Wellington-based web services and consulting company Redvespa got its big break recently when it inked a three-year contract with the UK’s Henley Management College, but it is blogging that is keeping everyone involved in the project honest.
Redvespa will create and maintain a new web-based portal for Henley’s global MBA and executive development programmes, says its managing director, Richard Gibson.
The company was initially contracted to do a smaller migration job for Henley Management College, but when Redvespa automated the process and finished the job in “minutes instead of months”, Henley was so impressed it decided to outsource all its web development to Redvespa, says Gibson.
Redvespa works with Henley’s IT team to create a knowledge management system. All of the college’s teaching and administrative systems will be web-based — online enrolment, web-conferencing and content storage, says Gibson.
The time difference between the UK and New Zealand means that work can be progressed around the clock.
“We ended up building an extranet that Henley staff sign in to,” says Gibson. “The main item on that extranet is a blog that we, along with Henley staff, are updating on a daily basis.”
The blog makes collaboration across the globe work really well, he says. Using SharePoint, it is quick and easy to share weekly reports and other documents. A weekly conference call with Henley is all it takes to keep the work process going.
“Having a blog allows visibility, all decisions and actions are documented and it’s all secure,” says Gibson. “It actually enforces a real discipline.”In fact, it works better than working with clients who are geographically close, from the point of view that you might meet with local clients over coffee and make decisions that are never properly documented, he says.
Gibson is heading over to the UK in May to meet with Henley, and also to talk to potential new clients that are interested in outsourcing web development to New Zealand.
“Essentially, we are half the cost of [web developers] in the UK,” he says.
Redvespa builds a lot of its smaller websites using Drupal, an open source content management platform, says Gibson.
“It empowers our clients to be able to keep their content up to date themselves,” he says. “If we can, we enable our clients to become self-sufficient.”
But Gibson is also a fan of Microsoft’s portable technologies, and its Action Pack bundle.
Redvespa recently took on two staff and now has a team of ten.