Building a Democratic Workplace at Geonetric

worldblu certification

Today Geonetric was certified as a Democratic Workplace by WorldBlu. We’re proud to be a company that values its employees and actively works to create such a positive workplace culture.

Geonetric has always been a great place to work. About 18 months ago, we took that a step further – we said “great culture” has to mean more than just amenities like free food and a flexible work environment. So we eliminated our formal management hierarchy and instead created self-organizing, self-managing teams. That was a pretty major step toward a democratic workplace, even before we knew that was a “thing”.

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Google’s Universal Analytics Arrives. VitalSite’s Ready.

Google Universal Analytics Graphic

Well, it’s official. Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), the next generation of the ubiquitous Web analytics tool, is now officially out of beta and ready for prime time. According to Google, “all the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the [Universal Analytics] product, including Remarketing and Audience (Demographic) reporting.” This is good news for those of us interested in taking the plunge, but unwilling to sacrifice any of the functionality we’ve come to depend on in the classic Google Analytics (GA).

Of course, it’s not just about feature parity between old and new. From custom dimensions and metrics to new approaches to cross-domain (and sub-domain) tracking, there are a bevy of new features and capabilities in Universal Analytics that will be of interest to most Web marketers and webmasters.

If you’re a Google-watcher, you’ve no doubt been keeping your eye on Universal Analytics for some time. And if you aren’t a Google-watcher, rest assured that we’ve been watching on your behalf. In fact, we’ve been planning for this announcement for quite some time.

That’s why the just-released VitalSite 7.0 includes a new Site Root Script Manager built specifically with Google’s Universal Analytics in mind.

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Value, Release Frequency and VitalSite CMS

vitalsite 7 cms

A number of years ago we took pride in the fact that we released VitalSite updates every quarter. Not only was it a significant differentiator from other software developers who struggled to deliver even one release a year, but frequent releases just seemed like the right thing to do. Why? Quarterly updates allowed us more opportunities to help our clients manage their top performing hospital websites. And that’s hard to do when you have to wait a year or more to take advantage of new features.

Over the last few years we’ve been resolute in our commitment to frequently delivering software, and the rate at which we release updates has increased manyfold. In fact, we now consider a quarterly release cadence to be slow and often symptomatic of problems on software development teams. Such problems can be the result of:

  1. A software development team that is incapable of responding quickly to changing market needs, or of quickly deploying fixes and updates to clients. This can be because of anything from code quality to management problems. Regardless of the cause, it should be considered a warning sign for many types of software.
  2. A vendor who has decided to withhold valuable changes and updates from their clients until the marketing team decides that they have ‘enough’ new functionality for them to bundle it all in a release and promote it in the market. This approach is common among software vendors who just want to rack up new sales and have little regard for existing clients.

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Website Content – Creating the Good Stuff

green-knotted-rope

Isn’t it obvious? Websites need content to exist. No content. No website. No website. No visibility to your potential audience. Oops!

What’s not as obvious? Websites need good content. Think about it. Before you opened the doors of your bricks-and-mortar healthcare facilities, you invested time, energy and resources into identifying the services and programs you planned to offer. You found out who your customers were, what they needed and how your services could help them. And you invested again in all the tools, people and processes that would ensure you’re the best choice to deliver the healthcare services you promised. You need to do the same thing with your website. Continue reading

The Value of Content? PRICELESS!

valuable-healthcare-content

Those MasterCard® commercials have it right. Everything costs something, but some things are worth more than what they cost. They’re valuable. And that’s how we need to think about website content.

When considering a purchase, we often think only about the amount of money we spend. We know the numbers, the price, the cost. We can feel the bills or coins leaving our hands—or we see the balance in our bank account drop. We buy stuff all the time:

  • Morning cup of coffee = $
  • Cool new kicks or hoodie = $$
  • Washer and dryer = $$$
  • Family trip to Disney World = $$$$

But what’s the value of these purchases? That’s not something you can measure in money. It’s priceless.

  • Coffee = Delivers the eye-opener that jump-starts your day
  • Cool kicks = Identifies you as a trend-setter or stellar group member
  • Laundry pair = Offers the comfort of knowing you can have clean clothes when you need them
  • Disney World vacation = Provides a fun setting for family bonding time

Value comes from the intangibles—like feelings—related to the products and services we buy. Feelings like attention, fun, trust, relationship, comfort, caring. Yes, you spend money for these products and services, but what you get back makes the cost worthwhile.

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Everybody’s Doin’ It

black and white construction crane with scaffolding

Or almost everybody. Overhauling their website, that is.

Yep, virtual cranes are dotting the Internet landscape these days. In our recent research with healthcare organizations about their digital efforts, nearly a quarter completed an online overhaul in 2013 (24%) with more than twice that number either in the process of redesigning or in the planning stages (41% and 19%, respectively).

That’s a lot of construction activity. More importantly, however, is what do health systems hope to accomplish in their redesigns and why are so many of them doing this now?

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Digital Marketing In Healthcare, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Survey eBook Cover

I’m very excited to announce our new eBook – Digital Marketing in Healthcare, which outlines the findings from Geonetric’s recent survey of 250 healthcare organizations!

If you are involved in the Web, digital marketing, advertising or social media in healthcare or if you manage or support people who are, this report will provide critical intelligence to help your organization to be more competitive online, such as:

  • What do your competitors spend on digital?
  • How are organizations like yours staffing their digital marketing efforts?
  • What capabilities are healthcare organizations adding to the online mix this year?
  • What digital marketing tools do they find most valuable?
  • Is anyone actually using Vine?

