Building Business and Technology Relationships, was the slogan in 1985, of a new company that was formed —SAMCO Software Inc. The mission of the company was to continue the development of accounting and business applications on mini and microcomputers that could deliver the promise of that slogan. The name came about by abbreviating the former name of Sentry Accounting & Marketing Corporation. The 7 basic package source licenses purchased in 1979, from RealWorld Corporation in New Hampshire, U.S.A. was developed in COBOL and ran on 8” floppy disks. Sentry began enhancing and improving while customizing those packages as soon as they received the code.
As quickly as hard drives for the microcomputers became more readily available, the 8” floppy drive was replaced with a 5MB one, at a cost of $ 10,000.00. Innovation had begun for the Company, and as its public accounting offices (7 throughout British Columbia and Alberta, Canada) was each outfitted with a newer CPM computer and keyboard in a single unit, with a 10MB hard drive and a 360kb Double Density floppy drive.
The Company was one of the first, locally, to use the new IBM Dos based PC’s and they had to convert the software to run under DOS. Sperry Corporation’s Vancouver Office, which sold main-frame computers and software, had just taken delivery of their new Unix Mini-Computer, for which at that point, they had no software, other than a Legal Package then being developed for them by another company, approached SAMCO to provide them with a version of Samco Power Accounting applications which they would promote. The push was on, and SAMCO quickly became one of the most innovative small companies. Existing customers of Sperry Corp. wanted to replace their mainframes with the newer mini-computers and while they were all different types of companies, they all had a need for accounting software, so they were introduced to SAMCO. Vertical market applications became one of the “buzz phrases” of the time, and instead of developing a different package for each type of business, SAMCO’s management devised a system, which is followed by many companies in software development today, programming Code Numbers for each major modification and secure Activation Codes for those Numbers. Once both the Code Number and Activation Code are entered, the enhancement/special functionality, become available to the end user within their system.
SAMCO could now offer their widely accepted packages to almost any type of small or medium sized business and simply activate or deactivate certain parts of the source code to meet the needs of each. This was definitely ‘innovation” at its best, as at that time, most software developers of business applications and/or their resellers were required to maintain a copy of the “customized code” for each of their end-users.
In the early years, forms such as invoices, purchase orders, etc. were all pre-printed NCR paper, and since SAMCO was running into customers who used different forms designs and layouts, they arranged for a major wholesale printing company to keep their customer’s pre-printed forms in stock as well as some without company information on them. Now, SAMCO is in the printing business, selling forms they guaranteed would be compatible with their software. Cheques, invoices, purchase orders, labels, etc., they were all available from SAMCO, along with the best of computers, printers, etc. Of course, when laser and ink-jet printers became popular, SAMCO modified their software to also print forms directly from within their software, eliminating the need for pre-printed forms. Customer forms could now be easily modified to match new ideas and allow for additional fields providing more information the users wanted to have appear on forms where they wanted them.
Networking, the Internet, portable applications, multi-site operations, all became popular and as computing power and options grew, SAMCO became very innovative to make certain their applications could meet the increasing requirements and while their flagship applications, the modular Samco Power Accounting series was originally developed in COBOL, which today, many think as outdated, and in fact it is, SAMCO was developing applications in newer languages to run on portable devices with varied operating systems, such as Windows Ce and IOS for the Apple Mac, etc. as they were becoming very popular. Currently converting their Flagship applications to a newer language, including all customization that has been developed over the years, and when completed, clients will have the option of moving to it, and all data will be ported very simply and intact, without or with very little human intervention.
Over the years, new requirements for SAMCO clients included the ability to handle requirements for Fishing Companies and their processing plants, Tire warehousing and distribution, Tire Reclamation, Auto fulfillment of stock for Retail stores from warehouses, over-night. Duty-Free distribution companies and retail operations, Food Manufacturing, Meat Processing, Chemical Manufacturing, processing, sales and distribution as well as many, many more, all requiring special functions within their fields, and SAMCO approached and still approaches each and every need with innovative thinking and design.
SAMCO is in the final stages of being ready to announce some new products and improvements in existing products. The Company is ready for the future and willing to meet whatever it brings, with whatever it takes. SAMCO’s current senior programmer, started his work career in technology in 1983, with the Company, following his University graduation. They have several staff members who have, during their success, moved on, some to try other types of work, some in the same areas, some to work for customers, to enjoy using the software and its capabilities, rather than work on it. Many of those have returned to resume their career with SAMCO, and they were all welcomed back to what they often call “home”.
