Onward and upward in 2016

Adventures like these don't come often.

Firstly, welcome to our new OverStory Ltd website, a resource that will grow beyond a simple company presence, something that has interest for you with prototypes, community features, ideas, and industry news etc. - hopefully something that you can engage with. That's for the near future but for the moment, we have a new look.

2016 marked the start of the journey my OverStory, after many years at IOP Publishing, and I knew adventures like this don't come very often, so was very happy to join the team (that's not me in the photo above btw).

I've managed numerous technologies and teams over the years, but am really excited about the type of work OverStory does. Sounds nepotic, but I assure you, it's not meant to be. Agile processes, test driven automation and build, a mix of older and emergent technologies all come together to demonstrate exciting possibilities for real customers.

We're working with customers right now in these technologies with highly adaptive agile methods with value coming early and often. The fact we already know much of the business processes means there's very little translation or 'going away to analyse/understand' what new requirements actually mean.

My role at OverStory is to manage the operations of the company, connect with customers and brainstorm new and exciting opportunities. Great! The biggest change for me personally is the change from working within defined budgets, to setting what they should be. Balancing cost versus return. There's no doubt we are a commercial entity: there to raise revenue (Unlike Society for Endocrinology or IOP Publishing Ltd) , but unlike exclusively commercial organisations, OverStory strongly believe in positive Karma, doing good wherever possible and helping others.

We've some plans coming up which will illustrate that more which I can't yet uncover, so for the moment, you'll have to take my word for it.

2016 is an exciting year for OverStory, we are growing in size, and importantly capability. Our Consulting arm continues, but we are expanding into training with OverStory University, and building prototype functional systems for use by all. 

OverStory strongly believe in positive Karma

Getting closer to our customer base is a key strategy for us, with our goal to become the trusted technology partner. Trust comes from openness and honesty from both sides, and a willingness to grow together. We are looking for partners who are willing trial our new systems. We have ideas and personnel that can realise this, and would value forward thinking business partners to trial our early prototypes.

Since joining, it still surprises me how many people I meet that aren't sure of what OverStory do. "Oh you're just MarkLogic right?" err, no. And "What is the relationship between you and Mercator IT". Well hopefully I can put that straight here.

Dealing with the first point is surprisingly difficult to define. We aren't just MarkLogic experts, however we have a very close relationship and are technology partners and resellers. We have expertise is open source NoSQL too. We know Semantics, with experience building real world RDF, inferring previously unknown value from data, and providing that to users through a variety of mechanisms — that doesn't define us though. We know XML, XQuery, Xpath, XSLT very well, you could say that is core to us. But the technology isn't the main value add, even though we have Java Champions and authors, and numerous other technical expertise from Schematron to Scala to SPARQL. What does make us different is our understanding of the publishing (mainly STM) world. We have decades of experience in this, which means we can grasp your needs quickly, and see opportunities you may not.

Yes we're a consultancy, however we also provide longer term support as well as offering training through OverStory University. This approach is so we can provide a blend of offerings: i.e. delivering rapidly; training your staff in what they need to maintain the systems; and then being on-hand if urgent help is needed. 

I may have to get my pens out and start drawing..

So what of Mercator IT and OverStory Ltd's connection. The former is a recruitment consultancy specialising in XML and other technologies. OverStory Ltd is a separate entity, and runs projects, consultancy, products and training. The join is directorial overlap, connections, and resource searching skills as needed. 

So thanks for getting this far, and I hope the next time we meet, you understand who we are, where we're going and how we can help. If it's still not clear by then, I may have to get my pens out and start drawing...

Please come and say hello at an event coming up, it'll be great to meet you and see what the future could bring.