Chris Stock kicks off the new year with a large dose of reflection on how the events of last year have refined and refocused Percipient’s ambitions.
Usually a time for reflection and resolutions, the start of a new year traditionally embodies renewed focus, projects kicking off, and fresh energy to achieve the year’s goals.
For obvious reasons, this one feels a little different to normal. While new projects, fresh energy and renewed focus all feature highly in our plans, these goals are underpinned by a much stronger sense of camaraderie, a greater appreciation for all the loyalty and goodwill we’ve been lucky enough to experience throughout these last 12 months, and a much higher respect for the small, day to day things which might previously have passed us by.
2020 was, without doubt, a year like no other in Percipient’s 17 year history. Like so many other businesses, our plans were side-lined, making way for a new working infrastructure, new ways of thinking about what we do, and the development of new remote business models.
Adapting to New Ways of Working
We’ve been incredibly fortunate in that we were able to adapt, almost immediately, in response to the restrictions. We’d already successfully completed remote project delivery in 2019, and had the right team and technology in place to continue this at scale. In fact, for the first time ever we signed up a new customer, implemented a project and continue to support them, without ever having actually met them in person.
This experience was really important in reassuring customers at a time where uncertainty dominated. Even where organisations exercised caution and pressed pause on projects, the fact that the pandemic has accelerated our need for technology and subsequent adoption by around five years, meant that this caution was short lived in most cases.
The ability to switch on a remote deployment model, combined with the resourcefulness of our team, and loyalty of our customers is reflected in a strong set of numbers for the last financial year. However, in this unusual year, this is by no means the highlight for me. The big wins for us have manifested themselves in other areas.
A Team Built Around Kindness and Creativity
To survive, and indeed, thrive, in a year like 2020, simply wouldn’t have been possible without having a strong team in place, and I have to say that our own team has been fantastic. Our employees have all come together and more than risen to the challenge, showing creativity, dedication and kindness in abundance, both for their colleagues and customers.
Clearly consistently working from home in isolation has been a test for everyone’s wellbeing, and we have tried to ensure everyone is well and engaged. Key team members created a number of ways to provide support, check in with everyone and help ensure wellness and motivation, from virtual coffee breaks to weekly team quizzes. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and set in motion new ideas to take forward.
In the same way that we are talking to customers about the huge value of technology in enabling them to optimize, automate and streamline to not only save costs in the current climate, but boost collaboration and planning, we ourselves are capitalizing on the best platforms to ensure that our performance is optimized. But most importantly, we are embracing technology to connect, as it’s those human connections which truly motivate us, drive us to be successful and maximize performance.
In reviewing the last year, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t mention some specific successes and developments which in any other ‘normal’ year would have been the highlights. The January 2020 trip to Nevis for the Sage Platinum Elite winner’s prize seems like a very distant memory, but it was a brilliant opportunity to network with fellow Sage partner winners and the Sage exec team in a relaxed environment, not to mention fantastic recognition for the hard work put in by our excellent Sage team. Sadly, the tan has long since faded but the memories and relationships live on!
Following the launch of Sage Intacct, we successfully sold and delivered our first Intacct projects throughout 2020, and as one of only four key partners to take the product onboard in the UK, received recognition as a nominee for Intacct partner of the year. This has also seen our revenue model shift to subscription licensing from on premise, which is an adjustment that sees short term reductions in license fees but medium-term year on year revenue.
Our Sage X3 business unit has continued to grow at the same rate as previous years, and as well as moving into new industry sectors, we’ve won our largest X3 project to date.
In a similar vein, 2020 also saw us deliver our largest ever Oracle project, which went live at the beginning of October. The deployment was a re-implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite version 12 into a UK customer’s US parent infrastructure. The project had run for just under two years and its success was testament to the way in which the Percipient and customer team engaged.
A Year Like No Other
In summary, it has certainly been a 12-month period like no other, but the teamwork and ethics in play across our amazing group of employees have not only been heartening, but make me incredibly confident that we have an excellent foundation in place to underpin the business in 2021 and beyond.
As we continue to adapt and to grow, and support our customers as they embrace technology to innovate and to garner success, the lessons we’ve learned throughout this period are without doubt, refining our outlook and defining what success looks like for us as a company.