We are 10 today (ok strictly tomorrow but it's the weekend!) We're all off to Centre Parcs over the bank holiday weekend to celebrate, and thought it was good time to reflect on some of the highlights and changes over the previous ten years.
- It all started from small beginnings with a £1000 grant from the now defunct Business Link. In their wisdom they decided to issue the grant as physical £100 cheques every few weeks which we found amusing at the time. Myself and Mike bootstrapped the rest from our own pockets and became profitable quickly having no loans or overdraft, which is still true to this day.
- Strategy - In the early years whilst predominantly dealing with Drupal, we'd still occassionally work with other frameworks or custom PHP. After regretting doing this on every single project, we made the decision to work exclusively with Drupal. We also decided we would not become a full service 'jack of all trades' agency offering the likes of creative services or SEO. This allowed us to become truely focused as a technical Drupal agency providing primarily Drupal hosting, support and development, generally with large public and private sector organisations.
- We were one of the first companies to be selected as a G-cloud supplier, and one of only 3 Drupal companies who joined in the first round. We were an early advocate and have been vocal about the merits of the framework, and have seen a huge change in public sector procurement in a short space of time. We even get to compete with (and win work from) the big service integrators.
- We moved office for the third time in 2012, to a new 2000 sq foot office. The intention was this space would comfortably allow for expansion, but we've managed to fill in just over 2 years (RIP our beloved pool table). We have always had an office and whilst we agree with some of the benefits being distributed gives, I still think in hindsight this was the right decision given the services we provide. After phasing in remote working more frequently, we sent an open survey to the team and the majority liked working in the office and wanted to be there!
- Ixis acquired Leafish in 2012, Dylan and Paul have been instrumental in taking over and leading our infrastructure and development departments respectively.
- Community - We have sponsored DrupalCon and our staff have been heavily involved in organising local meetups and DrupalCamps. We've tried to attend most European DrupalCons over the past few years and it has been great to see the community grow over time. We've always tried to make an effort with schwag and our stress balls have gone down well, going through three iterations over the years. We've evolved this and produced something different this year, check them out on our twitter account @ixisit later today!
- Contributions - Ixis have provided patch contributions to Drupal Core and numerous popular modules over the years, such as Google Analytics, Cookie Control and EdgeCast.
- Colloboration - We've always worked and partnered with other agencies outside our core area of expertise, and as such have built a good network of other companies who we refer work to and from. We like the way the community colloboration extends to various other parts of the business, so competitors end up working together and discussing things like how they sell to a certain customer base or architect a system. In other sectors, competing companies wouldn't dream of sharing their 'secrets'.
- Growth - Ixis have always aimed for sustainable long term growth, and the majority of our clients have now been working with us for many years as we've ensured we retention is high. The business is now stable with a high percent of re-occuring revenue, and in the last few consecutive years we have doubled staff numbers to nearly 20 and increased turnover substantially. Growing in this sustainable fashion has also allowed us to ensure we maintained quality and looked after our long standing clients.
- Continual improvement - We have made improvements to the business every year and will continue to do so. Various parts of the business have evolved and adapted to suit the market and the needs of our clients, from our infrastructure to our staff. We've also consciously moved away from being a lifestyle business predominently made up of techies, by expanding with financial, sales and operational roles.
We would like to extend a huge thanks to Drupal and the community for making all of this possible. We also couldn't have done this without our clients or the staff that work with us, so a big thank you to our clients and our team for allowing us to make it this far, and for the enjoyable rollercoaster that is building a service based company.
We wouldn't claim any of the above has been easy with every year of growth and change bringing new challenges (and increasing grey hairs!) We've learnt from our mistakes and with the benefit of hindsight we'd no doubt do some things differently.
We've had the pleasure of working on a really diverse range of projects, with everything from local historic club The Hacienda through to charities like Epilepsy Action and global organisations such as the British Council.
Thank you also must go to those companies who have helped us along the journey including branding, marketing, strategy and PR, technical services and mentoring (you know who you are!)
It's a slightly scary thought that after starting Ixis in our early twenties we've been doing this for over a third of our lives, who knows what the next few will hold! We are looking forward to the next chapters and the future of Drupal...here's to Drupal 8!