The Road to WPC 2012 – Part One

We are now 4 weeks away from WPC 2012 (the Microsoft World Partner Conference, not the World Potato Congress).

This year, it will be held in Toronto, Canada. This is the first of four blog posts in the run up to the event, which will follow my colleagues and me as we prepare for one of the biggest events in our calendar.

First of all: a bit of background on why we’re exhibiting at WPC for the first time. 2012 has been an exciting time at Postcode Anywhere, with the launch of Capture+ generating interest on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Address Search Engine

For the first time, users can search for their address as though they were using a search engine, something that is as natural as turning on a light switch for many today.

With the success of Capture+ in web sites we turned our attention to internal CRM systems, particularly Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The success of web based CRM systems such as Dynamics has really excited us. We’ve been providing address validation on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis for the last ten years, so there is natural synergy between our service and the latest CRM technologies. This brings me back to why we’re going to be at WPC this year, demonstrating our new Capture+ technology and talking to existing Microsoft partners about the CRM market.

Lacking Validation

Back, then, to our preparations. We’ve booked our stand and decided on the Away Team: myself, Tom Gurney, Chris Winfield and our MD Guy Mucklow. Next up came the booking of the flights and accommodation.

Why mention this? Well, I guess it’s the same for any specialist: you see something done in a non-optimal way and feel you have to mention it… While booking our hotel, we came across a fairly common issue with North American and Canadian websites: a daunting data entry form with no validation.

We’ve found in the UK that 35% of consumers expect to see address auto-fill and validation on a website, so it’s pretty surprising to barely ever see comparable technology from our American and Canadian cousins.

A More Attractive Offering

We’re hoping our new technology Capture+ will be a more attractive offering to people unaccustomed to the kind of “type your postal code and select your address” usage we’re so used to in the UK.

With everything booked up we next looked at the marketing collateral we would be taking, and came to appreciate how messages need to change to resonate with a country that may speak the same language, but can be in quite a different place when it comes to business software.

For more on that, tune in next week for part two!