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

They see us here, they see us there

Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 3. October 2013 16:43

The other half of marketing... Google


The last couple of weeks have kicked off a busy few weeks for us event wise.  There was Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, followed by RAPS in Boston.  On the 16th of October, we’re speaking at the DIA EDM and ERS/eCTD meeting in San Diego before embarking on a mammoth three week trip to the US at the beginning of November.  You'll find us at ISPE in Washington, AMWA in Columbus, PMO in San Diego and OpenText Enterprise World in Orlando – and that’s not to mention the European and UK shows – UK APMP in the Cotswolds, another speaking event at DIA EDM in Dublin and ISPE in Shakespeare’s country, Stratford Upon Avon.

That’s a lot of air miles, but for us, physically getting in front of prospective customers really works.  Not only do we get to fully understand people’s document collaboration requirements and current provision, but we can show them PleaseReview and demo how it works.  Shows are also a great way to see existing customers and get their feedback on how PleaseReview is working for them.  

We’re always keen to better understand people’s document collaboration requirements, so if you’re attending any of the above, do pop by and say hello, maybe even stop for a demo…

 

Reflections on Oracle OpenWorld

Posted by David Cornwell on 27. September 2013 09:24

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


I’m sitting in the lounge at SFO en route home after my first ever Oracle OpenWorld. We had a booth in Moscone West – the Applications Hall. So, as a show veteran, what are my impressions?

Firstly, it’s the size of the whole event. It’s certainly the largest I’ve ever attended. I’m not sure what the final attendance figures are but the figures being bandied around are 60,000 people. I suspect that is all attendees including delegates, booth staff, Oracle staff and conference organisers but, whatever the numbers; it’s an awful lot of people.

It’s only when I ventured from our hall to the main event area (where the keynotes and the ‘Technology hall’ was located across the road, you realize the scale of the whole thing.  It’s a major logistical challenge and I thought the whole event was extremely well organized – congratulations to Oracle and the event organizers.

Secondly, the sheer number of Oracle products and breadth they cover is almost beyond comprehension. Trying to get my mind around what the various exhibiting companies were promoting was a mission impossible. So much was so far outside of my experience I had no idea!

The question then is how do you differentiate yourself? How do identify yourself in the noise and bring attention to yourself to the delegates whom may be potentially interested in your offerings – assuming that only a percentage are interested? The key is ‘simple messages’. If anything our booth wording was a case of ‘too much information’.  We just needed to get the message ‘Document Collaboration’ across.

However, on the subject of simple messages, many people did suggest that their document collaboration needs were taken care of via SharePoint.  So, Microsoft has had a lot of success with its simple message that SharePoint is the ‘document collaboration platform’.  So our challenge is to come up with an equally simple message of why you need PleaseReview if you have SharePoint!

Thirdly, whilst we were at the event to promote our new Oracle WebCenter Content integration, there was a high degree of interest in our Documentum, Open Text and SharePoint integrations. Initially this surprised me. However, when you do the rational analysis, the simple fact is that the attendees represent some of the biggest companies in the world and they have large corporate systems, which include the aforementioned Documentum, Open Text and SharePoint systems.  So, opportunities outside WebCenter Content were an unexpected and, of course, much welcomed outcome.

As usual for these big events we ran a document collaboration survey from the booth and had over 400 participants. Results will help us in our marketing and be published.  We learnt a bit about survey length and what attracts people to complete surveys. Hint: never refer to it as a survey. Ask them if they want to win the prize – who doesn’t - and then once they start they normally complete.

Finally, I’ve learnt that going to the Oracle Appreciation Event party/concert on the Wednesday night is not something I plan to do again. Bussing 50,000+ people to Treasure Island through the rush hour traffic (1 hr 45 mins from standing in line for the bus) is non-trivial. Then, when you are there, there is a long line for food, drink, the rest rooms, etc.  OK, so Maroon 5, were good (but I suspect they play to a more animated audience normally) but I’m afraid I decided to forgo the pleasure of The Black Peas and head back. Now if it had been The Black Eyed Peas it may have been a different story.

Last word: Special thanks also need to go to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who skipped his final keynote speech on Tuesday to attend the America's cup (congratulations Larry on a great win I’m sure they couldn’t have done it without you) giving attendees more time to experience the document collaboration benefits of PleaseReview.

 

 

PleaseTech at Oracle OpenWorld

Posted by John Tanner on 26. September 2013 16:30

Our PleaseTech integration expert


As Oracle OpenWorld virgins our pre-show expectations were high, especially considering the sheer size of the event; and as proceedings draw to a close we certainly haven't been disappointed.  The four days have provided an excellent forum to share PleaseTech's products to a diverse range of business partners.  Most surprising has been the interest we have received in our integrations with non-Oracle document management solutions from Microsoft SharePoint to Documentum.

Special thanks also need to go to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who skipped his final keynote speech on Tuesday to attend the America's cup, giving attendees more time to experience the document collaboration benefits of PleaseReview.

