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UGS6 - A Positive Impact

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

So it goes

After months of preparation and polishing, we held our sixth User Group Seminar at The Castlefield Rooms on the 22nd September.

We’ve made some big changes this year, so it was perhaps appropriate that UGS6, which took place a week after our 15th anniversary, was a game-changer. With some incredibly exciting new developments to showcase, we re-wrote the format to be more streamlined. In previous years, we have invited guest speakers to talk at our seminars, and hosted a Q&A last thing to answer any questions on key topics that have arisen throughout the day.

This year, we opted for a shorter, content focused format, which saw all 5 Company Directors give presentations. Questions were accommodated as part of the talks to allow for more productive discussion and also encouraged informally at the tables, where our Directors and Project Managers were sat among our travel industry partners.

Why We’re Here

The first talk was Why We’re Here, a keynote presentation from Web Applications Chief Executive Craig Dean, which opened with the premiere of our company promotional video.

An introduction to UGS6, and an overview of ‘why’ we were there on the day as hosts, the talk had an underlying theme that played on that title – Why we’re here as a company, and that was examined with reference to our company mission statement.

Our mission remains to positively impact our employees, customers, and community through a culture of learning, growth, and innovation.

Craig’s talk took that sentence apart, explaining its importance to us as a company in defining who we are, and how we use that vision to guide our policies and practices.

He revealed Extrali, our brand new system, that brought with it fresh branding for our existing product suite, containing Babel and Brease. An exploration of the modern server layer Extrali is built on, making use of Node.JS, was a key take-away from the talk.

Craig ended with a bang by revealing our brand new website, on which you are now reading this blog – and also revealed entirely new seperate sites for the aforementioned products, including an overhauled Client Access Area for ease-of-use when reporting or checking up on cases. Reinforcing our case-centric approach to Support and Development, Craig promised Director Jeff Ng would later have more to say on the subject.

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The new Extrali logo alongside the new branding for Babel and Brease.

Future Now

Shaun Austin, Director and head of the Extrali development team, gave a fascinating presentation on some of the key features of Extrali, beginning with why we have moved in this direction, followed by demonstrations of the system in action.

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The presentation showcased the sleek interface and streamlined user experience that defines Extrali, with particular focus on the use of the Sidebars and the User Diary plugin, which offer a multitude of possibilities to drive conversions and generate active leads for Extrali users.

Babel and Beyond

Company Co-Founder, Technical Director and the driving force behind the new developments to our Babel product suite, Lee Tudor began by covering improvements to Babel Service and Babel Direct. The focal point of this presentation was the revelation of our newest addition to the Babel toolbox, Babel .NET.

Babel .NET is an incredibly powerful application that eliminates the need for separate server requirements that come with the more ‘heavyweight’ Babel solutions, Service and Direct. Sitting on a .NET website, the application also contains an in-memory cache that cooperates with Extrali/Traveller to load data into the system memory, saving time, effort, and consequently, revenue.

Case Centred

The main focus of Case Centred, the talk given by Director Jeff Ng, was the re-alignment of our Support and Development processes. To paraphrase his words in the above video, we’re not a company who believe in sitting on our laurels and letting the good times roll. We’re a company who are constantly looking for improvement where possible – it’s the only way we can continue to be a leading software house that innovates, and has a positive impact on the community.

Jeff, Development Group Manager and therefore head of Support and Development, described how we now assign all case roles at the start of a case, allowing for greater visibility and knowledge capture, and ultimately a faster case clearance rate.

One More Thing…

Managing Director Craig Kennedy closed the day by detailing integration of Extrali for all existing customers; starting with the fact that we’ve already covered the R&D costs of the system ourselves!

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To us, UGS6 represented the culmination of a huge development phase and an awful lot of work alongside that, and we are proud to say it was one of the best. Our thanks to all our staff for their hard work and to our valued industry partners for taking the time to attend.

Interested in anything you read here or heard at UGS6? Contact your Project Manager for more information.