News and Insights


05 Dec

Big Enough to Deliver, Small Enough to Care

Project Delivery

Author: Tim Linsell

When it comes to air travel, you have a choice.

Do you book a flight from a large international airport, with multiple terminals, many thousands of fellow passengers and an unnecessarily long walk from car to check-in desk?

Or do you opt for the smaller airport that’s just as close to home and can still fly you to your dream destination? The queues are shorter, the experience is more personal and the car park is not only nearer, but cheaper.

When first deciding, the larger airport may seem like the obvious choice. But look a little deeper and you’ll realise that smaller can mean more agile, more accommodating and more adaptable.

The same theory applies when considering a systems integration and project delivery partner. Choose wisely and you can enjoy the benefits of a business that’s big enough to deliver and small enough to care.

Retail’s Technology Runway

In retail, we’re all driven to maximise margins. Legacy infrastructure plagues the industry because historically, in this margin-pressured environment, it was the last thing that would improve profit. Sticking plasters would do.

System Integration

But with rapid advancements in technology, margins dropping to 2.7% in 2018, and customers demanding increasingly unique, current and dynamic experiences, changing, enhancing and introducing technology is a must. System integration is a journey you have to embark on.

With multiple runways ahead of you, there’s choice in the project delivery and system integration providers your partner with.

Here’s how a business that’s big enough to deliver and small enough to care can offer you the professional but personal experience you need to see your retail operation really fly.

When a Business is Big Enough to Deliver

You access experience, scale, flexibility, domain expertise and global reach.

They can pilot the plane

A partner that’s big enough to deliver has the credibility and experience to safely navigate your project. What they’ve done before resembles your challenge. And while your technology ecosystem is unique to your business, they have demonstrable experience and evidence of success with retailers that match your size and the scope of the project.

They offer global, in-country support

A global retail business with integration software challenges needs a global solutions delivery team. Not just experts who are willing to travel, but in-country support and a team committed to spending time in each nation where new technology is being deployed.

Global Connections

Smaller partners may struggle with this kind of flexibility They don’t have established bases around the world and can’t reduce headcount at their UK HQ for long periods of time. Larger organisations can tick these boxes but may serve you with only the people they have available, not the true expertise you need on the ground. Ask prospective providers if they can build a team of people from different practices in different places and give you precisely the domain expertise your project demands, exactly where it matters.

They offer scale and flexibility

At the very beginning of a project, you may not know its true scale. A partner that has the ability to flex its project teams gives you assurance that no matter which way you turn, they have the right people with the right skills in the right number.

A very large partner may bloat your team from the off with personnel who’ll one day be useful. A flexible partner will only deliver what you need, identifying requirements through consultancy. You already know which option is more cost-effective.

When a Business is Small Enough to

You experience true consultancy, best-fit cultures and value-added benefits.

They listen

Because your retail business is unique, you need a partner who marries deep and wide experience with an ear of humility. For them, this is personal.

In a business that’s small enough to care, founders are often still involved. They’re at that initial meeting, they’re in the office rather than on the golf course and they have clients’ best interests at heart. With this comes a culture of integrity and clear communications. You’ll find a team of senior professionals who want to work closely with clients, treat them as individuals and listen before suggesting solutions.

They never sell

Many smaller businesses don’t have sales teams. They have expert practitioners who work with clients from project take-off to landing and beyond. They’re held to account for the solutions they recommend and the direct line from scope to delivery removes convoluted, confusing processes. In short, you get what you’re promised and avoid the turbulence a sales team might induce.


They challenge

Early and with transparency. Tech is not always the answer. Value-based consultancy means a partner who suggests the right solution, not their solution. One that’s lean, sufficient and sustainable.

At a founder-managed organisation, long-term relationships are valued over short-term profits. They genuinely want to see your retail operation succeed and they’ll deliver both system integration services that solve your challenges and advice to help you further improve over time.

They offer value for money

Larger organisations have a reputation for being careless with budgets. It’s OK if mistakes happen because the provider still profits. Wildly inaccurate SoWs may be defined for the same reason.

Fearing the insistence of some vendors to follow the rules and submit change requests, retailers find smaller businesses a breath of fresh air. Yes, every business needs to turn a profit but their driving force is innovation and client satisfaction. That personal approach comes into play again.

They have precise capabilities

There are people who are great consultants. And those who are great retail technologists. You’ll find a partner who’s precisely what you want at a smaller organisation – a dedicated retail consultancy that understands your space.

They’re already up to speed with your industry and will quickly get to the crux of your challenge. They know how to translate integration solutions into project delivery and how to add value to your existing methodologies to drive efficiencies across the business.

Big enough to deliver, small enough to care

REPL is over 350 people strong across six countries. Its founders are actively involved in the business (you’ll no doubt meet them) and its people are passionate about excellence in everything they do. Our long-standing client partnerships reflect this. We’ve been working with one global fuel retailer for over five years, delivering multiple projects across POS, loyalty programmes, data science and process.

REPL is big enough to deliver and small enough to care. When you’re embarking on your next retail tech innovation, give us a call to discover what we can do for you or contact us here.

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