From some fantastic new client wins, a growing team, and some great events, all in all, we’ve had a brilliant year.
Throughout the year we’ve had successful insightful events. We continued this year with our popular digital meetup Digi-Cluster. With some of our largest turnouts yet, Digi-Cluster has continued to grow. We had some brilliant pitches from a range of people within the digital industry, from leading agency owners and the up-and-coming ones that are set to make waves in the near future.
We’re already looking forward to our three confirmed dates for more digital fun in 2019. Don’t forget to get your tickets for this leading event, before they sell out!
Our CEO Josh has continued to speak and host a range of sell-out BIMA events covering topics such as innovation and growth, which you can find a bit more about here. We’re looking forward to many more in 2019.
Josh also hosted multiple 9others events this year along with Stuart Logan, CEO of Twine. The aim of 9others is to discuss “What’s keeping you awake at night”, 9others aims to help with a group of people from a similar industry assist people make key decisions in their businesses over good food and a bottle of wine. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for updates about 9others events or visit our events page.
We are pleased to be going into the new year with bigger and better events and workshops. We’ve recently launched our Technology Tune-up workshop, an opportunity for industry business leaders to discover and identify key challenges via a series of questions focussed on their people and processes. Businesses will be able to leave the half-day workshop with the tools they need to start making technological change straight away.
New client wins
We’ve been very lucky this year to work with a wide range of clients. From Hamerville Media Group, one of the leading trade publishers and exhibition organisers in the UK, to the largest UK flat-pack furniture company Seconique.
We started working with Hamerville Media Group at the beginning of the end of 2017, working on their site; Kitchen and Bathrooms. The relationship grew with Hamerville, and we have since overseen their entire digital strategy, as well as built and optimised multiple websites such as Pro Hair Live, Pro Electrician and Pro Builder. We are looking forward to seeing the growth of Hamerville’s ecosystem of digital publications next year after some fantastic growth throughout 2018.
Seconique tasked us with the revamp of their existing online ecosystem to ensure it matched the vibrancy of their brand and adequately caters to the need of their users. We’re looking forward to sharing the completed site early in the new year and seeing what differences it will make for the company.
We’re pleased to announce that will be ending the year on a high, with another new client on board, Leisurematic – the leading amusement machine suppliers in the UK. Leisurematic approached us looking for a touchscreen solution for their newly manufactured iClaw machines. Central to their requirements for the touchscreen experience is to create a vibrant and attractive interface with an intuitive user journey.
We’re very pleased that our J B Cole team has continued to grow this year. We’ve recruited some exceptional talent in the form of two new starters. Richard our digital project manager joined the team in June and Jack our web developer, joined in October.
We only have more plans to grow next year and are looking to expand our design and development team even further to accommodate our growing client list. To find out more about our upcoming job openings, visit our careers page.
Richard our digital project manager said;
“We’re all really interested in the AI side of things. I find it particularly interesting, the whole voice-activated searching. I’m looking forward to being more involved in that. I think it’s quite scary, but cool as the growth has been crazy. Home tech has grown massively; talking to something and it being able to control your home. AI has been a buzzword for a bit, but it’s still a little flakey in part. It can only get better.”
“There is a very obvious focus at the moment for tech making people’s lives easier, like at home. But that kind of functionality could be applied in a manufacturing and traditional business sense; it will be interesting to see how that’s going to pan out over the next 12 months. It’s amazing to see new technologies being utilised in traditional environments where there have been processes for years. Change is coming! Technology can advance and improve on it.
The recurring pain points
We asked our project team what they had identified as continually challenging paint points for clients throughout 2018. Richard (PM) and Ollie (CTO) discussed their findings:
“Images on sites seemed to be an issue, sizes appropriate for uploading and then cropping them, we can put a plugin that enables to clients to crop an image on a site and not chop people’s head off and stuff. Clients have also said that they’ve had a lack of engagement on the site, it wasn’t always redoing the entire site, sometimes it was just doing a site audit and seeing what areas could be improved. For example, we can simply improve call to action, which can help generate inquiries people get. It can be that simple! Just pushing visitors to the content that the site owner wants them to see.”
