PegBoard Starts a Revolution for the Web Design Industry

 Pegboard CEO Ashton Wynne-York  Interviewed by Tom Cosentino of iMedia PR

The following is the transcript of an interview I recently conducted with Ashton Wynne-York, Pegboard CEO in New York. iMedia Public Relations is proud to have become a partner of PegBoard here in the United States.  In this discussion, Ashton outlines how PegBoard will be a game changer for the web design industry. An Australian company, PegBoard has opened offices in the United States in Boston and Atlanta and is now servicing US clients. In addition to this interview with Ashton, you can also listen to the interview I did with Nathan Watt about PegBoard on my blogtalkradio show.

 Tom Cosentino:  Hello everyone.  I’m Tom Cosentino, the president of  iMedia Public Relations, in Princeton, New Jersey, a strategic media relations firm that can help clients in all facets of media relations across the board on a national and regional basis.  Today we’re going to talk with Ashton Wynne-York, the CEO of Pegboard Software.  Pegboard is a provider of website-building systems technology in the digital media industry. 

Today Ashton, I’d love to talk to you as someone who’s experienced and worked with web design firms over my career, if I was a web design owner, tell me some of the facets of the industry and the expertise at Pegboard, notably automation, your design differentiation, design excellence, and how you build community.  How will that affect my agency, if I came to Pegboard as a partner?

 Ashton Wynne-York:  Well thanks Tom, and thanks for the opportunity.  I suppose with a question like that, it really focuses it on the specialty that Pegboard delivers studios and media organizations who are doing digital online environments for their clients.  Essentially, Pegboard is very strong and a world leader in cutting down the production time in an organization’s building of their online environments.  So that’s a very broad comment.

 Well I would think that, say a small design shop, maybe twenty to thirty individuals in a design shop, how would that equate as far as reducing production time?  What would be a value that you could put on that of what Pegboard does automatically for a firm?

 Wynne-York:   I’ll give you the nuts and bolts of it.  You’ve got organizations such as you described, and there are different levels within that organization of people doing different jobs.  So as a standard, you would have a group of web designers who would know their HTML and CSS, and their job would be to obviously get that look and feel, work with the client, and at the point of getting a sign-off on that process, is they would then hand it off to the programmers within the organization, who generally are very under pressure and having to do both application work as well as the builds of websites.  So they take the design, and they implement it and put it into a build process.  So across that spectrum, those job identities are very specific.  What Pegboard allows you to do within your organization is spread the load.  So instead of the programming element of your employees having to face the brunt of the complete build on these online environments is Pegboard is an engine that is simple and it is easy enough for a web designer to not only create their design but then also build a fully dynamic, content-managed website for the end user.  So you can see automatically that just by that, you’ve got the ability to really start to structure your productivity within your business, and as importantly, is to really start to take some time off the process you would normally have within your business.  So you might find that a project under what we described previously—designers, programmers—will take eight weeks to deliver a project that you’ve timed with a client.  With Pegboard, because of the simple ability to build these high quality sites, you practically are talking about halving that time, which is huge.

 Which is huge, and it also opens the door for more clients.

 Wynne-York:   Absolutely.  Absolutely, and that’s great, because you understand from a business model perspective what that does is very exciting for any business owner who’s in this space.

 You’re also not asking that web design firm to change the tools that they’re normally using.

 Wynne-York:   That’s right.

 It’s all built in?

 Wynne-York:   It is, so we plug into things like Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Visual Studio for the programming guys.  So we’ve made it a conduit that here’s the engine of Pegboard, and whatever you’re doing through the workflow of your environment is already in place.  So the learning curve is not that right angle.

 I would imagine you have multiple modules.

 Wynne-York:   Absolutely.  It covers forty modules within Pegboard that are out of the box, and they’re highly flexible, and they work with the workflow that is needed to be delivered to the end user, so nine times out of ten the designers will be able to actually utilize those.  And if they can’t, then take them over to the programming guys, and they’re able to use SDK’s, which are, they can build their own modules and also API’s that allow them to bring in any third party software into the core of Pegboard.  Essentially your Pegboard environment becomes the central control for both the client and the business in continuing to engage your client and build them and their environment as they grow.

 What’s the learning, I was going to say the learning curve, but actually the learning process?  Is there training involved for the firm?

 Wynne-York:   We engage clients, and they decide to come on board with Pegboard, and they go through a very thorough training process.  However, at a minimum level, you’ll be able to pick up Pegboard within four to six hours and be able to automatically start to deliver those productivity increases.  Within saying that, you’re talking about having the right people in training sessions as usual, and the minimum requirement for staff to be able to use Pegboard is very much CSS and HTML at a basic level.  So if they’ve got that, they’ll enjoy that environment.  Obviously different people pick it up at different levels, but it’s very much within the learning curve that a web designer knows, where they’ll probably use something like Photoshop to do their design and then into one of the Adobe tools generally, such as Dreamweaver, and everything we’re doing is plugging into that.  It’s very simple for them.

 Tell me about the benefits of automation through Pegboard for a firm.

