TechEast Member Spotlight — Tech Marionette

TechEast Member Spotlight — Tech Marionette 

In the Member Spotlight this month is Dom Davis, Chief Technical Officer at Tech Marionette. Based in Norwich, the firm specialises in data storage analysis, DevOps, and audit reports. We caught up with Dom to discuss how 2018 has been for the business, as well as the meaning behind that intriguing company name.

Can you tell us about Tech Marionette and what the company does?

We’re a three year-old startup that began in the configuration management database (CMDB) space.

CMDBs are notoriously ineffective, and processes surrounding them are usually spreadsheet-driven. This means nobody has the data to hand, and yet the same solution is applied by businesses again and again. Our CEO and co-founder, Jason wanted to do something about it.

He explored a few possibilities, and when I joined the company a couple of years ago it became Tech Marionette as it looks today.

A typical use case for us is storage. Large organisations typically hold a lot of files owned by usernames — it’s difficult to know who actually owns each file, and therefore who’s responsible for the costs associated with storing it, etc. Our tech analyses the metadata of these files to make sense of what’s going on.

The pressure is on for large enterprises to reduce their IT spend each year, but the need for storage space is increasing year-on-year. Costs are rising, and these enterprise clients don’t have a view on what’s happening. We provide them more information about their IT estate, and help them save money.

We can also apply our technology to ensuring data access is properly revoked when employees leave a company. We can generate a view on who is leaving each week, and what access rights need revoking. A sweeper report can also be run to find out if anything has been missed. We take manual processes and make them streamlined and more effective.

Our clients so far include an established UK SME, and we’re currently working with the investment banking arm of a large multi-national financial services company.

What’s the meaning behind the company name?

Notionally, it represents the idea that we have connections through lots of data, and are manipulating it to deliver the best outcome.

Realistically, I hated the original company name. When I joined, we spent a week trying to come up with something we all liked with an available domain name. Tech Marionette is what we settled on…

How has 2018 been for Tech Marionette: what were the company’s highs and lows?

This year has been a pivotal one for Tech Marionette.

Last year, we spent a lot of time honing the product. Now, we actually have clients, so we’re not pre-revenue anymore.

In 2018, we expanded the team and moved into larger premises to accommodate this growth. We’ve also started making inroads with bigger clients. In the market segment we’re after, we only need one or two clients to be cashflow positive, so this is great news!

What are you hoping to achieve in 2019?

We’d like to secure a few more large clients, as well as grow the team further. We’d like to create an in-house support team, as we’re currently using a third-party support organisation. We’d also like to increase the number of developers on the team.

In your opinion, what are the biggest strengths and challenges for East Anglia as a tech hotspot?

East Anglia offers an excellent quality of life. I used to live and work in London, and the high salary was not worth the stress involved. Moving to Norfolk allowed me to have a much higher quality of life. I may not be pulling in the big bucks anymore, but I live in a house near the sea and my children get to play in a large garden.

Our close proximity to London is handy for meeting clients and networking, but it does have disadvantages. East Anglia loses out on talent because people would rather move to London for that higher salary — especially those at the start of their career. To help change this, we’re working with schools and universities to raise awareness about working in tech, and help train up the talent our region needs.

Why did Tech Marionette join TechEast?

Originally, the company was based in Hampshire. However, I saw that there was a great community in East Anglia, with lots of support available — including TechEast. We decided to relocate the company in order to benefit from the support network in the East.

As well as increasing our visibility in the region, our TechEast membership has been incredibly valuable for the use of the London Embassy.

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