“Making the site easier to manage in terms of updating. Some clients are hands-on and want to edit content themselves, so we favour WordPress, it allows our clients to do what they want, we can fully tailor it to the client’s requirements making the process smoother for them.”
“The biggest issues I’ve noticed have typically been data-related – the lack of it, too much of it, not knowing how to use it. Most clients have an understanding that data will be useful at some point in the future – but don’t put the ground-work in to ensure the right information is being collected to be useful in the future. A tool like Google Analytics can do a lot of the work for you but can be much more powerful when you put the effort in up-front.
There’s also a problem that’s getting bigger in the digital process. There are so many great new tools coming onto the market all the time, but all too often we see staff using out-dated platforms that make their work slower and can be much more complex. But transitioning to a new tool is also a challenge, both in terms of time and providing the understanding that goes with these things – as digital engineers, we’re used to using many all the time, but explaining a new process to someone – and, more importantly, why they need to be using it – can be really challenging. Understanding what to use can be a battle in and of itself – knowing how to use it and what for can be just as difficult. Introducing training and support anytime you’re looking to a new tool can save hours or days of work and see significant improvements in efficiency very quickly.”
Some of the team’s personal highlights
We spoke to some of the team about what their personal highlight was for this year, it’s important for the team to reflect on this to remember the growth and change that’s happened over the year.
“I’ve enjoyed the diversity of projects we’ve worked on. Seeing the team embrace challenges and growing their skill sets in the process.”
“Coming back off maternity leave in March to a growing team.”
“My personal highlight was leaving and then coming back. It made me realise a lot and what I want from my career.”
“The Hamerville Advertiser Index plugin was fun because it was a new challenge and it was the first project that I took full ownership on when I joined the team. Also, the Seconique website has been a great project, as it required working with a complex database and multiple integrations. Working alongside such a professional team, I have learned a lot of things from Ollie that have been useful for my own personal development as a developer.”
“This year has been great as we have been working with a different variety of clients. I would highlight the project we did for Seconique because we had the opportunity to properly dive into a custom eCommerce platform which had its challenges but was extremely rewarding at the same time. From the initial designs to all the nice animations and transitions it’s been an all-round great project to work on.”
Our plans for next year
We sat down with our CEO Josh to discuss some of the recurring pain points that clients have come to us to solve, whether that’s a lack of engagement on a website or clients struggling to manage a site themselves, we’ve seen a range of problems from different sides of a business. You can find out a bit more about Josh’s thoughts on this and his predictions for technology in 2019 here.
We spoke to our CEO Josh about his thoughts;
“2018 has seen a wealth of change for J B Cole. From new and returning team members, fantastic new client wins and a host of accolades and victories that we’re proud to have received along the way! From award recognition on website launches through to an 8-page spread in Web Designer Magazine, it’s certainly been an exciting year for us.
Alongside this, reflecting on the last 12 months we’ve built some amazing software, some beautiful websites and most importantly provided a great service to our clients.
I’ve been extremely proud of the team here. They’ve been integral to bringing the company vision to life and helping our clients succeed in an ever-evolving and constantly pivoting landscape. It’s been no small task, but they have always risen to the challenge and the passion and drive I’ve seen from them to deliver results has been astounding.
Looking ahead to 2019, we have some epic things planned in the pipeline with new clients, staffing requirements and a growth strategy firmly in place. We’re set to push the business in a direction we only dreamed of when we first started back in 2010.”
So that’s it for 2018!
As you can see, 2018 has been a year of growth, change and rapid development for J B Cole and we have seen some outstanding changes with loads more yet to come.
We want to say a special thank you to all the people that have been involved with us this year, from brilliant clients to creative partners. We have some great things planned for 2019 that we can’t wait to share with you all.
In the meantime, stay ahead and have a brilliant new year!