Roy Sharp - Bespoke software
Have you reviewed your systems lately?
The current end of life of a number of Microsoft programs and operating systems (April 2014) mean that there are potentially systems critical to your business which will not run on the more recent versions. Migrating to a new version can often cost the same a replacing the system, especially if the original developer is not available.
Perhaps you keep data in a spreadsheet and you really need more than one person to update it simultaneously. The only real way to do this, for more that just 2 people, is to use a database instead.
There are some really old programs still critical to businesses, often running on a single computer, which is sometimes irreplaceable or unsupported. The risk to the business can be huge.
Check out the systems below to see how we could help you.
Or if you are just not sure then why not Contact us for a free initial discussion.
Sometimes the only answer is to have software written to replace an old database or spreadsheet. There is often an alternative to replacing like-for-like which offers greater flexibility, is resilient to hardware failure, and reduces installation and compatibility issues. Sometimes like-for-like is not possible...
MacSys was a database which ran on DEC Alpha mini-computers from the 80s and 90s (originally from Solarsoft Business Systems Ltd.). A company was still running the system and needed to get their data into a new system that ran on modern hardware and removed the risk.
We built a database which allowed multi-user access through a bespoke program. All their data from MacSys was imported and it runs on any PC. The database is also safe if disaster should strike, allowing them to be running again within minutes. They have a bill of materials system holding millions of items of data with powerful search and retrieval, which will just work and they can have the program changed any time they wish.
One client knew that they needed a database to allow them to more efficiently plan and monitor the assignments for their experts. This involved the whole process: initial request; expert selection; availability report, and possible court appearance planning; invoice reminders and finally closure of the case.
It had to be simple to use, reliable, and easy to analyse to monitor the business and spot opportunities.
The system has grown with the business to support different streams of work, changes in team structure, and moved on to different hardware when the IT support changed.
The flexibility of having their own program means that they can concentrate on their business
A company specialising in high-quality interior refits decided they needed to computerise the tracking and control of their projects from order, through manufacture and installation, to final sign-off.
The program gives them quick access to the data in a way which is relevant to the department using it. For example from a Client order you can quickly see the jobs, purchase orders, deliveries, invoices linked to it. You can also quickly locate and open documents stored on your system which relate to the order. All from within the program.
Also built in is the ability to control and track the workflow associated with an order by setting up actions for people or groups which are generated when a particular activity occurs, e.g. a new order is received, a job is completed, or a purchase order is overdue.
The data can be easily accessed via ExcelTM or a reporting tool such as Crystal ReportsTM and of course the program will develop and grow with the business.
Spreadsheets are single-user so moving to a small database instead would allow the information to be updated by a number of people at the same time. You can then link a spreadsheet to the data to produce graphs or presentations and, again, several of these spreadsheets can access the database at the same time, even while it is being updated.
Not only does this improve the availability and access to your data but it also means that it can be stored in a way which reduces the risk of data loss to almost nil. It will have significantly reduced reliance on specific versions of programs and operating systems.
Spreadsheets which do not contain code but are used to analyse and display data tend to be far easier to upgrade. You then have greater choice and control of when and what you upgrade and how you role it out.