I joined Batch a year ago, keen to contribute to Batch’s growth and development.
As CTO, my main challenge (and an incredibly exciting one at that) is to structure and support our tech and product teams in building a 360 customer engagement platform, starting with our brand-new CRM email channel.
Obviously, it is a technological challenge, but it is a human one above all, and our platform revamp inevitably required reorganisation within our teams.
So, how have Batch's tech and product teams redefined themselves to meet the exacting requirements of omnichannel?
Read on to find out more.
Building an all-in-one omnichannel platform
Let’s start with the Batch all-in-one omnichannel platform which summarises what Batch provides you today in terms of:
- Your experience as a Batch client;
- The experience your users will have.
This vision is a clear and straightforward starting point to explain why we have chosen this organisation for our tech and product teams.
Aside from this simplified view, there are functional software components that you can see in more detail below.
As you can see, the core part of the Batch platform is structured into three main blocks, that is, three floors of feature sets:
First floor: Batch Profiles & Data. This floor is designed to ingest user data from all sources (mobile apps, websites and APIs). The aim continues to be to provide you with the most complete unified view possible of your users and the events they will encounter as they interact on your platform.
Second floor: Batch Engagement. With real-time data reporting, Batch’s customers can create the most sophisticated scenarios possible and send the most relevant messages at the most appropriate times.
Third floor: Batch Messaging. Sending messages has long been embodied by mobile and web notifications. Today we are focusing on the email channel so you can create more sophisticated scenarios and interact with your customers in an ever more innovative way . Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Once a message has been sent, we will collect data about its receipt, whether it has been opened, and so on.
Analytics about whether or not your messages have been received and opened thus feed into a feedback loop, again feeding the first floor — the centralised database for your users.
The all-in-one view on our platform is the basis upon which all our tech and product teams work, and we use it to enrich our omnichannel solution constantly.
Let’s go back in time to understand why we have chosen this organisation.
The previous Batch tech & product organisation: a team of skilled individuals
The Batch platform was initially built with a particular focus on technical skills. Centres of expertise brought together Batchers by technological affinity and their leaders were mainly driven by:
- A great passion for the technology and the product;
- The desire to provide a modern experience that was as seamless as possible.
From a technical point of view, building and improving the Batch platform required knowing how to handle:
- Huge traffic spikes (for example, unexpected global news);
- Very sophisticated orchestration use cases;
- User and developer experiences to make them as user-friendly as possible. Since Batch’s creation, this has been a keen ambition for our teams. We wanted to conceal the complexity of the problem we were addressing as far as possible and provide an easy-to-use service.
As such, the tech teams thought about the product just as much as the product managers and product designers. Everyone was committed to building this simple, efficient and effective experience.
This organisational architecture was very relevant for several years, and it made it possible to build a robust foundation capable of absorbing high levels of load without breaking our performance promises. It also enabled us to capitalise on our technical skills and cultivate a high level of expertise within the teams.
Batch’s tech and product organisation has grown by 50% over the past 18 months. Today, we have almost 40 members of staff.
With that number of people, the organisational model broken down into centres of technical expertise had several limits:
- It was not very clear to those outside of the tech and product teams;
- It didn’t result in efficient navigation within the organisation or the fair distribution of work.
The new squad organisation to meet omnichannel requirements
Therefore, we chose an organisational model you may have already seen or implemented in your companies.
At Batch, this organisational model is called squads.
Squads are another name for multidisciplinary teams.
Rather than having teams focused on centres of technical expertise, we created teams in which we bring together all the necessary skills and knowledge to develop a feature completely autonomously.
In other organisations, you may have heard the terms ‘feature teams’, ‘cross functional teams’, ‘crews’ and so on. The aim is to differentiate themselves from the rest, but in the end, it boils down to the same thing and is still a multidisciplinary team.
The very essence of a squad is a team that seeks autonomy by taking full responsibility for a meaningful scope.
Let’s take a look once again at the functional scope of the Batch platform below.
You can see a set of features that are centred on the main three building blocks. We built the new Batch organisation to have these three pillars and the result was three product-oriented squads:
- The Profile Squad — focused on this user view;
- The Engage Squad — focused on orchestration issues and creating interaction scenarios with your users;
- The Messaging Squad — focused on the different communication channels that we will provide you to interact with your users.
We have two platform squads to support these product squads:
- One squad focused on common application tools and components: the Platform Squad;
- A second — the Infrastructure Squad — manages all servers to provide a robust experience. In particular, it absorbs the peak loads you may encounter in various industries. Some peaks can be predicted (such as presidential elections) but others cannot (for example, the death of Queen Elizabeth II). Regardless of the reason for the peak load, you still have to be able to handle it.
In short, Batch’s organisation into squads is the best today for two main reasons:
It enables our tech and product teams to be more efficient and faster as it fosters greater autonomy and quicker decision-making; It is clearer and** more tailored to your needs**. That’s why we created centres of expertise focused on the operational topics of Profiles, Engage and Messaging, which reflect your experience in your daily operations. As such, if you have not yet done so, please read about our new H1 2023 features (Profile, Engage and Messaging innovations) from these three squads.
Chief Technical Officer @ Batch