The technical challenges of running the world’s #1 location platform

Giovanni Lanfranchi is the CTO of HERE Technologies, the location and data platform.

His role is varied, he looks after the technology stack and is responsible for the development of HERE’s location platform.

“The company is made up of around 3,000 people from an overall development standpoint,” said Lanfranchi. “And, I have the role to really develop the HERE platform, all the technology steps across it, starting from the foundation, the content, the location services and the level of functions regarding plug-ins.”

He has a lot of experience with technology. Before joining HERE, he was running the IBM service platform with Watson, so Lanfranchi understands what it means to develop a platform at scale.

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The technical challenges of running the world’s #1 location platform

Lanfranchi highlighted three particular challenges that he experiences as CTO.

Challenge 1: integration

A lot of assets in the company were already developed and up and running when he joined just under two years ago.

The role, therefore, was not to start from scratch, but take all these assets and integrate them into a cohesive architecture and technology stack.

“This is easy to say, but it’s also quite difficult to accomplish, because it requires an overall decomposition and architectural definition to be put in place,” Lanfranchi explained.

“My first challenge as CTO is to bring together the assets HERE has as a company and to offer them in a cohesive stack that is really easy to consume from a customer standpoint.”

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Challenge 2: the move to DevOps

The second challenge Lanfranchi identified was the need to move to a software development/DevOps mentality.

He said: “If you look at the history of this company, it’s a company that had a lot of success as a location map content provider. Now, we are moving aggressively to become a location platform provider. And this will only happen if we become efficient in DevOps.”

This is a challenge because it’s technical and requires a mindset or cultural change — HERE needs to be really fluent in terms of agile, methodology and a fast feedback loop.

Challenge 3: customer-centric

It’s all about the customer.

“We have is to be very customer-centric and be wary not to build our service in our lab,” said Lanfranchi. “Instead, we have but to build our offering in a co-creation environment with some of our key customers.”

“This is the third key macro challenge that I am currently facing — the necessity to build a close relationship with partners and every customer.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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