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

The ‘realistic SharePoint’ era?

Posted by David Cornwell on 2. September 2014 12:54

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


Apparently when you are a CEO of a growing company there comes a tipping point when you stop telling everyone what to do and start being told by your staff what to do! "David, we need a blog entry from you on SharePoint" - was the command from marketing. So, being a dutiful, obedient servant to the cause, here it is.  

It was actually moderately topical because whilst on holiday with friends, a couple of us were chewing the cud over a glass or two and he was complaining that you can’t get SharePoint developers for love or money in central London. I questioned why they were developing in SharePoint but he didn’t know (he is an accountant and was only interested in the money side of the equation). Anyway, we talked through the ‘trough of disillusionment’ and whether we are entering the ‘post SharePoint’ era as some seem to believe. 

Personally, I don’t think we are entering the post SharePoint era but I do hope we are entering the ‘realistic SharePoint’ era. This is the era when  people work out what SharePoint does well and what it doesn’t do well. 

I guess it is what Gartner calls the ‘slope of enlightenment’ in its Hype Cycle model. In the model, the slope of enlightenment follows the 'trough of disillusionment' which follows the ‘peak of inflated expectations’. Check out this link for an overview of the model.

And, let’s be honest, expectations have been inflated. PleaseTech, along with many others I'm sure, suffers from IT departments the world over saying "SharePoint can do that ..... it’s the collaboration platform/it’s the records management platform/and it’s the [insert term here] platform."

In my opinion, this is partly the fault of the Microsoft hype. I’ve personally sat in presentations given by Microsoft personnel where they explain to the audience that SharePoint does everything and there is no need for anything else.  

Unfortunately, some people seem to have been listening to the presentations and appear to have been swayed by Microsoft's marketing. In the trade this is known as drinking the Microsoft 'kool aid'. They emerge from these sessions repeating in rote ‘SharePoint can do that’. 

No it can’t – not everything. Stop people. Take time to understand the problem (aka the requirement) and research the best method of delivering it. BTW, here is a clue: The answer is not always SharePoint. 

When it comes to PleaseReview and what it offers, SharePoint CAN’T DO IT.  Not out of the box, not with lots of clever development of workflow, not at all. And, the unfortunate thing is, organizations waste millions of dollars trying to make SharePoint do what PleaseReview does when all they have to do is buy a license from us, buy our SharePoint integration license, deliver to the business, save a load of development dollars and bask in the reflected glory of a job well done.  

Too often the end user client wants our software but has to fight tooth and nail with IT as their response is ‘SharePoint can do that’.

I am personally aware of several projects where thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars have been spent trying to make SharePoint do what PleaseReview does. Recently we had a series of emergency presentations with a prospect because the committee was meeting to approve a project which was going to throw ‘good money after bad’ and spend even more money on a failed SharePoint project. The project was trying to emulate PleaseReview functionality. I’m pleased to say that it appears, even at the 11th hour, that common sense has prevailed and PleaseReview looks like it will be the preferred option.

It seems that the basic problem is that, when it comes to SharePoint, the ‘Law of the Instrument’ (otherwise known as Maslow’s hammer) applies. The law is typified by the saying ‘if all you have is a hammer, all problems look like a nail’ and, what it means is, people become over reliant on familiar tools. 

This is perhaps why in their 'Collaborative Credentials'  report, the Mando Group (a UK based web design and SharePoint consultancy) have found that the majority of Microsoft SharePoint users are 'disillusioned' with SharePoint implementations. When you start to believe that every requirement simply needs hitting with the SharePoint hammer you lose sight of the fact that not every requirement resembles a nail. Sometimes it's better to screw things together, sometimes to glue them together and sometimes to weld them together. Hammers are blunt instruments, after all. 

So, I do look forward to the dawning of a new age, the age of ‘realistic SharePoint’. This will be an age in which there is a new sense of enlightenment, where there will be less kool aid consumed, where appropriate tools for the job in hand will be used and, as a consequence, where PleaseTech’s revenue will go through the stratosphere! Let the sun shine in!

For more information on how PleaseReview works with SharePoint, please visit our website or contact us.

