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

Are you being served?

Posted by Barry Lyne on 31. July 2014 12:00

PleaseTech's VP of Sales


Hello to all our customers, prospects, followers and friends – it’s great to be part of the team at PleaseTech, working from our sunny (for the moment) offices in Malmesbury, UK.

My first impressions are that we have a great client base but there is much more opportunity for us to grow our revenues with new geographies and industry verticals. Product knowledge is vitally important in any sales role - I feel lucky that PleaseReview is so intuitive to use – and wish it had been available in previous companies, it would have made getting complex bids & proposals and other documents out such a breeze.

One of my key goals is to make it easier for potential customers to take advantage of our solutions, we recognize that in today’s ‘post-recession’ economy nobody is buying software unless they can demonstrate tangible business benefits and that is why we continue to focus on building tools to help our clients in this area.

David Cornwell, PleaseTech’s CEO observed in his latest blog post that clients are reporting their ‘document workload’ is increasing, mainly due to greater regulatory pressures and the growing need to be compliant. Close to my heart is how we, as a team, help our clients to evaluate, and importantly quantify the business benefits of PleaseReview. Some of you may be familiar with our Collaboration Questionnaire which helps individuals and companies assess their collaboration needs and the document processes they have in place within their organization. If you’ve completed the questionnaire please get in touch - we can also help you to quantify the real business benefits to your organisation using our ROI (return on investment) calculator. It’s a great tool developed using metrics gathered over many years so take advantage of this experience and discover how to solve the problem of your escalating ‘document workload’.

We have a very active conference and exhibition program and as my diary begins to fill up I am really looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming weeks and months. And if you’re not a customer yet please get in touch or watch our movie and let’s see if any of our solutions can help to make your job easier at the same time as helping your company be more efficient.

An increasing document workload

Posted by David Cornwell on 2. June 2014 10:44

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


As you may be aware, PleaseTech attends a large number of conferences every year. Not only do we have a booth/stand to show our products and chat with existing and prospective customers, but also in order to get additional insight as to the pressures driving prospective clients, we conduct research at these conferences. This normally takes the form of a brief iPad questionnaire which we ask delegates to complete.

Where we get a statistically meaningful sample, we publish the results of this research as White Papers and webinars. The research tends to be geared towards the conferences’ specific industry or discipline, so the results from different conferences are not always directly comparable.

However, one of the recurring themes we see in this research is the increase in what we are calling the ‘document workload’. I’m thinking of the document workload as the number of documents required to achieve a certain goal. If that goal is running a successful business then let’s define it as the number of documents required to run the business.  Another way to think of it is, the number of documents required to do your job, or that you come across in your job. 

There is no doubt that the document workload is increasing. That’s what people tell us and it’s what we observe in our own business. Why? Well, the standard answer is the increased regulatory and legislative overhead and resulting increased emphasis in procedures and client auditing requirements. 

The phrase ‘If it’s not documented it didn’t happen’ (or similar wording) is well known, especially in the FDA-regulated Life Sciences market, which historically has been and remains our largest market. This is the corollary of procedures where it’s commonly stated that: 'If a process is not documented it doesn’t exist’. Whilst these clichés have always been true in Life Sciences, if you search for the terms you will find them equally applicable to Legal, Government, Healthcare, etc.

So the good news is that the document workload is increasing. Good news? Yes, very much so if you are a vendor in the ‘document workload mitigation’ industry. Whilst I suspect that the ‘document workload mitigation’ industry isn’t an officially recognized industry sector, it’s really the reason why there is so much focus on document management and document collaboration - a recognized sector which PleaseTech is very much part of. 

This increase in the document workload leads directly and unequivocally to an increase in the ‘review workload’. An increase in the review workload means an increase in demand for PleaseReview. In fact, we would argue that the review workload is a significant percentage of the effort required in dealing with the document workload. 

