As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, Business Micros is paying tribute to some of its longest standing staff and those behind the scenes who have helped to make the company the industry’s favourite software specialist.
Among them is Vince Kelly, now the New Project Leader based at the Dumfriesshire programming centre, but originally a YTS trainee way back in the 1980s under Business Micros’ original founders Des Sharratt and Alistair Fyall.
At the age of 17, the job title Junior Programmer actually involved quite a lot of tea making, but Vince’s passion for programming meant he progressed quickly through the ranks and over the past 35 years he has worked on all of the company’s most iconic software programmes – from Quest to WinStar, Evolution and eventually EvoNET. He is currently working on the programming for the next generation of software to be released by Business Micros soon.
From a software perspective, it’s hard to overemphasise just how much the industry has changed during Vince’s time. As he explained: “Early software programmes such as Quest were written with just a few thousand lines of code because the software needs of customers at that time were so limited. Now, as you can imagine, our latest programmes have millions of lines of code and that’s constantly increasing as we keep up with demand from customers who want our software to do so much more for them.
“In the early days, most of our customers were fairly small, owner managed businesses producing relatively few windows per week – almost all in the same profile system and almost all in white – and they just wanted the software to help in their manufacturing. Now, our customers are huge national companies with diverse product ranges who want to integrate our software across their sales, manufacturing, logistics and accounting operations.
“Looking ahead, we are still nowhere near the limit of what software can do to improve efficiency in our industry. With the advent of AI and even drone technology, we’ll undoubtedly lots more exciting innovation coming at us at an ever faster pace.”
35 years is a long time to spend with one business but for Vince, Business Micros is an extension of his own family – in fact, his sister Lisa Lockhart works there as well. He added: “From the very top down, I have always been treated with kindness and respect here and been given the same kind of support that you would hope to get from your own family. That’s worth a huge amount and explains why there are so many of us here who have been with the business right from the early days and are still as motivated and committed as ever.”