In the 36 years since Basic was founded, information technology has fundamentally transformed the way people live. There are now over 1 billion computers in use across the world, nearly 4 billion people carry a mobile phone with them at all times and over 60 billion emails are sent every day. The growth of the internet and the rise of home computing and social media have altered the way we receive and communicate information and that’s having a huge effect on the world around us, whether it’s helping to facilitate petitions, as in the case of Amazon's whale meat ban, or shaping popular culture (here’s looking at you, Keyboard Cat).
One of the ways to survive in an increasingly competitive business environment is being open to whatever’s around the corner. At Basic, we’ve always recognised the need to evolve in tandem with technology and that willingness to adapt is part of the reason we’ve managed to stay in business for so long. Whether it was BBC Micros (micro computers developed by the Acorn company and operated by the BBC) in the early 1980s or -more recently- Smartphones and tablet technology, we’ve always accepted the next big thing and sought to understand its pros and cons.
A lot of the time, being able to adapt to change is simply about creating the right culture –of open-mindedness, passion and positivity- and employing the right people to sustain that culture. All of our staff enjoy what they do, they're keen to learn and they want to try new things. We try to encourage that enthusiasm and have even set up test areas on site where our technicians can go to play around with the latest software. It’s the little touches like these which we believe have helped us to keep up with the pace of change.
Often, being open-minded can mean accepting the limitations of a technology you once previously had high hopes for. When Banyan VINES (a computer network operating system) was introduced in the mid-1980s, we were initially excited about its built-in, point-to-point and group chat capabilities, as well as the low bandwidth requirements inherent in the efficient StreetTalk model (a directory services component). But ultimately, due to Banyan’s failure to take advantage of new hardware and the development by Microsoft of Windows NT, the VINES system fell by the way-side and we had to accept that and move with the times.
But it’s not just about following the trends; it’s also about staying ahead of the curve. As far as possible, we try to keep up with all the latest IT, marketing and analytics blogs (such as Werner Vogels’ All Things Distributed), we attend conferences and we nurture relationships with our partners (like IBM, Microsoft and Veeam). As a result, we often enjoy the privilege of being able to access beta software up to a year before it goes on sale. We’re also a member of CompTIA (a non-profit trade association), which provides us with a wealth of resources, including research studies and events.
Perhaps most importantly however, one of the simplest explanations for our longevity is that we’ve always tried to remain human. It’s often lost on IT professionals but at Basic, we understand that the average person’s knowledge of IT is limited –if sometimes non-existent- so we always try to speak to our clients in plain English, with as little technical jargon as possible. Simplicity is, after all, the key to communicating in the digital age. Just ask Keyboard Cat.