As we celebrate Sandfield’s 30-year milestone, we’ve been reflecting on the changes that have taken place since starting out in this business. I don’t think anyone could have truly predicted the way technology has transformed the way business is now done.
We started writing business software in a 4th Generation Language that produced software on a green screen. Data was stored and retrieved using a new-fangled relational database management system (RDBMS). This was the topic of some criticism at the time. I remember a friend said to me, “Why would you want to use an RDBMS for? All it does is read and write data in and out of a database.” Of course, it was to become commonplace to use relational databases instead of file systems and this has endured in most commercial situations to this day.
Two of the biggest changes we witnessed over time is who is now using our systems and the 'frontend' technology they are now utilising. Today, our clients, their employees, and their customers are all demanding mobile-first technology solutions that give them instant and easy access to live data across multiple devices.
We were very early developers of web browser-based business systems. We disliked the complexity and unreliability of client/server, fat client technology and preferred the idea that browsers were somewhat equipment agnostic and opened up the possibility of a variety of user communities using the systems. And so it was to be, rather than users being restricted to just internal users, today, their customers, suppliers or anyone with a need and proper security is also provided for as part of their business solution.
In many situations, customers are now connected with our platforms using mobile applications. Although the resulting transactions are familiar, the software, the user interfaces and the carefully crafted user experiences that make these systems intuitive are unrecognisable from the green screen days of thirty years ago.
Our tagline is 'get an edge' and we work with our clients to help define what a competitive edge is to them and how technology will realise it. We showcase three mobile applications that Sandfield has built and how they are helping our clients gain that edge. Although they represent vastly different industries - ParkMate Parking, Green Acres homecare services and in-trip revenue specialist Lassoo - what is common to them is the delivery of an intuitive consumer-facing interface and solution.
To distil each of these stories down solely to the frontend user-experience does a disservice to the clever back-end technology required to make the experience seamless. Readers could be lulled into ignoring the depth of development that was required behind the scenes, but perhaps that truly illustrates the point.