Whether you’re a seasoned tradesperson stocking up on supplies for your latest job or taking on a serious DIY project, Screwfix is the go-to supplier that helps its customers get their jobs done quickly, affordably and right the first time. Part of Kingfisher plc, the international home improvement company, Screwfix has more than 870 stores across the UK, Ireland and France with thousands of products available for Click & Collect in as little as one minute and in selected locations, its 60-minute same day delivery service, Sprint. Beyond that, its full range of over 37,000 products can be ordered via the app, online, over the phone or from a local store.
Part of the team leading on their Digital Product focus is Scott Fraser, Screwfix’s Director of Digital Product and a long-time DX leader and technologist. After starting his career in retail banking, Scott joined the “internet team,” as he put it, in 1999, which led to the start of a career in all things digital. Since then, he’s worked with several Blue Chip businesses in the digital space on both the business and technology side – in some cases spanning both.
At Screwfix, Scott leads the company’s Digital Products function. In this role, he architects the digital experiences that customers and employees use daily. He also supports and shapes the underlying composable architecture that gives the business the flexibility and pace of adaptability it needs to succeed in today’s volatile economic climate.
Building out the new
Scott would tell you he’s lucky. At Screwfix, his job is to build out “the new,” moving from legacy to the MACH-architected landscape that is so crucial to the company’s future ability to further digitally adapt and thrive. MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud native SaaS, Headless), as Scott noted, will give Screwfix the ability to move faster and deliver continuously for customers and colleagues. That said, he also acknowledged that legacy still exists and will do for some time as the new is built. With that, the speed of delivery, as well as lengthy and frequent release cycles, remain daily challenges.
Yet, MACH technologies and principles have helped Scott and his team keep those challenges in check.
“MACH solutions are creating the platform for growth, and they’re supporting faster, continuous delivery through product teams. This will provide Screwfix with an ability to deliver change continuously, in a way never present before – leading to real and lasting change for the business that will be key to our ongoing success.”
When asked about some of the considerations Scott would share with other business leaders thinking about transitioning their architecture to MACH, he said to think in specific terms. Ask yourself what you’re looking to achieve, he suggested, and understand that this isn’t a quick fix.
“Is it about fixing a single, challenging issue, or is it about moving to something that unlocks the ability to drive ongoing change? It can take time – especially for those businesses moving from monolithic, entrenched legacy solutions – but the reward is worth it, especially if you can then deliver iteratively. Running large and slow upgrade cycles, waiting weeks or months for changes to arrive to support digital experiences, having no ability to react to the latest market moves on experiences and to retain parity – if you want to move away from all of these, MACH is the way to go.”
Resilient, stable, flexible
In a perfect world, Scott said a company’s architecture should be resilient, stable and flexible enough to support any and all business proposition changes. He added that it should also be scalable in order to handle the peaks seen throughout the year (think: periods of heavy seasonal demand) without breaking sweat. Being always up-to-date with limited tech debt and barriers is the ultimate goal.
But, hold the phone hammer. Standing in the way of that goal are an all-too-common set of hurdles that business leaders tend to build, delaying or fully stalling the move toward a more modern technology future. Those include cost factors, time to change and fear of the unknown.
“Very few companies are in a position to invest in the underlying architecture and technologies needed to be resilient, stable and flexible in a way that only MACH enables. You need to be bold and focus on the future, not the here and now.”
Scott added, “It’s typically the type of investment that always gets pushed back. Businesses think, invest to reimplement what already works? No, we’ll spend money on patching and keeping it alive as it will last, won’t it?’ This is the all-too-common thinking of so many businesses around the globe. Screwfix, however, is building for the future.”
When the business comes to see that a MACH transition is worth the cost and time in the long-term, the benefits become clear through the myriad opportunities MACH creates.
“Need to make changes that you can’t quite make work? Talk to your technology partners and get changes made on their roadmaps. Have one part of the architecture that isn’t quite as good as another solution on the market? Swap it out. Need teams to work together to make the magic work and deliver the innovative changes that businesses crave? Swap to a composable architecture leveraging all the MACH focus. It pays off in no time.”
Shaping a different technology future
As for his ambitions as a MACH Alliance ambassador, Scott emphasized his desire to learn, meet and collaborate with people across different businesses but with similar challenges. He also noted his desire to shape a technology future that’s different from what the big legacy players of the past envisioned.
“On MACH, delivery cycles are quicker, changes can be continuous, delivering fast, initial MVP solutions and then iterating at pace to enhance along the way. Teams can be scaled, or reduced, depending on the needs of the business. Flexibility is there, allowing product teams to change direction, or revise and approach, at the drop of a hat. But culture is needed, too, and that’s as important as the technology and architecture the business is run on.”
MACH Alliance Ambassadorship
The MACH Alliance is very excited to welcome Scott as an Ambassador. Our Ambassadors are a carefully selected group of business and technology experts with a wide range of experience across industries and backgrounds. Passionate about the benefits a modern architecture can bring to an enterprise, our Ambassadors have graciously committed their time to support the mission of the MACH Alliance by writing, speaking, and serving as subject matter experts to help empower companies to go MACH.
If you’re interested in learning more about a MACH approach and understanding if it’s right for your business, we welcome you to get in touch at email@example.com to be matched with the MACH Alliance Ambassador most relevant to you.