December 29, 2016

Looking Back on 2016

Our year of resolve, adventure, and innovation  

Another twelve months will soon be compressed into a single line in our archives titled “2016.”  It has been an eventful year at Excosoft with many memorable changes and projects, each fondly filed away in its own expandable section. Days have passed, edges blurred in memory, efforts piled upon efforts, and soon new challenges will once again fill our minds. But before we move on, let’s take some time to pause, summarize, and reflect.


A year ago we sat down and thought deeply about our organization. The Chinese year of the Red Monkey was coming on, and it was to be a year of resolve, adventure, and innovation. We decided we wanted to focus entirely on our goal—to promote our vision of innovation in information management. We did not want to deal with anything else. This lead us to reconsider the fundamental ideas we held about how a business should operate. Ultimately, we decided to get more lean, and to outsource everything that was needed but not necessary for achieving our goal.


The first thing to deal with was our internal IT. Since the beginning of time (1986 to be more precise) we have had our own IT network, which required a lot of hardware, software, file servers, DNS servers, routers, storage devices, access points, hundreds of cables (really), and other things nobody could quite remember the purpose of. And, of course, it all required maintenance and we had to keep training people to take care of it all. So, we tore it all down. Servers dismantled and sold. Cables recycled. Now we are completely free from the burdens of an IT network. Instead, we keep everything in the cloud. Over the course of the year we implemented additional cloud solutions for virtual development and test environments, case tracking, file storage, communications, and bookkeeping. For sensitive data we have a server hosted by an IT partner in Sweden— who also provides IT support as needed, so we don't have to hire anyone to manage our own IT solutions.


Next, we looked at our office space. Without an IT network, it was no longer obvious that we had to have our own office space. Indeed, we decided that we were hampered by the need to maintain an office, organize the reception of visitors, hire cleaners, make coffee, look after the kitchen, replace furniture, fix the printers (they always malfunctioned) and so on. And so, we moved out. Our new office is located in a modern, newly opened coworking space close to Stockholm’s central station. A friendly staff meets our visitors, takes care of all our office needs, fixes the printers if it’s ever needed, and even feeds us breakfast in the morning.


Software development is closer to our core business, and we need in-house developers. But recruitment is challenging. It takes work to make developer teams productive, and for a long time we craved more flexibility. To increase our development capacity, we started collaborating with a software development company in Vietnam called Orient Software. They have quickly become a valuable addition to our team, and have increasingly helped us to speed up product development.


Two product milestones have been reached in 2016. Before the summer we released a brand new addition to the Skribenta family, and the first customer started using it in production. Skribenta Delivery Manager (SDM) complements the document production capabilities of Skribenta with the management of deliveries—planning, reviewing, and publishing to a delivery channel. 


In the autumn we finally released Skribenta 5, our major new release which brings with it a completely new browser-based client architecture. With improved user interface design and a modern system design, it gives us a firm platform to stand on as we build new functionalities and improve our products. Still, the fundamental feel of Excosoft, with the familiar expansions that help us be more productive and understand our content better, is still there.


And so, as we pull out our shiny new browser-based Skribenta editor and add a new empty expansion, carefully typing the title "2017," we feel that we stand stronger today than a year ago, and look forward to the new year with eagerness and confidence. 


To all of our customers, partners, staff, family, and everybody else— thank you for being part of this journey with us. We wish you a happy new year! See you in 2017.


About the author

Joakim Ström

With over 15 years dedicated to software development, Joakim expertly drives internal improvements and often hands-on innovation here at Excosoft.

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