Sapere develop and design software and mobile apps for a variety of business sectors, some of our exciting business related news can be found on this page.
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We've recently completed a revolutionary system for a Tyneside charity - Foundations Furniture. Foundations Furniture began in 1996 and help alleviate poverty by providing affordable home furnishings for those who need them most. Every year Foundations help around 480 households in Gateshead and collect around 70 tonnes of unwanted or usable furniture free of charge from local people helping divert it from landfill.
Foundations found that after many years if they wanted to help even more people they needed an efficient software system in place to allow them to manage ever more clients, stock and sales.
We met initially with Foundations, discussed all their requirements in detail and got to work producing a specification which outlined exactly what was to be achieved and how the application would work. The completed application allows Foundations to seamlessly handle donations from the public, sales of goods to the public, integrates with their own EPOS till system and also allows Foundations to sell goods via their own ebay shop - all from one CMS console.
Prior to having this bespoke system built Foundations relied upon multiple spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents and lots and lots of memory power to keep everything together.
By implementing the new system the charity have minimised human error, removed repetition and reduced wasted time. They are now able to help even more individuals and families and continue their excellent work!
We only build bespoke software and we don't tend to 'Frankenstein' systems - taking disparate applications that don't quite fit a business and stitching them together to create something that 'almost' fits. Understandably we're often asked why can't you take 'A', attach it to 'B' and then connect it to 'C', it'll save our business a fortune, we don't need a fancy system tailored to us - its costly and unneccessary!
Its a good question and this mind set is understandable, uncomplicated, innovative and ultimately completely incorrect. It follows the maxim:
'For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong' - H. L. Mencken
The reasoning for applying this to off the shelf software is quite obvious if you think about it. Off the shelf software would work for every business, as long as the business involved promises to never change, intends to never grow and never wants to improve.
It will always 'almost fit' for an initial period but the day the business introduces a new way of working, a new process or decides to go in a new direction the fit is broken. The business has to fit the software to get the benefits.
With bespoke software it can grow, be altered, changed and be modified to the business as it grows, ensuring its giving the best return on an investment and ensuring it fits the business - not the other way round. In the long term its always cheaper as staff work more efficiently and processes have much less human error.
Nearly every businness we work with has came to us because they use off the shelf software, be that Excel, Access or a stand alone product. The one other thing they all have in common is that off the shelf no longer fits them.
After many successful years offering software development from our offices in Teesside we've now moved to Stockton Riverside to what we feel is one of the most impressive digital centres / office spaces within the North East.
Being a digital company we can work from anywhere but we felt that moving to such a brilliant place to work could only be good for us, our clients and the production of the software products we deliver. We're now fully settled in, and continuing to serve all our clients with brilliant software services in Stockton, Teesside, the North East and nationally.
We recently completed an app, working alongside Better, for MAIN Teesside. The app is to be used to allow individuals with Autism to quickly access information and to receive immediate help and assistance in stressful or unfamiliar situations.
The app allows MAIN to populate an individuals SmartPhone with all the information that person needs when interacting with outside agencies and ensures that the user always has a 'touchstone' of familiarity to help them cope in their day to day lives. The MAIN staff can update the users devices in real time via an accompanying web application, thereby ensuring that all content is accurate, up to date and relevant.
Kelly Bainbridge who oversaw the project for MAIN says:
I worked with Sapere when they developed app based software for the charity I was running to support people with Autism. It was one of those moments were you build something in your head but think its probably not going to look like this in real life but when I saw the end product I was blown away. Not only was it what I had envisioned it was better than I could have ever realised. Sapere were very professional, kept to deadlines, informed me of progress and any barriers along with solutions. Would highly recommend Sapere and their work
We hope this newsletter finds you and your staff well and ready to tackle 2016. 2015 was an exciting, interesting and busy year here at Sapere and we have no doubt 2016 will be the same. We’ve completed a number of mobile and web projects for both new and existing clients. Projects have varied in size and been commissioned from sectors as diverse as oil and gas, to education, to event management.Highlights for 2015 have included:
AppyBunny is a platform to allow any business to quickly produce and own their own mobile app allowing them to engage with customers via loyalty schemes and push messaging. We originally secured 100k of funding in 2015 and have now secured a further 50k with more to come after a proof of concept release of the product in 2016. We’re incredibly excited about this new service and are leveraging all our knowledge and experience with mobile apps to make sure the product is a massive success.
