Enterprise Solutions and Architecture
With the mission of enabling the movement of people, goods, and services freely and responsibly, there is a lot that needs to go on behind the scenes at Merchants Fleet to make it happen. Walk the halls of our Hooksett, NH or Rosemont, IL headquarters and you’ll encounter bright minds and collaborative teams leading the charge at Merchants.
While every department plays a role in pushing Merchants to be a cutting-edge fleet services and technology provider, the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture team is responsible for developing the powerful tools that take fleet management to the next level for our clients, like Merchants’ TotalView platform. Whenever there is an internal or external need to elevate the way we operate with technology, this team plays a significant role in delivering the result.
To learn more about the team and how they contribute behind the scenes at Merchants, I got the chance to talk with Ben McIntyre, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions and Architecture. He went into detail about everything his team does, the technology they’ve developed to help our clients succeed, and about his recent White Paper published with Gartner.
|Q: Nice to meet you, Ben. How long have you been a part of the Merchants team?|
|A: I’ve been at Merchants for nine years; this year will be my 10th anniversary with the company.|
|Q: What initially led you to start working for Merchants Fleet nearly 10 years ago?|
|A: I used to work in the defense industry, and I was looking for a change in my career. I saw an opening for a Senior Software Engineer at Merchants and thought it would be a good way to brush up my interview skills after not going through the process for about 10 years. Even though I was treating this as a practice interview, and it’s funny looking back on it now, within the first 10 minutes I realized that there was something incredible here and had to mentally shift to giving this my best shot. I remember leaving the old fleet HQ that day and hoping that I landed the role.|
|Q: Going from the defense industry to fleet management is a drastic industry shift. How do you think that background has helped you during your journey so far at Merchants?|
|A: While government is very different than the commercial space, you encounter the same pressure of delivery and need to understand your client. The discipline and rigor that was critical in navigating the processes and red tape in my previous line of work helped me adapt to the needs of Merchants. When you look at it, it’s the same client first mentality, and that’s how me and my team operate.|
|Q: If a Merchants employee wasn’t already familiar with the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture team, could you share an elevator pitch to get them up to speed?|
|A: With Enterprise Architecture, we are responsible for analyzing business needs and turning them into tech solutions. This could be as straightforward as taking an off-the-shelf product and integrating it into our ecosystem or building something out ourselves using our own team and platform.
We look at the attributes for what our clients’ needs are, our business needs, where our skills and tech landscape are for the project and put it all together for a solution. We’re here to serve the business and to build solutions that enable them to grow and scale.
|Q: So basically, the technology your team implements is a huge part of the “Merchants Difference.” Can you tell me about a couple of your favorite projects over the years?|
|A: The birth of TotalView was revolutionary for Merchants. I was fortunate enough to be here to help make TotalView was it is today and to help guide it toward the future. As a product, TotalView is a huge differentiator for us since it was built from the ground up to serve our business needs and the needs of our clients.
Beyond that, being a part of the transition over the years of how we took manually intensive processes and replaced them with digital solutions has been remarkable – TotalView is one of these solutions, of course, but even something as simple as Project One-Touch, which eliminated the manual folders and migrated our data into Salesforce.
|Q: With as fast as Merchants has grown over the past five years, have there been any especially challenging scenarios you are proud to have helped your team overcome?|
|A: One of the biggest endeavors in the past decade was called “customer structure.” Our systems just weren’t ready to grow to the size that some of our new clients expected. This was a very challenging project, but we pushed it over the line, and now the entire organization is better and stronger because of it.
One way this helped was during the onboarding of our largest client (at that time). They presented a huge leap in data size when dealing with a single fleet. We helped the business get through the ingestion of the data, allowing Merchants to meet every one of their needs.
|Q: Congratulations on your recent white paper publication with Gartner. Could you tell me a little bit about the piece?|
|A: I worked with Gartner on a white paper about our journey and approach to systems development that aligned with the research they were doing with composable businesses. They are a big proponent for composable business, which is an organization that is building themselves to easily adapt and change.
If you think about Merchants and our departments and functions, they all have needs that serve each other. We need software and systems that match that and can play into a larger ecosystem. My work with Gartner was around our approach to systems development and what we’re doing to keep it as compostable as possible.
As we build more and more capabilities, we are tech enabling our business for a department or functional need, but we can also repackage what we create for other departments. As we evolve, we can also upgrade pieces on their own without having to disrupt the entire ecosystem.
The end result helps show that this is the future in how companies will be building their systems.
|Q: Now it’s time for a curveball, what recommendation could you give me for a great Hooksett, NH (or Manchester) area restaurant?|
|A: I’m a Hooksett local, so it’s hard to pick just one… my wife and I love to frequent the Copper Door, but in Hooksett, it has to be Second Brook.|
|Q: What’s your favorite movie or TV show and have you watched anything good lately?|
|A: I’m a big fan of the Jack Ryan series on Prime, happy that they just released season 3. I also enjoy sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld.|
|Q: And finally, what is your favorite part about working at Merchants Fleet?|
|A: It’s 100% the people. We have such great people in the organization, and I enjoy working with our business partners. Merchants has a top-notch culture.|