in-house. This leaves our clients safe in the knowledge that requests will be resolved efficiently and promptly. After being with the company for over ten years, Lukasz offers his thoughts on his experiences so far as a Client Services Manager at Enable.

6 min read

Help center: helping our users get the most out of DealTrack

Build It BetterSeptember 14, 2018

Enable is pleased to announce that the Help Center knowledge base is now up and running!

For over a decade, our rebate management software has helped distributors, wholesalers and buying groups manage the income they receive from suppliers and customers by simplifying business-to-business trading, unlocking hidden revenue and maximising profit in their trading agreements.

A dedicated Client Services team was established in May 2017. The introduction of this team provides our clients with a reliable resource to assist with both ongoing support and the delivery of bespoke project work. As the number of DealTrack users continues to expand at a significant rate, the ability for the Client Services team to deliver the right support in real-time could become increasingly challenging. We, at Enable, believe that our clients want more than just someone who solves their existing problems. Rather than being reactive, we make great efforts to be proactive.

3 min read

Open source at Enable: cloud hosting abstractions

Build It BetterAugust 24, 2018

At Enable, we benefit from, and contribute to, a number of open source projects. We believe it’s important to give back to the open source community where we can, which we do by contributing to the projects that we use daily. By raising bug reports, fixes and new features, we help make those projects even better. We also publish lots of our own code as open source libraries on GitHub.

We’ve found that participating in open source is a great way to learn. At Enable, our deve­lopers are highly-educated, highly-skilled and are driven to continue to grow their skills. By contributing to open source, our developers can explore how different projects are structured, how they operate and what tools and patterns they are using. All of the technical and leadership skills learned by contributing to open source can be fed back into our own projects, helping us create even more delightful applications for our clients.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a couple of open source libraries we’ve developed at Enable and how they’ve made our switch to hosting applications using Microsoft Azure easier.

8 min read

Our 2018 team summer party

Build It BetterAugust 3, 2018

On Saturday 21st July 2018, Enable employees and their partners celebrated another year of success and innovation at Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club for our second annual Summer Party!

Summer parties have become increasingly popular for companies over the years, with the huge appeal giving employees the opportunity to bond and help people from other departments get to know each other a lot better. These types of get-togethers are also an excellent opportunity to give our exceptionally loyal and motivated employees recognition for the hard work that they are doing and rewarding them for it. Staff retention is something that Enable prides itself on as we expect to grow to over 100 employees by 2020.

2 min read

Stratford-upon-Avon: a thriving hub brimming with creative history

Build It BetterJuly 13, 2018

Founded in 2000, by entrepreneurs Denys Shortt OBE and Andrew Butt, Enable are the outsourced partner of choice for clients who wish to invest in continuous improvement through iterative development of their software products and business systems.

From our humble beginnings in a stable block, our team has grown to 75 people, half of whom are in technical software development roles. Our ambition is to double in size by 2020.

Our mission is to provide a vibrant and diverse working environment where everything we do, how we do it, and why we do it is rooted in two concepts: freedom and focus. Our employees have the freedom to work creatively, while our team structure and project processes allow them to focus entirely on solving any given challenge.

Why Stratford-upon-Avon?

We have made our home in Stratford-upon-Avon at the heart of Warwickshire, which was recently voted the 10th best place to live in the UK in an Office for National Statistics personal wellbeing survey. Close to the M40, Stratford-upon-Avon offers a direct rail line to Birmingham that runs every hour, making it an ideal location for anyone wishing to regularly commute from the city centre.

3 min read

Employee Q&A — Geoff

Build It BetterJune 22, 2018

Over the past 17 years, Enable has forged strong relationships with some of the finest universities, bringing in the brightest students that they have to offer — with 79% of our analysts and developers graduating from one of the top 25 featured in the Times 2018 UK rankings! We regularly hold recruitment events and have formed close ties to the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham. This gives us the opportunity to engage and network with students, whist giving them a real insight into our company.