You’ll find these insights and much more right here!

Death by Complexity in the Modern CRM

crm-complex-customizeEveryone knows customer relationship management (CRM) is important. It’s the main source behind lead conversion and revenue recognition for many companies. But using many of the CRM systems available can be difficult. Especially because out of the box, they might not fit your needs. If that’s the case, you should consider customizing the system. It’s easier than you think.

That’s the great thing about CRM systems today – they can easily be customized to your organization’s business model. However, along with the positives of easy point-and-click customizations, such as new data fields, also comes the increased risk of creating useless and unreliable data. In a recent article I read The Five Data Management Practices B2B Marketers Are Overlooking, author Derek Slayton cites research from the Aberdeen Group that says companies that actively manage their marketing data for hygiene and improved segmentation require just 64 marketing responses to generate a customer. Those that do not require 329 (industry average) or 622 (laggards) touches!

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Medical Group of the Carolinas Improves Physician Promotion

medical-group-of-the-carolinas-homepage

Deciding how to promote your physicians can be tough. There are so many different ways to highlight your doctors it can quickly get complicated. Let’s not forget about how making sure your physicians are happy also plays into the mix. Ultimately, there is no cookie-cutter approach. The best strategy really depends on your specific situation and figuring out what best supports your overall organizational goals and priorities.

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First Look: Details from Geonetric’s eHealth Survey Unveiled

benchmarking graphic

There are very few sources of good information about how healthcare marketing is adopting digital tools. Chances are you know more about how other industries are embracing digital than healthcare.

Wouldn’t you like to know:

  • What your peers and competitors spend on digital?
  • How they staff their teams?
  • What they think is working and what they consider a waste.

Geonetric’s eHealth Survey Results has the information and benchmarks you need.

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Clients Still Satisfied? Check.

Client Satisfaction Graph
We did it again! The results of this quarter’s client satisfaction survey (and yes, we do it every three months) shows that our clients continue to value Geonetric as their Web partner. Last quarter, we hit an all-time high overall score of 5.32 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest). This quarter, we maintained that impressive score.

We have a pretty lofty goal for response rate. We need 70% participation, every survey. And you know what? We’ve consistently exceed that goal for more than two years. This time around, 73% of our clients participated in the survey and 92% of those respondents gave us a 5.0 or higher overall score!

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Agile Leadership Experiment Retro, Year 1


Scrum Stand Up
It has been a little more than a year since we took the radical step to eliminate traditional management entirely. The goal was to extend the observations we had made from human psychology and the performance of Agile teams to the furthest extent we could imagine. It was truly an experiment: there were a handful of well-known examples to learn from, but the literature is pretty thin on the practical realities of self-organizing teams outside the software industry. And there were no peers that we knew of in eastern Iowa that had gone as far as we were intending to go. So, we rolled the dice and went for it using the best information we had at the time. Since we declared we’d be open about the experiment, it’s about time to revisit where we’re at, what’s working and what’s not. This post will just outline a few of the areas where we’ve seen success, and some where we’ve had difficulty. I’ll use the same format we use each week on each team in our retrospectives.
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3 Simple Rules for a Successful Project Planning Meeting

Conference phone

Wait… what was that? I’m sorry I couldn’t hear what you said. Could you say it again? Spell it. Slowly. Slower! Hold on. Was that an “s” or an “f”? Ok, let’s move on. Ugh! Did you say 15 or 50? Could you please stop typing in the background? That leaf blower sounds like a freight train!

You get the point. Phone conversations can be hard to hear, confusing, unengaging and often times lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.

Now try and have multiple people on the line – say five or even ten – including key team members, project stakeholders and executives in the room. You’ll be lucky to get Tim in the room for the first half of the hour; ecstatic if Nancy puts her tablet down long enough to take a note; Carol is so busy she’ll definitely be double working; and Charlie can’t stay in the room long enough to finish a cup of coffee. Why? Because having an important, strategic, and visionary meeting huddled over a conference phone speaker is less than effective, extremely tiring, and generally an undesirable way to spend the afternoon.

As little as 7% of communication actually pertains to the particular words that are being spoken. The way the words are said and the speaker’s body language make up the remaining 93% of the message. Essentially, when you put a barrier (or a conference phone) between two parties, you potentially reduce the likelihood of conveying the correct message to a mere 7% chance.

So what’s my point? Well, I’m getting to that.

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Taking Stock of 2013: Trends in Release Frequency, Code Quality, Uptime and Client Satisfaction


Since we’ve wrapped up 2013 and announced the last VitalSite CMS release of the year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on how far we’ve come these last twelve months. Let’s start with some metrics related to release frequency.

If you remember, last March we revealed a strategic shift in how we were developing software. Influenced by innovative practices in software development like continuous delivery, we developed our own deployment automation capabilities. This allows us to deliver more features, faster, to the clients who request them.

How did it play out? If we look back on the year, we can see that we’ve had a record number of releases: eleven since the start of 2013, and nine since we started automating our deployments.

A timeline showing the releases of VitalSite CMS in 2013
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Client Advisors Are Here to Save the Day


man and woman dressed as super heros

What is the difference between a project manager and a client advisor?

It’s an interesting question and one we at Geonetric have been answering for some time now. During our company-wide roll out of agile, we refined some of our internal roles, and with that came the transformation of our project managers.

Geonetric’s project managers have always handled more than just timelines and budgets. We are a very hands-on group – we do everything from place content to test new website functionality.

But now, we’ve taken on more of an advisory role. What does that mean for our clients?

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