2023 – A year in review
What a year 2023 has proved to be. There were many highlights, the biggest one being Annertech’s 15th birthday.
We’ve come a long way since 2008, when Managing Director Stella Power followed her gut and started a small Drupal agency targeting non-governmental organisations.
We took a moment in September to pause and reflect on where we are in 2023 and how we got there. We went back to where it all began. And we also took stock of the digital world, how Annertech fits into it, and how we've had to adapt to a changing sector and stay abreast of fast-moving technology. And then we celebrated 15 things that Annertech achieved over the past 15 years.
From some fantastic projects – some of which won some awards – to celebrating our birthday at the annual DrupalCon conference in France, to holding our biggest-ever in-person Annertech Day(s), these are the highlights of a very, very busy year.
We celebrated another step forward for our UK branch at the beginning of 2023 – being appointed to the Crown Commercial Service frameworks. This has allowed us to bid for projects and grow our client base in the competitive UK market.
Drupal hits double digits
And the other big “happenings” in the Drupal world were the recent announcement about a predictable release cycle – perfect for better planning – and that we can look forward to Drupal 11 in 2024.
New Annertech services
As Annertech has grown, so too have our clients’ needs. We’ve added four new strings to our services bow – accessibility, security, performance and microsites.
Accessibility was the buzzword for 2023. With the increase in awareness and legislation around the internet being accessible to all people, regardless of any disabilities they may have, nobody wants a website that isn’t accessible.
Accessibility is especially important for public sector websites in the European Union, who are mandated to ensure their websites and mobile applications are accessible to everybody, including people with disabilities. But the laws governing accessibility don’t just apply to the public sector. The European Accessibility Act (Directive 2019/882) is an EU directive to ensure that key digital technology, including websites, must be accessible. The Act is far-reaching, and drives home that the EU is serious about this – across the board.
Annertech’s Accessibility Team tackles issues on projects we have, take accessibility requests from clients, does audits on clients’ sites and reports back on how the sites are doing in terms of accessibility.
Our vulnerability management service, which launched in February, takes away the uncertainty and unknowns. Through comprehensive, understandable reporting you can see exactly how secure and robust your website is.
This allows vulnerabilities to be fixed before they become issues.
Special offer for LocalGov Drupal subscribers
Annertech is currently offering LocalGov Drupal subscribers a 40% discount on our comprehensive vulnerabilty management service.
We launched a performance service at the beginning of the year. This ensures that our clients' websites run efficiently and are fast.
Frustrated people don't hang around for a slow website to finish loading. They will look for what they need somewhere else. Sometimes it's an easy fix. Sometimes boosting a site's performance is a little more complicated. You won't know until you take a look.
Annertech's service offering of the LGD Microsites Platform makes creating and maintaining multiple websites easier than ever. This easy-to-use platform allows organisations to operate their entire fleet of microsites from one place, giving them oversight and control of their digital estate.
Here is some more information around microsites – frequently asked questions, the pros and cons of building a microsite for your campaign, and some extra information about what the fantastic new LGD Microsites Platform can do for you:
Earlier this year Annertech officially became a Platform.sh Platinum Partner!! Platform.sh is one of the platforms we use to build, deploy, and host some of our websites. This platinum partnership allows us access to the "performance team" to ensure that we in turn give our clients the best services possible,
Our Director of Development Mark Conroy and Brendan Vaughan (from the University of Limerick and a former Annertechie) were featured on Beyond the Build, a video series by the Drupal Association.
- And we also had articles published in the Business Post and Eolas magazine.
We’re helping more councils move their websites on to LocalGov Drupal – or LGD, as it’s become known – a groundbreaking CMS for councils.
LocalGov Drupal runs on the Drupal platform, offering an out-the-box website solution for local government websites (although anyone can use it). It was developed by councils whose goal was to reduce costs by pooling their resources, sharing the code and creating the features they need. Currently, 42 councils are running their websites on LGD.
Annertech’s Director of Development Mark Conroy is also the lead developer on the LGD Microsites Project and was recently elected to the board of the Open Digital Collective, the co-op behind LocalGov Drupal.
This year DrupalCon Europe 2023 was held in Lille, France, and Annertech was a platinum sponsor once again.
