Centre stage with Bob Poole, DevOps Manager at Wejo Ltd
I was born and raised in Manchester, I studied Computer Science at Salford University before starting a job with BrightHr as a software developer. I worked in a variety of customer service, IT, development, and software engineering roles before starting at wejo as DevOps manager in March 2019.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
The great thing about working at wejo is that I never have the same day twice. I am the DevOps manager, which means that I help with projects, workload, issues or anything else that may arise. Wejo is a very collaborative environment, which means that I work with the service and security teams as well as with the development teams to build and improve the platform.
What’s been your biggest work achievement of the last 12 months?
With so many automotive manufacturers producing connected vehicles, we have been managing a surge of new connected vehicle data from and for our partners. Certain areas of our stack process over 80TB of data a day. I led Wejo’s DevOps team that developed the underlying infrastructure. Also, we made the platform more automated, resilient and performant in the process which boosted our uptime and platform statistics.
What is the biggest challenge facing the industry?
In DevOps, it can be challenging to find the right talent to fill gaps in our team. DevOps is kind of a catch-all category, after all, every company needs a different set of skills. Specialists, in particular, are hard to find and are often in high demand.
Wejo is a category leader in journey intelligence, which means that we create value from connected vehicle data (CVD). There has been an explosion of CVD in the past few years that lead to these great insights we can use to build better transport infrastructure, identify accident hotspots etc. It is a wonderful challenge to keep up with it and collaborate with the Wejo team on what we can capture and how we can use those insights to solve our partners’ problems.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
“Working IT is gaining scars, so a lesson is learnt.” I learn from my mistakes, and I apply those lessons to my work every day.
What are your predictions for the IT industry for 2020/21 or beyond?
Machine learning (ML) has taken massive leaps in the DevOps space, helping diagnose problems before they break service. I predict ML will also help build resilient performance infrastructure with those insights, helping us to redesign a lot of processes. I also think they should try to use those insights in almost any role where data can be collected as these insights cannot be ignored.
Why do you think everybody is talking about AI being important for digital transformation, but companies are still reluctant to invest?
AI is incredible, but to some companies, it is an intangible. It can be a catch 22. People are excited by it, yet they do not understand how it can be used to solve their problems. It’s hard to capture return on investment then. They know they should take the leap but aren’t convinced the risks will warrant the up-front investment.
What do you think is going to be the next big technology development?
The Internet of Things is fascinating and would love to see more where that goes.
Do you think GDPR has impacted your role in a big way since its introduction?
GDPR affects every part of my job. Wejo's processes and platform have been designed from the ground up to handle all regulatory and compliance demands. Within the DevOps space, GDPR affects the design and implementation solutions, evaluation, storage, and the process of retrieving/deleting data. We are all mindful of what’s being stored and calling out and potential issues that may be there.
What does digital transformation mean to you – what in your opinion is most important to a successful implementation?
Digital transformation means getting a fully automated, highly-resilient stack that is readily useable and is being assessed for improvements matching the current industry trends or new tech to keep everything up to date.