For the past 4 years since the inception of BizTalk360 I have used the last week of December to recap on things that occurred that year, past years recap can be seen here 2013, 2012 and 2011. Even though you are mentally tired by end of the year and really looking forward for a fresh start, I feel it’s important to write this article, since it gives you a chance to walk through the memory lane and capture some important moments.
We strongly believe the product can be matured only be constant iterations and slow organic growth. If you build features too fast, you might end up building lot of unnecessary things. Since day 1 (from back in May 2011), we are following this tradition of constant innovation at BizTalk360, we take 3 to 5 features as priority and release them every quarter. This also gives us opportunities to address any customer reported bugs or implementing some cool ideas in a periodic basis. In 2014 we release 4 major releases (7.1, 7.2, 7.5 and 7.8) in the previous years we would have named them with major version numbers (7, 8, 9,10 etc), but in 2014 we decided to increment with only minor version numbers.
At end of 2013 we only had our UK operations with 5 people and just set up the India operations hiring couple of people. The initial idea for India operations was to get to some 5-6 people by end of 2014, but after seeing the talent pool in India and hard work people put into their work, we decided to ramp up our India operations, at end of 2014 we have 16 strong people in our India team. We also hired couple of new people to our UK operations and we lost couple of them as well due to personal circumstances. In short the company has grown nearly 5 times in terms of number of employees in 2014 from 5 to 22 people team. We doubled our India office space and in UK we moved to a brand new office, a Victorian building in the country side of Kent.
At end of the day, the real growth of an organisation is directly proportional to the revenue generated and number of customer acquired. If you are not generating enough revenue, then all other growth in the organisation are fictional and prone to break. In that aspect we are very pleased with our 2014 outcome. We closed year 2013 with 145 customers, and we added another 100+ customer in 2014 alone. In beginning of this month we made a big announcement “Welcoming our 250th Customer”. It’s not just the amount of new customers we have added, we are also seeing an increasing pattern of existing customers buying more licenses either for their multinational organisations, additional environments in their own organisations etc. For me this is a true sign of the success of the product, we strongly believe “word of mouth” marketing is the best one. At BizTalk360 we do not have any dedicated marketing or sales team, pretty much everyone (except admin team) is purely technical.
Major Events Conducted
We always position ourselves as community focused organisation and we get involved in tons of activities in the community. In 2014 we are very proud to successfully execute 3 major events and few minor events across the world.
- BizTalk Summit 2014, London
- BizTalk Summit 2014, Australia, and
- INTEGRATE 2014, Redmond, USA
- BizTalk Innovation Day, Norway
In total we attracted over 730 attendees (220 in London, 150 in Australia, 280 in USA, and 80 in Norway) via these events. We received very positive feedback in all the events, it provided a great opportunity for people to understand what’s happening in the integration space in Microsoft stack. We will continue to run these events as long as the demand is there.
White Paper, eBooks and Blogs Published
In 2014 we published some interesting white papers and eBooks, thanks to the BizTalk community for working along with us. Writing a proper white paper or eBook takes weeks/months worth of effort in terms of ideas, research, writing and reviews. We are very fortunate to have world class experts as our close friends to produce such great material. These are the top eBooks and white papers we published this year
BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices, by Sandro Pereira. A 400 page eBook about maps, explaining 12 important mapping patters, gained through real world experience
The A-Y of running BizTalk Server in Microsoft Azure, by Johann Cooper. Everyone is talking about moving to the cloud. This white paper explains all the things you need to know if you are planning to run BizTalk server in Microsoft Azure cloud.
Choosing the right Integration Platform, by Kent Weare and Michael Stephenson. As the title says this white paper is aimed at CTO’s and architects who are in a position to choose an integration platform for their organisation. The white paper covers things like general consideration, futures to look for, trends in integration domain etc.
Apart from this, the one blog post that attracted maximum attention this year was “Our response to MuleSoft blog – 10 Reasons to Walk from BizTalk”
BizTalk360 – ASSIST Launch
One of the important thing we achieved in 2014 is focusing on BizTalk360 documentation and customer support process. The launch of our documentation website ASSIST. It’s very common you neglect the documentation of the product and put all your energy in adding more and more features to the product. We sensed this scenario beginning of 2014 and focused on fixing it. It took us over 6 months to get this sorted, finally around November 2014 we launched the site with over 350 articles explaining various parts of BizTalk360.
When you have a distributed team, you end up in this virtual world where people only know each other via email, IM and at the max voice and video chat. Since both our UK and India teams were collaborating like this for a long time, in Aug 2014 we decided to arrange for a company wide retreat in India. We took our entire UK team to India for 2 weeks, this helped to create the bond between team members. During this time we also arranged for our annual meeting and set ourselves short and long term goals as a company.
Life as a Founder
On a personal front, it was an exhaustive year for me in terms of travel, I travelled over 100,000 miles this year (3 visits to India, 5 visits to Seattle, 1 visit to Sydney/Melbourne, + numerous European trips). I have no complaints about it. People ask me occasionally do I enjoy this life style, it seems to be I’m away from family all the time. That’s not completely true, I follow some basic rules like I won’t stay outside more than required. I’ll try to fly out on the same day after my work if possible. I’m fully aware, I’m privileged to be in this position, there are lot of responsibilities on my shoulder, it’s a great feeling you can bring lot of positive impact to people who surround you.
Looking forward to 2015
It was very eventful year for us in terms of growing the product, team, customer base, and everything revolving around it. As we grow, I believe the important challenge is keeping our focus sharp and do things that are relevant. We have a clear focus and plan moving forward in 2015. We believe we can bring enormous value to our existing and future customers. At heart we wanted to create awesome tooling for those 10,000 plus BizTalk Server customers out there. Happy New Year to all.