As we start the new year, I think we can all agree that 2020 was a long year and one that many of us would like to forget. Dealing with the loss of loved ones, missed birthdays and vacations, forced struggle through lockdowns, working from home, and the impact on our businesses and personal lives has been immense. With vaccines being distributed now, I’m sure that many of us see 2021 as a year for moving forward.
For us here at Helm, 2020 was a hard year but one that inspired some incredible changes, as I know it did for many organizations. Even as we continued to grow—we now support 235 customers and more than 4500 vessels on Helm CONNECT worldwide—facing the daunting challenges of a global pandemic forced us to reorganize and rethink our approaches. While COVID-19 slowed the economy, we decided to slow down our development and focus on strengthening our organization and improving our operations. The result was a leaner, improved version of ourselves: Helm 2.0.
Over the course of the year, we made significant changes to our organization: streamlining our operations, reorganizing our development teams, and refocusing our efforts to ensure our customers were supported through the downturn. While those efforts unfortunately delayed some new functionality, like our much-anticipated Logbook module, they also allowed us to make much needed and requested improvements to Helm CONNECT in terms of usability, quality, speed, and performance. The first fruits of that effort were visible in the 1.20 release we completed at the end of 2020, which greatly increased performance for the vast majority of our customers. This was just the first of many such improvements to come.
Our efforts to reorganize through the pandemic also allowed us to expand and grow our teams; adding new talent and development approaches, and building a strong foundation for the huge improvements we’re bringing to Helm CONNECT and all our customers in 2021.
For Helm, and I hope for all of us who have struggled personally and professionally but made it through 2020 intact, 2021 will be a year of reinvention. 2021 is the year we will begin unveiling the first major revisions and improvements to the Helm CONNECT platform since our launch. 2021 is the year of Helm 2.0.
As our customers, you’ll see this in the full release of Work Rest, an exciting new module focused heavily on usability for shore and crew, and the first of the four modules coming in Helm CONNECT Personnel 2.0. You’ll see it in the massive usability improvements we’re bringing to Helm CONNECT Compliance and our Inventory module, as well as in other areas of our product. You’ll see it in the release of Logbook, which will integrate maintenance, compliance, and personnel into operations, greatly expanding the way Helm CONNECT is used onboard and paving the way for our barge maintenance and barge dispatch modules down the road. You’ll see it in our new development approach, which prioritizes customer feedback and puts our Account Managers directly in charge of improvements suggested by our customers. You’ll also see it in our first mobile version of Helm CONNECT that we’ll be releasing this year, much to the joy of many of our users around the world. Finally, you’ll see these changes—along with many others—in improved reliability, speed, and performance in Helm CONNECT as we make significant upgrades to our back-end database architecture, hosting, and quality-assurance approach.
These are just a sample of the tremendous improvements we’ll be bringing to Helm CONNECT this year. I look forward to working alongside all of you to make sure the features we build provide value to each of your organizations. 2020 may have been a year to forget, but I hope we can make 2021 a year to remember; a year when we make Helm 2.0 a reality.
All the best,