(and Custom Systems)
We have been designing software for asset tracking, inventory control
and wireless warehouse management systems for many years. We have developed
numerous custom systems that have worked in a variety of different applications.
Although this section talks about “custom software”, we
should perhaps explain exactly what we mean by the term.
In an ideal world, we would be able to produce one standard application
that would satisfy the needs of all clients. But in the real world that
we live in today, that is not possible. For well-established applications,
such as word processors, the designs from the various manufacturers
tend to converge. But our applications are on the leading edge, some
say the “bleeding edge”. For many, our application is the
first step away from the traditional pencil and clipboard. Apart from
the requirement that the replacement system does everything that the
old (paper and pencil) system did, there is also the issue of acceptance
by the user community. So there a very strong forces which lead our
clients to look for a solution which closely matches their existing
custom and practices, their standard operating procedures. Which necessarily
means a high degree of customisation.
But we know that there is huge risk with custom applications. There
is a long lead time. They frequently run late. The final product is
often different from the expectations of the client. And there is inevitably
a lengthy shakeout process where the various bugs are identified and
So we have a conflict. Our clients seek the “fitness for purpose”
of a customized system combined with the fast delivery, low cost and
reliability of an established system.
We have resolved this dilemma by practicing a “third way”.
With 900 clients behind us we have developed an extremely robust and
powerful system, the "chassis and engine", if you like, that provide
functionality more than enough for the vast majority of our clients'
We have developed a flexible "skin" to cover this, a user interface
which we can readily adapt to our clients exact needs. As an example,
one client with a very large asset management problem, wanted to capture
and verify very basic information. There was six pieces of information
which were important to them for each asset. They wanted assurance that
we could provide them with the system that would effectively handle
the six data items. When we delivered our standard system, we pointed
out the six fields that would handle the information required. But the
client found the screen “too fussy” for their taste. They
were planning to recruit a number of individuals to complete the audit,
and the was a concerned that with little training and less supervision
the extra fields would lead to confusion and scope for error. Once we
understood the nature of our clients' concerns it was a very simple
(and quick) process for us to modify that user interface, and provide
a very clean screen exactly to their requirements.
The key issue here is that the underlying system was totally unchanged.
The modifications, although they appeared major and significant to the
client, where in fact technically trivial. And because the underlying
technology was unchanged we were able to ensure that the system remained
robust and reliable.
So to bring this conversation back to the starting point, yes we do
provide custom software, but custom software that is tailored to your
exact needs, that can be delivered quickly, and which is materially
free of bugs. And we can give you this custom solution at the price
of standard software.
So if you have a requirement for a system built around barcode or RFID
technology and handheld computing, we can give you the best of both
worlds. The specialization of a custom system, the price, delivery and
reliability of a standard system.
For further information contact Keith Jackson or Doreen Wallace, or send
an e-mail to info@SageData.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.
For more information about our systems please contact us at 613/225-4404
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org