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buy 153, 0);">The Client: Established in 1987, Softbits provides computer applications and services to the process engineering industry.

Softbits specialises in process simulation in the offshore oil and gas and refining industry. It also provides process engineering and process simulation consultancy services in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Softbits is based in Medstead, Alton, Hampshire.

The Challenge: Softbits was running its business by using several different packages to achieve contact management, invoicing, quoting and maintenance of its software database. The company decided it was time to look for a single package that would do all or most of these things for them.

The Benefits: Managing Director Brian Marshall said “It wasn’t difficult to find various packages that purported to do everything we wanted. We downloaded various trials and tested them out for applicability. Most of them were very heavy weight and seemed far too complicated for what we wanted. When we tested ContactMaker it seemed to fit the bill well and was additionally attractive in that firstly it was from a local based company and secondly, it didn’t seem overburdened with unwanted features. There was also a indication that the authors were willing to offer development of the package to suit client needs.”

Brian added: “Since our involvement with CMB Technologies in late 2007, we have found them very helpful in all aspects, especially enhancements to the program. Being software developers ourselves we realise the benefit of feedback from clients, both positive and negative, in helping develop the package to suit as many clients as possible.“

For Softbits, by consolidating into ContactMaker, the amount of times required to input data into various packages has been reduced. The ability to use a multi user network has also proved to be very useful in that two or more people can update the database simultaneously. Brian feels that, although ContactMaker has progressed significantly through user feedback, it now needs some consolidation to retain its ease of use and its initial charm.

The Future: Brian concluded: “From the onset we offered to help with the development by testing new versions as they were produced and also providing additional development feedback based on our own 20 years of experience with software. It has become a key part of our operation, at present handling 75% of our administration needs. We still have to integrate Word into the program more tightly in order to increase that percentage.”

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