Thirty years ago, on our first day in business, we all arrived in suits prepared to share the 2 DOS AT286 computers we owned among the 5 of us. All of our furniture was rented and we were ensconced in the basement. We had all worked together on several sizeable furniture inventories where there was a daily battle using the primitive hardware and keeping the software from crashing. So, the first order of business was to design a truly innovative solution that made data collection simple and accurate, allowed easy access to the data and convenient reporting. And we haven’t stopped refining it since then.
In our wildest collective imaginations, we would have never expected that the core need for asset management solutions would be as vibrant today as it was then. Indeed, long-term business trends over the decades have placed greater importance on sound asset controls. Yet despite the constant evolution of hardware and software that is the hallmark of any technology-based company, the concepts we pioneered in 1987 remain the foundation of any asset management program.
As we gaze in the rear-view mirror, here are some surprising memories.
- In 1987, corporations spent far more on furniture than technology assets but that changed with the dot-com boom in the 1990’s.
- The technology was not portable. In fact, most applications in large organizations were accessed through CRT terminals attached to a mainframe.
- Virtually every installation of asset management was a first-time solution for the client. Surprisingly, that is often true today!
- Bar codes were just emerging and mostly found as UPC codes at the grocery store but the equipment to actually read them was a novelty.
- The square QR codes that provide convenient web lookups of products were years into the future. But then again, so was the web.
- Our cost to provide health insurance for an employee was under $50 per month.
- Trade shows, direct mail, and expensive 4 color brochures consumed most of our marketing budget.
- Finally, to demo our software, we needed to bring several floppy disks to the prospect’s office, install it on their computer and erase it when we were done. Of course, if the prospect was across the country, sales calls required flights, hotels and days of travel.
While it may seem like yesterday to those of us focused on asset management for years, it is long ago. As we look at the asset management landscape today, we remain excited about the array of technologies and tools at our disposal to continue to evolve our products. We are weeks away from the release of our fourth generation of our asset management solution and every bit as excited as with our 1987 release.
A final reflection is that we are tremendously grateful to all of the organizations and individuals who have placed their confidence in us through the purchase of our products and services. We are proud of the fact that our first customer remains a customer after all these years. Moving forward we will continue to work hard to sustain your confidence through innovative solutions for your asset management needs.