Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 28. May 2015 10:33
The other half of marketing...
Over the last three years, a key arm of our marketing strategy has been to raise PleaseTech’s profile amongst the analyst community from a starting point of almost zero. How did we do this? Quite simply we began to brief the key analysts who focus on the document collaboration space.
In 2013, this led to us being named as a Gartner Cool Vendor in the ‘Cool Vendors in Social Software and Collaboration, 2013’ report, describing us as ‘innovative players in the collaboration and social software space, emerging to address specific gaps in the offerings from the more established vendors or are breaking new ground in creative ways in the social media space’. This had a huge positive PR impact and also led to several exciting new sales leads.
Another great success was from Ovum, who reviewed PleaseReview 5.0, our collaborative review and co-authoring solution, stating that, “This is a specialist area and document management and enterprise content management (ECM) platforms do not always include the required level of control. PleaseReview provides tight management for the entire process.”
We also featured in an Ovum article entitled ‘On the Radar’ and have appeared in analyst blogs, radio and print interviews.
We continue to strengthen relationships with key analysts through a series of briefings as we roll out updates and cutting edge enhancements to PleaseReview. As business sector experts and the middle man between the end user and software provider, analysts provide insightful feedback, and we very much value their opinions.
In addition to one on one conversations, for the first time this year, we’re working with a leading firm on a more formal basis. Osterman Research, headed up by Micheal Osterman, provides timely and accurate market research, cost data and benchmarking information to technology-based companies.
Led by Osterman, in December 2014 we conducted a survey to look at document collaboration amongst knowledge workers, in both regulated and non-regulated industries, to examine the impact inadequate IT systems have on productivity and indeed the wider issue of employee retention in a buoyant labor market.
The results are quite startling…Osterman found that knowledge workers collaborate on an average of 69.4 documents per month, or 3.3 documents per workday. If we conservatively assume that each document requires approximately only 20 minutes of collaborative work, this equates to each knowledge worker spending 66 minutes per day in document collaboration activities, or about 14% of a typical eight-hour workday, adding up to more than 34 days per year.
And the impact of inadequate tools? You’ll have to register for our forthcoming webinar to find out. Led by Michael Osterman and co-hosted by David Cornwell, CEO of PleaseTech, it will be taking place on:
Thursday June 4th
8.00am PDT / 11.00am EDT / 4.00pm GMT
Posted by David Cornwell on 17. March 2015 15:40
Founder/CEO of PleaseTech Ltd - collaborative document review and co-authoring for the enterprise.
AIIM recently published its latest survey on SharePoint ‘Connecting and Optimizing SharePoint – important strategy choices’ and it has provoked a lot of comment.
The survey collates information from over 400 organizations and identifies the fact that, whilst a minority of organizations (11%) reports that they have been successful in their use/deployment of SharePoint and that the project met its objectives, the majority haven’t (63%). The remainder (26%) appear to live in optimism - that if they continue to plug away they'll get there eventually. Technically the category was called ‘Just about there as planned and moving forward’.
This survey paints a worse picture than the Forrester survey last year, which found that over 40% of respondents reported that their deployments of SharePoint overran the project timescale, mostly due to technical difficulties.
Various reasons for this lack of success are given in the AIIM survey including lack of senior management buy-in, lack of training, lack of planning, lack of user buy-in, etc. Various defenders of SharePoint point out that only 22% of organizations are running the latest and greatest, namely SharePoint 2013, and that this explains the lack of user delight!
Personally, as a user of Office 365 (i.e. the very latest version), I think that it is, unfortunately, a very long way from delighting users. The old expression ‘as user friendly as a cornered rat’ comes to mind. My view is endorsed by the fact that only 25% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘We have a good level of adoption and the users like it’. A full 60% of respondents identified that one of the ‘three biggest ongoing issues for SharePoint in their organization’ was ‘persuading users to manage and share their content in SharePoint and not elsewhere’.
So what happens when users find the technology getting in the way of productivity? The answer, as we all know, is that they develop a workaround. And so employees are starting to use things like Box, Dropbox and even OneDrive to share documents. As, indeed, are we.
