Season 8 - Implementing the IT

Episode 2 - Building a team and getting advice

Adrien Aumont — To face the many IT challenges we mentioned last week, we had to call on external resources to pull together a team. Except that, funnily enough, these resources have come to us.

Firstly, there’s Maxime. A while back, he was VP Product of a very large media app and he contacted Simon Dawlat, the creator of the app Batch, saying that he wanted to work for us. Being a close friend of mine and one of the investors in Midnight Trains, Simon put us in touch. We got on well as soon as we met and we commissioned him to work on a project to create the digital product we need.

Then there was Yann, who also got in touch to work with us after going to a conference on the revival of night trains, in which Romain was taking part. Again, his profile and personality matched what we were looking for. He had indeed worked on the entire information system of a large restaurant chain, as well as on its payment system.

Like Maxime, Yann had an excellent profile and impressive skills, so we commissioned him to do some consulting work. We know we always want to recruit the best talent, and work with people who also suit the company, and this was no exception.

Romain Payet — The missions we assigned to Maxime and Yann are both different and complementary. The first focuses more on the definition of the product, and on the user experience. He began by establishing the key functions of our digital product, the services that must be available to end users and what this means in terms of the customer journey and the architecture. As for Yann, he’s turning his sights to the information system, payment system and even the management of reservations.

Maxime and Yann’s profiles are excellent, but they need to improve their skills on the subject of railways, as neither has worked in the sector before. However, this includes IT elements unique to it, such as communication with the network manager, and SNCF Stations and connections.

When Capgemini Invent contacted us, we jumped at the chance. Of course, working with a company of this size may seem disproportionate to Midnight Trains. But, as it turns out, they count SNCF and Ile-de-France Mobilités among their customers, and have in-house digital railway experts and web architecture specialists dedicated to this type of product. In addition, they bought the company, Frog, which specialises in creating user experience. Again, we’re launching a consulting mission, but this one will be pretty quick - two or three months long, with the aim of increasing our internal team's skills and finding architecture and functionalities that are clear enough to determine a budget and a roadmap. It should also save time when we go into production.

Adrien Aumont — Finally, there was Claire, who got in touch via LinkedIn to be part of the Midnight Trains adventure. She also impressed us with her career and her personality. She’s a revenue management expert who’s worked for Britain's largest rail company, one of the largest cross-border rail companies, as well as in hospitality and at an airline. She has a deep knowledge of revenue management and much broader experience than just the hotel industry and rail. So we’re moving forward with her in a freelance capacity, to get her insight into setting our prices, deciding on how they should evolve as our inventory grows. She’s also helping us track the competition.

But that's not all. As she has already worked with the biggest inventory management and revenue management tools, she will enable us to do a little roadshow to evaluate them. This will be the first step in a bigger mission, and we’ll have to make choices between programs from the world of railways, hotels and luxury trains.

Midnight Trains Logo