2020, What a Year!

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By Kat Liendgens — Jan 6, 2021 11:00 AM


2020 certainly demanded a lot from us, including agility, patience, discipline, creativity, resilience, and compassion. While we couldn’t predict the full impact that the pandemic would have on our customers, our team, and our community, we were keenly aware that it would be a challenging year. Now that the year has come to an end, let’s take a few minutes to reflect and review some of the most remarkable accomplishments, initiatives, and happenings.

New Website

We started the year with the rollout of our new Hannon Hill website. You know the old saying “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot”? We realized that while our customers always come first, it was time for a website upgrade. After extensive requirements gathering and a thorough content audit, we implemented the new templates and moved both existing and new content to the new page types. Here’s a recap of the entire process. It should also be noted that we revamped our Knowledge Base and added a lot of fresh content, including new how-to guides. What do you think? We’d love your feedback.


Product Releases

We hope you’ve enjoyed all of the new releases this year, including Cascade 8.15, 8.16, and 8.17 for our on prem users, and a continuous stream of new features and enhancements for our Cascade Cloud customers, including more granular control of our Siteimprove Connector, automatic unpublishing of assets on delete/rename/move, Dashboard Announcements and improvements to Broadcast Messages, and additions to our Velocity tools and Web services API. Moreover, we rolled out lots of performance improvements to help make existing large, complex implementations easier. Of course, we also made sure that the product adhered to the latest accessibility standards. And let’s not forget about Clive, our digital personalization platform, whose user base grew substantially in 2020. We added more implicit personalization rules and enhanced email and message personalization. One of our favorite new features is Segments, which allow you to assign visitors to categories and personas based on any combination of rules in order to deliver smart, targeted content. Check out one of our blog posts to learn more.

Keep Learning

We were deeply saddened that we had to cancel our annual user conference for the first time in 14 years. The conference is always the highlight of our year, and we certainly hope to see you all again in person soon. In the meantime, we wanted to keep you informed through other means.

We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on our quarterly “What’s new in Cascade CMS and Clive?” webinars. These sessions are a great way to see new features in action and to get a sneak peek of what’s on the horizon for both Cascade CMS and Clive. In 2020, we also delivered several free training webinars for both developers and end users. In fact, we have another free end user training session coming up in January! But it’s not all about our products. We hosted several webinars on marketing strategies for higher education. A big thank you goes out to Sandra Fancher of Stamats and Jason Smith of OHO, for sharing their expertise on personalization.

Prioritizing the web presence

Throughout the year, we’ve been talking to our customers about how the pandemic has affected their priorities and their digital strategy. One of the common themes we encountered was that COVID-19 revealed the importance of the website. Colleges and universities had to get information out expeditiously. Most organizations created COVID-19 sections on their site or even dedicated microsites. We were also excited to hear that our customers are using Clive forms in order to solicit COVID-19 related questions from their website visitors. Many web managers shared with us that the pandemic truly reinforced an appreciation for the website and the tools to manage it. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we saw a significant increase in the number of customers who upgraded their CMS to Cascade Cloud in order to be able to focus on more strategic projects instead of CMS maintenance.

In addition, many decision makers opted to upgrade their Clive accounts, as they needed to focus on both attracting a broad spectrum of new students and retaining existing ones, necessitating the ability to deliver targeted, personalized content on their website. Kudos to all the web teams who did such an outstanding job keeping their communities informed and educated. Many of you had to shift gears on short notice, and we admire your dedication and genuine care for your students, staff, and community.

Continued Collaboration and Connections

Hannon Hill was quick to act when COVID-19 hit. We created a plan and started working from home in early March. In order to ensure continued collaboration and communication, we started adding weekly virtual happy hours to our regular meetings. What you may not know about the Hannon Hill team is that we have some amazing cooks among us, which is why we were quite disappointed when our tradition of a Thanksgiving potluck was not possible. However, thanks to our amazing HR team, we had two fantastic holiday celebrations: For Thanksgiving, we got together for a virtual company-sponsored lunch and completed many fun thankfulness challenges. Last week, we had a virtual cooking class, which we absolutely loved. The results were quite impressive.


We also continued our Donut Buddy meetings: Every month, our Slack app pairs up team members, who then meet via Zoom to check in with each other. As we do every year, we held a ShipIt Day, during which each person completed a project in 24 hours. The idea is to have uninterrupted focus on a single task. This year’s challenge resulted in a wide array of projects, including new demo sites, a security group visualizer for our AWS set up, a “What’s New in Clive” resource, and the improvements to Broadcast messages that we shipped with Cascade CMS later in the year!


By the Numbers

To wrap it up, here are some interesting numbers for 2020:

  • Our Professional Services Team completed over 150 projects for our customers, ranging from QuickStarts to highly complex web development implementations and integrations with other parties, and even website redesigns.
  • Our Support Team responded to over 3,200 tickets, with a customer satisfaction score of 99.6% and a median first response time of 18 minutes.
  • Our customer renewal rate was over 96%, as it has been over the past decade.
  • Our Customer Success Team had over 300 check-in calls and feedback sessions with our customers.
We know that 2020 was hard, and hope that you know that we’ve got your back, as we will continue to reach out to all of our customers to determine how we can help. We are supremely grateful for you and for each other, and we are confident that we will all come out of this stronger and more resilient than before.

Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the healthcare professionals and frontline workers. We are in awe of you.