Small Software Companies

Small Software Companies

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7408-8.ch003

Abstract

The technology industry is dominated by major international companies, but there are also many SMEs, SBEs, and micro-companies operating effectively in this industry sector. Maintaining innovation is a key challenge, especially for the small players in this market, and technology transfer to develop new products and services is particularly challenging. This chapter examines four technology transfer projects in small software companies, three of which focused on new product development, and the fourth on a new service provision. All four projects were generally well managed, but effecting this degree of change requires more than good management, especially in such small companies. It is not surprising that some of these projects failed to achieve their objectives in the mid-term.
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New Web-Based Products At E-Business Services, Hereford

Company Profile

E-Business Services (EBS) was a micro company of less than 10 staff, based in Hereford, Herefordshire, when it embarked on the technology transfer project in 2006. At that time, this small software house was generating revenue from the delivery of bespoke and packaged web based products. The bulk of company turnover came from the sale of its main web product (Woolpack), which was used by client companies as an Intranet, information portal and communications management tool with their end customers. The technology transfer project focused on the development of new technology products, using web-based software tools.

Project Objectives

In 2006, EBS initiated a new business plan to move away from purely bespoke adaptations of their existent information portal product (Woolpack), towards a company specialising in custom built web portals for key customers running Microsoft Dynamics (previously called Navision) as their core back-bone system, especially in the financial and related service sectors. The project “was key to implementing this business transition as it delivered the first attempts at design and development of web portals in this niche market” (Technology Strategy Board, 2008a, p.2). This project aimed to use new technology developments to innovate the company’s product offering.

EBS had worked for a number of years for Skindal Life, a financial services company with many branches around the UK. They were viewing the possibility of sharing data with other parties as they entered into new partnerships with a number of other well-known financial services institutions. These partners sold financial products administered by Skindal Life through their established adviser channels; however the partners wanted their advisers to access these plans and products through their web site. In addition, to attract potential new investors, the solution needed to have the capability for “fund supermarket” trading.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business Process Management (BPM): An approach to defining and operating company business processes. Companies often use specialist software tools such as Metastorm to administer BPM, but in addition some Enterprise Resource Planning systems such as SAP have their own BPM tools for modelling, standardizing and automating processes.

Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS): A multi-faceted software product for the management of developer coding, encompassing the full product life cycle, from requirements management, product development, testing, and release.

.net (or .Net): A free open source product for use by software developers to build systems and applications for the PCs and servers, the web, mobile devices and games.

SQL Server 2005: A relational database product released by Microsoft for storage and retrieval of data on a central server. There have been several subsequent releases of the product since 2005, most recently in 2017.

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