Monday, 30 January 2017

Quick Guide to getting your Excel Spreadsheet Online

If you have some useful Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that are loaded with functionality, but are not fully available through Office 365 and Excel online then this short guide is for you.


Why is it not fully functional through Excel online?

Office 365 provides you with the most recent version of Office programs, there is however a desktop version of Excel and an online version. The desktop version is backward compatible, meaning it fully supports VBA macros, which is the technology that is used to implement application-like functionality within Excel. VBA is powerful and very easy to get started with and is widely spread within most industries.  Here is the catch, Excel online doesn’t support VBA. The spreadsheet will still open, but all VBA macros will be disabled. Simple as that really.

What has Microsoft replaced VBA with?

Microsoft provide 2 different methods in which functionality within Excel can be implemented, Apps for Office and Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO). Without getting into the tech too much, these are more current technologies. They do however present a bigger barrier to entry because whilst almost anyone could quite quickly learn to put together a VBA macro, these 2 new technologies require some form of understanding of software development and the respective languages.

What are your options?

VBA is not going away overnight, it’s too widely used for that, however it does make sense to at some point make the transition to the newer tech and take advantage of the features that they have to offer. These new technologies can improve the stability, performance and usability of your spreadsheet and also reduce the time it takes to make amendments or implement new features. If you prefer to put the change off for a while, another solution can be too run the spreadsheet somewhere on a permanent basis and only share the relevant data via Excel Online, which is achievable via 3rd party tools. If you would like assistance with migrating your Excel applications to Excel online or making use of tools to share your data securely online, then get in touch and we would be happy to help.

George Toursoulopoulos is a technology specialist and CEO of Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke software solutions.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Synetec Looking for Full-Stack Application Developer

Synetec is a growing software development firm that builds bespoke, business-critical systems for some of the UK's most interesting organisations. The company is expanding and we’re in need of talented software engineers at all experience levels to work across the development stack.

You’ll be surrounded by smart, highly-capable people in a collaborative environment that encourages the sharing of knowledge and experience. You’ll be as passionate as the rest of us are about doing software engineering right, and ultimately delivering great solutions to our clients. We follow an Agile approach with solid development practices, and encourage picking up new skills and expanding your experience.

We’re more interested in finding great people to join our motivated team than in hiring experts in any specific technology. We are looking for creative and self-motivated problem solvers with a demonstrable passion for technology.

You should have:
  • C# 
  • MVC
  • REST API Development
  • SQL (MSSQL, PostgreSQL or Oracle)
  • ORM (Entity Framework or Nhibernate)
  • A JavaScript Web Framework (Angular, React, Node)

It would also be great if you have:
  • Experience of a cloud platform such as AWS or Azure
  • NoSQL Databases 
  • WebAPI 
  • Mobile App Dev (ReactNative or Xamarin) 

All candidates should have UK work experience and the necessary passport or visas to work indefinitely within the UK.

Applicants must register their interest and email through their CV's to

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Job Role for New Business Development Manager

Company Profile

Synetec is a growing software development firm previously targeting primarily the Financial Services sector and now expanding into other industries. We are a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider and cover most areas of software development. In addition we also provide support for new and legacy systems to a number of clients.
Due to a new service offering we are looking for a Business Development Manager who wants to join an exciting and talented team working in a personal and growing environment where they can help grow Synetec to the next level.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate is skilled and experienced in finding and winning new business within the software development services space. They will have a proven track record in closing and be completely confident in generating or assessing the marketplace to identify sales leads. They would be excited by the prospect of building on their existing network within the software development services or financial services industry sector.

They will be someone who doesn’t want to be just a number in a team within a larger company, but will thrive in the personal environment of a smaller company where a big part can be played in the continued growth and they can share in that growth.

