Its the start of a new year. 2017 has just begun and normally this is when we reflect on the past and look forward to our future. I enjoy doing this at the start of the year and have been doing it on a personal level. At IDRsolutions we are also doing that on a corporate level with our business strategy and how we went about marketing and developing our products.
We already consider 2016 a very successful year and seen the number of inquiries and sales increase and our customer satisfaction is at all time high. But Ive always been a fan of the Kaizen philosophy.
What is Kaizen?
Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement and was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai.
One of the most notable features of kaizen is that big results that come from many small changes accumulated over time. A lot of what we did at the end of 2015 and start of 2016 paid off in the latter half of this year and all of these were small changes that accumulated over time.
Seven things we did right in 2016
During 2016 we focused heavily on SEO in order to garner organic traffic to our website. We made use of a lot of SEO tools and used Google Analytics in many ways people would not expect it to be used in order to find out usage stats and click through to other pages. These changes helped our Alexa rank climb drastically.
3. Unified our Websites
Previously we were on different platforms but we unified all of it so it is now based on the WordPress platform to make it easier for web-development and management.
4. Unified our Sales channels
Previously we used our current tool Fogbugz to manage sales but we were finding it more and more difficult to get the best out of this system and our existing CRM wasn’t up to scratch. So we moved Sales onto a completely separate platform so we some of us could completely focus on sales and marketing and the others on support or development (with a slight overlap).
5. Unified vision for our company and products
At the start of 2016 we started by looking at what our USP (unique selling point and value proposition) and used this to define our Company vision and our USP for our products. This allowed us to target particular market and segments better.
6. Made use of the Cloud
With more of the team often remote working the decision was made that our current methods of keeping some of our sales and licensing material and accounting tools strictly at one location wasn’t going to cut it any longer. We utilized a more cloud based infrastructure using Google Drive and the tools that came with it, our own personal Cloud for storage and other purposes and tools that could be access by everyone and not just one account.
7. Collaboration tools
Like any organization we used emails to communicate with one another and when we really needed to used Skype and Google Hangouts but we found that it was relatively difficult to share thoughts and ideas, discuss things and collaborate without being taken out of the work flow. After attending Business of Software (read our experiences part 1 and part 2). We made the decision to use Basecamp which improved our communication and collaboration on an enormous scale (you can read my colleague Sophia review here).
What can you expect from us in 2017?
We are already looking forward and planning our road-maps for 2017. Here is what you can expect from us in 2017.
1. Attend more conferences
After 2016 visit to both Business of Software Conferences we decided it would be useful to attend this years one and also attend a number of others which we can see that are beneficial for the staff at IDRsolutions and add Synergy.
2. Get more involved with community Events
IDRsolutions already helps with the NetBeans Day events and Mark Stephens is a NetBeans dream team member but we would like to get involved in more events like Devfest Istanbul, other NetBeans days and continue to do talks at JavaOne.
3. Improve our Sales funnel
Over the past year we have slowly been redesigning our website and 2017 will be no different. We recently have been using a new tool that allows us to see how things flow and what people are clicking on. In 2017 we would like to use to this to fine tune our pages even more.
4. SEO (Again!!)
Google is constantly changing their algorithms, so to stay on top as any good Marketer would, we have to remain on top. Things to watch out for in 2017 include further redesigns to our website and blog and making ourselves AMP compliant.
5. Product, Features, Benefits
We want our marketing to be more product focused in 2017 and ensure our web pages focus on explaining our Product, its features and the benefits to you and your organization. In the spirit of Kaizan you can see our changes to our JPedal Java PDF Library SDK home page.
6. Revisit our USP and our vision
This revisit is for our company and products and to see if this is still working out and whether we need to change anything.
7. Better targeting
Specifically this revolves around our Customers and potential customers with appropriate content creation such as newsletters, case studies and more.
8. Collaborate and share ideas more
Our changes we made in 2016 of making use of the cloud and collaboration tools like Basecamp certainly open up new doors and ideas when planning our 2017 road-map. We would like to expand on this more in 2017.
At the core is this philosophy which is to continuously improve IDRsolutions sales, support, customer service and continue to expand.
Of course these plans are not set in stone, as with any good organization we have to change our strategy to suit the larger environment if required but these are just some of the plans we have for 2017. Perhaps in 2018 I’ll revisit this list and let you know what worked out for us.
If you would like to know what else is coming up in 2017 why not check out the following:
- Our Goals for the JDeli Java Image Library in 2017
- Our Goals for the JPedal Java PDF Library SDK in 2017
- JPDF2HTML5 2016 Roundup and looking ahead to 2017
- Supporting other languages in 2017