“It is ironic that eg became a software business as we spent our early years doing our best to improve business performance without involving any technology.
“This was a necessity as most IT departments at that time were involved in major platform refresh projects, preparing for Y2K or chasing after the holy grail of “straight through processing'”or “business process management”.
“Any operational improvements that might involve IT were unable to be progressed as they were already “busy enough”.
“However, working alongside them gave us the opportunity to witness these projects first hand and understand some of the issues when implementing new technology:
- “systems” that are really just tool kits needing extensive development to create what the company needs – often pioneering developments with all the associated risks
- projects and budgets ever extending and increasing
- developments not meeting requirements, if they were properly specified in the first place
- insufficient, and sometimes no staff training – somehow this had a tendency to fall off the project plan
“….all resulting in high stress for users and a big discrepancy with the original cost benefit analysis – very often a leap of faith that could not be proven in the end.
“So when we decided to build our first software product to support the common problems experienced by our customer’s it was with a determination to do things differently in the IT world and not add to the burden of our users.
“In workshops with our early customers we explored the exact moments in their lives when “a product” would be of most benefit and how we could completely satisfy their objectives. It highlighted that software is not just about the technology but requires a “complete solution” to be successful. Our customers wanted:
- a software product with all of the required functionality “out of the box”
- system interfaces for integration with existing systems
- a tried, tested and proven implementation methodology with a tool-kit to implement the software
- training and support to deliver the expected benefits from their investment
- skills transfer to ensure sustainability and reduce their costs of ongoing support, and since 2012
- software as as service to eliminate the dependency on internal IT teams almost entirely.
“Those early workshops defined our business model and approach to product development ever since; what we have termed our Customer Centric Development process.
“We have benefited from continuous input and feedback from people who live and work with our solutions every minute of every day. They “own” our solution and they don’t mind telling us when we get it wrong, but they also care passionately that it “does what it says on the tin” and that it really does address their requirements.
“At times we have sacrificed growth and profitability in order to maintain customer satisfaction and deliver on our promises – often to the chagrin of our investors and the analyst community.
“But it is thanks to our users that we have been able to build and maintain the most “complete, purpose built solution” and enjoy long lasting relationships with visionary customers whose requirements have allowed us to explore exciting and innovative approaches that have delivered value for us all.”