1990s – the publishing revolution
Founded in 1989 by Adrian Rivers and Daniel Rivers-Moore, RivCom’s initial focus was the production of documentation, such as procedure guides, process models and training materials for corporate customers. We gained an excellent reputation as writers, editors, designers and typesetters and, in particular, for being able to manage large, inter-related document sets requiring continual review and update, and to deliver these in a highly readable form.
During the 1990s RivCom was at the forefront of the revolutions in technology that were transforming information management and communications within business world. From being early adoptors of digital typesetting and database publishing, we pioneered new methods for publishing documents in multiple electronic media. Throughout, we adopted a structured approach to information management that made full use of open standards for information management, specifically the early use of XML, a standard which now underpins the current Internet-based computing paradigm – indeed our team were active members of the World Wide Web Consortium and contributed to the development of many core XML standards.
Late 1990s – business process analysis and design
Our information development and management services grew to include the data that was generated by business process improvement projects – for example, business process models, activity descriptions, workflow definitions and implementation support materials. Over the same period, existing customers such as Shell and Motorola requested that we extend our offerings to support all aspects of a process improvement project – including consulting services, training, analysis and design – in addition to the communication of those processes and related information.
Early 2000s – XML for news and media organisations
In the early 2000s RivCom further extended its focus to incorporate the needs of news and media organisations seeking to gain business advantage from the use of XML and related Internet technologies. These technologies present the sector with substantial threats as well as opportunities, as the industry is undergoing a period of radical change. RivCom was commissioned to lead the technical work in the development of two important industry standards – NewsML and AdsML – which support the processes involved in the publication of news and advertising content. In addition we developed consultancy and training offerings which enable news organisations to develop the strategies and skills necessary to benefit from the effective adoption of XML and related technologies.
RivCom grew to 15 people and had long-term relationships with a number blue-chip customers, including Castrol, Motorola, LogicaCMG, Associated Newspapers, the International Press Telecommunications Council and Shell International Petroleum.
Late 2000s – software products for the healthcare sector
One of RivCom’s customers, CSW Ltd, developed software, focussing on open information standards across healthcare, e-government, pharmaceuticals, publishing, news and media. The government’s multi-billion national programme for IT in the NHS presented CSW with opportunities for growth. RivCom’s skills matched CSW’s needs; both to in the development of XML-based software products and to help manage the growth of the company during a period of rapid change. RivCom became a wholely owned subsidiary of CSW in December 2004, and its staff were deployed in a number of key roles across the company, with Adrian Rivers becoming Project Director, responsible for managing the delivery of both customer-facing and internal development projects.
CSW won the British Computer Society “SME Organisation of the Year” award in 2007, and yet it was unable to withstand the pressures of operating within the volatile National Programme for IT and the company went into Administration in October 2008, with RivCom effectively demerging to form RivCom Services Ltd before that date.
2009 to present – increasing operational effectiveness in small and medium sized organisations
RivCom continues to combine its abilities in business process analysis & design with the ability to harness new and emerging technologies – focussing now on supporting SMEs seeking growth and agility. And the absolute comitment to delivering the highest levels of customer service remains an underlying value.
A key proposition is that the use of Internet technologies combined with Free and Open Source software tools is enabling SMEs to do things that were previously the preserve of the large corporates that RivCom served for so many years. Our goal is to provide the additional expertise and resources that can enable SMEs to achieve the growth and agility that they desire in a sustainable and effective manner.
Underlying Critical Success Factors
The combination of three key attributes have underpinned RivCom’s activities throughout its history:
- the ability to understand and articulate our customer’s business processes
- the ability to harness new and emerging technologies in order to deliver exceptional value
- an absolute comitment to delivering the highest levels of customer service.