A need to increase the frequency of software updates for its front and back-end retail solutions encouraged CBE to apply to the Agile Innovation Fund.
CBE is a growing company, and its customers have growing needs. The company is a large regional employer and its R&D innovation hub which is based in the west of Ireland develops software for the retail, convenience, hospitality and forecourt sectors.
The company was formed in 1980 and offers front-end and back-office solutions. On the front end, CBE develops software for cash points, self-checkouts, Kiosks etc., and in the back office, it provides innovative cloud-based software that manages all your setup and reporting requirements.
A growing business
The project which it received funding for was spurred by how the company’s customer base was both growing and evolving. Previously, CBE was delivering quarterly software updates to its clients. As the company base grew, CBE found itself having to deliver the software in a more efficient and scalable way.
Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) is a method to frequently deliver the software being developed by introducing automation into all the stages of development.
TJ McHugh is CBE’s R&D Director and explains: “We needed to be able to develop and deliver the software at a faster pace to these groups so that CBE could get a more iterative approach and deliver smaller but more frequent updates, what they call the CI/CD model. That’s really what this was about – being scalable for all the large groups in increasing customer base and delivering the software at a faster pace”.
The Agile Innovation Fund has allowed CBE to continue to expand. The investment has meant the company is now developing and delivering software more frequently in a truly agile manner to meet the needs of its customer base.
CBE operates primarily throughout Ireland and the UK but also operates in 14 other countries. TJ says the company’s strategy is to go global over the next few years and the project the Agile Innovation Fund backed was an important step in this ambition.
CBE now has a scalable solution as it moves towards its global expansion plans, explains TJ: “We already have a back office cloud solution, but the front end solution also now sits perfectly with it enabling CBE to deliver the full solution in a CI/CD model. The R&D team are all working off a fully agile model and delivering software continually”.
CBE has continued to grow throughout Ireland, and especially in the UK. The grant has allowed the sales team to deliver to more groups, which feeds into the company’s growth.
The funding helped with employment and enabled the company to start providing more frequent software updates. CBE upskilled its R&D team, and TJ explains how the team members are more efficient in every area of the software development lifecycle now. The funding had a big impact in terms of efficiency and how the process is run.
Get moving quickly on new projects
TJ says that the Agile Innovation Fund is a quick and relatively easy grant to get. CBE wanted to move quickly on this project and the quick turnaround on the grant was part of its appeal. From when the application went in, the turnaround took about a month. This set CBE up to complete this project over the course of a year.
TJ’s advice to other companies is to identify the right project. If it’s a smaller project that you want to turn around quickly, he thinks the Agile Innovation Fund is ideal, as the application process and documentation required are not onerous. Certainly, if you’re focused on a project, and need to deliver it quickly, the funding is there to help you along and do it straight away.
CBE is now looking at other projects off the back of this, explains TJ: “We would certainly be looking at other Enterprise Ireland-supported funding in terms of projects. CBE continues to grow its customer base and linked to that we continue to invest and grow our employee levels. It’s organic growth, but the funding helps to continue our innovation path. As I say, we’ve global expansion plans. CBE invests heavily in R&D and our growth is proportionate to this”. We want to constantly be at the cutting edge of innovative software. To do that, the support and funding help in terms of having additional resources that we assign to strategic projects.