The last page of the 2009 calendar has been flipped, the numbers are in and it’s time to pause and reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to a positive 2010! While 2009 certainly had its challenges, it was a productive and successful year for Safe Systems in many areas.
From a financial standpoint, Safe Systems had another year of significant growth in 2009. In a year and economic climate where sustaining would have been considered good by many, we are very pleased to have had a year with positive financial progression on both revenue and operating margin. Our Support Services revenue was also up significantly over 2008, most notably due to the growing interest in our new Hosted Services and the continued solid delivery of our NetComply Managed Support Services, where we have seen an upward trend of multi-year agreements and service level upgrades. But more than that, we believe the key indicator of how we are performing as a company is ultimately based on our much valued clients and their opinions of our support team and services. We continue to see a high client retention rate and I am proud to see frequent emails praising our teams’ quick responsiveness, diligence and expertise. In 2010 our plan is to leverage this positive financial position by adding new personnel to our Support and Hosted Services departments to ensure that we always strive to over-deliver when it comes to our clients’ day-to-day experience with all of our support services.
One of the primary values of our positive financial growth is the advantage that it gives us in creating competitive differentiators for our clients. An example of this in 2009 was the successful completion of our SAS 70 Type 1 exam and certifications for our NetComply service offering. This was performed by the firm Porter Keadle Moore (PKM), banking industry specialists in accounting and auditing. The goal of this industry standard exam is to provide third-party validation that Safe Systems’ NetComply services are adequately designed and properly controlled, in order to sufficiently limit the business risks to our clients. Process audits are a common event for our industry and we feel that providing validation of this type is a fundamental part of our mission and values as an organization. We will begin our SAS 70 Type 2 audit in the second half of 2010.
We realize that the scope and number of our service offerings have increased over the past year and therefore so must our internal network infrastructure and security. In order to provide a network redundancy configuration which minimizes risks imposed by geographically concentrated disaster or outage scenarios, we have recently contracted with a secondary data center in Utah where we will replicate our internal and client production network infrastructure. We feel as though you have entrusted a critical part of your business with us and this investment provides an added differentiator to ensure that you will have the utmost confidence in our ability to keep your institution connected and highly available.
Safe Systems was recognized in several ways in 2009. We recently received notification that we have been recognized for the second consecutive year by managed services media group MSPMentor as one of the Top 100 Managed Service Providers worldwide for our NetComply service. Considering the fact that most support vendors of all sizes have moved to the managed services model over the past two years, we consider this to be a significant honor. Also, in November we received the award “Overall Best in Class” by MSP Partners and CompTIA, signifying the highest current performance level in an industry for outstanding performance in all aspects of running its managed services business. Our team has done a great job in building industry leading managed service solutions that directly address the specific regulatory and technical needs of the community financial industry. Lastly, in 2009 we were selected as one of the Top Ten Best Places to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine. It was especially great to see several other financial industry related companies on that list this year.
Finally, we are very excited about our upcoming NetComply Users Conference, March 22 – 24 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Our intention in organizing this conference is to give our users a valuable yet cost effective experience and opportunity to interact with your banking peers, meet several members of our team and gain valuable knowledge on current technology and banking trends. We want this to become something that you look forward to adding to your calendar every year.
As we reflect back on a year that may go down in history as one of the most difficult business climates for all industries, we are truly blessed for our most valuable asset – our loyal client base. Without your much-valued feedback, your testimonials, and yes, your business, you wouldn’t have this “Letter from the President” to read. So as we move into our 17th year as your trusted advisor, I would personally like to thank you for your continued support and I appreciate you being the most crucial part of our success.