Meet the Kalibrate Team: Oliver Shaw, Chief Executive Officer

Matt Montgomery

At Intalytics, a Kalibrate company, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. So, as part of our new meet the team series, we’re showcasing some of the talent and expertise within the Intalytics and Kalibrate families. This installment features the Chief Executive Officer of Kalibrate, Oliver Shaw.

What is your role at Kalibrate?

I’m the CEO of Kalibrate. I’m responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and its performance.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I tend to run my week on processes. A typical Monday would be spent with the executive team reviewing performance. That might be looking at what is coming up or planning our activity both in the short and medium term. Another day might involve speaking to a client about their challenges and how we can offer more support. I also spend time talking to other organizations in our space or other areas of technology. That could be to help us develop our existing offering to customers or provide an opportunity to expand our capabilities into areas of value in the future.

I work with our shareholders, updating them on performance and our plans. The rest of my time is with my team. One of the key things that I’ve learned through my career is that the way to get teams to perform is by spending time with them. I’m always keen to understand their issues and provide constructive feedback where our performance could improve or where we could do things differently.

I’m always asking the Kalibrate team to challenge the status quo. Using satisfaction surveys to challenge our beliefs about how our customers perceive us. Or challenging convention in the markets where we have acquired businesses. I’m constantly challenging my Senior Leadership Team: can we better our performance? Can we change this product? Can we make this work faster for the end user?

What do you love about your role?

I spent my career working towards the point of being a standalone CEO. In many respects, this role is the pinnacle of what I wanted to achieve. The relationship with our shareholder is different from having a boss. They want me to succeed and give me the space to take the steps I believe necessary to get where we want it to be. That is a huge privilege and a massive responsibility, but running a business is what I’ve always wanted to do.

The second aspect is working out how you can create value for our shareholder whilst delivering more value to customers, in a way that allows us to grow the business. That is great fun and I love trying something new and the process of putting those pieces together. Every day I’m asking what else we can do; advocating for change is normal.

Why did you choose to join Kalibrate?

I spent 10 years in my last business, and I’d come to point where it was right to part ways. I was keen to work on a business with high recurring revenue as a base to generate greater value. I wanted something which was focused on AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics, because we’re at an exciting stage in its application in business. I chose Kalibrate because I wanted to be part of this.

Of course, I also met the team at Kalibrate, who were impressive. My conclusion was that this was a high-quality business with a 30-year pedigree. Its potential to answer the challenges clients will face in the future was particularly appealing.

What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing retailers?

The pandemic has had a major impact on consumer behavior. As a result, omnichannel retail is in a period of massive upheaval. To navigate the ongoing changes, our customers need a more scientific approach to real estate and marketing decision making; and analytics that can uncover location insights will be an important part of any decision-making process in retail.

Retailers without a strong e-commerce presence were hit extremely hard, furthering the need to perfect that omnichannel approach. The need to understand how online shopping affects in-store sales and vice versa is critical for future decision-making.

The pandemic has also accelerated the importance of joining together brick and mortar locations with an online offering – particularly for retail and restaurants brands. Those that had already established a quality omnichannel experience will have adapted to consumer needs more easily during the pandemic than those who built from scratch. As we continue to emerge from the lockdowns and restrictions, retailers will need to continue to leverage this data as they respond to which new consumer preferences are here to stay.

The mix of products and services available at retail locations will change too. The shift from delivering a retail experience to becoming a ‘destination’ is likely to accelerate significantly. More than before, retailers will need to know that they have the right offering positioned at the appropriate price. In addition, I expect that decisions will be taken at a higher frequency. We may see retailers refining their strategy every quarter or monthly, rather than year-to-year, as they learn about how their market has changed post-pandemic. That is a challenge, but also a huge opportunity for those with the capabilities to keep pace.

The next consideration is even greater digitalization and the omnichannel experience. Brands that maintain brick and mortar sites need to continue to raise their game for the growing number of consumers who shop mainly online. Simply providing an online store to complement brick and mortar won’t be enough. Retailers will need to provide a quality omnichannel experience or get left behind.

In the QSR space, we saw how important the drive-thru is for this sector. Real estate will now have to account for single or double drive-thru lanes for QSR moving forward. The restaurant sector has huge opportunities now that so many brands have figured out how to better execute delivery, take-out, and drive-thru.

The natural extension for retailers is a high quality, well-staffed store on the high street, which allows you to go and pick up your online order. If it is not as expected, you leave it in the store to be processed from there. That experience is not widely available. Consumers may enjoy online browsing, but often still want to see the product before completing a purchase.  We may see more retailers adopt this hybrid model. Where to place those stores, and how to deliver that experience, will be critical to their success.

In the fuel space, the growth of EV presents significant challenges to convention. EV drivers have different expectations. Our recent research into EV consumer habits is revealing. 60% of EV drivers would grab a drink or a bite to eat while they wait for their vehicle to charge, 42% would shop for essentials like groceries, and 29% would shop or browse shops to pass the time. This is a significant commercial window for retailers to capture. With adoption growing, the value of this ‘charge window’ will only become greater.

It’s perfectly possible that the EV consumer will come to expect the ability to charge their electric vehicle as much as they would expect the ability to charge their phone or access Wi-Fi. This has consequences for gas stations, who will need stronger convenience offerings, and retail destinations, who will have to serve EV owners.

What’s next for Kalibrate?

I am confident in the quality of our products, our ability to deliver rich insight, and the data science that backs it all up. The proprietary data we collect from the market and the information owned by the customer will continue to combine to support organizations’ decision making and strategy.

The movement towards EV will radically change the way consumers interact with vendors of fuel and energy. Virtually any retail location could be an energy vendor. That energy has got to be priced as well as planned, so we are positioned to help. Of course, there are implications for the parking field as well. If a customer has a 15-minute wait while their vehicle charges, there will be greater focus on a site’s potential profitability through the convenience and retail proposition. With Kalibrate’s acquisitions of TAS and Intalytics, we can provide our clients with rich demographic and behavioral insight to inform these elements of their EV strategy. Our data tells us where the early adopters of EV are and where there are more early adopters so that retail and restaurant clients will understand where to open locations with charging stations.

Making more of each customer visit becomes even more important when they are visiting for longer. Once you overlay competitiveness of location and convenience with total site profitability and elements such as loyalty data, we are in a good place to help organizations navigate the change successfully.

By combining Intalytics and TAS’ offerings with the range and quality of Kalibrate’s own solutions, we can collectively support our wealth of customers to make better, smarter decisions.

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