Founder, Chris Colman
Step Ahead Software performs both desktop application software development and website development for a large variety of companies. These companies range from large to small. Some of the larger companies that we have developed software for that you probably know are Lucent and Canon.
Step Ahead Software are also the creators of the pagebloom enterprise content management system CMS through which this site is hosted. pagebloom combines our many years of writing enterprise level software with the latest web technologies to produce an outstanding content management system that is both powerful and easy to learn and use.
Step Ahead Software was incorporated in 1994 by Chris Colman and started as a one day per week contracting business while he held a 4 day a week job at another company. By 1995 the contracting work took over and he left the security of full time employment to operate Step Ahead Software full time. One of the things Chris discovered early on was that his customers really liked him and the Step Ahead Software service. Customers just keep hanging on. In fact we still work on the original products developed for our first clients in the early days.
Apparently customers still appreciate honesty, good work ethics and robust, high quality, reliable software! It seems obvious but given the way customers embrace the Step Ahead Software experience we can only assume that delivering the quality products and services that we deliver isn't something many of our competitors are delivering.
By the mid 1990s Step AHead Software had built up some very impressive reusable frameworks and used them customer products as well as in their own products. AnFX, a Java and Flash rich text authoring environment was developed in 1996. Also released around this time were Visual Classworks (C++) and Javelin (Java). There are visual object oriented development tools that were way ahead of their time. We've been using them and improving them over many years as the core of our object modeling for our own products and client products. Developing code via a visual representation of the software architecture has productivity benefits that are way beyond initial expectations. It has to be experienced to be believed.
In the late 1990's Step Ahead Software took on a major contract with JNA (which was subsequently bought out by Lucent Technologies - we like to think that it was because the software we wrote for them was so impressive =] ). We used a lot of our flexible pluggable frameworks to create a world beating application in the telecommunications industry. The purpose of the application to configure networks of a new type of telecommunications device within a visually oriented topology map. The visual nature of the application meant that it was extremely easy and intuitive to manage the networks and their devices. It was so impressive that a couple of visiting US representatives from Lucent concluded, after a demonstration of the product, that is was the most impressive, easiest and most intuitive system for configuring such networks that they had ever seen.
In the early 2000s Step Ahead Software started providing contract development work in the financial services sector. We used our extensive Java and graphical skills to produce an application that enabled virtually anyone to perform data conversions using a clever and powerful generic converter engine that we also produced. Up until this stage each different type of data set was being converted via a dedicated program that had to be written and maintained by a programmer. Each new data set presented a huge commitment of developer resources and incurred a future maintenance commitment. With the new generic converter people with no programming skills were able to achieve data conversion in one or two days instead of waiting up to 6 months for a programmer to develop a new dedicated data converter program.
Around 2004 Step Ahead Software was invited to express interest in a new product being developed by Canon. When we attended the first brief we were amazed by how much of a good fit the product was with so many of our existing off the shelf frameworks. When we demonstrated existing products that used the frameworks we were awarded the contract within a few days. This product has been a major success for Canon and we really enjoyed working with such a well established company who share our vision of dedication to quality and reliability.
Towards the end of this decade our focus has moved towards web development and the software that powers all modern websites. We have developed our own enterprise ready content management system that enables anyone to create a powerful and effective website for their enterprise. The product is called pagebloom and once again we've used our legendary ability to create intuitive, easy to use software to build a powerful yet easy to learn system for creating/managing and hosting websites.
Since it's founding in 1994 Step Ahead Software has been based in the northern suburbs of Sydney, Australia. We're only 40 minutes drive from the centre of Sydney which makes it possible to meet with our city based clients whenever necessary. We also service international customers at very competitive rates.