(Extracted from the Observer July 18, 2014)
Local IT consulting firm, Ingenuity Technology is offering open-source application systems that could see small businesses saving some $500,000 in start-up cost.
The application, an alternative to software applications such as Cronos, Oracle and SAP, is used to provide solutions for the integration of accounting packages, customer relations, manufacturing and human resources as well as inventory services.
"We saw that there was a need for manufacturing and inventory management solutions and we have clients that had applications in place but got tired of having to pay annual subscription fees," Ruth Smalling, sales and marketing manager of Ingenuity Technology Limited told the Caribbean Business Report.
The annual subscription fee charged by Cronos, SAP and Oracle application managers, usually takes into consideration the number of users, support and maintenance fees as well as the cost of upgrading the system.
Ingenuity currently offers the application free to customers in exchange for a one-time installation, support, maintenance and training cost.
"Other companies that use open-source solutions have a payment structure that really should not be the case," said Smalling. "Open-source technology should be free as it considered an ethical obligation of the developers to provide it because it is free on the internet."
Open-source applications can also be customised to suit the needs of each customer. Currently, the cost associated with customization, installation or training stands at $3500 per hour across the board.
"We have to train individuals to use the programme, but what I normally do is train a super-user and that person will then train his employees which would help to offset the cost of having to all the employees," Smalling said.
According to Smalling, training and installation usually last for two hours, totalling $7,000.
So far, Ingenuity Technology has served clients such as First Global Bank, Caribbean Cement Company, Supreme Ventures Limited and the Students' Loan Bureau (SLB).
Smalling explained that new users have expressed concern about the security of the system; as a result of it is being offered free. She however, highlighted that changing the components of the application upon ownership would correct that misconception.
"If my customer gets an application and changes some the components, it's much harder for someone to hack the system as the customer have already changed some parts of the code," she said. "They would need some understanding of the entire code to write a virus for the application."
The company, which started operations in 2009, currently has a staff complement of 10 and is seeking to recruit another programmer and two sales representatives for its continued growth.
Ingenuity also provides application management, business consulting, business processes service, custom software development, IT outsourcing, system integration and infrastructure services.