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:
- 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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