Product | People | Potential – our chat with CareDocs
The purpose of this series of articles is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with grand potential, truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real-talk while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.
Joe @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does, what stage you are at currently, and what makes your business and offering unique?
Hamza: I’m Hamza Mabrook, Head of Development at CareDocs and I’m responsible for our products and solutions. I’ve only recently joined CareDocs and inherited a few existing products and a small agile team of mixed-skill developers. The team will be growing in the next couple of months as we continue to grow, transform, and expand our SaaS and PaaS solutions. I currently specialise in cloud infrastructure and cloud-native solutions for desktop, web, and mobile and I’m also a huge advocate of DevOps, Automation, and Process Improvement. Before CareDocs I was employed at Renishaw for ~10 years and have worked on embedded systems, Realtime Operating Systems, desktop, and web applications.
The values our business was built to make us unique. We are passionate about serving the care industry and making a difference in people’s lives, and that is something that is shared across all our departments. We have a very organic interest in helping care homes provide top-quality care and ensuring our customers use our software efficiently to get the most of our products. I think this company-wide work ethic stems from how CareDocs was originally conceived and it has carried on through hard work and dedication.
Joe @ ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and service/product?
Hamza: It’s a really interesting story. The owners of CareDocs had their own family-run care home, which they still manage today, and they wanted to find a way to reduce time-consuming admin tasks to allow more time to provide care to their residents. This led to the two brothers designing and building their own personal digital care management system. They trialled it on their own care home with great success and eventually, word of its benefits spread to other care homes. Now we have thousands of users across the UK.
Joe @ ADLIB: Speaking of people, can you share some challenges you have faced, are facing or are anticipating around scaling and growing your team? Do you have any top tips you could share with those businesses faced with the same issues?
Hamza: I have previously managed distributed and remote working teams, so infrastructure and people management have been easy and straightforward. Most of our current challenges have been as a result of COVID-19 and having to work from home. Unreliable Internet connections have been the biggest problem but unfortunately, that is something out of our control. So when we all go back to reality (hopefully soon), I hope we all improve on our hygiene, compassion, and empathy for others and our internet!
In terms of scaling and growing the team, although the impact of COVID-19 on businesses specialising in health and care has been minimal, economic uncertainties presented by COVID-19 have meant we have had to apply a bit of caution to the recruitment process and timelines. This is reflected in our direct approach to filling the current vacancies without a recruitment agency and a widened timeline for a few of the future roles.
Bigger remote and distributed teams also often suffer from communication debt with the rise of different communication platforms and channels. At CareDocs we have addressed this with strategies, policies, and most importantly awareness to minimise stress and maintain a culture where employees don’t have to feel pressured to always be available to respond. Communication debt is not necessarily about time management but more to do with how we can manage our attention and prioritise work. Simple measures such as providing a knowledge space for frequently asked questions, the right tools, and leading from the top can help prevent and promote a better company and team culture. These also promote collaboration, respect, productivity, and an overall healthier work-life balance.
Joe @ ADLIB: Moving to product, what has been your approach to understanding and implementing product market fit or sales cycles?
Hamza: I encourage an agile and DevOps delivery model while working closely with stakeholders, different teams, and the customer base for timely feedback loops and rich, shorter delivery cycles.
Joe @ ADLIB: And then potential, can you share some challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a product/service offering with potential?
Hamza: The demographic we operate in emphasise the importance of accessibility and designing software and solutions that cater to all. Therefore the challenge is to maintain simplicity, usability, and accessibility within the products while facilitating rich and complex features and functionality developed for a wide range of abilities and disabilities conforming to the universal design pattern.
Joe @ ADLIB: Investment can often be a challenge for start-ups and scale-ups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around the best approach?
Hamza: Consistency and simplicity often help to mitigate risks and reduce unnecessary complexity. Therefore, it’s best to plan and scale-up gradually to allow for a mature expansion.
Thanks for your time!