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

Looking back at 2014 and forward to 2015 - views from PleaseTech CEO, David Cornwell

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.

Thanks!

 

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!

 

The road trip awaits.....

Posted by David Cornwell on 31. October 2013 16:41

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


I’m about to start a three week road trip around the USA which will take in four conferences and two clients visits. This will require eight flights, two car hires and seven different hotels spanning Washington DC; Columbus, OH; San Diego, CA; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Orlando, FL – in that order!

As I sit here in the PleaseTech office quietly contemplating the task ahead and running through mental checklists, I do wonder why I do these things?

Someone needs to be out there educating people about the true value of genuine document collaboration especially when considered in the context of the document review process. 

For example, our recent SharePoint research highlighted the fact 75% of those surveyed said that SharePoint provides the document collaboration requirements needed, yet well over 50% are still using email for document review and 25% still using hard copy - this is despite document creation and review playing a 'significant' role in 66% of respondent's jobs! Just think of the wasted time and effort that these statistics represent. No wonder the adjective ‘pain’ is the one most closely associated with the document review process for many people.

Why is this so important? Well I just love this quote from Alan Pelz-Sharpe, of 451 Research: “A firm’s ability to innovate is closely tied to its ability to collaborate”.   And the people we surveyed agree. Over 90% of respondents agreed that enhancing document collaboration is important to their organization.

So collaboration and especially document collaboration is important and runs to the very heart of business success, and why? Because it adds real value.

Analysts such as Ovum recognize that, within document collaboration, “document review is a specialist area and document management and enterprise content management (ECM) platforms do not always include the required level of management and control”.

And it is a complex area. Our survey revealed that 56% of people have 6 or more people involved in the document review process whilst 27% had over 20 people involved in the document edit and reviewing process. Imagine having to manage the email correspondence of 20 reviewers and having to compile their comments and proposed changes into the master document! Yet this is what people are still doing!

So I’ll be at the ISPE conference (International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering) in Washington DC swiftly followed by the AMWA conference (American Medical Writers Conference) in Columbus, OH. Then the PMI PMO conference (Project Management Institute  - Project Management Office) in San Diego, CA followed by a couple of client visits ‘en route’ to the OpenText Enterprise World conference in Orlando, FL.

At these conferences I’ll be explaining to people that ‘yes, there is a better way’. We can remove the pain and make your document review process efficient, transparent and controlled – and a whole lot more.

 

The things we do to bring the message of collaboration to the businesses of America!

 

The SharePoint dichotomy

Posted by Sarah Holden on 18. October 2013 10:37

Half of the PleaseTech marketing team.


Now, more than ever, ‘collaboration’ is the buzz word of the day as key analysts and other thought leaders extoll its virtues.  Ben Hecht in the Harvard Business Review recently wrote that ‘collaboration is the new competition’ and going one step further, Gartner point out ‘IT leaders have opportunities to deliver business value in the area collaboration’.

SharePoint is perhaps one of the most prolific ‘collaborative platforms.  Eighteen months ago we published a whitepaper entitledDocument Review and SharePoint Document Collaboration', which asked SharePoint customers what they thought about its collaborative capabilities and whether being known as the ‘business collaboration platform’ lived up to its reputation with regard to the collaborative authoring and review process.

It found that whilst respondents were broadly satisfied with their document review solutions, further questioning revealed many issues.  Whilst the term collaboration was widely used, in reality expectations were low. This demonstrated that in the SharePoint community, education was still required.

So we decided to ask since this research, and three years on from the launch of SharePoint 2010, how have user expectations evolved as the platform has become more prolific?  What is the reality of document collaboration in the workplace?  Is there still a mismatch between what SharePoint users need and what they have?  Have opinions on SharePoint’s collaborative capabilities changed?

We surveyed 276 companies in order to find out the answers to these questions.

Ultimately, are businesses deriving value from their collaborative tools?

Want to know what we found out?  Sign up to a 30 minute webinar, hosted by PleaseTech CEO Dave Cornwell on Tuesday October 22nd.

Simply click this link.

 

 

 

 

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