End of Year Update
WorkGaps is closing 2016 in a strong position, is positively geared, and looking forward to a very successful 2017. As a general update to interested parties, we are releasing the following information.
We accelerated the shift from outsourced development with a UK partner to 100% in-house production and reorganised the team accordingly. We now have a balanced and effective production team incorporating design, development and testing. We believe that bringing these in-house has given us greater control, improved capability, and better responsiveness to adapt the user experience and features based on direct customer feedback. It has also meant a significantly more cost effective approach. We will look to grow our technical team next year as sales increase and the demand for new features and custom integrations grows.
In other news, a former CTO of Betfair and Uswitch has joined the WorkGaps team. Tim Reeve sees great potential in our business model and we’re delighted to be able to benefit from his experience and prior success in the tech sector.
In simple terms, our early product releases included all the features we set out to build, however we felt that from a user perspective the software was not simple and intuitive enough, which was borne out through testing and feedback. We included so many features the software became complicated. We knew we were on the right track as early customers believed in us and the benefits the product could bring. Even when it was only in beta testing, they still wanted to use it. Those early adopters remain users of the software and their feedback has been invaluable in the product
Improvements we’ve made.
During the second half of 2016, we’ve taken the entire product to pieces and reassembled it – we’ve radically improved usability and the code base to allow for new developments to be added with more speed. A mid-year re-build and selling ‘pause’ was the right thing to do to deliver a better feature set and put us on the right path for the future with all of the IP and knowledge held in our in-house team. It also allows for a much better new user experience.
Before the end of the year, we plan to place a short video on our website that will showcase the key features and use cases.
We are now taking those sales leads we had on pause during our re-build and are re-engaging them. We have a further £13.5k committed from Origin Enterprises, an Irish based agrichemical supplier that wants to use it to manage shift workers in IT and Logistics, and pilots running now which will add £90k of revenue when they successfully complete, and the signs are all very positive. The pipeline is an order of magnitude larger than that, but we are now focused on successfully converting these pilots, and ensuring we deliver the product they want.
We have a mix of organisation types and industries in pilot from Idea Store (education), Read College (education), Luna Boutique (retail), to Scrubbers (cleaning). The pipeline covers staffing across the aviation sector, recruitment businesses, education, retail, leisure and people outsourcers.
One of the more interesting aspects about our education sector conversations is that there has been a request to put their students into the tool to manage their timetables, which we’ve been told can especially help with last minute changes such as room or time changes. This is being actively used as an approach by Read College currently, who have now placed all their tutors and students on the system. We think the wider education market represents a big opportunity for us; the CEO of Idea Store acts on an advisory board for the London area looking at how to improve standards and technology for tutors, administrators and students. She has told us that WorkGaps has an excellent fit into the wider education market and wants to introduce us to other education providers when we have completed the rollout for their 250 tutors.
We are well advanced into an engagement with AY Aviation who want to expand their reach across the Heathrow ecosystem and rapidly grow their current 300 strong workforce by increasing their capabilities to manage relationships and data with a much bigger workforce and by allowing clients to access that workforce and book them directly through WorkGaps. This engagement has much wider implications for sales into larger facilities management and outsourcing businesses.
One of the bigger surprises has been the speed with which we could develop senior level sales conversations through the experience and network of the management team. However, this became a challenge as the product was not enterprise ready at the time of those conversations. We now have a significant number of the components in place for enterprise customers, however we have decided to focus on the SME space for the first quarter of 2017 before returning to those larger engagements we have warmed up. In the SME sector, we’ve set up meetings with several leisure centres (Lime Kiln and Taro), as well as Richmond Hill Hotel. Expressions of interest have come in from other hotels & restaurants (Taplow House, Oxford Thames, Millstream, The Grove, The River Café) and a care home (The Old Prebendal).
We have now had serious engagement with a number of larger organisations including Verizon Enterprise solutions, who started a review with regard to switching out for SAP Fieldglass with potential savings for them are in the region of £200k annually in the UK alone. Mitie remain interested in the potential for several of their business divisions from landscape gardening to pest management, as well as a potential sell through to the wider market via their services business.
Alongside the opportunity to grow the network in terms of absolute users, we have opened discussions with an international recruitment business on how they can use it to manage their broad network of flexible workers and simplify their management of contract, part time and temporary workers.
The feature set we have is now strong and allows any organisation to save time and money managing their staff. This is not our opinion, but from direct feedback from early adopters and those who have seen the tool. Our roadmap for the next 6 months is laid out and the priority list currently being defined through a blend of market analysis and customer requirements.
The roadmap contains some exciting features that we are sure will facilitate in rapid growth in 2017. We have decided to bring forward internationalisation as a priority, this is as a result of an approach from North America to run WorkGaps sales for that region. Coupled with interest we have received for operating WorkGaps in Hong Kong, Singapore, and France, as well as the international set up of some of the businesses we are now talking with, the ability to manage locations, currencies and differences across countries has grown in importance. This will substantially open growth potential without committing us to overseas office and spend.
The introduction of an open API layer to facilitate third party integrations, be that client reporting or payroll feeds, or suppliers of value-adding services such as e-learning or people checking services (background and right-to-work) is high on the list because of the opportunities it opens.
Client specific requests include enhanced tracking features that can better support logistics and security industry requirements. This includes ‘geo-fencing’ allowing for smarter monitoring and management of a workforce. The provision of an extended ‘client’ layer to allow organisations to give access to people outside of their business – their customers – has also been requested in a number of sales conversations. In effect, a large organisation uses WorkGaps to manage and present their workforce, and allows their clients visibility and limited system access to directly manage those people.
Other roadmap items include integration with smart assistants (Google, Amazon Alexa etc.) and the introduction of machine learning to improve matching algorithms throughout the site. Continued mobile application improvements are a priority ensuring that we’re adding the web-based features in a mobile environment, and the advances in application development technologies (Instant Apps, Progressive Web Apps etc.) for mobiles make this an exciting prospect and one that we are well placed to realise benefit from.
To summarise, we’re very excited with our roadmap and the growth opportunity in front of us. We’re confident we have the team in place to deliver success for both our customers and investors.