SAMCO has invested in its own Private Cloud, for their clients’ feeling of security and confidence, as they know where their data is being stored. Maintaining application Hosting on co-locations in several locations across Canada with access to the United States as well. Clients can login from anywhere in the world, using the Internet and have full access to their data running on the Companies servers via VPN, thus saving them considerable money up front for their own servers.
“We have always considered our staff and customers to be our most valued assets, and listen to all of them. Our staff is encouraged to bring their ideas and suggestions forward, both in weekly meetings and anytime they wish, the idea pot is never empty or closed.”
Barry Clarke, CEO:
The role of management is very crucial when it comes to the development of an organization and account management is the lifeblood of it. In a business to make any type of decision statistical information is needed and accounting provides it. It gives the information of every section of businesses including financial position, profit and loss, statical information of growth, and assets, liabilities etc.
So enters, SAMCO Software Inc., an accounting software developer company, which is designing modular accounting system for networks, Linux, Windows and OS X environments. The company has variety of vertical modules in order to handle retail point of sale, wholesale/distribution, and service management.
SAMCO’s Power Accounting provides total solutions, including from fact finding to determining the requirements of SMB’s in order to provide the correct hardware, software applications, installation, training, maintenance and on-going maintenances. It provides on site and hosted solutions for clients. At SAMCO, the first priority is to listen to customers, keep them in the loop, asking for their input while SAMCO’s staff is encouraged to put forth their ideas and what they have heard from customers, friends, the news, and the world in general.
SAMCO Software offers a range of services including hosted systems (email, applications, backup), network management, network and end users security as well as training for all its software packages. The company’s product line includes Core, Extended, Customized, eSAMCO and SAMCOCRM modules which are comprehensive solution to complete all kind of business needs.
Barry Clarke, the CEO, of SAMCO began his career in public accounting, with a partner, by setting up 7 offices in British Columbia and Alberta. He saw the “Big Picture”, purchasing the reseller rights to 7 Basic Accounting modules running on CPM computers with 8” floppy drives. These packages, after years of enhancement and modifications and core changes, became the company’s property, when the original company sold out. The enhanced software was used in the accounting offices and, Barry realized that with the introduction of DOS on the IBM PC, the accounting clients would be wanting to have their own computers. The software was moved to DOS and the market was evident. The accounting offices were eventually sold off and Barry headed up the new company, SAMCO Software Inc..
Sperry Corporation requested SAMCO to make their software available on their new Mini Computers running in Unix, which they did. The software was promoted by Sperry Corporation and had their first business offering for their new flagship servers in Canada. Tandy Corporation approached SAMCO to become a reseller of the software and along with Sperry, has brought about many Vertical Market add-ons to their basic applications including ones for: Fishing industry, Automotive & Truck Repair, Tire sales and a huge project, including handheld devices for Tire Recycling. The company has developed add-ons for Duty Free retails and wholesale distribution business, Point of Sale for many types of businesses and will continue to do so in the near future.
SAMCO expects to become a major player in their areas of expertise, providing a total solution, customized to fit any needs which are brought to them, while staying as a reasonably small company, with the employees all feeling like it is their second home. While the company is smaller than many, and the majority of their first customers, from 1983 and later, are still using the applications as they have grown with their requirements. Getting SMB’s to realize size is not always the best way to find a solution.
SAMCO realizes that their employees and customers are their most important assets and the employees want to see that the customers’ needs are met. In fact, many of its employees have left to work elsewhere and returned, some multiple times. Their lead programmer has been with the company since his graduation from University in 1983. It maintains support and development in the Head Office, and customers soon become familiar with most of the staff, and the staff with the customer’s business and methods.
“SAMCO’s support personnel have an excellent knowledge of the software and make sure that I completely understand the problem at hand and the reason behind the solution. I have dealt with a number of other help desks before and that’s exactly what they were – ‘Help Desks’. They were the ones that needed the help! There was very little support offered and from people without the required knowledge to give it. It really makes things easier knowing that if a problem arises it can be addressed and resolved in a reasonable amount of time.”
—Growers’ Supply Limited