Farewell 2017. Bring on 2018
Another year over, a new one just begun. They say that we shouldn’t dwell on the past, but think always of the future. But what do they know?
The reality is that, as we head into 2018 the exciting opportunities that we have in front of us at UpriseVSI were created by the hard work of our team in 2017. A year that could at times be described as – exciting / stressful / challenging / tiring / exhilarating / frustrating – but ultimately, rewarding.
And a year that warrants reflection, for a variety of reasons.
It’s been an important, pivotal year for the business. A year of transformation; in which we became a truly unified company (UpriseVSI). It was also the year that saw our online booking product, thinkBooker, really start to gain traction and become noticed in the market place. It’s allowed us to move on from being just another web development agency, and to position ourselves very much as a marketing technology company.
Yes, it’s been an eventful year on numerous levels, with plenty of the things happening on a seemingly daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Listed below are my own personal highlights:
We got together
The end of October 2017 marked two years since Uprise Marketing (which we were then called) acquired VSI-thinking.
For 18 months we were split over two sites, resulting in much travelling, calls, emails and Slack notifications between the Upper Boat and Cardiff Bay offices. As soon as our lease in Upper Boat came to an end we moved into our new home at 10 Drake Walk in Cardiff on 13th April.
Having everyone under one roof made an immediate impact in terms of communication, collaboration and the overall vibe of the office.
Being able to walk to John Lewis in 5 minutes also seemed to go down well with everyone!
We won awards
In May, thinkBooker won the award for ‘Best Emerging Technology’ at the inaugural Wales Online Digital Awards.
In October, we were listed in the Wales Fast Growth 50 for the second year running and were shortlisted in the ‘Fastest Growing Creative Company’ category. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but we had a great night and both of these awards helped raise our profile.
We won some great new clients
Since we started the business over five years ago, we’ve always been ambitious and wanted to work with the best brands within Wales and to grow the business further afield. In 2017, we did just that and are proud to have delivered online booking solutions for the likes of the Welsh Rugby Union, and Cardiff Airport as well as bespoke web applications for the Football Association of Wales and Retail Merchandising Services (RMS).
We also launched a new online brochure store for Thomas Cook, delivered a personal shopper booking and scheduling system for luxury fashion retailer, Browns, and developed an ecommerce site for a major packaging company. We were also appointed to deliver an online room booking system for London Meeting Rooms, a new website for Parkwood Leisure and have launched two new websites for London-based graduate recruitment specialist, Venture Marketing.
The future became clearer
Every business needs a plan, and whilst we’ve always had one, we realised that our business was changing and we needed to revisit it. We spent the summer re-writing our business plan with new challenging financial targets, a new sales and marketing strategy and a development roadmap for our own technology products, in particular, thinkBooker.
We started to deliver on our plan earlier than expected
As Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith used to say:
And, while we’re still very early on in our vision of global domination, since we launched our new strategy in October, we’ve already smashed some of the targets that we set ourselves and we go into 2018 with the strongest pipeline of work that we’ve ever had.
But there’s no room for complacency and we’ll be working as hard as we can to continue to win exciting new projects and deliver the best work possible for our clients.
We grew our team
In 2017 we welcomed several new faces to the UpriseVSI team covering web development, technical support, project management, digital marketing and our own sales and marketing.
Every one of the new Uprisers has strengthened our offering and made a difference to the quality of work and service that we deliver. We’ll continue to invest in hiring talented people with the right skills, attitude and ambition as we grow the business further.
So, what’s next?
We’ve got lots plans for 2018.
As the saying goes, “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better” and that’s something we certainly subscribe to at UpriseVSI. We never stand still and are always striving to raise the standard of the work that we produce and the levels of our customer service.
We’re starting the year by looking at how we can improve our processes and communication to allow us to become more efficient in everything that we do. Like most companies, we’re not perfect, but there’s no harm in trying to be!
We’re aiming to work with more great customers and, in particular to introduce thinkBooker to more companies and show them how it can save them time, make them money and create a great experience for their customers.
As my old boss, Sir Terry Matthews used to say (and probably still does), “You have to have fun!” and that’s something that we’ll be trying our best to do as we work our way through 2018.
So, thanks 2017, it was a blast. A happy New Year to you all and here’s to a successful 2018.