A (late) happy new year and a look at 2016

Almost 1 month in, but we’d still like to wish you a wonderful New Year.

Last year was quite a busy year for Skyscrapers. As we’re becoming a more transparent company we’d like to share some of that with you and give you a sneak peek of what 2016 will bring.

New clients and projects

In 2015 we welcomed several new clients and delivered some beautiful projects. Amongst our new customers: agencies, startups, SaaS and ISV’s from Belgium, Europe and USA.

We have built two beautiful short films highlighting our collaboration with Neoscores and Ivox.

2015 proved to us that AWS web services is still dominating the public cloud market. At the same time we are also seeing a growing interest in Microsoft Azure. We already had some projects where we were introduced with Azure.

In 2016 we expect to do more with both as the demand from new and existing customers continues to grow.

Growth

More work means a bigger team. From a trio at the beginning of 2015 our company grew to a core team of six and two on-demand freelancers. We hired several strong technical people who shared the same principles as Skyscrapers.

In the new year the growth will continue. We hope to hire at least 2 to 3 more experts this year to support our evolution. Interested? Drop a line.

Focus

To maximise our focus and energy, we decided to sell our shared hosting business. Combell took over our shared hosting customers in July.

It freed up our team and they could start focussing on the right priorities: our managed services, our DevOps cooperations and consulting missions around public cloud hosting platforms.

Remote working

One of our primary differentiators is that we fully embrace remote working. Losing time in traffic to commute to an office is time wasted. But besides working from home or co-working space in Belgium, our team worked from countries as well.

Some more exotic locations from where our team worked from this year are Ethiopia, Thailand and Bulgaria. In 2016 we hope to be able to post snaps of more locations across the globe.

New technologies

It was a year of change. We implemented several new technologies.

Switching from AWS cloudformation to Terraform. It simplified our infrastructure orchestration and made our deployments even more reliable and consistent by further embracing the Infrastructure-as-code concept.

We started playing around with Docker. The first customer projects where we can implement it (in production) are coming in.

A ton of fun was had with other technologies as well: we built highly scalable ElasticSearch clusters on Amazon Web Services, tried getting Couchbase under control and much more.

Looking at the pipeline and new customers we recently signed up, more cool stuff is incoming in 2016. By nature we are quite innovative. We need to make sure we remain innovative as we grow.

Self-organising structure

We learned that getting the team organised for more complex and larger projects proved to be harder than we thought now that we are growing. When we were smaller we could depend a lot on ad hoc communicating and agreeing on processes. Larger teams need processes and structure. So it was time to start thinking about organising ourselves a bit more.

Always a dream and now a reality: 2015 was the year where we took significant steps to becoming a self-organizing structure (aka Teal organisation). We’re even already seeing the first results:

  • People themselves and without any management approval can make decisions on how we work/what we buy/what we sell/etc, ensuring they make the right decisions quickly.
  • 100% transparency of all company information to enable everybody to make informed decisions.
  • People can completely be themselves to work and grow in the areas where their passion lies. Thus Skyscrapers helps them grow as people and vice versa.
  • The start of our Flight Manual: a living document that describes how we work, our processes, etc. Everybody can contribute and it evolves organically as we grow.

In 2016 we will go even further hoping to become 100% self-organising with a maximal focus on wholeness, self-improvement and filling in our evolutionary purpose. People will flourish and business will follow.

What more will come in 2016?

There are more things we want to get done this year:

  • Stabilize our product/service offering: after 2 years of being a pioneer in what we do, we now know what the market wants. This will significantly improve our sales process and accelerate our growth.
  • Improve and automate our billing process: our billing tools are no longer a good fit to our current business model. It’s time to evolve those as to increase the transparency to our customers and lower the administrative overhead.
  • Keep improving on our operational stability and ability to execute: this can never be over. Operations is 50% of the reason people choose us. We need to stay ahead on this front.
  • Become more transparent: we believe that by being more transparent we can give back more to our customers and the world. At the same time it will open us open more to learn from the world. That would make us happy.

And grow, grow, grow!

Final word

2015 has been a crazy and super interesting year. We learned a lot and feel we are just at the beginning of a great adventure in the cloud. Even after 3,5 years Skyscrapers has been in existence.

It is exciting to see where the market is heading. The growth is phenomenal and the possibilities the cloud offers are only increasing. We are excited to be part of that future and embrace it together with you.

Want to see how we can help you in 2016? Get in touch!
The Skyscrapers Team.