We particularly focus our recruitment on high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Masters or PhD in their chosen field of study. This provides us with exceptional employees who not only possess outstanding technical skills, but also the ability to translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

Geoff graduated from the University of Warwick in 2014 with an MEng in Computer Science before joining Enable as a Business Analyst. Geoff began his career at Enable working alongside our existing experienced analysts to uncover, discuss and challenge our clients’ requirements, and then document those requirements in the form of a comprehensive specification. Geoff offers his thoughts on his experience as a Business Analyst at Enable so far.

6 min read

Client Services 1st anniversary: celebrating a year of success and innovation

Build It BetterJune 1, 2018

On Friday 4th May 2018, Enable’s Client Services team headed out for food and drinks in Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate the department’s 1st year anniversary!

Founded in 2000, by entrepreneurs Denys Shortt OBE and Andrew Butt, Enable builds and supports business software and mobile applications using Microsoft technology, for some of the UK’s largest companies. As Enable continues to expand at a significant rate, a dedicated Client Services team was established in May 2017. The introduction of this team provides our clients with a reliable resource to assist with both support requests and the delivery of projects.

The Client Services team are on hand to provide our clients with an ongoing support service, covering general questions, diagnosing problems, fixing bugs and discussing possible changes to existing software systems. Rather than passing responsibility to third-party providers, the team takes direct ownership in resolving issues. This leaves our clients safe in the knowledge that requests will be resolved efficiently and promptly.

5 min read

Employee Q&A — Klaudija

Build It BetterMay 11, 2018

Over the past 17 years, Enable has forged strong relationships with some of the finest universities, bringing in the brightest students that they have to offer — with 79% of our analysts and developers graduating from one of the top 25 featured in the Times 2018 UK rankings! We regularly hold recruitment events and have formed close ties to the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham. This gives us the opportunity to engage and network with students, whist giving them a real insight into our company.

We particularly focus our recruitment on high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Masters or PhD in their chosen field of study. This provides us with exceptional employees who not only possess outstanding technical skills, but also the ability to translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

Recent starter Klaudija graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Discrete Mathematics before joining Enable as a graduate software developer. Klaudija has begun her career at Enable with scheduled self-paced learning time to cover our methodology and the broad range of technologies that we support before contributing to project work. Once a graduate is deemed to have sufficient knowledge and experience they are promoted, typically after just one year. Klaudija offers her thoughts on her experience as a graduate software developer at Enable so far.

6 min read

Social events: investing in people

Build It BetterApril 20, 2018

Workplace happiness isn’t just about competitive pay and benefits. Increasingly, more people are placing a higher value on wellbeing and working conditions, where flexibility, career progression and team bonding are an integral part of the company culture. By investing the time and effort into understanding what makes our people happy at work improves both the general mood of each individual member of staff and over all morale. This investment in a positive culture helps individuals to feel like an integral part of our company who are also willing to invest in it.

One of Enable’s top priorities is to provide a positive environment for all of our employees to work in. We operate a social group of volunteers whose objective is to organise various social and charitable events for all staff members. These include large annual events such as the Christmas and summer parties, as well as smaller events such as quiz nights, meals out, video and board games and sporting activities such as five-a-side football. A huge appeal of these social events is that it gives our employees the opportunity to bond and take part in activities they might not otherwise have considered or have found the time to take up themselves.

Let’s dive in to the 5 key social events that Enable organises to keep morale high and our employees productive.

6 min read

Employee Q&A — Michael

Build It BetterMarch 30, 2018

Over the past 17 years, Enable has forged strong relationships with some of the finest universities, bringing in the brightest students that they have to offer — with 79% of our analysts and developers graduating from one of the top 25 featured in the Times 2018 UK rankings! We regularly hold recruitment events and have formed close ties to the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham. This gives us the opportunity to engage and network with students, whist giving them a real insight into our company.

