In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the team’ feature, we spoke with Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing, on how integral communications is to the rail industry, how Graham’s expertise in the education sector is informing his work in rail, and much more:
Hi Graham, can you give us an insight into your main roles and responsibilities at 3Squared?
I’m responsible for the Product Management and Marketing functions at 3Squared. The Product Management part of that means that I work with the great team at 3Squared to make sure that the RailSmart suite and our other products have all the right features and functions in to meet the challenges of running a modern, increasingly digital railway.
I also talk to lots of our customers to see ‘what’s next’ and make sure we continue to innovate and offer solutions that keep 3Squared at the forefront of digital rail technology with solutions that operators need to meet the challenges in front of them.
The Marketing element means I’m responsible for letting our customers know about the solutions we offer and that they understand how 3Squared’s products can improve how they run their rail businesses.
How has your experience in the education sector informed your experience within the rail sector?
That’s an interesting question. There are many differences of course. Where I used to worry about technology solutions for around 20,000 schools, now the numbers are much less – perhaps 40 passenger train and freight operating companies plus those businesses working in the rail supply chain.
There are not really any obvious parallels between the two, apart from the fact that most people have experienced both education and rail. Everyone has been to school and most people have been on a train.
However, the two industries do have some things in common. Both sectors are full of very passionate people who fervently believe in the benefits and impact of the services they provide. Both sectors are ripe for digital transformation and realising the benefits of delivering a better, more joined up experience that people have come to expect from their experience of consumer grade technology and software. Both rail and education have some catching up to do here – but it’s happening at pace now and we are determined to play our part at 3Squared.
How integral is communications and marketing to the rail sector?
Hugely important. It’s of little use if we build brilliant solutions for the rail sector and no-one knows or understands them.
Therefore, we will be working hard to showcase how our customers make use of the 3Squared RailSmart suite of products to run more efficient business operations and a safer railway. Our customers are our best advocates, and it is really their stories that I want to tell in our marketing.
What do you enjoy about the culture at 3Squared?
It’s a bit of a cliché for a tech company to have a ‘cool’ culture. But I can say 3Squared is a little different. There is a real fun and open atmosphere in the office, which is probably helped by the best stocked kitchen cupboards and fridges (there are three) I’ve ever come across. I’m now trying to lose the weight I put on after starting here!
The social committee is very active so there is always something happening. Bi-weekly whole-company catchups help everyone in the business keep updated with 3Squared news. And – one more thing. People in the office love trains! We have one guy with a model railway on his desk and the #trainnerds channel on Slack is very active.
What excites you about working in the rail industry?
I’m really enjoying learning about a new industry – lots of new terminology, acronyms, and customers to meet. I think I am asking fewer and fewer daft questions now, although my colleagues might disagree! I think I am most looking forward to seeing how technology impacts the railway in the next 3-5 years as I think there is so much possibility.
I’ve got some customer visits planned to see how our software is used ‘in the real world’, so I am super excited to see how 3Squared software is used onboard a train, or behind the scenes in the control room.
Like most people, so far, I have only really experienced the rail industry as a passenger, so this will be interesting and, of course, hearing directly from end users will help us build the best products possible that have more chance of meeting end user needs.
What does a greener, digital railway of the future look like to you?
This is hugely important and one of the things I am most passionate about 3Squared solutions helping with. The rail freight industry has the potential to make a huge impact on the nation’s carbon footprint by supporting modal shift from road to rail. I read that the average freight train removes around 75 HGVs from our roads – with a high reduction in CO2 emissions as a result.
We are working with the logistics teams on the HS2 project to deliver software solutions that help them plan freight movements for the earth that is coming out of the tunnel boring machines – which again, will remove upwards of 6,000 HGVs off the road during the project. I believe that we will see rail traction go fully electric soon – this too will have a big impact in creating a greener, cleaner railway.
Thanks for sharing your interesting insights and marketing takeaways, Graham! If you would be interested in learning more about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here and connect with Graham on LinkedIn or Twitter if you would like to say hello.