A few weeks ago, I wrote about how in order to build something amazing—you must break a few walls along the way.  For me, there’s no point building anything unless you’re building it to last—for a very long time. Software tools come and go, but to change the way people work, you need to have a longer-term vision. I didn’t have to look very far for my inspiration. It came from my grandfather, an entrepreneur and engineer who built the world’s largest man-made moveable object – the Ninian Central (oil) Platform. If you’re ever cruising the North Sea, it’s easy to spot.

Why do I believe Huddle is like Ninian? Well, firstly, before we came up with the name Huddle, we called the company Ninian Solutions to remind us about being in it for a long-haul. Secondly, everyone at Huddle genuinely believes that we’re changing the way people work for the better. We’re making enterprise software that is enjoyable to use, helping people get out of the office faster, and making sure that their employers reap all the extra productivity benefits. But above all, it’s a combination of several, quite unique factors that make Huddle. Its culture, people, and the product that make up a very different type of enterprise software company.

Building for the present and the future: making the complex simple

We constantly think about and invest in ideas for future challenges in the enterprise, and not just today’s problems. We don’t have a crystal ball, but the ever increasing number of things that you’re required to do at work is putting a lot of strain on you already. We’re here to make sure you don’t break.

We believe software should be incredibly simple, with all the complexity hidden away. We believe that by solving some really big, but relatively obvious problems, we can make the world of work a better place. Let’s just fix the basics first, finding, accessing, sharing, and working on files with other people—then everything else will follow.

So imagine, you never have to search for that file again. Knowing at all times who everyone is, what they’re working on, and how they can help you. Imagine, coming to work and knowing exactly what tasks need to be done before the end of the day and what order they need to be completed in, so you can leave on time. Imagine if you could get on a plane to go to an important meeting, knowing that Huddle had already figured out what files you will need, which ones you might want to read first, and then downloaded them to your iPad automatically. This is what we call Huddle’s intelligent recommendations engine and you can see how its initial application already works in practice in our product. The future is here and this is just the beginning.

Security of your data above all

Security will become more important, not less, and it’s a complex issue. We’re expecting that enterprise IT departments will become more and more comfortable with the concept of storing content in the cloud. In the same way, we’ve all become comfortable sharing our credit card details over the Internet. So what happens when the cloud becomes commonplace and enterprise information is stored in the cloud? One thing is certain: we’ll suddenly all become more concerned with the security and management of the specific clouds in which we are storing all of this information. Things that will become increasingly important will be the country the ‘clouds’ are hosted in, their data privacy laws, the standards they adhere to, and the administration and control they give us. We want to be ahead of ‘are my terabytes of financial data actually safe?’ curve. So we built the most secure platform for enterprise content collaboration in the cloud. Don’t take our word for it. Just ask any of our government customers.

Sounds corny, I know, but our customers’ success is our success

There’s no point in pretending that we set out to be focused on our customer success when we started out back in 2006—we wanted to build an amazing product. But we’ve learnt that only through meaningful engagement, discussions and feedback, and supporting our customers every step of the way, can we do Huddle justice. I don’t want you to suddenly think that Huddle is a complicated tool that requires many man-hours of implementation, training, or hand holding, etc. On the contrary – it’s as easy to use as Facebook and can be deployed in minutes. Need to share a file with a colleague who isn’t on your company network? Check. Need a fast approval and your boss is on his mobile? Check. Pulling together a team for a project that needs to be delivered yesterday? Check. Simple. Yet helping people to change the way they work for the better isn’t simple. People are reluctant to change, uncomfortable with it. That’s why all of our customers get a Customer Success Manager to ease them into it. And that’s also why we’re the only company in our space (in fact, the only SaaS vendor I know of period) who has a 100% money-back adoption guarantee. If you deploy Huddle and don’t get 100% adoption amongst your users in the first 90 days, we will give your money back. That’s it.

Giving back not just taking

We believe in doing things differently. We launched the Huddle Foundation four years ago and it has gone on to give more than $10 million in free Huddle software and support to charities and non-profits. By doing this, we (and all of our customers) help one new non-profit on average every working day of the year. Our employees get time off each year to help heir favourite causes and our amazing developers get to spend ‘Tuesday Time’ to work on any project they want.  And some of the biggest global aid, medical, and support organizations use Huddle to make a meaningful difference to millions of people across the world, every day: the European Bank for Reconstruction, UNICEF, Fair Trade Federation, Barndardos, and Great Ormond Street Hospitals to name just a few. We do this because we honestly want to change the way the world works.

Huddle’s future

We already have a large number of enterprise and government customers, from Unilever to SEGA, from P&G to Panasonic, from the US Department of Defense and NASA. But what’s even more important, there are ever increasing numbers of people using Huddle every day across these organizations, changing the way they work for the better.

My grandfather’s lifetime achievement—the Ninian Central Platform—was originally built in Loch Kishorn, Scotland in 1978. It’s changed hands a couple of times, from Chevron to Canadian Natural Resources, which runs it today. Yet it remains, built to last. I can only hope that Huddle will share its fate.


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