Management & Operational Systems Limited (MandOS) is based in Aberdeen, Scotland and was established by Peter Fraser in 1999. Specialising in business process mapping and design, and using their specifically designed PiSYS:PROMANADE Software, the company was established to help SMEs improve their management systems and processes.
MandOS’ business had been growing well in the UK, but Peter Fraser had started to receive enquiries from Scandinavia, and was keen to investigate these export opportunities. Aware that the MandOS website was rather old and not performing optimally, Peter realised that he would need to revamp this critical communication means if he was to succeed internationally.
It was whilst attending a Scottish Development International ‘Smart Exporter Event’ that Peter noticed a brochure from the Export Communications Review (ECR). The ECR is a UKTI supported scheme which provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice to help companies improve their communications to overseas markets; each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements. Peter contacted Norma Foster, the region’s ECR consultant, and they arranged to meet via Skype. As a result of this meeting, Norma was able to prepare a comprehensive, but straightforward report, containing specific advice for MandOS.
The report gave MandOS clear and concise pointers for how to develop a targeted communications approach for international markets, with advice on how to improve their position within international search engines; this is really important as 70% of online search enquiries are not in English (source: Oban Multilingual). As Peter happily explained, “We did not have specific expectations from the review, but the level of detail was far in excess of what we had expected. The vast amount of specific comments on the style, content and promotion of the site, was supplemented by a range of background information and advice. Not only have we been able to apply this to the MandOS website, but in many cases it has also helped us to develop our overall business strategy.”
As a consequence of the ECR review, MandOS were able to develop both 12 and 24 month strategies for international communications targeting key markets, they have introduced additional online content and have improved the user experience and performance of the key PiSYS:PROMANADE website. In addition, the search engine optimisation increased the volume and quality of enquiries from potential overseas markets, with interest generated from both the USA and Japan!
As Peter highlights, “One key benefit of the way the review is structured is that it is easy to select and implement individual recommendations whilst leaving others for the most appropriate stage in our development. It was also reassuring to be told that we were already doing some things right!”
A company can benefit from a programme of Export Communication Reviews to support the development of their export business; each review includes a visit lasting approximately 2-3 hours where a consultant will meet key members of export staff and prepare a customised written report including an action plan. The cost of each review is £500 plus VAT; eligible companies can receive a subsidy of £250 from UKTI for the first three of these reviews.