2020 – what a year…

As is the tradition here at Olamalu, we like to use our December blog post to reflect on the year. 2020…woah, what a year!

Who would have thought back in January, as we inched optimistically into a new year and indeed a new decade, that the months that lay before us would be so unchartered. The arrival of a global pandemic has brought us a year that none of us has ever experienced before. It forced us all to change how we live and work, separating us socially and professionally and even modified the way we experience the passing of time.

As we come to the end of the year, we are going to do what we do best, focus on the tech and look at how the digital world helped us all to better manage this very difficult year.

Connecting through screens

All hail video calls! Where would we have been this year without the ability to connect to our families, friends, colleagues and customers via video calls? This technology was already widely used in business, particularly within organisations with regional or global offices, but it became the cornerstone of our link to the outside – both personally and professionally.

Zoom, MS Teams and Google Hangouts became go-to brands, enabling us to re-route our communication and keep our remote teams together. Our parents, grandparents and even The Queen have been ‘zooming’ helping us to connect with our loved ones and to celebrate family events, socialise with our friends, attend fitness classes, webinars and even have appointments with our GP’s – all from the safety of our homes. We have run some projects completely remotely thanks to this easily available video technology.

We were delighted to still be able to enjoy the annual WOBA awards ceremony all thanks to video conferencing. We are founding members of the West Oxfordshire Business Awards and 2020 is a milestone 10 years. Its purpose – to celebrate brilliant businesses of all shapes and sizes felt more important this year than ever before.

The importance of the web

With physical places of work closed down for many months during 2020, websites really have become the virtual shop window. As well as provide general information and a feel for a business, websites can give customers the ability to self -serve and provide an important pool of resources for employees. At the start of the first lockdown, we were busy working on several briefs to build employee facing intranets to complement customer facing websites. As the pandemic continued, our focus moved on to developing technology to better serve customers remotely. This included apps such as a COVID-19 tracker, self-serve tools such as booking systems and we also helped two colleges at Oxford University to provide virtual open days to prospective students.

The tech is here to stay

According to recent research undertaken by Mckinsey, such was the positive impact of new technology solutions during the lockdown, that people simply don’t want to go back to how things were. What started out as a crisis response has become the new normal and Mckinsey found that 70-80% of decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service due to 3 key benefits they bring: ease of scheduling, savings on travel expenses and safety.

A continued focus and where needed, investment in digital offering and a strong web presence to meet the needs of a more remote world will definitely be a theme for 2021…

Team Olamalu

In our world, to keep up with demand, we’ve expanded our team with three new members. We’re excited to welcome Jamie who joins us as a Digital Apprentice, Kate is our new Graduate Developer and Tom who has made a career change from the Travel Industry to join us a Developer.

Celebrating opportunity

We were over the moon earlier this year to be highly commended for both the Work Experience award and the Apprenticeship Employer Award (small business) in the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards. Providing opportunities for young people to gain first-hand experience in the tech industry is a key part of our values as a business.

Saving the best until last

We’re delighted to announce that Erika, our brilliant support manager and her husband Mark recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world. They’ve named him Ollie, and we are all very excited to meet him.

Looking ahead

As we close the door on this year, we’re doing so with a positive look forward to 2021. We join the rest of the world with hope for a successful rollout of the vaccine for COVID-19, to getting the team back together, to taking what we’ve learned and adapted in 2020 and using it as a platform to grow from.

Most importantly to continue helping, guiding and serving customers old and new to achieve their best through technology.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and of course a happy and healthy new year.

Team Olamalu

December 2020