We particularly focus our recruitment on high achievers in numerate subjects, with 66% of our employees holding an undergraduate degree in either Maths or Science, and 41% attaining a Masters or PhD in their chosen field of study. This provides us with exceptional employees who not only possess outstanding technical skills, but also the ability to translate that knowledge into highly effective business solutions.

Recent starter Michael graduated from the University of Lancaster with a MSc in Computer Science before joining Enable as a graduate software developer. Michael has begun his career at Enable with scheduled self-paced learning time to cover our methodology and the broad range of technologies that we support before contributing to project work. Once a graduate is deemed to have sufficient knowledge and experience they are promoted, typically after just one year. Michael offers his thoughts on his experience as a graduate software developer at Enable so far.

5 min read

Application lifecycle: from build completion to successful delivery

Build It BetterMarch 9, 2018

From the initial conception of an idea, analysing and defining your requirements through to the development of your software, a lot of time and effort is spent ensuring the finest details are catered for. It can be a common misconception that once the software build is complete the hard work is over and users can be let loose with the ‘end product’. There are still a number of important steps that need to be undertaken and considerations to be made following build completion, to ensure that you get the most out of your software.

Technical requirements for hosting

By the end of a software build phase, you should have already put a lot of thought and planning into how your software will be hosted. There are many hosting options available; including in-house options and a variety of cloud hosting providers, each of which could hold their own benefits for your business based on the type of software you are building. Enable’s hosting preference is cloud-based hosting platform Azure, benefiting us through increased flexibility, quick and easy scalability, a high level of security, and reduced costs. Regardless of which option you choose, it is important that your environment of choice is adequately prepared ready for your software to be deployed to avoid any last-minute hiccups.

5 min read

Efficient disaster recovery: Enable’s first-hand experience

Build It BetterFebruary 16, 2018

For many businesses, the question is not if a disaster or power outage could happen, but when it will occur? And how severe it will be? As a company whose primary products are internet-based applications, it is of vital importance to Enable that our ability to host our clients’ applications remains unaffected in every eventuality that could be reasonably foreseen. Disaster recovery (DR) is not something that any business can afford to get wrong. This is why Enable takes it very seriously and, after recent events, can boast of having first-hand experience.

Sometime around 03:00 on Monday, December 4th, a water heater in the roof space in our unit 11 building failed and began to leak. The water heater was located above the stairwell and leaked through the first floor, destroyed ceiling tiles, flooded one of the staff toilets, and made its way through to the ground floor. Unfortunately, significant water had entered our server room. The water had run through all three server cabinets and the servers within. All local servers, networks, and internet access shut down after power was lost. This meant no access to telephone, email or any local IT infrastructure including domains, web servers, file servers, source control and deployment services.

One of the main advantages of hosting in the cloud rather than locally, is that no live systems or data were affected, this meant minimal impact on our clients. Also, due to sensible management of time and resources, projects that we had underway were still delivered to clients on time.

Ewan Gibb is the IT Manager at Enable and has been with the company for over 15 years, helping it evolve into the well-organised and responsive IT department that it is today. Ewan was heavily involved with the DR process for this incident from the moment it was reported, ensuring that our systems were back online and operating normally as soon as possible. Here are Ewan’s recollections of how the day’s events unfolded.

5 min read

Microsoft Azure: hosting your software in the cloud

Build It BetterJanuary 26, 2018

Enable has more than 15 years of experience in designing, securing, and maintaining hosting environments on which our bespoke software solutions depend. Increasingly, we are deploying solutions to Azure, Microsoft’s globally-available cloud hosting platform. This leaves our clients safe in the knowledge their software is not only maintained and developed by Enable’s highly skilled team of developers but is also hosted on a secure and powerful platform in the form of Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure is a popular cloud hosting service that offers a secure, modern hosting platform with powerful features, such as the automatic provisioning of additional processing power during periods of high demand and continuous security-health monitoring, available out of the box. With industry leading hosting supporting our applications, developers at Enable are free to focus on delivering reliable and highly engaging software solutions.

3 min read

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