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Photo of Lewis WrayTaranto: A Modaxo Acquisition Story

“Joining Modaxo felt like coming home” – Lewis Wray, Managing Director, Taranto Systems

Lewis Wray is Managing Director at Taranto Systems, formerly the Traffic Support division within the global engineering consulting firm WSP. The business was acquired as a ‘carve-out’ from WSP in 2020, at which point Taranto Systems was born.

As the business leader for more than 10 years, Lewis is well placed to talk about the new lease of life presented by being part of Modaxo – for Taranto and also himself.

Life Before Modaxo

Lewis says he feels energised by life with Modaxo, which he describes as the right forever home for Taranto:

“I would describe our past existence as being a small software island within sea of other divisions that were all very similar in terms of focus, commercial structure, and business dynamics. People didn’t really understand the subtleties of our business because they didn’t have experience of running a software company. We had to shoehorn what we did into processes that didn’t really fit, which took time away from managing the business.”

“Modaxo is a great fit for us because every business is measured in the same way, and they are all completely focused on software. From day one we found that the language is familiar, and our departmental structure is aligned with Modaxo best practice. In that respect it felt a bit like coming home.”

“From my perspective the carve out process was fast and efficient. I was involved through the Due Diligence and certainly everything happened very quickly. The entire process was very ‘no nonsense’.”

The Modaxo Difference: Sharing and Learning

Lewis points to collaboration across the Modaxo network as one of the most positive aspects of being part of the group:

“You very quickly realise that Modaxo is full of like-minded people ready to learn from one another. The business organises events to enable you to meet people facing similar challenges. You pick up those two or three things that you can take back to your business and start making a difference.”

“At Modaxo you work with supportive people. Everyone is here to do a great job, get on and have a good time – it shines through in the business culture.”

The Modaxo Difference: The Right Parents

Lewis describes Modaxo as an understanding and supportive parent organisation:

“Being part of Modaxo helps because its core business is software: that’s all Modaxo does. But there’s also great leadership within the group. It’s just a very supportive environment: it’s not intrusive and there’s no micro-management – but you always know that help is there.”

“There’s a huge focus on people development, with a very strong element of coaching. Modaxo is an environment where you can think things through and find your solutions, with guidance available when needed.”

“My team definitely feel empowered to get on with their jobs. My managers are all very positive about the experience of being part of Modaxo.”

The Modaxo Difference: Metrics and Best Practice

The Modaxo model is underpinned by a number of performance metrics which support business management:

“The metrics really do help because they give me insight into each department’s performance. I can identify possible issues that prompt questions, which lead to answers and ultimately improvement. It’s an incredibly empowering model.”

“Working with Modaxo, we have integrated dashboards for finance, maintenance and professional services into our governance processes, which enable us to scrutinise the data and make improvements where required.”

“Modaxo’s quarterly reforecasting process is also very good. It requires you to look in detail, and make adjustments to plans where needed. As such it is realistic and impactful; it’s a process by which we are able to really talk about how the business will perform.”

The Modaxo Difference: Autonomy

Asked about the autonomy within Modaxo:

“Working within Modaxo, I feel completely empowered to run my business. It has been very liberating in that respect.”

And while carve-outs can present some challenges because the business tends to arrive without a brand identity, Lewis saw only opportunities from the situation:

“Developing the Taranto brand was one of the most enjoyable parts of the integration. It was great to be in charge of our destiny and able to make our own decisions.”

“In the past, marketing conversations could be restrictive, but here they were empowering. We were encouraged and fully supported in developing a new brand identity, messaging, marketing strategy, website and supporting materials.”

Today and Tomorrow

Lewis notes the sense of security from knowing that Taranto won’t face the upheaval of being sold again in a few years’ time, as might have been the case with a different profile of acquirer:

“With Modaxo we were coming into a long-term environment, so we didn’t have to worry about someone taking a short-term view in terms of stripping out costs or chasing growth too quickly. It is reassuring to know that Modaxo will support our business for the long term – which enables us invest in the development of our people and products.”

Is the business performing well?

“Really well: Net Revenues are up since joining Modaxo, and we have undertaken a major technology replatforming which will help us to continue increasing market share and facilitate expansion into an adjacent market.”

“Beyond that, being part of Modaxo presents other prospects for growth. We are already looking at some product acquisition opportunities, which definitely appeals to me.”

“Joining Modaxo has opened up so many new opportunities, both for the business and myself. I am very happy here and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone else. Modaxo is just a great home for a people transportation software business.”


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