Despite all this, the report notes that less than 10% of organizations have replaced SharePoint or are considering a replacement. Surely a triumph of hope over experience, if ever there was one.
In my blog post on September 2nd last year I shared my hope that we were entering the ‘realistic SharePoint’ era. Maybe I was premature. However, one assumes that, if (as reported) 90% of organizations have no intention to abandon SharePoint, they will need to become more realistic in their SharePoint objectives. This, I guess, in itself would bring on the realistic SharePoint era.
My blog further suggested that in the realistic SharePoint era the reality that SharePoint can’t do everything would dawn. The good news is that there is some evidence that interest in 3rd party ‘add on’ solutions is increasing. The AIIM report suggests that 36% of organizations are using 3rd party add on tools. Hopefully, as organizations become more realistic about what can be achieved with SharePoint, more will start seeking out tools such as PleaseReview to enhance their SharePoint experience.
PleaseReview is available fully integrated with both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. So if you want a SharePoint based collaborative review and co-authoring solution that really works and want to join the 11% of organizations reporting success in their use and deployment of SharePoint, you know what to do!
Posted by Sarah Holden on 5. March 2015 10:20
Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.
As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, document review is an experience most of us are familiar with and, especially in the workplace, are required to work with others to get it done (think product specs, requirements documents, regulatory submissions, marketing material, proposals etc.). We may simply send said document out by email for review and editing, or share it with others via a shared workspace, sit around a table and thrash it out…you have probably tried a bit of everything. A recent whitepaper we have published found that amongst a specific business user community we surveyed¹, the majority (62%) rely on email. We also know from earlier research² that people using email as a means of sharing documents for review experience issues as outlined below:
Of course not everyone will experience the frustrations highlighted in the table above and the use of email will suit their review requirements perfectly, but there are lots of people reading this who will identify with many of the issues. There are different review scenarios to suit different user needs, which should be considered. These range from an uncontrolled process (e.g. using email or Google Drive) through to a highly restricted one (such as PDF annotation technology). It is important to find the one that suits you, as carrying on with a ‘make do’ solution affects performance, causes frustrations, wastes time and ultimately impacts the quality of the final document.
This infographic demonstrates some of the features of each review scenario (please click on the image to see it larger).
And if you are feeling a slight degree of dissatisfaction with your process, or are simply curious, have a go at our questionnaire (results are totally anonymous) and see where you fit on the review spectrum.
¹Survey conducted amongst Oracle users, October 2014
²Survey conducted amongst Oracle users, October 2013
Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 3. March 2015 11:02
The other half of marketing...
Hopefully somebody’s reading this blog as it forms part of our marketing communications strategy. This strategy is based on a wide variety of activities such as insightful content management, analyst relations, exhibition presence, speaking opportunities, whitepapers, webinars, partner activity, our cartoon website, social media as well as a variety of literature, and of course our website. But amongst all this, what is the most effective method for really engaging with our customers and prospects and for getting a conversation started?
There is absolute value in producing whitepapers and conducting webinars, which can be viewed and listened to again on our SlideShare page. The proof is in the pudding as hundreds of people visit this page. Not all visits turn into leads, but some do. It also positions us as an authority and a market expert in the field of document review and co-authoring. This is broadly considered as ‘thought leadership’.
The same can be said for our YouTube page, here people can find the short animated films we’ve created which detail and demo the product, PleaseReview, and why you might need it. We know that reading presentations and whitepapers can be a little dry at times and, as you can tell from our cartoons, we are anything but ‘dry’. So we often animate the results of any research we’ve conducted. It humanizes our communications and projects our company’s personality. What we do is deadly serious but communicating it needn’t be dry. After all, our customers and prospective customers aren’t machines; they’re normal folk who absorb information in a range of ways from watching TV to reading a paper.
