It’s been just over a year since I posted my first installment of “The State of SSP, from My Desk to Yours” and a lot has happened. My goal is to make this an annual update for our customers and partners in the industry within Q1 of each year.
2015 turned out to be a pretty interesting year. A few months after my post in February, SSP went through a change in our partnership landscape. While this came as a surprise to some, we predicted it would be more of a logistical issue than anything else.
I am pleased to report that this proved to be true and both our core Esri and ArcFM™ business grew significantly throughout last year. We serviced 35 distinct customers over the course of 2015 with 10 new customers joining the SSP family for the first time. This brings our total customer count to just over 70 within the utility and telecom industry and we are adding an average of one new customer each month right now.
Our top line revenue grew by 36% over the previous year and we were able to add an additional 10 staff members bringing our team to 30 talented folks across the business. Our organization is stronger than ever with regard to both capacity and financial stability. This has propelled our business into 2016 with a very strong outlook for continued growth.
Our consistent year over year growth earned us another spot in the Gator 100 this year with our ranking moving up from #45 in 2015 to #29 in 2016. This award is given to the 100 fastest growing, gator-owned, companies in the world. We were honored to be part of only 43 companies who maintained their position on the list from last year.
I also couldn’t be more proud to announce that just two days ago, SSP was awarded our second consecutive Esri partner award for Excellence in Web GIS. This award belongs to the entire SSP team and recognizes SSP as an Esri partner who passionately pursues expanding the use of ArcGIS throughout the entire organization. Only eight awards were given out this year and we are humbled to again be part of the exclusive group of nominees and recipients.
To top it off, our employees Dean Perry, Corey Blakeborough, Dennise Ramirez, and Ryan Potts welcomed four healthy new babies into the SSP family. I love technology and business as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day, this is pretty special as we love to see our families thrive and grow.
As I look back across last year, I want to share a few important items with you that are driving our vision for the future:
- Esri Evolution: The Esri utility network has continued to evolve over the last year. While we still believe it will be some time before it is ready for widespread adoption, we did write a post on how Esri’s utility and telecom roadmap will affect our customers. We are remaining tightly aligned with Esri to allow us to continually provide guidance to our customer base regarding the changing technology in our industry.
You’ll see SSP following our recommendations in the above post with a big push to assist our customers with upgrading their back office GIS to version 10.2.1. And we’ll continue to evangelize around implementation of the latest and greatest Web GIS technologies including ArcGIS Server, Portal for ArcGIS, and ArcGIS Online.We regularly meet with leading Esri partners across all aspects of the platform with a goal of establishing how the future utility landscape will be best fulfilled. We’re seeing new and exciting technology emerge as more solutions move toward embracing Esri platform and Web GIS. In our ever changing industry, I can assuredly say that there are even better days ahead for our customers.
- Work Management: With the support of several key customers, SSP has pursued a reinvestment in our Workforce Management (WFM) product which provides workflow management, compatible unit management, design, and estimating in an intuitive web based tool. In a recent benchmark our WFM product was selected over IBM Maximo and Oracle EAM which has demonstrated the value of WFM to both large and small utilities. We have a large team of developers working on version 2.0 of the product and we hope to be posting new demo videos of the application within the next couple of months.
Some of the key changes include a full facelift to the application making it more consistent with current web user interfaces, full cross browser support, and significant new and enhanced work management functionality. Aaron Patterson and Chris Sanders are heading up the team undertaking this effort and are doing a fantastic job.
- Pipeline Expansion: With the desire of continued diversification, SSP launched a new department in late 2015 called the GIS Pipeline Practice (GPP). Similar to SSP’s pursuit of bringing the latest and greatest Esri technology to distribution utilities and telecoms, the GPP will seek to bring the same goals to the midstream and transmission pipeline space. There has been significant change in the Esri technology within the pipeline industry via the introduction of the ARP extension and UPDM models and we seek to educate and demonstrate how these technologies can be effectively applied.
SSP’s solution-oriented consulting approach is a perfect fit for this industry as we focus on providing the right blend of technology to meet the business requirements of utilities seeking to maintain their regulatory requirements in spite of troubling commodity prices. A trusted colleague of mine, Clarke Wiley, has joined SSP to head up this new division and we are already gaining traction with customers in this area.
- Telecom Transition: Telecom has been significant growth area for SSP both with regard to outside plant (OSP) implementations and Esri platform enablement. Our much-discussed logical circuit extension for Schneider’s Fiber Manager™ will go live this year providing customers with a way to manage logical paths through their physical network. While we continue to perform Fiber Manager™ work, we’ve been working more and more with out of the box Esri platform solutions for telecoms of all sizes.
We’ve also begun a new effort to evaluate all of the telecom partner solutions within the Esri industry to determine which products meet the key requirements while also being strongly aligned with Esri’s platform. This will allow SSP to guide customers toward the best of breed telecom solutions of the future. Longtime telecom veteran Ryan Potts is heading up this transitional phase.
These are just a few highlights that I see as key to our success in 2016 and beyond. There is plenty more to discuss and, as you know, we’ll continue to publish information throughout the year. We continue to provide non-sales related content each month via our Energy Advisor e-zine and have now added several additional mediums to our content exposure including eBooks, whiteboard videos, and many more live speaking events.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to my leadership team. This entire group has been in place in these positions for the last year and a half to ensure we are communicating the right messaging and delivering top notch projects.
- Dean Perry – Director of Sales
- Dennise Ramirez – Director of Operations
- Jeff Mertz – Director of Technology
- Keith Freeman – Director of Marketing
Within each of the above departments, every team member at SSP is committed to the success of our customers. We wouldn’t be here without our partners and customers continually placing their faith in the consulting services we provide. Thank you for your support! We pledge to continue to bring our small company, big impact approach to every engagement. Here’s to another great year ahead!