We decided to spin out a new business called Better Futures from Sapere offering a platform to help special needs schools manage the day to day progress of their students. Having completed many similar projects for other clients in the education sector we saw an opportunity in this much ‘technically underrepresented’ area to utilise people, technology and mobile devices to improve the lives of all concerned.
We completed a bespoke CRM for one of the regions leading Law Firms to allow them to manage all their marketing events and to manage their customers in a more efficient way. They now have a full management system for new and existing clients. This allows the Law firm to streamline new business from initial contact right through to being assigned a solicitor. This provides vital key performance indicators and stats to help the direction of any marketing spend and improve the overall efficiencies around this all-important area of business.Highlights for 2016 will include:
As we specialise in software and apps for use by businesses we’ve noticed an ever increasing desire to link up staff and systems by making information available and allowing information to be gathered on the move. It’s a trend which is exponential year on year as the benefits to any business are massive. Many systems this year have been used to display information gathered on mobile devices and allow manipulation of that data for presentation to management.
Examples of this have included: Gathering images, interviews and video of problems on oil rigs using Android devices and producing management reports based on these findings. Tracking attendees at events using iPhones and then allowing real time distribution of information to the attendees whilst the event takes place.
The term CRM "Client Relationship Management" software is often used without any real understanding for what this means to a business. We must have been asked "do you build CRM's" hundreds of times over the years....
Our response to this question is always the same. "Yes....but what do you need the CRM to do?"
Invariably the answer is "I need a database to manage my clients, orders and marketing campaigns". Dig a little deeper and this turns into a great deal more than the headline. The CRM needs to talk to the accounts package, it needs to hook up with the existing ordering system or another legacy application or it needs to be accessible by staff who work remotely etc... And this, in essence is what a CRM is or at least should be. It should make the process of marketing and selling the products or services your business has seamless so you can maximise the amount of profit from the business.
CRM software can come in many different flavours from free 'off the shelf', paid for 'off the shelf' right through to a full bespoke option. Using the above example, neither of the 'off the' shelf package will fit the business needs. The only way to do this exactly is to build a bespoke system, otherwise this will erode any efficiency savings.
Bespoke CRMs have many advantages over an 'off the shelf' package. Both the 'off the shelf' offerings will need to be customised to meet the precise needs of your business, they don't just work out of a box.
Off the shelf solutions might claim to fulfill all your business needs but it's impossible because every business is different and the solutions are restricted by their own frameworks.
So why not tailor the software to meet the exacting needs of the business to maximise the efficiencies software can bring.
With any of the CRM options there will be a cost whether directly or indirectly. The below illustration highlights the overall cost for each option.
The below is an example illustration highlighting the potential return for a team of 20 staff implemeting a CRM to manage clients, orders, stock with links to a third party system for financials:
Paid for 'off the shelf' CRM *
Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £87,000+
Free 'off the shelf' CRM
Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £36,000
Estimated 3 yr cost savings: £276,600+
This is a fairly basic example but demonstrates the real savings a bespoke CRM can have on the bottom line of a business. If the solution saved 2 hrs effort each week for each member of the team they can be busy generating more sales and increasing the profit margins!
* This is a mid range off the shelf package
** An arbitrary value of £50 per hour has been used for the example
Imagine the scenario - You're exhibiting at a four day trade show, take a bunch of business cards and do nothing with them. Back in the office the next week you get busy with the day to day job while the stack of business cards gather dust. A few more days pass and now the question of etiquette comes to mind 'should I contact this person, will they remember me....' A conundrum we've all experienced....the potential lead is now dead!
Introduce iGather to the scenario and you now have a tool that engages with the lead instantly, sending them a personalised email with relevant company literature.
