PleaseTech blog

We aim to provide useful, pertinent and sometimes fun insights into the world of document collaboration and the workings of a technology company

Raising PleaseTech’s profile through analyst relations

Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 28. May 2015 10:33

The other half of marketing... Google


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

Looking back at 2013 and forward to 2014

Posted by David Cornwell on 7. January 2014 10:07

Founder/CEO of PleaseTech Ltd - collaborative document review and co-authoring for the enterprise.


I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. Welcome to 2014. 

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! 

2013 revenue growth over 2012 was approximately 10%. Whilst that figure may seem disappointing in light of previous growth figures, it masks a much higher underlying sales growth reflected by our annual recurring revenue being up 25%. 2013 brought us a total of 21 new corporate clients.

We remain profitable and continue to retain a healthy cash balance. Given that we now employ more people and have further recruiting plans (meaning ever increasing projected overheads), this remains an excellent position to be in.

With approximately 80% of 2013 sales, the trend of Life Sciences being our largest sector continues and, once again, North America is our largest market accounting for 66% of all sales. This is a slight decrease from previous years following an increase in business with European customers.

In terms of product, 2013 saw the release of PleaseReview v5.0. Key enhancements included:

— An enhanced user interface

— The feedback capability which can be used both to capture high level feedback on a document set and thoughts and ideas to help with team brainstorming

— Flight mode. It's now possible to review Word documents offline on your tablet (Android and iPad) and then upload to the master review when back online

— User types to control the functionality available to reviewers according to the level of sophistication required

— Simplified licensing to take into account added product capabilities. 

From a customer service point of view, we continue to get excellent feedback on our support. For example, a recent customer commented: “Sadly, the sense of true customer service is lost on many vendors we do business with; we are happy to see that PleaseTech ‘gets it’.”

2013 was the year we 'landed' on the industry analysts radar and were recognized as thought leaders in the document review and collaboration space. Ovum, Info-Tech, Osterman Research and the Bloor Group all covered us and, to top it off, there was the Gartner 'Cool Vendor' award. I'm sure that our continuing understanding of the critical and ubiquitous business process of document review and how PleaseReview responds to this will continue to attract the analysts' attention.

As we continue to develop partner relations, we released a PleaseReview integration with Oracle WebCenter Content and achieved Oracle Gold Partner status. Work on other integrations and partnerships has been a constant theme of 2013 and continues into the new year.

So, looking back I think we can be proud of what we achieved in 2013. 

What can we expect in 2014?

Well, from our perspective the answer is: more of the same.  We will continue to work hard and deliver excellent software. 

There is increased optimism about the global economy which can only be a good thing. Given the high reliance we have on US dollar denominated sales, the volatility in the dollar/sterling exchange rate over the last 12 months remains a business risk that we need to manage, but isn't a threat to the fundamentals of our business.

We will continue to expand our presence in Life Sciences by working with new and existing partners, but 2014 should also bring to fruition the work we have been doing on some exciting new opportunities in new market sectors with new partners. Watch out for announcements over the course of the year.

We have PleaseReview v5.1 coming towards the end of its development phase with the test phase starting shortly. I’ll be devoting a whole blog post to v5.1 later in January so watch this space. Work has already started on v6.0 and we have no shortage of ideas and requests for enhancements. 2014 will also see further development of PleaseCompose.

So, from a business perspective, it’s ‘steady as she goes’ or in other words ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. 

From a personal perspective a year wouldn’t be the same without a physical challenge or two. Nothing major is planned yet but in the meantime I have signed up for the South Wales Three Peaks Trial Platinum walk at the end of March which is a 17 mile walk with a total ascent of 5,000 feet.

That will keep me focused for now!

 

PleaseTech releases PleaseReview v5.0 and keeps cool in the hot weather

Posted by Sarah Holden on 17. July 2013 13:35

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


There is always a certain amount of build-up prior to a new product release. This has certainly been the case for us here at PleaseTech. And in marketing, it’s always good to have something concrete to say. And it’s even better to be able to add ‘we’re the first’ which we can do – twice, following the release this week of PleaseReview v5.0, our collaborative document review solution.

We are the first to make it easier for busy people to catch up with the reviews waiting for their attention. The new offline tablet review (for iPad and Android) means you don’t have to be ‘connected’ to catch up. 

We are the first to help users collaborate to capture high level feedback on a document – from multiple participants, in real time, on the same feedback document. 

Ok, if you’re not involved in team reviews this may not matter to you - but to some it’s a big deal and will contribute to better productivity and better quality documents. For more detail on these and other enhancements do see our previous post or read the new release.

It is with a sense of relief for us all that the release is out the door and, now that the communication wheel is in motion and clients are already contacting us to upgrade their systems, minds are turning to the next project. That’s the thing about working for a dynamic technology company - people don’t stay still for long - there’s always more to do.

This continuous development cycle keeps us ahead of the curve and in recognition of this, we are proud to have been recently named a Gartner Cool Vendor in the social software and collaboration space. 

This accolade reflects our work ethic and some of our key success factors are recognized in their report:

- Identify opportunities early

- Offer the solution in a variety of deployment models (e.g. cloud, mobile, on-premise)

- Match new technology investments to user cases

- Continue to innovate

Why are we cool? Because, in Gartner’s words we “tackle long-standing coordination, collaboration and peer review challenges faced by teams every day regarding group writing, reviewing and editing documents in a way that transforms a complicated, burdensome experience into a  more efficient and controlled process”.

