As we move through the first quarter of the new year, we decided to take a moment to highlight some of the successes that really defined 2008 for Box UK, and also provide a brief overview of our plans for 2009.
Last year was a milestone year for us. Not only did we celebrate our tenth anniversary in business, we ended the year with record results. Despite challenges in the current global economy, Box UK continues into 2009 with a great amount of confidence and opportunity.
In the past year we were fortunate to work on a number of high-profile, innovative projects for a range of clients in the public and private sector, including the National Gallery (London), Eidos Interactive, British Computer Society, Investec Asset Management, World Vision and Visit Wales (The Welsh Assembly Government), to name only a few.
In order to deal effectively with increased demand and ensure that we meet the needs of both existing and new clients, we instituted a number of changes:
- Restructured our operations with the appointment of Margaret Wales as Head of Production, responsible for overseeing and directing our production department. Margaret joins us from AOL where she led a multi-disciplined Quality Assurance and Software Engineering team delivering large-scale applications. Margaret is a PRINCE2 and ISEB Software Testing Practitioner and qualified in ITIL Service Management and Scrum Master for delivering Agile software development projects.
- Expanded our operational base to include sixteen new permanent positions.
- Appointed a new Product Manager, Carey Hiles, with responsibility for overseeing the development of Amaxus®. Currently used by national and global brands, with the next version due to be released in the spring of 2009, we are very pleased to have Carey on board to help develop what we believe is a product with enormous potential.
- Appointed Amy Thibodeau as Marketing Executive to ensure that we are more vocal about telling the world what we are up to.
- Increased our physical capacity with a new London office in Soho. In March 2009 our Cardiff office will be moving to a new four level, 6,000 sq. ft. building near the Millennium Stadium on Westgate Street.
We believe that consistently providing first-class support to clients is crucial to our future success. Always wanting to be a leader in this area, last year we focused a considerable amount of attention on creating additional mechanisms for increasing levels of client satisfaction, including:
- Tightening up our Quality Assurance process and adding further resource to this team.
- Increasing the speed with which we respond to client concerns.
- Enhancing our front-end training for new clients.
- Adding further reporting capability for our support team.
These efforts had a strong positive impact and resulted in 2008 having the lowest number of support-related calls in the history of the company. A particular achievement was that the volume of support received post-implementation dropped significantly. While we always appreciate hearing from the organisations we work with, we certainly don’t want it to be over quality-related issues. Making our clients’ lives easier and reducing their need to call is an important measure of success to us; nevertheless, we are working on further support-related initiatives this year and remain absolutely committed to seeking continual improvement in this area.
2008 was an extremely busy year for training, with a fully booked schedule. With the launch of Amaxus 4 there will be an expansion of our current training programme, incorporating:
- New courses
- A revamp of our technical training
- An official Amaxus ® certification scheme
- A selection of online training videos.
At Box UK we are passionate about what we do and are always looking for new solutions and innovations that can benefit our clients. To this end, we are launching the next generation of our leading Web Content Management System, Amaxus ®, in the spring of 2009.
The first version of Amaxus was released in 2001. Since then the product has grown significantly, but the interface has not drastically changed. Version 4 introduces a new interface and a number of innovations:
- Seamless Cross-Platform Functionality: The rich web-based interface works effortlessly between Windows and Mac environments and across browser platforms.
- Beautiful User Interface Designed to Maximise Your Time: The user interface has been completely redesigned to create a smooth, perfectly integrated experience. This streamlines all tasks associated with managing web sites and allows users to do everything they need to do in the most convenient ways possible.
- Desktop Tools to Manage Functionality: A series of widgets have been developed to merge the web-based application with the computer desktop. This series of tools will allow you to monitor data live on your desktop, including feeds of CMS activity, workflow tasks and server monitoring.
- Inbuilt Accessibility and SEO tools: The new and improved content editor has built-in performance indicators that measure the level of accessibility and search engine optimisation (SEO) of each page of content in real-time. This handy tool will help web publishers adjust page content and metadata accordingly to ensure maximum impact of all online content.
Our commitment to the online world extends to our belief in doing our part to enable the UK community of developers, designers, Tweeters, Facebookers and the overall-Internet obsessed to come together and talk about their projects and passions.
We are proud of the role we’ve played in helping to organise the Cardiff community through our involvement in the Cardiff Web Scene group, which was founded by Box UK’s Technical Director Dan Zambonini and Account Manager Claire Scantlebury. In December 2008, they partnered with local creative-industries network Nocci to organise the first-ever UK “Ignite” event where over 100 people gathered together to listen to six presentations with subjects ranging from How to Build a Paper Airplane to Google Earth. This very popular event is set to happen again in Cardiff in April 2009, with a London-based version being planned to take place in June.
Over the last year, we’ve also forged some important, long-term partnerships outside of the United Kingdom. In 2008, we were selected from a number of highly innovative organisations to be a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab) company. Box UK was one of only nine companies selected to participate, and the only one from outside of North America, from 22 finalists and hundreds of applicants. In E-Lab, teams of graduate management, engineering and science students work on a project brief with MIT professors critical to the success of a new technology venture. Our involvement in this project has forged many lasting relationships, which we look forward to exploring as we consider potential growth opportunities for the company in other parts of the world.
Overall, our focus for the future continues to be centred on helping each and every one of you realise your business goals by providing you with innovative, forward-thinking solutions and exceptional support. We look forward to continuing our work with you into our second decade of business with these priorities always at the centre of our corporate strategy and culture.