There’s a reason why AmazeRealise is an Episerver Premium Partner and has been named Partner of the Year multiple times. A reason why we continue to deliver amazing, high-profile customer experiences for global and local clients such as the English Football League and The Jockey Club.
It’s our people and their unparalleled experience.
We’re delighted and proud that Paul Gruffydd has been named as one of Episerver’s Most Valued Professionals (EMVP).
Paul, our Technical Director at AmazeRealise, joins an elite group of 60 global professionals in Episerver’s programme who have proven their ability to make a difference and provided amazing contributions to the entire Episerver community. In the UK, only six people have made the grade.
We talked to Paul about the award, his career and the benefits of working with Episerver below.
Paul has joined a truly elite group of Episerver experts. Many would like to become an EMVP but very few are chosen. It’s a testament to his utter mastery of the platform and generosity in sharing his knowledge with the rest of the community. Needless to say, it’s also a big bonus for our clients to have Paul working on their side.
What does becoming an EMVP mean to you?
The EMVP programme is a pretty exclusive club with less than 60 EMVPs worldwide who have all gained their place through their outstanding contributions to the Episerver community. Episerver describes the program as "an elite group of industry experts" and I've seen first hand the wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm they hold. So. I'm exceptionally proud to have been awarded EMVP status and to be one of only six EMVPs in the UK.
What have been the best project(s) you’ve worked on at AmazeRealise?
That's a really tricky question as I've been lucky enough to work on many great projects for many great clients over the years, each with its own unique challenges. For example I could pick out the project we completed for ANA last year where we got to explore the possibilities of DXC, seamlessly integrating on-premise and cloud-hosted data into a single Epi commerce platform.
If I had to pick just one though, it would probably be the Pizza Hut site. That project was a great example of everything just falling into place – a great brief for a well-known, fun brand. A great team both internally and from the client-side who collaborated closely throughout. It also involved a brand new release from Episerver which landed just days before we started development.
The project had a tight immovable deadline driven by changes in the client's business which meant that we had to carefully prioritise the features to be delivered for launch. The new Episerver release (7.1) introduced features which meant that functionality which was on the nice-to-have list was suddenly able to be delivered within the tight timescales. The result was a feature-rich website and one of the first to be built from scratch on the Episerver 7 platform. It delivered personalised content based on a variety of factors including sales data, time, location and user activity, all delivered on time and on budget.
How did you end up in a developer career?
It was pretty much an accident. I studied electrical engineering at university which included a couple of modules on C programming which I found frustratingly unproductive. When I graduated, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, though I was certain that I didn't want a job which involved computers!
At the same time as I was studying, I started writing websites (in notepad – that was basically all we had back then). So, when it came to looking for a job, I thought I'd give professional web development a go. At the time the web was still seen as nothing more than a novelty so I was lucky to get in at the ground level and have the whole industry grow up as I did.
What sets great developers apart from good ones?
In a word, context. A good developer will take each brief they're given and craft a solution to meet the requirements in that brief. A great developer will take a step back and look to understand the context of the brief to provide a simple, elegant solution which addresses the "why" rather than just the "what" of a given problem.
What do you enjoy most about working with Episerver?
There's so much I could mention here such as the great developer community, but beyond that I've been hooked by the evolution of the platform.
When I started writing Episerver sites it was basically just a CMS (and possibly a bulk emailing tool). But over the years we've seen new features added including commerce capabilities, search, personalisation, social/community capabilities, marketing automation and machine learning.
The platform has also evolved from being solely on-premise software to being primarily cloud-based. Epi DXC delivers many of the newer features as discrete cloud-hosted services. This has meant that, as my technology interests have developed, Episerver has evolved along a similar path. As part of the EMVP program I hope to help shape that direction in the future.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in developing?
Take every opportunity you can to learn. There are loads of those opportunities out there and it's not just about locking yourself away and ploughing through online courses. Join online communities, go to meetups and get to know others working in your chosen technology. As I said, they can help you to understand the "why" in a way that books and courses will struggle to do.
Don't skip the foundations and don't get caught up in the new and shiny. Looking at job ads and talking to recruiters, it would be tempting to jump on the bandwagon of whichever framework or technology is popular this week for the sake of ticking boxes but, when that technology falls out of fashion, if you haven't got a solid understanding of the concepts behind it, you'll have a much more difficult job switching to something else.
And finally, don't let anyone tell you a quintuple espresso is too much.
How do you see your role developing in the future?
Well, for a start there’s no room for complacency. EMVP is not a title for life so I need to keep delivering to the best of my ability to stay on the list. Apart from that, Episerver is always evolving and there’s always more that we can do for clients using its features. My role will be helping those clients get the best from Epi to deliver customer experiences that help to drive their business. Whatever happens, I hope to continue working for brilliant clients on challenging projects that continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
If you want to work with people who are proven leaders in their field then fill in the form below and let’s talk about how Episerver could help you deliver customer experiences that make a difference.