And these normal folk don’t want to spend their days solely thinking and looking at work related subjects, even when at work checking out their LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook streams – we all do it… Sometimes we just want a bit of light hearted fun, something that doesn’t tax the brain, something that makes us laugh. So, for example, we took a look at our database and segmented job titles against names to establish the most popular names amongst various job positions, such as medical writers (Heather by the way). And people loved it - they liked it, commented on and retweeted it. And the response to our online quiz which allows people to find out what sort of document review personality they are (Labrador, squirrel, lion or dolphin) has gone through the roof.
Hopefully whilst they’re on our website having a bit of fun, curiosity has got the better of them and they’ve had a little look around the site. And maybe, just maybe they found something else they quite liked…
Posted by David Cornwell on 19. January 2015 12:16
Founder/CEO of PleaseTech Ltd - collaborative document review and co-authoring for the enterprise.
Welcome to 2015 which has started at a gallop!
As is traditional, the first part of my January blog is somewhat repetitive as I say that the previous year was yet another successful one for PleaseTech with revenue growth, new clients and some great product enhancements!
2014 delivered 25% growth in sales order value over 2013 with 36 new clients and a massive 35% growth in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Of particular note is that revenue from term license sales rose over 70% reflecting the industry trend towards renewable licenses. Maintaining the headline sales growth whilst, at the same time, boosting ARR growth is, we think, an impressive achievement.
I am a fully paid up member of the ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality’ brigade. So I’m delighted to report that we remain profitable and continue to retain a healthy cash balance. Profit gives us the ability to invest in new people and to further grow the business, which is exactly what we plan to do in 2015.
With approximately 65% of 2014 sales, the trend of Life Sciences being our largest sector continues. However, this is down from 80% last year reflecting our success in expanding into other sectors. Once again, North America is our largest market accounting for 77% of all sales. This is in line with the trend of North America averaging around 73% of sales over the last five years.
In terms of product, 2014 saw the release of PleaseReview v5.1. Key enhancements included:
- The introduction of a context-based review capability;
- Additional review workflow capabilities such as hierarchical/tiered reviews;
- Enhanced post-review reporting capabilities;
- An optional Archive feature;
- Enhancements to the review templating capability now called ‘Review Types’;
- Enhancements to the configurability of the system to facilitate its use in large corporations with disparate configuration requirements;
- A cost-center licensing capability.
These enhancements continue to establish our thought leadership in the critical business process of document review, which is exemplified by our ‘Beyond Review’ strategy. This strategy uses the metrics from the business process optimization associated with using PleaseReview, for further analysis and optimization.
We continue to have our enterprise clients at the forefront of our thinking and conversations with them both in terms of the infrastructure challenges they face and in the details of the complexities of their review requirements continue to drive our development.
Once again 2014 saw customer praise for our service and support. For example, a customer commented: “I definitely have to say that your company has raised the bar for vendor support. Nick continues to go above and beyond my expectations for support. I truly appreciate everything your team does.”
As ever we continue to develop partner relations and deliver new integrations. Last year we delivered integrations with Veeva Vault, CARA for Documentum and OKTA.
All of this was accomplished whilst, at the same time, undertaking one of the most stressful things a company can do which is the move to larger premises!
So, looking back I think we can be proud of what we achieved in 2014.
What can we expect in 2015? Well, from our perspective the answer is: more of the same. We will continue to work hard and deliver excellent software.
We expect to release PleaseReview v6.0 which will include a substantial upgrading of PleaseReview’s user interface. The idea is to borrow from the consumer web so that anyone familiar with standard consumer technologies and web applications will feel immediately ‘at home’ when reviewing a document in PleaseReview. This approach will help minimize training and will support enterprise-wide rollout and adoption for new and existing clients to increase their ROI.
Work on other integrations and partnerships is a constant theme as is expansion of the team. Already 2015 has seen two new starters!
From a personal perspective a year wouldn’t be the same without a physical challenge or two. There is early stage planning for Everest Base Camp but, for more immediate motivation, I have signed up for the South Wales Three Peaks Trial Gold walk at the end of March, which is a 20 mile walk with a total ascent of 5,000 feet. That will keep me focused for now!
If you want to follow what we are up to here at PleaseTech, do visit our website or follow our LinkedIn company page.