Joanne explores in depth what PDMS is made of and it's fruitful journey as a leading software company
When you've been around for as long as we have, it's easy to assume that everyone in the Island's business community knows who we are and what we do. PDMS has been operating on the Isle of Man for nearly a quarter of a century (we celebrate our 25th anniversary next year), and I have lots of dodgy photos of our founding Directors from the early 1990s in my marketing archive to prove it!
I'm pretty sure that a lot of people locally have heard of PDMS, even though most of our business is now with clients off Island. We are active participants in different local organisations including the Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, Manx ICT Association (MICTA), IOM Maritime Group and Bridge to name just a few. Both the company and staff also help to raise funds for local charities including IOM Hospice and the MSPCA, and we support local sports teams including the PDMS Southern Nomads Rugby Club.
Most people I talk to locally are aware that we do something techy to do with software and websites – I wouldn't be doing my job properly if they didn't! However, they are often genuinely surprised by the scale and diversity of our projects and the global reach of our clients. For example, did you know that over 130,000 police officers in the UK use a system we designed to check legal information, or that our software is helping to register ships in the picturesque, but very distant, Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean?
What some people may not also know, is that we are now over 70 strong and our growing Isle of Man operation is also complemented by an expanding presence in Glasgow.
Having just undergone a restructuring of our business to better reflect the needs of the different markets we serve, I thought now would be a good opportunity to provide an update on what we, PDMS, are up to.
Back in 1993 when PDMS first started, when we had the Walkman instead of iPods and an encyclopaedia instead of Google, PDMS was very much focused on data and databases. As technology progressed, we began to specialise more in software development, particularly bespoke software developed to meet a customer's very specific requirements. And with the growth of the Internet, the systems we developed became web based – both systems for businesses and customer facing websites. Fast forward 25 years and we now have an evolving portfolio of cloud based software solutions, platforms and services.
Earlier this year, we decided to reshape the organisation to create three new Divisions – Transport & Ticketing Solutions, Registries & Regulatory Solutions and Community and Collaboration Solutions. We've followed the Ronseal, "it does what it says on the tin" approach to naming our divisions!
In our Transport & Ticketing Solutions team, we've grouped together over 25 corporate years' experience of ferry reservation and ticketing systems. We've designed, developed and supported the systems used by Calmac Ferries, providing life line services to the West Coast of Scotland and carrying over five million passengers a year, as well as for the Orkney Ferries, Shetland Islands Council, Bahamas Ferries and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. We are also working on a new smart ticketing solution which will extend our reach to other modes of transport such as rail, bus etc.
With a deep understanding of the common business challenges faced by registries and regulators around the world, our Registries & Regulatory Solutions team are working with organisations including the Isle of Man Government, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Island, the Maritime Cook Islands and the States of Guernsey. We are a technology partner to the IOM Ship Registry, one of the top five fastest growing flag states in the world and we also developed the software for the IOM Aircraft Registry – cited as the fastest growing offshore register in the world.
Our Community and Collaboration (C&C) Division is working on several pioneering new projects with Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK. PDMS is behind employed.im – the Island's local jobs and skills portal which is not only being used to help run over 400 Year 10 work experience placements in secondary schools, but also to help local organisations manage their membership services. The same platform is also helping Fife Council to reduce their youth unemployment and is currently being rolled out to other areas of the UK including the South East. When it comes to innovating new approaches - PDMS likes to be at the forefront. Our C&C team is working with Redditch Council to develop a new platform that will help Councils identify, track and report on the root causes of people's problems and assist with trying to resolve these rather than just focusing on the presenting problems.
Then there's a host of other products I haven't mentioned, such as our lost property solution currently helping reunite travellers with their lost items at Aberdeen Airport, and our document management product (DoxShare) used by law firms to securely store and share documents with clients and external partners.
Phew - that just about covers the Divisions, but there are other important teams who provide a range of complementary and support services. We have a support team who are dedicated to supporting our longstanding clients – many of whom we have worked with for 10 years or longer. This includes names you will no doubt recognise such as the NHS, Centrica and Black & Decker.
Our in-house design team are busy, not only developing great looking and user-friendly websites or interfaces for our clients, but also creating great marketing materials to help promote PDMS. Whilst our Infrastructure team look after the hosting and security of our client's systems, hardware, facilities and much more besides.
As you can see there's a lot more to PDMS than initially meets the eye! The company is growing too and we are expanding our team with new apprenticeship roles. We are recruiting in both the Isle of Man and Scotland, and later in the year we are moving into bigger and better office accommodation in Glasgow.
So, if you are looking for a local software partner or are interested in a career in technology, you need look no further than Global House in the Isle of Man Business Park.