NZ start-up gambles all on new software

Taupo, New Zealand, -based software developer On2it Software Ltd. is risking all to take its flagship product to market.

Managing director Brian McGuigan has taken out a huge mortgage on his home and given up the computer services side of his business to concentrate on the software.

“It’s now ready for market so I’m taking a punt. I’ve had a few beta testers in Taupo and now I’m looking to establish a channel,” he says.

McGuigan claims that Gem 2004 is the world’s first relationship management system (RMS).

The product records information about things that exist in the real world and the complete network of relationships between them, forming a structure that McGuigan describes as the central nervous system of an organization.

“It’s a dramatic change of concept. While CRM is purely about customers, with RMS you can see all the relationships between everyone in the system,” said McGuigan.

Based on the idea of CRM, Gem 2004 applies the same techniques for every entry in the system.

“This doesn’t treat people as a subsidiary record of an organization.” He says that in a small town such as Taupo the relationships and roles of individuals are often related and traditional CRM systems don’t allow the modelling of complex human relationships.

“The local bank manager is probably a member of the golf club and rotary club and his wife will be a member of another association. It’s helpful to be able to track those relationships. So I thought, bugger it, I’ll develop my own system.”

McGuigan has already sold the product into Australia and hopes an imminent SQL server version will extend its reach beyond the SME market.

He says the shrink-wrapped product is effectively an enterprise resource planning system without all the complex decision-making algorithms that require an MBA to install and run.

“It’s a system based on your contact information which could run your entire organization and personal life.” Pricing is based on the number of records in the database and one record costs the price of a postage stamp. McGuigan believes the product will be of interest to any business interested in keeping track of all its relationships.