On 16th September, 2016 Fenwick Software will complete forty years in business. We are going to have a party to celebrate with our clients. In the meantime, you will notice that our logo has undergone a temporary change. We have inserted “40 years” into the blue square.
In 1976, the IT industry was dominated by the hardware firms, IBM and the Bunch –Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data and Honeywell. Software was mainly written in-house and smaller firms used Service Bureaus such as Kim Jelbart’s Adaps to process their accounts and their payrolls. Professional firms, mainly the leading chartered accountants, offered IT consulting services but seldom wrote any software. Software companies were in their infancy. Ormond Browne started International Programming; Harry Douglas set up Datec. These firms wrote software as requested but rarely designed improved solutions. I worked with David Mills at Datec in 1973. I recall that Datec would write Cobol programs for $1 per line of code. Industry metrics improved over time; function points replaced lines of code. By 1996, we were offering to build systems for a fixed price at about half the rate of Accenture and other major firms. Our advertisements, copies of which adorn our walls today, offered:
If you are paying more than $500 per function point you are paying too much. Fenwick Software can deliver open system and client server applications quickly and reliably for a fixed price.
When I began the company in 1976, my aim was to provide both business consulting and software services; to be able to help client businesses by designing improved systems and procedures, and then to implement them. Forty years later that is still what we are doing.
In the nineties we experimented with using package software as the foundation of a solution. It was like using prefab components for a building. It reduced the duration of the project and the cost. Gradually the quality of these packages improved and the best of them began to dominate their sector.
In 1998, our team evaluated Navision and declared it better than anything we had ever written. In 2003, Bill Gates bought the company recognizing that the software was better than anything Microsoft had ever written! Today it forms the base for most of our client solutions.
When I began the company in 1976, my aim was to provide both business consulting and software services; to be able to help client businesses by designing improved systems and procedures, and then to implement them. Forty years later that is still what we are doing. But because of improved technology, we write less software and the solutions are built quicker, more reliably and at less cost. Furthermore, our metrics, based on forty years’ experience enable us to estimate much more accurately.
By the time of our birthday, it will be five years since I retired, set up an employee shareholder scheme and handed over to Greg Galloway. The firm is thriving under his leadership and is looking forward to delivering systems that work from people who care for many years to come.