1979 was an exciting time to start a fledgling company. As we have today, financial devastation was everywhere. Turbulence like never before was altering the economic landscape. However, such change as was occurring always provides opportunity and computers were just such an example.
The traditional stranglehold of Burroughs, IBM and DEC was being challenged from two directions, new manufacturers and new types of equipment.
Just around the corner were Microcomputers with standard software. Apple Commodore and Superbrain were increasing production. Our opportunity was to challenge mainframe manufacturers provisioning pricey terminals. Superbrain was ideal, because we could source TD830 chips, emulate VAX and sit them in IBM mainframes. Users were waiting protracted periods for custom built software on mainframes, we could deliver standard software overnight. Lotus 123 was a firm favourite. Our machines' 8k memory, 90k drives could not last.
When the majors decide, it becomes huge rapidly. IBM called the PC. An explosion in technology occurred and we had to follow. Compaq and IBM became our lead solution offerings. Corporates were supplied with their independent requirements and we custom built their PCs for them. Our long term objectives had been set for us. Whilst our turnover escalated margins did not, so we chose to be selective.
Basic did not sell printers, because we could not provide proper support on them. Even in 1984, support was becoming key. Key components of Compaq laptops, PC Desktops and by the late eighties, file servers were growing in importance. We built significant skills in Novell networks and provided industry leading high quality support, not just for corporates but for any business who recognised the importance of computer systems.
Simultaneously, we also implemented Lotus notes in-house. Paperwork was growing alarmingly, more people had been taken on and our efficiency was suffering. Customers were demanding more and we had to improve. Our in-house system became a key, to empower everyone.
By 1992 pay-backs were huge.
In Technology little lasts more than five years and we learnt to evolve with change. Our stand alone networks grew and our corporate customers demanded more than ever. Huge files of information and processing were creating different needs. The costs were alarming for them.
Microcomputers were the answer and with our skills, we were prepared for this evolution. Simple networks needed little effort to build, with a few terminals and small amounts of data, easy. But larger files, more users, complex data flows and a widening range of requirements called for advice. We could not afford to get caught with wrong specifications, to get it right we needed better people. We retrained staff extensively and changed our infrastructure to meet the new demands. Background work I know, but if you want to provide high quality support the whole team has to be up for it.
Servicing became a key objective. It needed to be good and fast, these were networks providing a key service for our clients. Downtime became an increasing concern. Resilience evolved to strategic and we foresaw it well. Mirror systems evolved as server prices tumbled and reliability improved. Service support by an engineer driving to client was a costly offering, further change. System support was called for, data resilience paramount. At this time our clients needed to reduce costs, so we provided highly trained staff to complement their specific needs.
Earlier, I mentioned Lotus 123. We first started with Lotus in 1981, major evolutions there also. IBM went after Lotus for strategic reasons, as I said we did. In fact this boosted our green credentials since the early 90's. Using IBM Lotus Notes and Domino we have produced key systems for our clients that have produced major returns for them also. Our systems are based on good technical specification, application and support.
I have been at the helm for a fantastic thirty-five year ride. It has never been possible to get bored, through highs and lows, there has always been something new just round the corner. My views have always been "integrity, moral high ground and utmost customer respect" and we intend to continue these values for many years to come.