 

The law of unintended consequences and customer feedback

Posted by David Cornwell on 20. September 2013 10:02

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


So the summer is over, the kids are back at school and business has got manic again. I’m writing this blog post from Budapest airport where I’ve been on a less than 24 hour visit to give a presentation at the Lorenz user conference called UserBridge.13. About 160 people from 21 different countries attended with visitors from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, the USA, Japan and Europe.

As always with Lorenz, the conference was immaculately organised with a beautiful venue, superb food and sessions which ran more-or-less on time!

I was presenting our document collaboration maturity model which allows organizations to check whether their collaboration process actually meets with their collaboration requirements.  We're going to be talking about this a lot of the coming months, so watch this space.

On Saturday I fly out to San Francisco for Oracle World.

So, to the title of my blog – the law of unintended consequences. 

One of the things CEOs and all others who make decisions are acutely aware of is that any process, set of rules, etc. will be subject to overly rigid interpretation, misunderstandings and a complete lack of common sense.

The story gets a little complicated, so follow carefully!

So, there I was, sitting with my wife on an Easyjet flight back from Barcelona, when I observed behaviour which illustrated this perfectly.

Easyjet have recently moved to an allocated seating model which allows them to charge people extra for the emergency rows and the front of the plane. I’m sure when the idea first came up, it seemed like a really good idea and, from a business perspective, it is. More revenue from the same people on the same flight – what’s not to like about that?

This particular flight was not full, nor crucially, were the two emergency rows in the middle of the plane. In fact the entire 2nd row of emergency seats was not occupied at all. As a frequent flyer, sitting one row behind the vacant emergency row, I noted this and indicated to my wife that it would be interesting to see how they deal with this because, as we all know, you need at least one capable person sitting in the row (in case of emergency).

Now, at approximately the same time, the strapping 20 something year old in the aisle seat next to next to us asked the crew if he could sit in the emergency row and was told ‘no’, as people have to pay to be there. Fair enough.

So, the doors close and the steward makes his move. A (very) large gentleman is asked to move from the aisle seat in the first (occupied) emergency row and does so gratefully, occupying the middle seat on one side of the previously empty emergency row. Score one for the steward.

Now what to do? He still needs an able-bodied person on the other side of the aisle. There remain two couples occupying the other emergency row on opposite sides of the plane.

But, our man was on to it. Alas, instead of doing the sensible thing and ask the strapping chap next to me to move (or indeed another capable individual) he split a couple up so that one had to occupy the empty row!  Unbelievable!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no body language expert, but given the fact that (i) she was leaning on her partner’s shoulder  with her arm around him when the steward came calling, (ii) the steward had to persuade the lady to move and kept reiterating ‘it’s only for take-off’, and (iii) given the long, dare I say, lingering kiss she gave her partner as she reluctantly moved back a row, I’d  guess that it was not how she had expected her romantic(?) weekend in Barcelona to end. Needless to say she was back next to her man the second the seat belt sign was turned off.

So, rather than a win for Easyjet: Strapping man next to me is happy as he gets an emergency row and more leg room for his long legs, aforementioned lady is happy as she gets to take off next to her nearest, I’m happy because the seat next to me is free, the, no doubt highly trained, steward managed snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

I have no doubt that no-one intended the above scenario. They assumed that the steward would take the common sense approach and move someone else.

What lessons do I take away? Simply, that, regardless of how clearly you define procedures and practices and regardless of how highly trained the staff are, you still need to rely on your staff to exhibit common sense. In this case the steward did not. Why not, we ask?

Well, of course, it may be an incorrect company policy. Perhaps he would have got into trouble if he let someone occupy a seat they hadn’t paid for. Answer, listen to client feedback such as this and re-think company policy.

Perhaps it is a misunderstanding/over rigorous understanding/interpretation of company policy and another steward would exhibit common sense. Answer: include the scenario in company training.

Perhaps he is a poor reader of body language and thought the woman needed rescuing? Answer: I’m sure that’s not the case.

In fact, I have emailed this to the CEO of Easyjet, told her I’d be including it in my blog and had a very nice response from a lady in ‘Executive Support’.

But I think that, other than the law of unintended consequences, there is another key point to emerge and that is, without customer feedback, you don’t get to know where you are going wrong or get the chance to put things right. So, I’m a great fan.  We rely heavily on customer feedback here at PleaseTech to establish development priorities so, customers, please do let me know if there are any unintended consequences from our software or, indeed, enhancements you want to see in future releases. .

Finally, I’m regularly asked ‘what mad venture are you up to next’? So, I’m pleased to announce that the answer is ‘driving sheep across London Bridge’ – I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that to be the answer!

But, it’s true.   On Sunday 29th September, in the company of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen, one of the oldest Livery Companies of the City of London, my wife and I and some friends will be participating in the traditional, annual sheep drive. Costumes yet to be decided but it will be either biblical or sheppardesque. I have firmly ruled out ‘Little Bo Peep’.

Needless to say any funds raised go to charity so hopefully we can have some fun and raise a bit of cash! I’ll report back in my next blog and will post pictures as proof on our Facebook page!

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