Now you've engaged with the potential lead the moment they leave the stand the follow up call when back in the office should be a simpler process - they may even get in touch with you!
Now for the measurement part, iGather gives you realtime data on the type of interest your stand is generating, the lead type and the potential return on your investment!
A brilliant tool for measuring the success of your event!
Don't just take our word for it either:
"The new iGather app has really benefitted our company, lead followups are instant and we now have access to the exhibition economics. A real insight and a total game-changer for our marketing spend and direction. We now know if we need to send more resource or less resource to next years exhibition. An app we couldn't now live without..." - Cathy Clark, Events and Sponsorship Manager
We were recently approached by the Settle Carlisle Railway to update their iPhone app to work within Apple's new IOS 8 framework. The existing app allows passengers travelling on the historic line to listen to a guide of the local area as the train travels between Settle to Carlisle or Carlisle to Settle. The app over the years has proved very popular, however due to changes in technology the app needed bringing up to date and having it's content become more relevant and reflect the branding of the Settle Carlisle railway today.
As part of the work Sapere:
We've found over the years that managing any software project isn't easy and attempting to manage it using email is impossible! It's all too easy to lose information and collaboration is incredibly difficult. We looked at many commercial project management offerings but none were a good match for us and our clients. Like nearly all off the shelf systems they're developed to meet the needs of everyone adequately and therefore meet the needs of no one business particularly well.
This shouldn't really come as a surprise to a company that produces bespoke software (!) but it was a surprise just how poor most available solutions were. Nearly all were brimming with features we'd never use or were missing features we desperately needed. With this in mind we decided to produce our own to manage the full lifecycle of every project at Sapere from initial specification to rollout.
In development for over a year we feel it's now ready fully and whilst there have been teething issues it's increased our productivity massively and enables us to operate even leaner and react more quickly than ever before.
Key features of our bespoke project system include:
Funding has been secured now for our upcoming product - Appy Bunny. We're proud to report that the Appy Bunny team have achieved the full investment to start development of a revolutionary new product to enable small businesses to have their own app to promote their business.
The completed application will allow any business to:
That's the message for swimming star Aimee Willmott, before she goes for gold in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
She is considered to be a big medal favourite across four events in Scotland. The 21-year-old's swimming career looks set to reach new heights. A pool of six very proud Teesside companies will keep Aimee in the swim after the Games, by providing professional guidance free of charge.
Other local firms are diving in with their support, from the likes of:
Sapere Software took Aimee's existing one-page template website and transformed it into a professional multi page bespoke design. This new website has now become befitting to Aimee's ambitions for the Commonwealth and Olympic medals.
The group was created and brought together by Active Financial managing director Karl Pemberton, who was very keen to show Aimee that Teesside remain firmly behind her throughout not only the Commonwealth Games, but other oncoming competitions too.
"As a truly top athlete in her field, Aimee is a great ambassador for Teesside and the North-East" ; said Karl."She is already targeting the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil after the Commonwealth Games, so her career opportunities are likely to increase still further."
Despite the fact that she is moving to London after the Games, Aimee was determined that work stayed here in her hometown. Equally, this is our way of showing her that Teesside will be supporting her, no matter where in the world she might be in future. As her career develops, she will receive professional advice from leading Teesside firms, which can only be great news for the area and for Aimee".
Aimee, who is moving to London with her coach Lisa Bates, said:
This is such a massive boost for me ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The support of these local businesses means I can focus on my training in the pool instead of having to worry about other issues. It means so much to know that Teesside is right behind me in this way.
I've had such amazing support from people and would love to bring them back a medal or two from Glasgow. I'm a Teessider through-and-through and will remain that way, even when I move to London to continue my career development.
Aimee narrowly missed out on a place in the 400m Individual Medley final at both the London 2012 Olympics and the World Championships, will compete in four different events in Glasgow:
The opening day of The XX Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is Thursday 24th July.
Here, Aimee could be competing head-to-head with Scottish favourite Hannah Miley in the 400m Individual Medley, which is one of the first finals of the Games.