Mike Callender, executive chairman, REPL Group
Midlands based retail IT consulting and technology firm REPL Group has announced the opening of a new office in Warwickshire.
The £1m pound investment will boost employment in the region by creating jobs for 60 new employees, generating a 200% increase in the company’s testing team. The Warwick-based tech hub will act as a testing lab for the firm as it increases its R&D testing and data science capabilities.
Following a reported 38% year-on-year growth in sales in the first six months of 2018, this is the latest in a string of new locations opened by Henley-In-Arden based REPL Group, coming after new openings in the US, Japan and most recently South Africa.
The new hub, which will house the group’s test centre, will be headed up by Neil McGregor, operations director, and Antony Kaplan, test director.
“The REPL test practice has grown significantly over the last 18 months, as well as performing manual testing in the test lab, we have also made great strides in automated testing and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)” commented Mike Callender, executive chairman, REPL Group.
He continued: “The team has seen remarkable results with automating testing in systems that were previously thought to be impossible to automate. This has resulted in the ability for regression tests on new releases to be run overnight, while also enabling performance and scale testing on these systems.”
By increasing investment in the technology team, REPL has also appointed Rafik Salama as head of data science to strengthen the company’s dedicated data science division. Salama is an expert in AI and machine learning, having undertaken 10 years of academic research on applied machine learning at Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford, and will help REPL raise awareness within the retail industry of the benefits that applications of AI can bring to enhance operations.
Salama brings with him a wealth of experience in consulting and industry applied data science in retail, medicine, finance, and the energy sector. The role will see Salama work on innovation for retailers, advising on organisational strategies for data-driven approaches and leading the data science team in working with organisations to transform their businesses.
Callender added: “The past six months have been a period of change for REPL. The opening of our new offices is not only creating new opportunities for us as a business, but we are also providing new employment opportunities to the people in those areas. Our people are a vital part of REPL and it is great to see that they are being recognised for their contributions to the industry, with our CEO Cerys Johnson having also been announced as a finalist for the West Midlands Woman in Tech Award.
“We’re excited that the next stage of development for REPL will see the opening of our Warwickshire office and the welcoming of Rafik to the Group. We feel he will be a great asset and will really bolster our existing data science team."
Salama added: “I’m extremely pleased to be joining REPL at such an exciting time for the business and to be supporting the growth of the data science team. Currently, so many retailers aren’t considering the possibilities of what they can do with the latest technologies available to them and I would like to see retailers thinking about the possibilities that AI can bring to the table."
Salama has also started an AI in retail meet up to bring data scientists in the retail industry together. The initiative aims to educate retailers about how much data science can transform their business. Similarly, Johnson has spearheaded an internal initiative to provide support and inspiration for women working at REPL and to encourage young women to consider a career in technology.
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