How we intend to work with our existing and new Kentico clients to weather the Brexit Storm.
Unless you have been living in an alternative or parallel Universe in the UK/Ireland since the referendum in June 2016, then you are bound to be aware of the looming Brexit Deadline!
On the 29th of March 2019, the UK ‘whether everyone likes it or not’ will be stepping away or at least starting to transition away from our European cousins and the institutions of Europe, that we have been a part of for many decades.
From conversations with many of our clients, the prospect of a ‘no deal’ or at the very least a last-minute compromise has left many of them trying to second guess how to prepare for a range of potential outcomes.
The following are five (5) key ways that we plan to work with our clients in the UK & Ireland to weather the Brexit storm;
1. Flexible and customisable support arrangements
Signing off on a rolling ‘use it or lose it’ monthly support retainer is understandably not an easy thing to push through a Finance Director at the moment. Lots of cost centres will by their nature be variable (travel, fuel and the legal / customs costs for doing business in multiple countries are good examples), but digital support doesn’t seem to be on the list.
Because we’ve been tracking time spent on Kentico support for 100’s of websites for a number of years, we know that the cost of regular maintenance and support is between 5 and 15% of the original build annually. Again it all depends on the complexity and level of customisation delivered in the original solution. We can also see that this doesn’t split nice and evenly over 12 months. It tends to be batched into reasonably sized releases two or three times a year.
To help our clients, we have customisable annual Service Level Agreements (SLA)’s. This means that they draw down on a set number of days/hours during each calendar year. At the outset, we gauge a reasonable level of support days/hours to draw down against.
If for whatever reason you are eating up your hours and are ahead of where you should be, Keith or Eddie will make you aware so that you can either, make the decision to top up your support or scale back your activities. This approach has proven popular with our clients who have anecdotally told us that other retained agencies are being less flexible.
2. We can buy Kentico licences in the UK, EU or USA
As one of the few Kentico partners with registered offices in all of the regions where we serve clients, we can buy from local representatives. With the value of the pound and the Euro up in the air this is a further way by which we can make a Financial Director’s life easier – by consolidating the supply chain into one region billed in one currency (that’s right we also make invoices in dollars, pounds and euro for our services).
As an add on to this, some of our clients are exploring whether it makes sense to set up their own operating companies for their operations in each territory. To help with this we are expanding our ability to work in different time zones with a significant investment in 24/7/365 support staff who are always on call, video-conferencing and regular webinars (link), which our clients can use at their own leisure to inform strategic decisions.
3. Staff loyalty and retention
From the number of CV’s coming through our doors from other agency staff, we can see that Brexit is prompting people to move companies. Most of our core team of developers have been with us for 10 years or more. We have a great culture which we are constantly trying to enhance.
Staff have regular reviews and the opportunity to progress by learning new skills. We also encourage knowledge sharing which is especially useful when we are breaking new ground with Kentico or problem solving on older instances. People know where to go to get help which means that we don’t see people leaving because they feel exposed or under-supported.
4. We have our own Kentico Partner Agency Licence
Being a long-standing Kentico Partner for over 12 years we are fortunate enough to have a special agency license that allows us to deliver your project with zero license costs. Yes! Zero license costs right up to Kentico Ultimate License Level.
Not many agencies have this license, which we feel allows our clients to try out the Kentico CMS & e-commerce platform with little risk. Obviously, if our clients wish to move up the digital marketing and engagement curve they can purchase their own Kentico EMS license.
Unfortunately, some of the organisations we work with (especially those with public funding) are going to have to or are already making cutbacks. Our partner licence offers a potential crash-net for organisations who want to make longer-term cuts to their cost centres around software spending. It also gives clients continued access to a powerful and highly secure, multi-functional CMS platform like Kentico rather than a more limited open source alternative.
5. We are a ‘one stop shop’ with Hosting, Digital Marketing, UX and development under one roof
Unsurprisingly, a number of our clients are rationalising the number of suppliers they work with. We recognised that for us to continue working with high profile and globally ambitious organisations we needed to extend our capabilities.
We’ve always been great at hosting on our own infrastructure, but we recognise that many clients now want to host with Microsoft Azure and AWS. To enable them to do that with support from us, we asked our team to reach out to these providers and learn how their infrastructure works. We did and now many of our clients have been able to cut out separate hosting support companies and systems integration specialists by working with us and their hosting providers directly.
From a UX and Marketing perspective, we’ve done a lot of proactive learning. Last year, our team completed over 400 hours of professional development hours. As a consequence, we have a very comprehensive UX offering, a wide knowledge of the entire Google suite and have picked up some accreditation's from Hubspot also along the way.
Finally, from a development perspective, we’ve always been up for a challenge and working on solutions that stretch Kentico or integrate it into a range of disparate systems and platforms. Over years we have been constantly evolving our project management and development processes.
The result is that we are one of the few Digital Agencies in the UK to be ISO accredited holding ISO 9001, 27001, 14001 and 9241 in Usability. We believe by working to adhere to standards and processes that we minimise risks for our clients and deliver a higher quality product.
To sum up
Like the Brexit negotiations which are constantly evolving, we will no doubt have to work with our clients and potential future clients to ease their pain points and negate any major impact on their businesses or organisations. Also unlike the parties involved in Brexit, we are always open to negotiation and more than happy to shape our offering around available budgets and requirements.