Essential Job Functions:

  • ·         Develop and execute a new business strategy
  • ·         Create and maintain a sales pipeline that supports your sales targets
  • ·         Grow the network of referral partners
  • ·         Meet defined lead generation targets
  • ·         Meet defined revenue targets
  • ·         Autonomously source and develop your own prospects and opportunities
  • ·         Consistent attendance of relevant events for networking
  • ·         Compose compelling proposals
  • ·         Identify prospects requirements and align with relevant products/services
  • ·         Build relationships with senior level prospects by gaining insight into their businesses to enable you to provide solutions for their requirements
  • ·         Maintain a strong understanding of relevant service offering and technology landscape
  • ·         Create and maintain our personal weekly sales plan
  • ·         Keep CRM system updated with all your activity
  • ·         Reporting on sales, customer and market intelligence updates
  • ·         Work with marketing to create assets to support the new business function


The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skills and/or abilities required to satisfactorily perform the essential functions of this job:
  • ·         IT Services Sales experience
  • ·         Track record of achievement against revenue and performance targets
  • ·         Strong understanding of IT Industry and software development
  • ·         Experience in presenting to all levels
  • ·         Experience of creating, delivering and winning pitches
  • ·         Sales related certification
  • ·         Degree level education or equivalent


Applicants must register their interest and email through their CV's to 

Staying motivated on the move. The top tech podcasts

If like me you have little spare time, but spend a fair bit of it commuting or driving and you can absorb information quite easily from audio, then this list of podcasts could quite literally change your year. Subscribing to the right podcasts allow you to easily stay abreast of what’s going on with your areas of interest while you are on the move. So without further delay these are my personal tech podcasts that I subscribe to, hope you enjoy some of them.

·         Agile for Humans

·         Western Devs

·         The Vergecast

·         Harvard Business Review (not specifically tech, but features it quite often)

There are some others that I listen to which are more general business interest, but a tip of advice is to not subscribe to 50 podcasts and then never listen to any of them. Which is what I sometimes do.

George Toursoulopoulos is a technology specialist and CEO of Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke software solutions.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Synetec supporting #Movember

A couple of us at Synetec wanted to raise some money for #Movember this year, the money that was raised was matched by Synetec to support a worthy cause. 

1 month worth of growth below! 

Friday, 18 November 2016


Prior to the popular Agile era which started roughly in the late 90's, The waterfall model was widely recognized as the most popular, and involved a  sequential software design process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Construction, Testing, Production/Implementation and Maintenance.
The down-sides included time-lines and budgets.  A typical software build could take 6 to 9 months, during which time the stakeholder had little or no interaction with the product and what seemed to be business critical at the start of the build would often be deemed unnecessary or secondary months later. The client also realized no benefit from the project until the very end when the entire system was presented in one wave- not always the all-singing, all-dancing system it might have been sold as.

The four core values of agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto emphasize: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Working software over comprehensive documentation. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

The Agile Manifesto, above,  evolved processes somewhat and gives the stakeholder a greater level of control at a much earlier phase of the build time-line. As functionality is released, it can delivered incrementally, enabling some benefits to be realized early as the product continues to develop. This Speed-to-market can be beneficial for cost control and monitoring quality before it's too late to do anything about it. Should requirements alter, subsequent functionality and system design can be changed before being developed, saving large amounts of wasted development costs. The end result is optimum business Engagement and Customer Satisfaction.

Agile is not without its own challenges though... with daily stand up meetings not always being possible and regular involvement from stakeholders can be limited due to time and distance. Business Analysis, Requirements Planning and Estimates might not always be totally accurate and can change along the way, proving to slow down development and be seen by developers as a distraction.
Ask any developer using Agile, they would still rather not have estimates and planning around every corner and the #noestimates movement is gaining momentum, adding the need for even better tools to unsure that quality is not compromised by frequent delivery dates.The #NoEstimates hash tag on twitter has caused a whirlwind of discussion about the role of estimates in software development, with several books already writtenon the subject.

The basic idea, is that it is possible to do small chunks of work incrementally, leading as rapidly as possible to a desired usable product, and that when you do that there is no need to do much of anything in the way of estimating stories or the project. Estimates present another challenge all together. When requirements are vague — and it seems that they always are — then the best conceivable estimates could also be guestimates rather than estimates. Accurate estimation of complex functionality often requires a fair amount of work and quite frequently some initial coding to validate. It is still almost impossible to know how long something will take, without research and validation.

