As the new year begins, it is an ideal time to reflect on the previous year and what we learnt during this time. As we all know, 2020 was a bit of a strange year, but CloudTrade still managed to grow and hire more colleagues, all while adapting to the ever-changing restrictions of various lockdowns. In this blog post CloudTrade CEO, David Cocks, takes a look back at last year and describes how, in spite of the severe challenges faced by everyone in 2020, CloudTrade has had a remarkably good year.
I co-founded CloudTrade in 2009 and we have been working hard to develop the business for 11 years. It has been fun, and we are looking forward to the New Year. It has been an interesting year. Obviously, starting our financial year in April 2020 meant that we had a few problems, like everyone else, as the world went into global lockdown. Our transaction volumes dropped by about 20% in those early two months, but by the time we got to September we had recovered lost volume. October and November proved to be record months. I am now confident that we will have had a good year in 2020, and actually we will finish the financial year with over 35% growth. This is a great achievement.
Internationalisation is the way forward
Everyone has worked really hard despite all the obstacles put in our way. CloudTrade’s vision has always been to help businesses enable global trade. Even with the Covid epidemic causing problems of business continuity with people obliged to work at home, we feel we have achieved this vision, not only for our customers but for ourselves. CloudTrade has always been quite modest in its marketing, and quite modest about itself. Our vison as we move forward is that we shout a little louder from the rooftops, and that we take on a more international approach. Internationalisation is the vision for CloudTrade in 2021.
Advances in on-demand scalability and machine learning
Obviously, at heart, CloudTrade is a tech company. This year we have put an enormous amount of effort into increasing the capability of our tech so we can deliver new services to our customers. There are two very exciting new projects that we have been working on. The first one is to transform our core software into a true microservices application hosted in Microsoft Azure. This will give us on-demand scalability, driving down costs and increasing performance. The second exciting project that we have under way is to make greater use of machine learning. CloudTrade has always been an AI company using our patented, natural-language processing engine, and although there is a lot of excitement at the moment about the potential of machine learning, we know that in practice a combined machine-learning and rules-based system is the best way to solve our customers’ problems. CloudTrade is leading the world in the development of a hybrid, machine-learning and natural-language rules system for the processing of business documents.
Collaboration with partners
We are delighted to have had a great deal of success both with our established partners and our new partners in 2020. We have been working hard with SAP Ariba, with specifically a lot of activity in the US. Many big customers of SAP Ariba have now adopted CloudTrade as their PDF-invoicing solution. We are also excited at having found new partners. Two which come immediately to mind are Pagero, a very successful Swedish company who have an enormous presence in the EU and a growing business in the UK and US, and also Embridge, a new partner here in the UK who are preeminent in the implementation of Unit4 systems.
Thank you to staff, customers and partners
I would like to thank all of the CloudTrade teams. The Operations team have worked very hard implementing new customers across the globe in some very challenging environments. The Development team have managed to master all this new technology including the Kubernetes container technology which really is state of the art. The Sales team have managed to excite new customers into the CloudTrade network, and our Marketing team have raised CloudTrade’s profile both in the US and in Europe. As we come up to Christmas and the end of 2020, I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff at CloudTrade, to our customers, and to our partners. It is thanks to all their hard work and commitment that we have had a very successful year.
David has put together a short video highlighting the successes of the last year and our vision for 2021.