It has been one year this week since I joined NewsGator as CEO. What an amazing year with incredible people, some challenges, and amazing successes. In the last 12 months I have met 1:1 with more than 40 executives of our customers from four different continents. We closed the three largest deals ($1M+) in our history and delivered the best financial quarters the company has ever had.
CEO-CFO-Developer: Real teamwork happening during our company offsite.
And we introduced products that, once again, demonstrate not just the passion but the unmatched expertise of our rock star developers. The last 12 months might also have been the most demanding in my life (and for many people on my team). Being confronted daily with the question about Yammer vs. NewsGator, we even started to question ourselves, a few people even left the company. In that same 12 months we added close to 40 new people to the NewsGator family.
We also added multiple solutions to our already robust enterprise social platform, further demonstrating how short-sighted it is to mention us in the same breath as a great but basic activity feed like Yammer. We are in two different worlds. The fact that 30% of our new implementations are already based on SharePoint 2013 is another great testament of our love-hate (mostly love :-) relationship with Microsoft. There must be a reason that 40% of the Social Business Leaders use NewsGator.
We're in SP^CE
Over the last year we had a very intense internal discussion about our path forward. Defining the values of an organization is hard, nearly impossible. You need to feel it. Therefore we didn't even try to come up with some fancy words about us. Instead, we discussed it openly on HAL – our very own social workplace built on Social Sites. And while we love to debate, it was surprisingly easy to settle on the words as they simply reflect who we are. We are a group of very social and very competent creatures that love to get things done. We have a big heart and a big vision. This is what unites our wonderful people, both newcomers and NewsGator veterans alike. And while it is first and foremost for ourselves, I like to share these values with you so you know who you deal with, what drives us, and why we love working with you.
Mission: Unlock the Power of Connected People
Based on the SP^CE values, we built our mission and vision. While we often help to connect people, we actually know that our mission goes way beyond building a connection. We spend every minute to help our customers gain value from those connections and we therefore defined our mission – our guiding principle – to “Unlock the Power of Connected People.” We know the world is not going to settle on a single social network, neither in the consumer world nor in the business world. And we also understand we need to connect those islands of social networks to allow people to truly connect. This means continuing to build great integration and connectivity capabilities; we have been working on that mission for a long time and will continue to do so every day.
Vision: We Make Work Better
Productivity has often come with the introduction of new technologies. In the industrial age, people connected in a network of hands using technologies in factories to achieve more than a single person could every dream to achieve. With the digital age, a network of minds was built by connecting people across the world through IT. Our vision is that the power of connected people through social networking will make work better and we are a major driver for that. We know this is not the easy path. Making work better requires us to go deep, to understand human behavior in the workplace with all its nuances that lead to greater human productivity. But that's us.
Strategy: Trailblazing / Adoption / Use Cases / Sustainability
We have identified four strategic initiatives that we'll focus on over the next 12 months. We use these internally to focus our resources and collaborate on them throughout the entire global NewsGator organization. Feel free to engage every NewsGator team member about these initiatives, and we're happy for any support and advice you might have when you learn more about them.
Trailblazing: We enter new territory. While many of you are still figuring out what to do with social, we're already ahead and blazing a new path for you: making social real. Don't wait for fancy announcements about new features. Yes, we are working on those, but first and foremost you'll see us heads down building great product that is enterprise-ready for you to run your company better. We might not be as polished as our fellow players in the industry, but we'll deliver what you really need.
Increase Customer Adoption: Building and selling an enterprise social platform is really rewarding as we change so many lives and allow you to make your work better. Now we are taking this to a new level. Based on the NewsGator Adoption Framework, which we make available to all customers and partners free of charge, we'll work with you to not just get you up and running but to put the right framework in place to achieve greater adoption. And in the true spirit of social, we'll do this – as always – together. Join the conversation on eNGage – our customer and partner Extranet.
Empower More Use Cases: Social networking in the enterprise is about getting stuff done, making work better, both for the employee as well as the company. With the introduction of our solutions, we learned that you like more specific use cases and want to take social beyond the networking aspect. We heard you! We are already working on a Use Case Library that covers 90% of your processes and activities, and will make this available to all customers and partners – again – free of charge. We believe that working together on this will allow you to gain more from social and allow us to learn more about how to make your work better and to make social real.
Sustainable Company: We are like you. We love our company and we want it to be successful. Therefore we're going to continue to build our company as a sustainable business - financially, ecologically, and socially. While we have been profitable and plan to continue to be, we still have a lot to learn on the ecological and social level. With the introduction of Nancy Gill as our Chief People Officer, we took a major step forward. Now we need to turn our great ideas into action - stay tuned.
You might be wondering why I’m sharing so much inside information about NewsGator. We are really proud of the work we do and we are even more proud of the work you do with our product every day. I feel that as good partners we should be open and share in the true spirit of social. As I said some time back, the lines between our business lives and our personal lives are blurring. The same will happen between the "inside" and "outside" of businesses. Consider this another step in this direction and see it as an invitation to be part of the NewsGator family.