And That’s a Wrap!

Another year is coming to a close, so it's time for our annual end of year wrap-up! Join us as we look back at 2018 and discuss our plans for the year ahead.

Business News

From launching new software to partnering with Liverpool Girl Geeks, to gaining new clients, it’s been another busy year here at interconnect/it. This past year we have continued expanding our suite of tools for the publishing industry, we’ve gained two new members of the team and selected a charity of the year to fundraise for throughout 2018. Get the lowdown below.

The launch of Hadrian’s paywall

You wanted to monetise your content, but you were fed up of the slow, clunky software that already existed. We were frustrated by working with third party suppliers. Enter Hadrian stage left. Named after (you guessed it) the famous Roman wall in the North of England, we rolled Hadrian out onto client sites for the first time this year. It’s been used on the Catholic Herald (metering and rules handling only) and currently on Family Capital (integrated subscriptions with Stripe). If it’s something you’re interested in, more information can be found here and you can always drop us a message if you want to discuss.

Charity of the Year

This year we decided to fundraise for the MS Society. This summer four of the team took the challenge of completing the Colour Obstacle Rush for the second time. Ant, Chris, Laurie and Mim found themselves scrambling over inflatable obstacles and pelted with coloured paint across a 5K course. In total, we managed to raise £423.00 for this excellent cause so close to our hearts and smashed our original target of raising £100. You can see some photos from the day here.

Continuing our fundraising efforts, late November and December saw us selling raffle tickets for the MS Society and raising another £80 towards this good cause. With some excellent prizes at stake, we know a number of people who have their fingers tightly crossed for the grand draw on December 21st.

It’s a Team thing

Another busy year has seen our team numbers swell again. This Summer we were pleased to recruit Jack to our team, filling the role of Graduate Developer, followed by Chris as Frontend Developer a week later. Throughout the year we have enjoyed getting together as a team, whether that be one of our once-monthly #HappyMonday events or one of our team building activities. Some highlights this year include indoor climbing, sleighing, a Halloween themed Happy Monday, complete with spooky buffet and pumpkin carving, and our festive Happy Monday incorporating beer chocolate pong, buffet and oven mitt pass the parcel (certainly an experience!). We were also pleased to take part in helping Liverpool Science Park (the building where we are based) raise funds for our corridor neighbours—Huntington’s Disease Association. We share a snapshot of our year in the photos below.

Company Culture and Ethos

Our company was founded and has grown on the ethos of fair practice—both to clients and to staff alike. This year we decided to formalise our ethos statement to clearly outline our position going forward, as we continue to grow and evolve. Our ethos is based on five key pillars:

  • Happy Customers
  • Happy Staff
  • Happy Shareholders
  • Ethical Business
  • Great products and services

We believe these five principles are interwoven and work in harmony. If we fail on one issue, the rest can become unstable and collapse. As we look forward to 2019, we will continue to work to strengthen our ethos statement and you can be assured as a client, that we will always work with honesty and fair practice.

Looking Towards 2019

We’re committed to investing time and resources into research & development, striving forward to leverage the latest technology that we predict will benefit our customers. 2018 saw us develop an interesting project based on Amazon Alexa. As you’ll probably know, voice search is big. Take a guess at how many monthly voice searches there are worldwide…? the answer is 50 billion! By 2020 this is estimated to rise to 200 billion a month.

According to an Experian and Creative Strategies survey, 58.7% of people who own Alexa, use their device to read them the news. This is a big market, only set to grow and something that we believe our publisher customers should be tapping into. We have the technology, so why not get in contact if you would like a demo?

A Word from our Director, Dave

Every year I get asked to say something insightful about our business and where the publishing industry is going. It’s not always easy! Sometimes I have no wish to get too excited about some things because one never knows what’s coming! Having said that, I feel that our investment in understanding Alexa now gives us a presence in developing voice-based software solutions for our customers. That’s very exciting because it’s a whole new and growing channel that is often neglected. It even helps with accessibility issues and so brings a whole new audience.

I think there are a lot of things to be done in the industry in general, however. One key phrase over the past two years has been “FAKE NEWS!” How do we restore trust in online news? I suggest one quick and low hanging fruit – use https for your news sites… but go one step further. Consider extended validation (EV) certificates for your web properties. They could genuinely help as fake news sites tend to be very low budget, produced quickly, and generally not expected to live for long. They’re not going to spend the £400/yr or so that they typically cost – plus the implementation cost as they’re usually more complex to implement than the automated certificates we implement for most of our clients.

I’d like most of all though to say a huge thank you to everyone on the team. The diligence and devotion of our designers, project managers and developers in solving client problems are outstanding. And those who work in the back office, handling payroll, and accounts and marketing and much more besides… where would we be without you? Here’s to 2019!

And Finally…

Thank you to all our clients for another successful year working together. We wish you a joyful festive season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019. Here’s to working together again next year! We’ll leave you with a few photos of our team festivities.