Rebate management blog - Page 45 - Enable

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

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 organizing 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

Enable Tech: Building our new website

Build It BetterOctober 10, 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.


Last week, we launched a new subsidiary business focused on rebate management. Our software solution helps organizations manage complex trading agreements involving retrospective payments, such as rebates, retrospective discounts, royalties, purchase income and back margin.

In this article, I’ll guide you through some of the more interesting techniques used by the website we built for our new product.

1. SVG graphics

Almost every image on our website is delivered in SVG format. SVG has been around for a long time, but browser support is only now nearing a level where SVG can be considered a worthwhile option. As someone who is enthusiastic about design, SVG has some upsides that excite me.

  1. High resolution displays are going mainstream: products such as the Apple iPhone 4, third generation iPad, Retina MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 920 have introduced displays to the marketplace that are capable of displaying 250 to 350 pixels per inch. Artwork designed for conventional computer displays looks blurry on these devices. SVG is a vector image format and therefore images authored in this format look beautifully sharp not only on these new high-DPI devices but on older displays too.
  2. Editing tools such as Adobe Illustrator allow SVG to be edited natively. There is no need to hold a “master” version of your website artwork in addition to an exported “published” version. An SVG file can be opened directly, edited and saved. It’s a slick workflow.
  3. SVG is based on XML. It is therefore dead easy to create SVG output programatically. For example, a status icon that needed to be colored red in some cases and green in others would typically require two separate versions of the same image. With SVG you could create a single version and alter a color attribute on the fly — driven by your application’s business logic.

9 min read

Introducing Enable rebate management

Product FeaturesOctober 3, 2012

Stratford-upon-Avon based software company Enable has today launched a new subsidiary focused on rebate management. It has been created by entrepreneurs Denys Shortt (who also owns DCS Group) and Andrew Butt who have combined forces with fellow directors David Hunt, Andy James and Dan Wood.

Enable rebate management software

The new initiative will be located in the new £1 million Enable headquarters in Timothy’s Bridge Road and will create up to 5 new jobs over the coming year.

Enable creates web based software that simplifies business-to-business trading, unlocks hidden revenue and maximizes profit in trading agreements.

Why we’re focusing on rebate management

For over a decade, Enable has helped distributors, wholesalers and buying groups manage the income they receive from suppliers and customers. Denys and Andrew have identified a key area where businesses are continually throwing away hard earned revenue.

Denys Shortt comments: “I am delighted to be announcing our new rebate management product — an exciting new business created in tough economic times. We have found a niche here. Enable will transform how companies manage their business deals and help them lock down profits. It has been tried and tested.”

3 min read

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