We sit down with Richard White to learn more about his role as Lead Developer. We ask about the sort of projects he works on and what inspires him (including exciting trends in artificial intelligence [AI]). We also explore how Mtech Access has evolved in his 7 years with the business.
What led you to become a developer working on market access platforms and tools?
I started my developer career 23 years ago. I moved into the market access space in 2011, focusing on developing various enterprise level platforms and tools.
I am largely self-taught as a web developer. I worked initially for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) where I was introduced to various database technologies and systems. This experience gave me a solid foundation in database management, which proved to be useful in my later work.
Between the MOD and moving into market access, I worked with an online university, enhancing and maintaining 29 platforms globally. This involved working on various tech stacks. I was privileged to work on every aspect of these solutions, from the database infrastructure right through to the user interface.
After working as a freelancer for some time, I was contracted by a market access agency, which is where I first got involved in this area of work. I have continued to work with David Niziol, Andrew Spencer, Anthony Bentley, Lydia Crowe, Iain Shield, and others in the industry ever since. The market access industry presented an exciting opportunity to develop tools that could have a meaningful impact on people's lives. I was eager to take on the challenge.
Today I work with an experienced team of professionals in this field, which has allowed me to continually grow and develop my skills and expertise.
So in your 10+ years working on market access tools, what changes have you seen?
In the last 10+ years, I have seen significant changes in the market access industry. While the core deliverables, such as budget impact models and value proposition toolkits, have remained largely the same, what has changed is the target platforms for these tools. Initially, we were developing tools for iPads and Windows devices. Then it shifted to Veeva CRM on these target devices, and now clients are using multiple platforms. As a result, responsive design has become a key focus for us.
Responsive design refers to the ability of a website or application to adjust its layout and content to fit different screen sizes and resolutions. The aim is to ensure a consistent user experience across devices. From a development perspective, this requires careful planning and design to ensure that the tool is optimised for use on different devices, from desktops to smartphones. For users, responsive design means they can access the same content and functionality on different devices, without any loss of functionality or ease of use.
Another significant change I have seen is the increasing interest and use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI has become a big focus for us. We are looking at ways to apply it to different tools, such as our Global Value Platform. Specifically, we are exploring how Large Language Modelling (LLM) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can be used to help clients interrogate their global value materials. Instead of using a traditional keyword/phrase search, users would ask questions in natural language. Plus view automated summaries of document content.
Which types of tools/projects do you most enjoy working on? Do you have a favourite?
As a developer working on market access tools and platforms, I enjoy working on a range of different projects. However, I have a particular fondness for full-stack platforms. With these projects I am able to work on every layer of the infrastructure. Examples include Connected Insights, which is a real-world data platform, and our Global Value Platform.
When we developed Connected Insights I worked on everything from the database design to the user interface. This was a great challenge and provided me with a lot of satisfaction. The project required me to work with complex datasets and develop ways to visualise these data in a user-friendly way.
The Global Value Platform is another example of a full-stack project that I have enjoyed working on. This platform was developed to help clients interrogate their global value materials more effectively. Once again, I was able to work on every aspect of the project, from the back-end to the front-end.
In addition to full-stack platforms, I also enjoy working on bespoke projects. For example, I recently worked with a client to design a platform that enable data to be passed more efficiently between global and local teams. This platform was designed specifically for the client to save them time and improve their reporting and analyses. We have received great feedback on its functionality and usability.
“The software platform that Mtech Access developed for us has 100% improved the way we access and use these data across the company. Where before we had a very manual process, now the platform saves us time, data are a lot easier to analyse and the quality and safety of the data have improved massively. Our team loves it!” – Global Market Access and Health Economics Lead, Leading healthcare products and services company
Overall, I enjoy working on a range of different projects, but full-stack platforms and bespoke projects are among my favourites. These types of projects allow me to work on every layer of the infrastructure, whilst ensuring that the tools we develop are tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
Every day is different and brings with it a new set of exciting challenges.
Typically, my day starts with a catch up with the developer and design team. Here we discuss our tasks for the day. This is really helpful from a resourcing perspective, and it's great to know what everyone else is working on.
From there, I prioritise any client-specific requests or queries that have come in overnight. After that, I dive straight into the day's tasks, working towards the next project milestone. This can involve anything from coding and testing to problem-solving and troubleshooting.
Throughout the day, I attend internal project meetings and meetings with clients. I work closely with project managers to ensure that our development aligns with the client's requirements and objectives. This collaborative approach means that we are always focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for our clients.
Despite the pace being fast and the work often challenging, I find that the varied nature of my role keeps me engaged and motivated. As a Lead Developer, I'm also involved in engaging with colleagues more than a typical developer. As such, I get to collaborate with a broad range of people and develop my skills in different areas.
Overall, I love what I do. Every day brings with it new opportunities to learn, grow and make a positive impact in the world of market access.
How has Mtech Access evolved since you joined?
Having been the first developer to join Mtech Access, I've seen the company evolve and grow in many exciting ways. When I first joined, there were only four of us in the entire organisation. Today, we have around 90 colleagues across six different offices.
Despite this significant growth, one thing that has remained constant is the culture at Mtech Access. While you might expect a larger organisation to have a different feel to a small-medium enterprise, I am pleased to say that the relaxed, friendly culture that drew me to the company in the first place has remained intact.
Despite the company's expansion, we continue to work with a team of enthusiastic people who are experts in their field. As a result, we are able to maintain a highly professional atmosphere while still enjoying the benefits of a close-knit team.
In summary, I am proud of the way Mtech Access has evolved since I first joined. We've grown in size and scope; yet, we've managed to maintain the culture and values that made me want to work here in the first place.
What makes Mtech Access different? / What might surprise an outsider about Mtech Access?
What makes Mtech Access different is the supportive and collaborative culture that exists throughout the company. At Mtech Access, we place a strong emphasis on working together as a team. That ethos extends beyond individual project teams or departments. The support we give each other is something that sets us apart from other companies, as it's not always a given in today's workplace.
Everyone at Mtech Access is approachable, friendly, and committed to working together to achieve our goals. This helps create a very positive and inclusive culture within the company.
If you could swap your expertise and role with a colleague from another team, who would you swap with?
I would choose to swap with a Designer. I have a lot of respect for the creative skills and vision that our design team possess. Whilst I do think about design as a developer, my perspective is primarily technical, and not purely creative. I would love to learn more about design principles, creative processes and techniques, and how to balance aesthetics with user experience.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do?
When I am not at work, my family and I like to spend a lot of time together. We have three children who are now all adults, but we still enjoy going out to eat and going to the gym. My wife and I love to travel and spend time in our campervan whenever we can.
Additionally, I like to help my sons with their clothing brand business, from time to time. Particularly with technical tasks such as enhancing their e-commerce store. Overall, I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors. Whether it's camping or just going for a walk in nature.
If you are interested in joining our team at Mtech Access, please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies.