Rebate management blog - Page 23 - Enable

Buy vs. build: The rise of bespoke software in modern business

Build It BetterMay 4, 2013

Whether it’s a way of optimising business, gaining competitive advantage or simply making the most of the best available tools out there, bespoke software has found a crucial place in the challenging business landscape of the post-economic crash.

Buy vs. Build
Optimisation

While there will always be businesses that benefit from the common and standardised route of choosing off-the-shelf solutions, it has become increasingly prevalent for sophisticated and progressive companies to select a bespoke software solution that matches their commitment to quality, service and efficiency.

Bespoke software optimises organisations by introducing automation, efficiency and time and cost savings into day-to-day business, which results in an intuitive solution that is easier for staff to use as well as a far greater fit with the client’s overall business. Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, this is delivered by working closely with clients to understand their specific needs and creating ways to optimise business processes while agreeing a functional specification that is fully understood and supported by both parties.

Competitive advantage

Bespoke software is a genuine differentiator

In the challenging and competitive landscape of modern business it is vital to identify and capitalise on anything that can give your organisation an edge. Bespoke software provides that edge for an increasing number of progressive businesses by acting as a genuine differentiator for the client.

5 min read

Enable attains Microsoft application development competency

Build It BetterMarch 3, 2013

Enable is delighted to have attained Microsoft’s Silver Application Development competency.

Enable has been a Microsoft Partner for many years and is exclusively focussed on developing custom business applications. Our goal is to develop the best cloud-delivered business applications using Microsoft technology.

Andrew Butt, managing director, commented: “We’ve been massive advocates of Microsoft technologies for application development since we started Enable 13 years ago. We are experts on the Microsoft .NET framework, SQL Server database and associated web technologies, and it’s good to formalise our position with this silver-level competency from Microsoft. We see this as an excellent opportunity to build on our relationship with Microsoft, and in turn provide even better solutions to our clients.”

In order to earn the competency, many of our software developers had to first become Microsoft Certified Professionals, which required them to study Microsoft technologies over a number of months and to sit exams. In addition, we had to work with a series of customers to create references and case studies, which were then verified by Microsoft.

2 min read

Green shoots of growth in Stratford-upon-Avon

Build It BetterFebruary 1, 2013

Enable — the Stratford-upon-Avon based software development company — opened their new £1m offices today with Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi cutting the ribbon for the official opening.

Enable was started in 2000 by Denys Shortt OBE and 16 year old Andrew Butt. The duo met whilst learning to fly helicopters at Heli Air.

Over the past 12 years the company has grown to employ 30 people with annual sales of £2 million.

The offices are a Google inspired design with bright colored furniture from Space Oasis and ergonomically designed chairs and desks from Herman Miller.

Andrew, now aged 29, says: “We are delighted with the new offices which have created an amazing and motivational working environment for us. The extra space gives us a real opportunity to grow the business. We build leading edge bespoke software for businesses and these offices have allowed us to stamp our unique mark on the industry.”

Visitors to the office opening included Stratford District Council CEO, Paul Lankester, and other local dignitaries as well as Enable customers from P&G, Wolseley, DHL, NHS, Alcumus and Corporate Rewards. The opening event included briefings on Cloud-based technology and The Internet of Things.

2 min read

Denys Shortt awarded OBE in New Year’s honours list

Build It BetterJanuary 1, 2013

Denys Shortt, entrepreneur and founder of Enable in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to the economy.

Denys, known for his endless energy and enthusiasm, started his first business DCS Group in 1994. His company DCS is now the UK’s leading distributor of health, beauty and household brands with sales of £150 million and 250 employees. Denys has also created two technology companies: Enable and DealTrack which employ 30 people.

Denys has created the Enliven brand — a range of health and beauty products which are made in England and where millions of bottles are exported to 70 countries worldwide. He recently invested over £4 million into a new toiletries factory in Stratford-upon-Avon with the aim to help revive British Manufacturing.

In his younger days Denys had a very different career in mind. After attending Eagle House School, it was at Warwick School at age 15 where he was selected to play hockey for England.

4 min read

Government derailed by spreadsheet errors

The Deal EconomyDecember 28, 2012

The fiasco of the West Coast mainline rail bidding process has brought the potential pitfalls of spreadsheet reliance to national attention.

Quite apart from embarrassing the Department for Transport and the Government as a whole, the DfT announced last week that the cost to the taxpayer of the bidding scandal has now risen to £55m and counting.

Issues within the bidding process were revealed after Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains issued a formal complaint after missing out on the contract to continue running the line to First Group.

A subsequent investigation into the bidding process by a team of accountants from PWC revealed that the spreadsheet from which all calculations were derived was fundamentally flawed.

The discovery was made after officials explored a complex economic model — known as the GDP resilience model — which was designed by the Department of Transport to rigorously assess the risk attached to bids and the amount of money that should be put up as deposit.

3 min read

Enable Tech: Why we threw out our phone system and replaced it with Skype

Build It BetterDecember 3, 2012

Enable Tech is a column on design and technology by David Hunt. David has been our operations director from the very start, and has lead the evolution of Enable into one of the most respected and high-quality software development businesses around. David has an uncompromising passion for design, quality and excellence.


An interesting job we tackled as part of our office move was evaluating different telephone systems for the new building.

Enable has for many years used what might charitably be described as a ’standard’ office telephone system.

Low-tech phones were connected by ethernet cable (from which they drew power) to a central server. The server was connected to another mysterious piece of hardware, itself hooked up to the good old BT infrastructure.

Using the telephone was not easy. Setting up speed dial keys was an unintuitive process. Checking your missed calls could be confusing. And organising a conference call was such a complex operation that specialist one-on-one training would be required first.

More positive aspects of the system were favourable call quality and rock-solid reliability. Truth is, it served us well for many years.

7 min read

Sweating the details: The combination of science and craft powering Enable’s software development teams

Build It BetterNovember 25, 2012

Enable Tech is a column on design and technology by David Hunt. David has been our operations director from the very start, and has lead the evolution of Enable into one of the most respected and high-quality software development businesses around. David has an uncompromising passion for design, quality and excellence.


On Monday, Matt will arrive at his desk to confront a 315 page document. It describes the precise inner workings of a mission-critical software solution. It sounds pretty complicated.

But the software doesn’t exist yet.

In three months, Matt and his team will race from zero lines of code to tens of thousands. The end result will be rolled out to hundreds of users, who will rely on it every day. It’ll be delivered on time, on budget — and if it’s not the best piece of software our company has ever created, we’ll be disappointed.

It’s OK, Matt has done this before.

7 min read

Silicon Valley comes to Stratford-upon-Avon

Build It BetterNovember 6, 2012

A recent visit to Silicon Valley in California by the Directors of Enable in Stratford-upon-Avon has inspired the firm to design their new headquarters along the lines of global giants Google and Intel.

Entrepreneurs Denys Shortt and Andrew Butt have invested over £1 million in the new Enable Headquarters at The Courtyard on Timothy’s Bridge Road. The pair started Enable in a stable block in Buckland near Broadway in 2000 and now the company employs 30 people with sales of £2m per annum — a wonderful start-up to success story.

What is most remarkable is that Andrew was just 16 when Enable began and Denys made him the Managing Director — one of the youngest to hold this position ever in the UK.

The offices have been designed by Enable’s Operations Director, David Hunt, whose talents far exceed just running his software team. David, who also project managed the fit-out of the premises, said “My goal for this project was to create an environment that not only reflected Enable’s values but also reinforced them; As our staff and clients spend time in this space they will notice the attention to detail, the consistency, the quality of what’s around them and will be reminded of what Enable is all about.”

3 min read

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