From its beginnings in 2003, Neil Murray has been responsible for building Mimecast – now the leading provider of cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 – from the ground up.
It now serves over 4,500 customers and more than one million users worldwide, with offices in Europe, USA, South Africa and the Channel Islands.
Neil co-founded the business, and today he continues to lead the development of all the company’s technology, overseeing the construction of Mimecast’s platform and spearheading their move into the mobile space.
What’s your biggest technology problem right now?
We’re an email company, but our technological problem isn’t email, really. It’s the production of technology.
Traditionally, the way people have built software has been fairly linear. You design it, you build it, you ship it.
But in the cloud space, and certainly in the email space, the evolution of the code is so rapid that our biggest problem is getting new features out in days, not weeks or months or years.
To get to that point, we’re kind of in the middle of a change to a philosophy called “continuous delivery”, a technique which has been pioneered by quite a lot of the big cloud, business-to-consumer vendors, where what you do is you tend to automate everything.
So as your developers automate their code, the test is automated and the deployment of the software is near-on immediate. You’re shipping very small changes in real-time to your cloud production system as your day goes by. You’re not versioning, you’re not doing all that traditional stuff.
It is fairly complex to take an organisation like ours, which has been around since 2003, and re-build it internally to do that kind of stuff. But it’s a critical requirement to keep up with the pace.
It’s something that has to evolve within our business so we can cope with other, smaller problems.
The big challenge is re-engineering the business for that rate of change.