Estimation is challenging and we would be well off if we could avoid it, that’s why the #NoEstimates idea is so compelling, however there are many real business questions that will always need to be answered before they become obsolete. “When will it be ready?” “How much will it cost?”
“Accurate estimation is impossible for complex technical projects, but keeping to agreed budgets and deadlines is achievable by using feedback and change.” Seb Rose from Clay Snow

George Toursoulopoulos, CEO at Synetec Ltd, who delivers bespoke software to small and medium size hedge funds is aware of his development team shouting No Estimates, yet insists that his clients require commitment in terms of deliverables and costs and estimates are currently still essential.

George Toursoulopoulos is a technology specialist and CEO of Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke software solutions.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Tech trends in financial services

The UK’s financial services have entered a period of unprecedented turbulence, further enhanced by the Brexit vote. This has brought a sharper focus on to the wider challenges facing the more established players, namely driving down cost, increasing security and improving the client experience. All have technology as the key enabler.The tech sector , being dynamic and rapidly evolving, leaves a strong temptation to adopt the latest ‘breakthrough’ or ‘gamechanging’ application, but a key aspect of exploring digital business models and processes is understanding how technology can facilitate and streamline all aspects of the business, while supporting a longer-term strategy. Brexit makes this more imperative with the pressure on the financial services industry to diversify their USPs if they are to retain global pre-eminence. This diversification is key in before the potential regulatory impacts and talent outflow start to bite.

This risk of talent outflow is a focus of the Mayor of London. His office launched London’s Digital Future - Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 alongside the #LondonIsOpen campaign, to show international entrepreneurs and investors that London retains its entrepreneurial spirit and status as the top tech city in Europe.

Back to financial services - how should they monetise knowledge capital and innovation to ensure they stay profitable, technologically competitive and continue to pull in diverse international talent? Technology is the key enabler, particularly around providing a continually improving and seamless service no matter where the platform, staff and knowledge are based. As financial services companies are under cost pressure to run a more dispersed business, both through geographic footprint and 4-D teams (dispersed, diverse, digital and dynamic), clients’ requirements to feel safe are emphatic. Technology needs to ethically facilitate this. Recent incidents such as the hack of SWIFT and the loss of funds from a blockchain segment have an exponential impact on clients’ security fears.

Consumer driven demand for financial services to be innovative and shareholder demand for cost reductions have to be balanced against regulatory requirements. One can't afford to be left behind; there is absolute expectation that financial services are on top of the new technological themes, such as block chain, yet capital requirements have a direct link to operational risk, which includes IT and IT processes. If systems or processes are flawed, the capital requirement could increase. Hence technological innovation needs to be carefully balanced.

According to McKinsey (5 questions boards should ask about IT in a digital world, July ’16), executives should be routinely asking these five critical questions relating to the organisation’s performance: • How well does technology enable the core business? • What value is the business getting from its most important IT projects? • How long does it take the IT organisation to develop and deploy new features and functionality? • How efficient is IT at rolling out technologies and achieving desired outcomes? • How strong is our supply of next-generation IT talent?

To the last point, I would add ‘and ideas’. How are financial services firms staying on top of all the new ideas being developed? How are they building both interaction with external technology firms and investment, into their business strategy? There has been an explosion in the number of new technology entrants, each typically offering aniche, nimble and flexible solution to a particular area of inefficiency, rather than a full service offering. One useful piece of reading material is the newWorld Economic Forum report (, which reviews what the future holds for the finance industry, drawing on interviews and workshops with industry experts, global financial institution strategy officers and high-flying fintech innovators. Their findings suggest that the upcoming innovations will encourage a fundamental review of business models in financial services.

There is disruption to come and it is going to shake the industry to its core

Rachel Barnes is a financial services industry adviser to Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke software solutions.

References: World Economic Forum report ( McKinsey (5 questions boards should ask about IT in a digital world, July ’16) London’s Digital Future - Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016