Bank balances are shrinking, the John Lewis advert has aired, and the nights have got darker … you guessed it - it's nearly Christmas.
Love it or loath it, it's a time for reflection, jollity and of course lots (and lots) of mince pies.
In the past 12 months we've seen monumental technological changes happening around us - from the public launch of Google's greatly anticipated Google Glass and other wearable technologies, to the hotly debated implications of artificial intelligence and the rise of the digital trend known as the 'sharing economy'. So what has PDMS been up to in this time? Let's take a look back at some of this year's highlights…
To mark the start of the year and 20 years in business in the Isle of Man, we were delighted to present a cheque for a whopping £10,740 to 10 local charities - raised from a black tie dinner we hosted in late 2013. The charities, which were all nominated by PDMS staff were: Save the Children, Housingmatters Isle of Man, Craig's Heartstrong Foundation, SportErin, Victim Support Isle of Man, Hyperbaric Chamber, Junior Achievement Isle of Man, Rebecca House, The Children's Centre and Southern Befrienders.
In February we announced our membership to Mersey Maritime, signalling our commitment to growing our involvement in the maritime sector on an international level, whilst raising our profile in the North West of England!
We also welcomed four new members to our growing Isle of Man Headquarters, joining our infrastructure, marketing and administration teams.
After the launch of our employed.im platform in November 2013, we unveiled its video technology feature, enabling employers to screen candidates prior to interview and allowing candidates to practice their self-interview techniques. We also ran an employed.im iPad Air giveaway with Manx Telecom and discussed the benefits of the new employed.im website with Money Media.
March also saw the launch of our rebranded online portal for sharing and controlling documents - now known as DoxShare.
In April we officially launched our first ever Scottish Office in Glasgow, opened by the Isle of Man Chief Minister Allan Bell and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond! We received a very warm welcome and discussed our plans to create new jobs and to continue our expansion as an innovative enterprise ICT organisation.
In May we were pleased to announce a new partnership with Aberdeen Airport to support the improvement of their customer service with our lost property solution, PITAR (now branded Retrieva). Using our technology, the airport which recorded 3.48 million passengers in 2013, seeks to process regional and international lost property much more efficiently, reuniting items with owners through our online lost and property portal, helping them embrace technology as part of their Customer Charter commitments. Commenting on the new initiative, Fraser Bain one of the airport's duty managers said that PDMS, "share their vision of getting business and operational benefits from technology".
In June we hosted two successful events at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool.
The first, with the Isle of Man Maritime Group as the Group's chairing company, was aimed at promoting the Isle of Man as an international Maritime Centre of Excellence. The event, hosted on board the prestigious Kathleen and May tall ship was emphasised by guests and festival organisers as a highlight of the Maritime, Logistics and Energy Week, featuring in the festival's main news.
Our second event at the festival was at the 'Employment and Skills' Breakfast, where we showcased our new product: PDMS Employed - our online platform which connects people and organisations with an interest in skills and employment - a cost effective solution for both central and local governments. Since the event we've had some interesting discussions with agencies in the UK, especially after Nick Clegg's proposal that all local councils should have a "one stop" website for jobs and careers!
July was an extremely busy month for us - our Managing Director, Chris Gledhill was elected to the techUK Public Services Boardfor SMEs, representing the UK IT industry ahead of the 2015 General Elections. Chris was also nominated to judge the JA-YE European Student Company of the Year competition in Estonia, which is Europe's largest entrepreneurship education programme, reaching a massive 3.2 million students. This month we were also amongst the world's first to be awarded the new international quality standard, ISO 27001:2013 by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance - a reflection of our company wide commitment to best practices.
In August we hosted a local employed.im HR and recruitment seminar, demonstrating how the Isle of Man is working together towards a more joined up approach to employment, training and recruitment. We also celebrated our growing presence in Glasgow by sponsoring Hawick Rugby Club for their 2014/15 season.
September was quite possibly our busiest but also most exciting month of the year, as we boosted our expansion in Scotland with an acquisition of certain parts of the business and assets of Maxima Information Group Limited. In a deal worth £1m, we showed our commitment to enhancing our expertise and range of services in the enterprise resource planning, payroll software and ferry ticketing market. The strategic move also meant we welcomed 14 new staff members to our team, adding significant capability to our business resources, whilst simultaneously becoming a major technology supplier in the Scottish ferry industry.
October saw the launch of the innovative Help for Victims site (www.helpforvictims.co.uk) which we developed for the Police National Legal Database in the UK. Aimed at helping victims and witnesses of crime and funded by the Ministry of
Justice, this website is the only one of its kind which provides clear advice and answers to frequently asked questions from the Victim's Code, with local responses based on a user's location. The website also joins up over 400 local supporting organisations, and is accessible in the five most frequently spoken languages in West Yorkshire. The project has been so successful that it is hoped it will be rolled out to other police forces across England and Wales and will be shortly provided in IoS and Android App format.
In addition, during October our MARIS ship registry solution product was shortlisted in the Isle of Man's Awards for Excellence, and the first phase of our project to replace the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry's system to support their continued growth was completed.
In November we celebrated the one year anniversary of the launch of employed.im! Employed.im is the Isle of Man's go to jobs and careers portal for students, job seekers, job changers, employers and training providers. In its first year, member numbers have surpassed over 3000 individual users, and the implications for the website have been so well received that Junior Achievement are now using employed.im in Isle of Man secondary schools to help students create their own CVs and find out about career opportunities. Find out what all the fuss is about at www.employed.im.
A quiet month for some, but this month we've been busy preparing for some exciting projects for 2015, one of which includes the re-design of our pdms.com website, incorporating our growing technology product portfolio. We've also been promoting our services further afield - visiting warmer climates with trips to Paris, Seychelles and the Bahamas. Watch this space for some exciting developments in the New Year!