We have previously documented the results of our research which suggest that people have a low expectation of document collaboration solutions. Everyone just assumes that there is no way around the ‘tracked changes nightmare’. As the document workload increases, so will that nightmare and the associated pain. 

Mitigation is all about the reduction of pain and one of the things I’ve come to understand in my long career is that in order to sell a software product it must solve a pain point. If it doesn’t solve a pain point there won’t be a compelling ROI and it becomes a ‘nice to have’ - and no one has the time or budget for that stuff these days. 

Whilst I was thinking about the document workload and collating the ideas as a subject for this blog post, I thought a bit of research of my own was in order. I was hoping to find some research which quantified the increase of the document workload on businesses. From that I reasoned I could work out the increase in the review workload. I was somewhat surprised to find that there doesn’t appear to be much, if any, research on the subject. A search for ‘document workload’ resulted in nothing meaningful. Likewise ‘document burden’ didn’t produce anything interesting. There were a number of vendors talking about the ‘document burden’ but no hard research.

So, I’m thinking that we need to start researching this. We need to find out by how much the document workload is increasing year on year. We need to ask people what percentage of the document workload they estimate can be attributed to the review workload and what the pain is, in real terms, of the review workload. The output of all this research is a marketing campaign!

If you wish to be a part of this research, please let us know by emailing us at marketing@pleasetech.com!

 

The PleaseTech exhibition booth guide…we tried, we tested, we concluded…

Posted by Sarah Edmonds on 29. April 2014 10:23

The other half of marketing... Google


By the end of this year, PleaseTech will have exhibited at 13 conferences across the US and UK.  The eternal question we ask ourselves is, “is our booth working as well as possible?  Are the messages still correct, is the stand eye catching, is there anything we can improve?”

Budget is always a key factor, and making changes to a perfectly good stand is hard to justify, but recently the decision was made for us when the x-banner started to look faded and the panels on the table top started to break.

So it was with great excitement (well for the marketing department) that we embarked on a project to research new ideas for our stand.  We looked at everything from booths with in-built TV monitors, projectors to ping images of live demos, and other clever gizmos.

And there are so many options out there; most of them costing way more than their anticipated ROI.  However, what these sales promotion companies fail to consider time and time again, is how the average business is supposed to ship these exhibition booths and all the equipment that goes with them, from both a cost and logistics point of view?

Go to any show, and you’ll generally find one or two people manning a booth.  Unless they work for a really big company, those manning the booth are responsible for the set up and break down of all the kit.   

Big organizations employ companies to take care of this for them, but for businesses such as ourselves, once the conference is over, you’ll find our colleagues dragging the booth kit to the nearest UPS store for shipping back to our US storage facility.  And there’s a limit to how much you can drag or carry, not to mention how much you want to spend on shipping costs…

So where did we end up?  We’re currently re-doing our table top display to reflect new messaging and we’ve bought some nifty iPad stands to enable us to conduct surveys when we’re at shows (a brilliant way to collect data, which we then turn into content and distribute across our social media sites).  A new 22” TV has been purchased, which sits on a round cocktail table and enables us to run our new sales demo movie (if you haven’t seen it, please watch it here).

But the booth is only part of the story. A major factor for us is our use of cartoons.  We use these to bring to life what PleaseReview does, why people might use it and what it can do for them.  Our experience shows that the people who visit our stand genuinely resonate with the scenarios our cartoons depict (email chaos sound familiar, multiple copies of marked up documents?!).   We give away postcards of our cartoons and they are hugely successful in drawing interest and questions about what we do.  We also have a cartoon website, have a look at it here. 

So all of this combined, along with pre-show mailings to conference attendees, cross partner promotions and a great attitude from our booth staff means we’re pretty pleased with how well our booth now functions.  You can see it in operation at the next show, APMP in Chicago, followed by ABA in New Orleans and DIA in San Diego.

Of course, we’re always looking for new ideas…

 

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