Meet the Kalibrate team: Norris Lyons, Chief Technology Officer
At Kalibrate, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. Our “meet the team” series showcases some of the talent and expertise within the Kalibrate family. We talked to our Chief Technology Officer, Norris Lyons, about continuous innovation and the role that technology can plan in supporting the fuel retail industry.
What is your role at Kalibrate?
As Chief Technology Officer, I’m responsible for all innovation, development, and operations here at Kalibrate. My focus is on delivering what our customers need from our products, with reliable and robust technology to support it.
Kalibrate’s underlying technology needs to be resilient as we’re dealing with millions of data points that we collect and collate every day through machine learning and AI. Data is collected on over one million locations and is sent to clients in over 70 countries, so the stability and reliability of our technology is paramount.
Alongside stability, one of my main focuses is product innovation. When I joined Kalibrate, I met with a number of clients who wanted to change the way they accessed their data. As a result, our teams have delivered a suite of APIs allowing clients to extract the data they need to satisfy their own requirements – these are available in the latest version of Kalibrate Pricing.
What does a typical day look like?
With a global, 24/7 business like Kalibrate there is never a typical day!
I’ll usually start by looking at what’s going on around the globe from the night before to see if there are any issues that need addressing. Supporting so many international clients means there are always a variety of projects in motion and it’s vital to make sure we’re delivering on the commitments that we’ve made. Each day I’ll oversee the progress of tasks through different stages of our internal processes to understand what’s going into production, how upcoming releases are progressing through development, and how the technical support teams are serving our client base.
I have a fantastic, highly capable team — each individual is extremely accomplished in their own field. Each one of them is driving our strategy forwards: from operations to security, to technology and architecture. My job is to help them and provide direction and to empower them to make things happen.
Why did you choose to join Kalibrate?
In previous roles, I was responsible for large scale project delivery, but I knew that technology development was where my interests lay.
During my 18 months here, we’ve already made many advancements, but technology never stops evolving, so there’s always something new to work towards. It’s really exciting to be able to drive large-scale change that benefits both Kalibrate and the clients we work with.
We’ve recently launched the new Kalibrate Planning 3.0 which not only leverages new data science and AI technology, but also re-envisioned the existing LocationXpert product into a completely new SaaS platform. We’ve built in new ways to gain insights from the data, like competitor benchmarking and the new Performance Potential Quadrant (PPQ) visualization. This allows our clients to use an intuitive user interface to make it far easier to access the data, and insights that they need to empower their network planning decisions.
What do you think are the greatest challenges for the fuel and convenience retail sector?
There are a lot of changes happening within the industry that could be both opportunities and challenges, depending on how you view them.
We’re seeing huge opportunities for growth in the fuel and convenience retail sector in some developing markets like India and parts of Africa at the moment.
Closer to home, we’re seeing a lot more diversification of fuel retail. We’ve seen it in the US and it’s now evident in the UK, fuel forecourts are no longer just for fuel. Convenience offerings are found at the majority of fuel stations and you’re increasingly more likely to find quick service restaurants and other customer offerings now too. Many of these retailers are introducing their own loyalty programmes and are finding more and more ways to attract, and retain, loyal customers.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, created a number of challenges for fuel retailers and we’ve seen fuel prices drop to the lowest rates in years. However, with tactical know-how and reliable insights, retailers can create opportunities from these challenges.
I’m a big believer in the power of data. But data is just the starting point, you need to use data to create insights and use insights to drive action. Our products provide reliable data and timely insights to our clients, who can then use it to drive their future strategies.
The opportunity to maximize profit and revenue, regardless of environmental changes, is something that Kalibrate supports our clients to do. From automating pricing strategies, to helping clients choose the optimal site location, to bespoke consultancy, Kalibrate’s team and technology support clients to turn insight into action and overcome the challenges they’re faced with.
How can technology benefit the fuel retail industry?
Data and technology go hand in hand – and both are vital to a changing fuel retail sector.
Storing data, which is growing at an extraordinary rate year on year, is one challenge – but understanding data is an even bigger hurdle. The technology we use at Kalibrate allows clients to both access stored data easily, and truly understand the insights that the data reveals.
Our technology strategy focuses on providing a service that genuinely delights our clients. We have clients of varying sizes across the globe, from small independent retailers to huge global oil companies, and we work to ensure that our technology works in a way that benefits them all.
We have some fantastic people at Kalibrate that know the industry inside out and our data scientists create cutting-edge algorithms, so we’re trying to use these to predict our customers’ needs and provide solutions to them as quickly as possible.
We’ve already made some big changes to our underlying technology. Our global partnership with Microsoft has enabled us to move more of our technology into the cloud, providing increased reliability and ensuring a stable service for our clients. We have some ambitious plans for further improvements which we’re excited to share with our clients.
Subscribe to Kalibrate’s Decision Maker newsletter – at the bottom of this page – to hear more about Norris’ technology updates and future plans.
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