CEO Thane Kerner gave the morning keynote talk, tackling the meeting’s theme of “The Benefits and Balance of Scale.” He addressed what scale is (i.e. adding new customers at lower cost of sales/delivery) and is not (i.e. hiring more people / larger office space) in terms of Silverchair and the way we are positioning ourselves to grow. While there are certainly benefits to scale (lower costs, increased reach), he cautioned, these must be balanced with challenges like losing functional innovation and domain specificity in the marketplace. He then spoke directly about what scale looks like at Silverchair in terms of shared non-differentiating components, product development / Agile, and our objectives as we look to scale our offerings.
CPO Jake Zarnegar and CTO Stuart Leitch took the second half of the morning, presenting Silverchair's Product and Technology Strategy. Memes were abundant in illustrating the importance of matching opportunities to capabilities, so that when Product finds a market opportunity, our Tech is ready to take advantage of it. Conversely, the Tech team can reign us in from getting sidetracked by every flashy opportunity that appears. Stuart addressed customization, cloud computing, disaster recovery, and security, and Jake framed product opportunities in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition, highlighting the coming wave of AI-generated products and services.
The afternoon sessions on Client Innovation featured co-presented case studies by Product Delivery Managers & clients: Basia Jones (Silverchair) and John Campbell (Oxford University Press) on the Silverchair/OUP relationship as “A Play in Five Acts”; Michael Crumsho (Silverchair) and Eric Branger (Wolters Kluwer) described the product unification WK underwent with Silverchair and the positive feedback they’ve received about it; Lisa Cunningham (Silverchair) and Mark Hickey (SCORE) did a Q&A on the value of user-testing in developing their new SCORE Portal; and Chris Carwile (Silverchair) introduced Alix Vance (GeoScienceWorld), who gave an overview of GSW’s unique offerings on the platform.
Product Delivery Manager John Condi was up next with what he dubbed “nerd stuff” in "Cross-Publisher Trends: Insights Gleaned from Platform-Wide Traffic Patterns," which was actually a fascinating look at data and analytics trends across the platform. He began with four hypotheses about overall traffic patterns and explored each one to either confirm or refute it (who’d have guessed that desktop is still so far ahead of mobile in usage?). The follow-up questions that his research generated will be addressed in a new column in our sprintly release notes emails to clients.
Next, Director of Client Engagement Paige Angle & Chief Delivery Officer Doug Morrison presented the results of the Client Satisfaction Survey, which they combined with internal metrics from incident management reporting and Salesforce data. These yearly check-ins will offer valuable insights into what is working in our process, and where we can improve.
In a much-hyped-throughout-the-rest-of-the-day session, Director of Product Wes Royer announced the launch of the Silverchair Universe, a new framework for rapid integration of complementary products and services on the Silverchair Platform. I encourage you to read the press release about it. Our partners are excited and our clients are excited, so stay tuned for more as this program moves forward.
The day closed with an experiment: Executive Question Hour! Luckily, it was a robust discussion, covering everything from the RA21 initiative to staffing and from automated testing to the best hors d'oeuvres to watch for at the cocktail hour that followed.
We will be announcing the 2018 Silverchair Strategies date and location in the coming weeks (email Strategies@silverchair.com if you'd like to be on the list to receive updates), and we look forward to continuing the conversations that last month sparked.