  

 

PleaseTech’s advent countdown

Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 29. November 2013 09:48

The other half of marketing... Google


It’s that time when people reflect on the year gone by.  A year of many highs at PleaseTech; we launched PleaseReview 5.0, the latest version of our leading document review software, started worked on v5.1, were named a Gartner ‘Cool Vendor’ and welcomed new clients to the fold.

But that’s just the start of it.  We’re kicking off the festive season with our own version of the Christmas calendar, but done so ‘the PleaseTech way’ across our social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google +).

We’ll be taking a look back at our year in more detail, showcasing some of the best bits.  Check it out from December 1st (might even be some champers up for grabs!).

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.

 

 

 

 

We’re a lean, green collaborating machine…

Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 10. September 2013 12:18

The other half of marketing... Google


The average person produces seven times their bodyweight in rubbish each year with just over 40% of it being recycled.  Sometimes trying to be eco-friendly is a real pain.  Take energy efficient light bulbs that take seemingly ages to light a room up properly, or doing the school run with three small children on foot, and in the rain to avoid using the car…you get my point.

We try to be as green as possible here at PleaseTech; we’re corporate members of the Woodland Trust and recycle plastic, cardboard and printer cartridges to minimize our carbon footprint. 

Of course, we’re not the only ones. Most businesses have some sort of environmental policy but whilst many strive to be paperless, the demand for printer paper is at an all-time high.  Nearly all have a need to write and review all sorts of documents: procedures manuals, proposals, books, regulatory submissions, audits, contracts, assessments, the list goes on. 

In a previous life, I was the poor soul responsible for compiling annual reports, getting input from board directors, emailing round draft after draft to people who’d then dump hard copies on my desk, full of amends, some of which clashed with comments from colleagues, much of it in illegible handwriting.

Can you imagine how much paper was printed out before that report was approved – for printing? Not to mention the number of late nights spent in the office, with all the lights and computers on, to meet the deadline of finishing it? 

As consumers we strive to be greener, recycling, being a good example, but what is it that actually drives the change? In reality most people turn their heating down out of need not want - to save money, rather than energy.  Technological advances mean we have low energy, high definition TVs, but do people buy the TV to save energy or for the improved viewing experience?

It’s a similar situation in the workplace; new technologies are introduced in order to make our lives easier, save the company money or enable us to do our jobs more efficiently and, as a by-product, are also likely to drive environmental change.

Take my annual reports.  If the process of compiling the report had been easier, I’d have got the job done in half the time, the company in question would have saved a fortune in printing and electricity costs, and been ‘greener’ without even trying.

We have a client at PleaseTech who recently told us that to get just one review completed involved nearly 300 emails and even more attachments. 

How crazy is that?  But it’s not an unfamiliar tale, and one, which I’m sure most people can identify with. 

Controlled document collaboration software is relatively new, and was sought out initially by companies heavily regulated with a key business requirement to comply with strict industry guidelines, such as in Life Sciences.  However, the impact of what it can help businesses to achieve is gaining momentum across other industry sectors. It’s now considered a ‘cool’ technology by leading analysts such as Gartner and Ovum, and the range of organizations using it includes the big pharmaceuticals, financial institutions and energy firms to consultancies, universities and small businesses

And why? Well the answer is simple really, customers report that it cuts the time taken to edit and review documents by up to 65%, or to put it another way, gives them an extra month’s employee productivity every year.

The environmental impact is obvious.  Let’s say you have 10 team members working on a 50 page document.  Each person prints the document out twice.  That’s 1,000 pieces of paper.  They do that every month and you have 12,000 pieces of paper.  Estimates suggest one tree produces 8,333 pieces of A4 paper, so do the maths, that’s 1.4 trees saved. 

Some of our customers have 20+ people working on documents that are regularly over 200 pages in length, and there may be several documents that the business is working on each month.  The environmental saving is potentially huge, but arguably, a bi-product of the business wanting to operate more efficiently.

So in PleaseReview we have a piece of software that is easy to use, supports employee efficiency, saves businesses huge amounts of time, improves document quality and helps organizations offset their carbon footprint.   No wonder Gartner think we’re cool.

 

 

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