 Wynne-York:   Automation, well, it’s a big word, and from our perspective we’re saying that automation is going to be the way that the market moves, and if you can automate your processes within your business, and we’re talking specifically again about agencies who are doing online environments for their clients, if you can automate your process to a high level, you can automatically see what the return on investment is going to be on a per-client basis or on a per-campaign basis.  I think that that’s really important, so Pegboard delivers that like no other product in the marketplace at the moment, and that’s what excites us, quite frankly.

 Well I would think too that the savings that a firm gains from that and that whole process of automation and keeping everything in these modules consistently flowing is a great factor.

 Wynne-York:   Absolutely.  If you think about the way that a lot of these platforms engage today, you’ve got the process where you’ll customize maybe open source software or whatever it might be, even some of the enterprise level stuff, you’ll have to go in and you’ll have to customize it to a very high degree.  And when you do that, that’s great, you deliver that to the client.  Certainly your cycle to build is a lot longer, and to launch, but then what happens when that client comes back to you and says “Hey, we’re ready to do some e-marketing,” or “We want to engage in banner ads as an environment on our website”?  Nine times out of ten you find that when that happens you’ve got to engage the productivity, the guys in the programming side of things to come back, revisit that project as a holistic process.  

 Also, you have to take that site down for your client.

 Wynne-York:   Yes, in some cases you will.  I think that if you’re having to do that within your business and it’s taking, obviously the client’s paying, but you talk about being quick to market with things.  Pegboard takes the opposite stance, which is you’ve got these highly flexible modules that you’ll be able to extend very quickly by just engaging that module into that license, and instantly you’ll have that ready to deploy to the client.  A bit of design work around that, but nothing like having to customize the actual program.

 Right, and change the whole layout, the contour of the site itself.

 Wynne-York:   That’s right, which can be in a lot of cases quite complex.  We are in the business of making that process as simple as possible, because at the end of the day we believe in expanding the profitability of agencies, that’s our whole key, and giving them a tool that helps them through their business model to grow.

 I was going to say, you hit on a word.  Pegboard is really a tool.  It’s a tool for those companies to utilize, just like what they’re doing is a tool for their ultimate end user who’s the small business or the large business owner.  But you’re giving them the tools to expedite how they can provide the services and offering greater value.

 Wynne-York:   Absolutely.  Essentially it is a building tool on a software platform, and at the end of the day, it delivers a highly flexible, controllable content management system to the end user, which is also an important part of that process.  It delivers in two areas, and you generally find most products in the marketplace might deliver to one, not both, and that’s where Pegboard holds up.

 What have you found to be the greatest response that you’ve received from firms to date on when they’ve been utilizing Pegboard?

 Wynne-York:   I think for us, we get a big kick out of engaging a client, a potential Pegboard partner, as we call them, and to have them say “Yes,” to go through that process of knowledge exchange with them and take them on the journey of understanding.  But then for the team, the reward is very much when we engage in that training, and three or four days later there’s a website that might have been taken from open source or a brand new website that they’re in the process of doing, that they’ve swapped onto this platform.  And that is the reward, is to see that come to full fruition, and the promise being delivered.

 So there’s no false promise.  There’s no oversell.

 Wynne-York:   That’s absolutely correct, and we pride ourselves on that.  And that’s very different, obviously with my accent it’s Australian, very different to how we have to operate in the Australian market, which is such a small market compared to the U.S. and that’s why we’re having great success here.

 Well you have a smaller community to deal with, but that leads me into that buzzword, that great word out there, community.  Explain community to the firms, the partners of Pegboard, what you build as a community for them.

 Wynne-York:   We find that collaboration is really important, so with Pegboard, every one of our clients or our partners who come on board with Pegboard have access to what we have termed “passionate support.”  Passionate support is something that’s missing in most markets, especially software.  And passionate support is about, you know, I’ve invested in a team of people who specifically are there to support the partners, so no longer do you have this downtime.  What we understand is that if you’re working on a project and you have a question and you’re new to Pegboard or it’s a question about something you haven’t been utilizing before, you can make the call, and the call will go through an account manager who is a support person, and you have access to our guys.  We’re very dedicated to that process, because we understand that if you have to stop for a day on that project, waiting for an answer from a software company that there’s an issue.  So we have that as part of that community side of things.  We also have obviously very much the bringing together of knowledge and opportunities with all the partners, so every Pegboard partner sees themselves as very much encouraging that process of talking to other partners and excelling in their field, which is really important.  And there are a whole lot of tools around that that we offer, both ongoing training, webinars, and that sort of things, so that it solidifies that process, and certainly that’s another point of success that we have.

 If you had to say one overriding aspect of Pegboard that you would want someone to grasp the first time you sat down with them, what would it be?

 Wynne-York:   The instant profitability within their business.  The change in the business model that Pegboard provides any studio, any marketing agency, and anybody who is delivering online environments for their clients.

 Great.  Thank you, Ashton.

 Wynne-York:   Thank you, Tom.

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One Response to “PegBoard Starts a Revolution for the Web Design Industry”

  1. Nice Blog. Web Development can benefit from knowledge and skills in many areas

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