The Etch Spotlight series is your chance to meet the hugely talented people who make up the Etch Community. In this Spotlight, we meet Garry Hardy, Commercial Director at Zoonou.
James Perrin
James Perrin

Spotlight - 01 - 1080x1080 – 5Garry Hardy

Commercial Director, Zoonou

The Etch Spotlight series lets you get to know the talent that makes up the Etch Community. Find out their successes and challenges, how they got started, and what they like the most about working with Etch. This week, we meet Garry Hardy, Commercial Director at Zoonou.


Hi Garry, please briefly explain who you are and what you do… 

 Hi, I'm Garry Hardy. I'm Commercial Director at Zoonou. We’re a full-service software testing and QA solutions partner. Most of what we do at Zoonou is testing to ensure a product looks and works as expected. The information that we provide helps our clients to better understand quality levels throughout the production process, and this ensures that work is consistently delivered to a high standard.

Testing is carried out across a wide range of browsers, operating systems and devices based on brand analytics data – this helps our clients to feel assured that their customers will receive a consistent user experience, and most importantly, bugs are identified and fixed before launch.

As Zoonou has grown, so have our capabilities. We now have over 50 members of staff, and this has enabled us to expand our services to include QA process advisory, accessibility auditing, usability testing, penetration testing and load testing – in addition to our traditional manual functional, compatibility, and user journey testing services.

 

Could you explain a bit more…

For example, we work on a high-profile campaign for a global tech company that has requirements for user testing to validate new feature development with actual users. This helps the project stakeholders to feel confident in their investment, and due to the global audience, we support them with accessibility auditing to ensure that the application works well for the widest number of users.

 In recent years I have been working to show our clients how combining our service offerings can be effective at managing risk and how it improves the customer experience for their users. I’m a big advocate of involving Zoonou early on in a project, this is where we can provide a lot of value in deciding what types of testing would be most beneficial.

 

So, where did it all start? 

Zoonou was founded in 2006 by Jonathan Rogers and Nick Turton. Previously, they were working in the QA function for a development company. Nick and Jonathan saw a gap in the market for an independent testing-as-a-service business, and that’s where Zoonou was born.

 

And what about you? How did you get involved?

Nick and I have been friends for many years. We had a conversation with Jonathan back in 2008 about sales and marketing for Zoonou, this turned into a workshop, and that got me hooked. I was really interested in what Nick and Jonathan were doing and I was excited to get involved in shaping a service to fit the needs of our first customers.

I joined Zoonou at the beginning of 2009 and shortly after found out that I was going to become a dad to twins. So, there we were in full-on start-up mode, and I thought okay, we really need to make a success of this now. That was certainly some added motivation!

 

What projects are you typically working on? 

Every day at Zoonou is different for our testers. We’re working on a huge range of projects for agency, corporate and public sector clients. Some are very much creative-led projects such as AR/VR or interactive experiences right through to multi-market web and mobile applications.

With Etch, we’ve been providing support for your charity and financial services clients. We are currently scoping a range of requirements for a hospitality client where the needs are focused on ensuring that the website can cope with sudden surges of visitors, for example, that may be triggered by an appearance in a TV programme or advert. Regular penetration testing is a key requirement for any transactional website that features e-commerce.

 

What has Zoonou found most challenging in terms of growth? 

We share a common challenge with most agencies and that is, how do you turn what may start as a one-off project into an on-going relationship?

We identified accreditations and certifications that would help us to establish creditability when engaging on larger and longer-term projects. These include our ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditations. We’re an International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) Gold Partner, and a CREST member company.

Becoming a Crown Commercial Supplier on G-Cloud and DOS frameworks has helped Zoonou to access public sector contracts that previously would not have been available to us.

 

That's one challenge I think many of our readers will recognise; do you have any tips on overcoming it? 

This question requires a good understanding of how agencies work. And being able to quickly identify where you can add value for the current project and asking what happens afterwards. The key is to go from being reactive to proactive and to not be frightened of making suggestions.

When a project is complete, we ask our clients to complete a questionnaire to help us to determine satisfaction levels. We also organise a call to discuss ways of working and any lessons learnt. These potential improvements and new ideas can be fed into the next project. 

It’s important for our agency clients to know how to clearly explain the benefits of good testing and why the various types of testing are needed. I’m keen on supporting our clients in this area, especially when working with agencies who need to convey this messaging to their clients.

 

What are some of the biggest wins you’ve had since being at Zoonou? 

My first client was a Brighton-based agency called NixonMcInnes. At the time, we were still defining our services and processes. My client, Matt Matheson put faith in us to help him deliver a web application for a mobile phone service provider. The project was well-received, and this helped me realise how our business was a great fit for supporting agencies. This was the catalyst to Zoonou working with most of the Campaign Magazine Top 100 agencies at the time including BBH, M&C Saatchi, Ogilvy, Saatchi&Saatchi, AMVBBDO, and many more. These relationships established in the early years have gone from strength to strength and we’re proud to continue to support our agency clients and their creative projects.

 

What do you like most about working with Etch? 

We have a lot of agency clients, but we haven’t seen many of them do the networking side of things like Etch. That’s quite unique. Also, the way things are set up with Etch, it’s very transparent, so you know who’s who, whether they’re full time, part-time, self-employed etc. This is helpful to understand the context. To understand what’s going on.

Etch work similarly to us. We both look at what the client requires for each project and then fit solutions to their problems. You fit into clients’ ways of working too, e.g., if they use a particular tool, piece of technology etc. So, it’s nice that the setup is fluid based on the needs of the customer. That flexibility is important.


 

James Perrin was speaking to Garry Hardy as part of the Etch Community Spotlight series. The Etch Community gives digital professionals a platform to grow, and a place to belong. It is for freelancers, business owners, and fellow agencies looking to grow their business by plugging into a community of top digital talent. Visit The Etch Community for more information.

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