Androcles Consultants is a dynamic and innovative London based MAC consulting firm operated by a Andrew Daws providing customers with outstanding MAC IT program management, technical support, logistical, and executive level support, while maximizing innovation and cost reduction for individuals and business.

 

Alternative Plans Ltd from one machine to 65 on 4 sites

Alternative Plans

is a high end Kitchen and Bathroom Design business based in Battersea and Notting Hill. My first exposure to Macs was selling Planit, a kitchen design program, and the first to provide high quality perspective drawings of the proposed kitchen.

Alternative Plans bought their first Mac in 1988, a Mac Plus. Unusually they did have a computer system at the time, a 6 user Rair system for running their accounts, but that was soon replaced by a Mac based accounting system.

Gradually over the next twenty years the network built up to 65 machines on 4 sites (they set up a warehouse in Merton, and took over a bathroom design company in Richmond,

Original Bathrooms

, run by members of one of the director’s family). Initially working on a peer-to-peer network I set up email, shared contacts and calendars, and file and printer sharing. But with the move to a multiple site business we needed a fully fledged server and a virtual private network, partly as the staff needed to be able to access their files at any workstation in any of the four sites.

Original Bathrooms also approached me (even before Alternative Plans took them over). Their first request, apart from getting their machines up to scratch, was to design a bathroom quote database (like Planit but with no graphics). This I did originally in FileMaker, but we moved onto a system written in Omnis as that gave us greater flexibility. Over time they wanted to move to an integrated system for doing Order Processing, Stock Control and Accounting as part of the same process, as they also distributed bathrooms under the Beaufort Bathrooms brand. To that end we engaged the services of a company who had written an Omnis database for a computer distributor, and they integrated the bathroom quoting database into their system.

Eventually we saw the craziness of having an outside consultant running such a large and complex network on a part time basis, and they now have a dedicated IT support person on their staff.

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Andrew Daws

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