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Friday, July 21, 2017

Welcome to the gang: Method4 becomes Umbraco Gold Partner

But let’s start from the beginning.

Who is Method4?

Hello, we're Method4. We’re a software consultancy based in Cardiff, Wales. Our journey was initiated by the four directors 12 years ago. We’re now 24 people, so it’s going quite rapidly and we aim to grow to 30-40 people within the next couple of years.

We’re an agile organization. We organize our work based on a concept we like to call “circles”, which is an idea that promotes self-organizing teams. These teams can all do everything that’s required to start and finish a project: bring the work in, do the work, test it, and then deliver it.

Our focus is on developing bespoke software systems for a range of clients across various sectors. These systems are often accessible through the internet, whether public or private. As a result, we work a lot with Umbraco and SharePoint to facilitate intranets, extranets, portals and websites that can provide access to these systems while also offering the more traditional online presence to complete the solutions.

Our clients range from Bacs, Vocalink or LINK in the private sector to Welsh Government, College of Policing and Natural Resources Wales in the public sector.

Last year we also started organizing Umbraco Cardiff meetups. There’s now over a 100 members in the meetup group, so we have a pretty good turnout. We host technical discussions about what’s going on in the industry, what people locally are up to, but also organize social events.

We’re proud to be the first Welsh Umbraco Gold Partner. We know there’s another Gold Partner that has an office in Wales, but they’re registered in Reading 😊

How we finally ended up with Umbraco or “and then came version 7…”

We’ve been using Umbraco for 5 or 6 years now. We worked with versions 4, 5 and 7. When we upgraded to version 5 we were sort of worried about what will happen with Umbraco. After that we didn’t really work with version 6, but we knew Umbraco was a big player in the space, that Microsoft supports it, that it is based on .NET and things like that.

So we kept aware of it, kept close to it and then version 7 came out. Version 7 is the one that really increased our confidence on Umbraco. It was impressive to see how the core company of Umbraco has grown.

Long story short, we started off with a couple of clients, but today Umbraco plays a key role in our company.

Why do we love Umbraco?

It is just the overall ease of use, the fact that it’s .NET, because we do almost everything with .NET and C#. Coming from that background it’s very easy to get up to speed with Umbraco.

The editor experience and building up the editor experience - we really enjoy that - because not only do we feel that we have control over it, but we can tailor it completely according to client requirements.

As a CMS, Umbraco is very versatile. It can also be easily made bilingual and multilingual, which is a valuable asset for us based in Wales. Meanwhile, Umbraco Forms gives a lot of power to editors and there are so many packages that are great community efforts filling in the gaps with high quality solutions.

Umbraco allows us to integrate bespoke systems developed separately, to be served through the external-facing websites, and controlled by editors within the CMS. Occasionally Umbraco can be repurposed, providing a solution with a strong base that otherwise would’ve been written from the ground up. It is not to say that it’s always easy - every project we learn something new, or improve how we solve problems.

We often get clients approaching us directly, asking specifically for Umbraco, after seeing that we work with it a lot. Especially now that certainly here in the UK Umbraco is really considered the leading open source .NET CMS.

Also the fact that Umbraco is open source, that it’s free for clients, gives us a good base, with no reason to consider other platforms. A lot of the times we don’t need to sell Umbraco, it can sell itself, so we never had to look anywhere else, we get the work that we need to from Umbraco.

Those fields of gold. Why did we become a Gold Partner?

Well, it felt like a good time to do it. We as a company are growing and Umbraco is playing a bigger and bigger part at that as we do. Umbraco as a company is also growing, which has given us and our clients confidence.

We’re under no illusions that we’re in a very competitive market and we benefit from any advantage that we can provide while we’re out there bidding for work, whether that’s being a partner of Microsoft (we’re a Microsoft Silver Partner) or partner of Umbraco. Therefore this partnership is a valuable recognition to current and potential clients for our work and ability.

One of the advantages of being a Gold Partner is that we can continue Umbraco training, learning the best practise, so that we know we’re doing it the best way.

We are looking forward to a closer connection to Umbraco HQ, the potential increase in leads, company exposure as well as giving a voice for the future of Umbraco.

Support is also important to us, because it gives confidence that should things ever go wrong, there’s someone there that can help and point to the right direction, that also goes for the architectural advising. But of course, we also want to help, support the company and the future of the software, have a role in that.

Let’s not forget the Umbraco community ❤️

Focus on the community is one of the biggest draws for us to Umbraco, it’s one of the things that we’ve really noticed. All of the events, not just hosted by Umbraco HQ, but all others hosted by the community, allow you to just see other developers and understand how people are doing things and how Umbraco is working and things like that.

Also from a technical point of view. There are thousands of packages developed that solve so many problems. The packages brought into the Umbraco core are recognition for the developer work that goes on in the community. The very idea that Umbraco doesn't have closed doors, that they’re wide open to the community, means a lot. And for us to see that, look at the photos of headquarters and what goes on in there, see that it’s open - it gives us confidence in terms of what you guys are doing and how we can play part in that.

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