So, PleaseReview v5.0 is out of the door, but watch this space, v5.1 is already in development…  

 

Four months have flown past.

Posted by David Cornwell on 28. May 2013 15:26

Founder/CEO of PleaseTech Ltd - collaborative document review and co-authoring for the enterprise.


Is it really four months since I wrote my last blog entry? It is, and the time has simply flown by. Looking back, it’s been a very successful four months but it’s hard to know where to start. 

Firstly, from a business perspective, we continue to win new clients, to have a healthy prospect list and to see PleaseReview rolled out further with existing clients. So, assuming that the purpose of a business is to acquire and retain customers (to paraphrase Peter Drucker), then we are being successful! 

Secondly, we were recently named a 'Cool Vendor' in Gartner Inc.'s 'Cool Vendors in Social Software and Collaboration, 2013' report, which was published in April of this year. Whilst the best recognition is winning clients and having them come back to purchase additional licenses, it’s also nice to get the wider recognition which this accolade brings.  To read more about why we were selected as innovative players in the collaboration space, see our news item.

Thirdly, we've achieved Gold Partner Status in the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), and are in the final stages of developing an integration with Oracle’s WebCenter Content platform (“WCC”). This was launched at the Oracle IOUG Collaborate conference, Denver, in April and is on track for release shortly after PleaseReview v5.0, due early summer. 

Talking about PleaseReview v5.0…  this latest release will bring a revised, modernized interface and other significant enhancements, which will further extend PleaseReview’s lead as the most advanced document review solution in the world.

Personally, I’ve attended eight conferences in Tampa, Boston, Cardiff, Denver, Twickenham, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. This blog entry will be published when I’m at my ninth conference this year in Atlanta. Only one more to go (DIA in Boston) before the summer break - ten conferences in six months – not bad going!

I don't attend all conferences and, as a company we have had booths at two others so far this year and at a further two before the summer break. In total, we are currently expecting to attend twenty conferences in 2013. We have been deliberately extending the range of the conferences we attend and experimenting - and have had mixed success. We have had some experimental ‘misses’ in the USA and, once again the European conferences have generally not proved worthwhile (with the exception of a couple of smaller ones in the UK). 

The Independent Oracle User’s Group (IOUG) Collaborate 13 conference was, if we are honest, disappointing in terms of lead generation and, in many ways we felt a bit of a ‘fish out of water’ – it is a very technical event and we appeal to business users. However, it acted as a ‘launch vehicle’ for the new integration, helped establish some good Oracle relationships and certainly furthered our understanding of the very extensive Oracle environment and the WebCenter Content platform’s position within it. We will attend Oracle OpenWorld (with circa 50,000 other people) in San Francisco in September with a released product and will hopefully gain a decent amount of interest (aka leads). 

Whilst I tend to talk a lot about conferences as they are a major source of leads for us, our marketing effort is not solely limited to them. We have a broad range of marketing activity underway and the inclusion on the ‘Cool Vendors’ report is a result of this wider effort. PR, social media and content marketing are all part of this and we continue to work at driving more traffic to our website. 

I’m extremely pleased that PleaseReview v5.0 is on schedule for release at the end of June. We have a series of customer webinars planned to introduce our customers to the new features and I’ll be blogging on the enhancements at around the same time. However, suffice it to say that, in addition to the interface refresh, the mobile experience will be enhanced, and we are introducing a new feature which kicks off our new ‘beyond review’ strategy.

This ‘beyond review’ strategy is designed to leverage PleaseReview to provide business process benefits beyond simple document review. The first phase of this, to be released with v5.0, is a ‘feedback capability’ which allows the capture of higher level feedback on a document. This may be manifested as a SWOT analysis or as ‘ratings’ against configurable scales. It can also be used as a simple brainstorming tool. The output is a Word document (and report) with the captured feedback. The feedback functionality will be of particular use in the proposals market but is also applicable wherever the review is focused on ‘higher level’ analysis rather than (or in addition to) detailed mark-up.

So, you can see we have been busy!

On a personal level my sun bronzed complexion is not a result of a well-earned holiday but because I’m out every weekend yomping up the South Wales mountains training for the ‘6 Peaks Challenge’ in early July (WaterAid 6 Peaks Challenge). As a reminder, the headline figures are:

  • 50 miles to walk
  • 20,000 feet to climb
  • 1,000 miles to drive (with two sea crossings)
  • 72 hours in which to complete it


Each team will be climbing the tallest peaks in England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man and both North and South Ireland - all in 72 hours. Our team comprises six climbers and two drivers. 

So, most weekends between now and July 5th you’ll find me walking up and down ‘Pen y Fan’ which is the highest mountain in South Wales and Southern Britain. A standard Sunday training run is to do it twice with a brief ice cream break in the south car park! This makes it about a 8.5 miles walk with a total ascent (and descent) of around 3,000 feet and takes around 4.5 hours (depending on how long you pause at the top to admire the view and how long the line at the ice cream van is). You certainly know you've been on a walk at the end of it. The worrying thing is that to complete the challenge we have to do the equivalent of six of these walks in 72 hours!


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