The highlight of the week we spent in Lille was that 23 of us were all in one room for our annual Annertech Day – or in this case Annertech Days, because it was held over two days, giving us a real chance to brainstorm, chat and catch up. It was brilliant to see everyone face to face. For some of us it was our first Annertech Day, and for others it was the first time we actually met in person.
And we made the most of it – cramming in lots of toasting, eating, bowling, World Cup rugby, and we also managed to see a bit of beautiful Lille!
Other than seeing people face to face again, there were so many great things that happened at DrupalCon Lille. Some of the more than 1,300 attendees travelled long distances to get there – we met people from all over the world – and the organisation was top-notch, bringing attendees diverse and interesting keynotes, presentations and activities.
Plus two Annertechies took to the podium: Director of Technology Alan Burke – who spoke on a way to keep both new and legacy systems running simultaneously, rather than turning off the old platform and turning on the new one when switching from an old website to a new one – and Director of Development Mark Conroy, who spoke about the new Microsites Platform.
But Annertech Days and DrupalCons aren’t the only times we get together. Whenever possible, we like to organise co-working days. We had one in Loughrea, in Ireland’s County Galway, in November, and another when our digital nomad and backend developer Adrien Sirjacques visited Croatia and spent a few days working with frontend developer Juanluis Lozano.
Adrien Sirjacques and Juanluis Lozano working outside a café in Rijeka, Croatia.
Plus we have lots of fun online, playing games such as Dingbats (where we are given a set of pictures that represent phrases or words), and Truth or Lie – where a colleague gives a set of statements about themselves and the rest try to guess which ones are true. We’ve discovered some really interesting facts about each other.
Annertech won a few awards this year, and it’s lovely to see our work being acknowledged in other sectors too.
In October, we won a Digital Media Award for our work on the National Library of Ireland website, not to mention also being shortlisted for Large Agency of the Year award.
Image: Managing Director Stella Power at this year’s Digital Media Awards with the Best Website award.
In March, we were shortlisted at the Spiders for Large Agency of the Year and for best non-profit website for our work on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website. And the Inland Fisheries Ireland website also received the runner-up slot for the best in non-profit website at the National Digital Awards.
And we just heard that we’ve been shortlisted for the next installment of the National Digital Awards for the Qualifax website as well as the National Library of Ireland website. The event takes place in March next year, so we’ll have to wait a while to find out who won those categories.
Plus our brilliant Managing Director Stella Power continues to shine. She was selected for EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women EMEIA Class of 2023. This prestigious programme empowers high-potential women entrepreneurs to scale and grow their businesses globally.
And she was also featured in a video series honouring agency leaders called ‘Common Ground: Forging your own path’.
Projects launched in 2023
It’s been a really busy year as far as projects go. These include the first LocalGov Drupal site in Ireland (Tipperary County Council), the award-winning National Library of Ireland website, plus the award-shortlisted Qualifax website all going live.
The redesigned Activelink website went live on 22 February.
In March, the first site on the new Paragon distro was launched, with Paragon World replacing what was Paragon CC.
The National Library of Ireland website went live in March. It’s a great place to wander around online, and the online tours are great too. So if you’re not in Dublin you can still experience this wonderful resource.
May was another busy month for the projects team:
Promiko Tirlán Ingredients launched on 8 May, together with a Japanese language version of the project.
The Glanbia Nutritionals rebrand was deployed on 18 May.
The new Global Engagement bespoke project for Griffith went live, and it looks absolutely stunning.
The Housing Agency Defect Remediation content went live on the 25th.
The Craughwell Furniture redesign went live on the 26th.
The new Surrey Heath Borough Council LGD site was launched on 6 June.
Phew! What a year! We’d like to thank you all for joining us on this journey. We couldn’t have achieved everything that we did without our partners, clients and colleagues.
Next year will see a continued focus on growing the UK branch, and prioritising the accessibility and security services.
A major thank you to the Annertech team for strapping themselves to this rollercoaster with us. Without you we wouldn't have achieved any of it.
Wishing you a fantastic 2024!
As we bid farewell to 2023 we’d like to wish our clients, colleagues and partners everything of the best for 2024. May it be a year filled with far more positives than negatives.
Alison Visser Head of Content
After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.