Reflections on 30 years: A message to our clients - The Blytheco Blog

Reflections on 30 years: A message to our clients

Blytheco started in 1980. At that time, I worked for Price Waterhouse, one of the “Big 8” accounting firms. In 1980, mainframes and mini-computers ruled the day and you needed a quarter of a million dollar mini-computer and 5 programmers to run even the most basic of accounting systems (GL, AP, AR and maybe a light inventory system). To put this all in perspective, this was 2 years before Microsoft had DOS and IBM had a PC.

Blytheco was started because it was unethical for a CPA firm to sell products to its clients. It was also a questionable practice to do anything other than opine on the past activities of a company, i.e., audit and tax work. At the time I was working for a Price Waterhouse partner to generate new business opportunities from small companies wanting to grow. These companies had one thing in common. They needed funding to achieve their goals. To get funding, these companies needed business system controls, financial reporting, and forecasts and projections that showed the ability to achieve a ROI on the investor’s monies.

Since I enjoyed programming in college, the geek in me purchased an Apple II 48k computer when they came out with 2 floppy .144m disk drives. That’s about 1/8th of a megabyte. I also purchased a new program: VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet. With that computer, I was able to replace 20+ CPAs doing manual spreadsheet projections for our consulting clients. I showed my work to the partner and we purchased one for the office. Since I had mastered the basics of VisiCalc and knew how to insert a floppy disk, I was now the “Office Computer Expert.”

We were approached by a startup organization called “State of the Art,” (SOTA). They were an off-shoot of Basic-4. They had adapted the MAI Basic-4Accounting system to run on the Apple II and the new Apple III and called it the ‘FM series’. Price Waterhouse opined that the software met Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and thus my relationship with SOTA/Sage began. Blytheco was their first reseller and I sold their software to my clients at Price Waterhouse. For $10,000 to $12,000, a client could get a single user computer with basic financials and core accounting functionality.

Was this unethical or visionary?

Either way, Blytheco became the way to provide business systems and software to my clients before computer stores or electronic warehouses even existed.

In 1982, the IBM PC was introduced.

In 1985, MAS 90 was released. MAS 90 stood for “Master Accounting Series of the 90’s.”

In 1987, SOTA released the UNIX version and shipped source code by mistake. Blytheco modified that release and after some negotiations back and forth the “Master Developer” program was created to license source code for MAS 90 to a handful of VARs like Blytheco.

In January, 1998, Sage acquired State of the Art.

Today, Sage is the # 3 provider of business software in the world, behind SAP and Oracle, which focus on Fortune 1000 companies.

Sage acquired over 20 business software brand names in our industry. Sage has 6.2 million customers and 13,000 employees. Blytheco is Sage’s largest Value Added Reseller (VAR).

As Sage’s first VAR, we have had the privilege of growing our business along with Sage. Blytheco has been an active participant on all the Sage BPACs – Business Partner Advisory Councils – and is a role model and mentor for many other resellers in our industry.

Blytheco has been honored to be named Sage Business Partner of the Year for multiple product lines for the last 12 years.

A lot has happened in 30 years. Our industry has matured, expanded and is now consolidating. The days of the country doctor or cowboy consulting approach to our business are almost gone. Client expectations have grown exponentially. They want experts in the business areas they are trying to solve, not just break-fix software technicians.

Our 30 year history and leadership role with Sage are a solid foundation that allows our consultants to maximize the benefits of the Sage software to provide solutions to meet our clients’ needs.

Blytheco’s consolidation of the top Sage US business partners’ consulting teams provides YOU the depth and breadth of experience and resources that come with a staff of 120. Our significant client base allows us to develop consultants who specialize in specific business process and vertical industries.

It’s not that we are any smarter; we implement and support more Sage business systems than anyone else. That experience reduces your risk and increases the value you receive.

In 1980, it was just core accounting. Today to implement or run a business system you need to know: ERP, core accounting, distribution, web storefront, customer self-service, warehouse management, jobshop/build-to-order, discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, business intelligence tools, PCI credit card processing, information security, wide area networks, and firewalls.

That’s just the top layer. There are hundreds of specialty and sub-specialty areas in each one of those and that’s just ERP and ‘basic accounting’. If you add CRM – Customer Resource Management, sales force automation, and human resources, the list just keeps on growing.

While the country doctor is good enough to handle the flu, when something goes wrong, you really need to go to the specialist. If you had cancer, would you go to your general practitioner or a doctor down the street? No, you would want to be affiliated with the best specialists in the world. Someone who has helped more people than anyone else.

Business systems are just like your health. When something goes wrong, it affects your employees, your customers – your business. Sure, most technicians have access to a knowledge base and can look up an error code and fix simple issues with your business system.

However, if that is how you are utilizing Blytheco staff, you are not receiving the value you deserve. What is the cost of NOT implementing an optimal solution? What is the cost of doing it right the second time? What is the cost of NOT doing it at all?

The vision of Blytheco is that we partner with you to increase your business success via tools and best practices to optimize your business. There is much more to our business than break-fix software support.

Successful Blytheco clients utilize our consultants to meet regularly with their management teams to enhance their business systems and work flows.Sometimes the smallest changes can have significant value to these clients. We deliver the experience of working with a wide variety of client types and sizes that allow us to share ideas and solutions that other companies have deployed.

If you have a critical project or business process to solve, you need to bring in the specialist. We strongly encourage you to consider working with one of our senior consultants and implement a quarterly business process review meeting with your management team. You will be surprised that a significant number of your requirements already exist in the software you own. Today, an average client only uses 10-20% of an ERP or CRM application.

Blytheco’s ‘national presence with a local touch’ gives you the comfort of a local office with experienced specialists that only a national firm can provide.

The bottom line is Blytheco is committed to partnering with you, our valued clients, to help realize your business goals by providing quality software solutions and exceptional professional services.

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for making Blytheco what it is today. Without your support and desire to improve your businesses we would not be who we are.

I pledge to you that we are committed to expanding our business and hiring and developing knowledgeable staff that can offer new and exciting solutions to your ever-growing business needs.

We are not perfect, no company or person is. However, we are asking you to help us become the partner you need us to be. How can we improve to meet your business needs? What business solutions and services can we help you with to improve your business and allow you to focus on your core competencies? How can we help you meet your goals?

In addition, Blytheco’s management has always instilled a need to support local charities and our team members are involved on a regular basis supporting the less fortunate and those in need. I am personally active in 7 non-profits.

So, you may be asking why are we talking about charities?

Well, today we are introducing a new Blytheco initiative that will provide 1,000 free consulting hours to our clients and generate over $100,000 to selected charities.

We will request that our clients submit an online application describing a business objective that they are trying to meet, or a problem they are trying to solve. We request that you describe how that would improve your business and estimated VALUE if that objective was met or problem was solved.

Over the next 6 months, we will select 50 clients from the applications received.

We will donate 8 hours of design and consulting services towards their project.

We will also provide an additional 8 hours for these clients to GIFT to a non-Blytheco customer, one of YOUR customers or vendors.

In addition we will select up to 5 applications to provide the remaining 200 hours of professional services.

For the 8 hours of professional services provided to our clients, and the 8 hours to be gifted to another organization, we request that the client contribute a minimum of $500 to one of our selected charities.

We offer this program in a spirit of giving back to our clients while allowing them to ‘pay it forward’ and give to another business in need as well as support a worthy charity.

We hope that you become as excited about the concept as we are and choose to participate.

We will be releasing the details and will begin accepting applications in July.

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