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An inside look at research and development in small business software

17 August - 4 min read

When he’s not catching waves at his local Queensland beach, our Server Technical Lead, Shane Nall, is creating them. Pioneering and leading the research, development and innovation of our software for businesses across Australia.

Not only does Shane work his magic and collaborate daily with our team from the other side of the country, but he’s also mastered the art of working from home for over 16 years.

Check out his insight into 20-plus years of technical software development and how he’s living proof that nerds can surf below!

What is your current role, and what does it involve?

“My current role at Spenda is as Server Technical Lead. I like to think of it as Chewbacca’s role from Star Wars, acting as the right-hand man for Han Solo. I can step into a management role as required, but I prefer to lead the research, R & D, and innovation. My primary role is working as a developer. I love code and the constant learning and challenges involved.”

What did you study and where?

“I studied a Bachelor of Computer Science at James Cook University in Townsville, Northern Queensland. I grew up in Mackay which is around five hours’ drive from Townsville, so it was a natural choice to stay close to home.”

Spenda's Project manager, Shane leads our financial software development team

Where has your career taken you?

“My first role out of uni was in software support in Toowoomba developing a POS and Workshop accounting package. Looking back, it was a unique experience, and it was a start-up in the 90s that was going through a phase of growth. The company moved from Toowoomba to Brisbane after 12 months and I progressed from a support role managing on-site installations and training into a full-time development role.

Unfortunately, development was primarily maintenance and with a big chunk of 1999 spent fixing Y2K bugs, the challenges for me had dried up. I packed my car and drove to Perth, surfing the coastline along the way and had my first experience working from home, this time focusing on helping businesses adapt to changes from the implementation of GST. At the end of that, I was ready for a new challenge and that’s when I first met our Managing Director, Adrian Floate, and Lead Business Analyst, Andrew Mann in 2000. Since I started working with the team, I’ve not had to look around for new challenges, my work keeps me energised, and the company’s incredible forward momentum means there is never a dull moment.”

What kinds of calls for improvements have you seen in your field of B2B transactions and payment gateways over the years?

“Integration in the B2B payments space is an area that has been calling out for change for a long time. The same challenges exist today that existed years ago and the proposed solutions are either too complicated and lack context for each of the relevant parties, or the solution gets siloed at an enterprise level based on the biggest party. So, in other words, there are plenty of solutions that offer a generic integration as in they can read and write data in and out of almost any system, but from there it becomes a “choose your own adventure” as to the format of the data and how the information gets traded at a B2B level. Alternatively, at the enterprise level, the format of information and how it gets traded is clearly defined, but you end up with a closed system that’s usually only a solution for one party.

At Spenda we have been working on this problem and in this space for almost 20 years. Combining the strengths of both generic and enterprise solutions while focusing on the relationship between parties to build trading networks to contextualise the data for the final integration step.”

How is your team focusing on attacking flaws in technical aspects and payments with Spenda?

“We want to enable every business with the ability to offer their customers and trading partners a better choice of account payment solution than what’s currently on offer. A complete end-to-end solution with automated seamless integration. Imagine running a business and never entering an invoice or processing a payment – we think it’s possible.”

You’re currently based in QLD, what has it been like working from home for years on the other side of the country to your fellow colleagues?

“I was in Perth for four years before I decided to move back to Queensland. I had a great time in Perth and up until this year, I was a frequent visitor, it’s an awesome place with great people and I love flying over to see the team to collaborate in development, training, workshops, hackathons and Christmas parties. I also love working from home and I’ve been doing it for over 16 years. I’ve been right here as my kids have turned from babies into little people lending a hand the whole way and I’ve never missed a moment.”

Shane is an avid surfer

What have been your biggest career accomplishments so far?

“There have been plenty of proud moments, the Spenda API’s, our Integration framework, the Reach Integration Controller, re-engineering the DevOps CICD pipelines to accelerate our release cycle and constantly improving our security at all levels. Years ago, we migrated the entire solution into the cloud, but I guess my most significant accomplishment is the CAPLINK solution.

The performance and stability of the system, not to mention the sheer amount of data that has passed through the platform over the years makes it a stand out, along with the continued relevance of all of the core design and development principles that went into that system.”

What are your favourite hobbies outside of your role?

“I’m a mad keen surfer even after over 30 years and seldom miss a swell, although these days it takes a back seat to my family. I spend a lot of time with my kids, playing in the yard and going on family adventures. We all love to hit the beach, get out into nature, scooting, skating, biking, hiking, kicking the footy, etc. Besides that, I do a lot of group fitness, listen to a lot of music and read a lot of fantasy. I would love it if there were 25 hours in a day, but hey, I’m happy to work with the 24 we all get to share!”

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