The Wimbledon, SW-based software house Planning Sciences Ltd is continuing its strong growth pattern of reporting an annual doubling in profits, with interims of UKP410,000 on turnover of UKP1.2m. The company’s Peter Morrell attributes this to the fact that the information services market in which Planning Sciences operates is one of the hottest areas at […]
The Wimbledon, SW-based software house Planning Sciences Ltd is continuing its strong growth pattern of reporting an annual doubling in profits, with interims of UKP410,000 on turnover of UKP1.2m. The company’s Peter Morrell attributes this to the fact that the information services market in which Planning Sciences operates is one of the hottest areas at present. The company was set up six years ago by two people from Intelligence UK who had worked on the Micro Modeller product. The first product Planning Sciences offered was the MS-DOS financial modelling system MasterModeller which is now used by around 1,000 companies in the UK. It enables users to build a controlled, secure environment in which they can, for example, produce their own end of year results. Planning Sciences’ present level of corporate growth is currently being fuelled by sales of its MS-DOS executive information system EIS-EPiC, which was launched last year. It is now in use in about 80 companies, and Morrell claims it gives senior executives intuitive access to corporate data. A prerequisite for any product aimed at senior executives is a mouse or touch screen and EIS-EPiC is no exception to this rule. Planning Sciences wanted to create a product that delivered the benefits of computing to computer-illiterate users; consequently the company designed a highly configurable system enabling the user to select hotspots on screen and then gain access to underlying data via a hypercube. This way executives can produce graphical and report formats from underlying data, as well as being in a position to accept data from any proprietary system such as Oracle or Ingres. The Planning Sciences products have until recently been sold by the company’s direct sales force, but ICL has now agreed to distribute EIS-EPiC worldwide in a non-exclusive deal. According to Morrell, this is the first hardware company to make a strategic alliance with an executive information service software house and Planning Sciences is justifiably proud of itself. As for the future the company, naturally enough, intends to grow. It looks to double its size annually for the next couple of years and thereafter it will slow down a little. Acquisitions are not out of the question – after all the company’s EIS-EPiC product came from the acquisition of Impact Information Systems last year. Morrell insists, however, that expansion will occur only within the bounds of profitability and without borrowings. Organically, he believes the company has three main areas for growth: the penetration of overseas markets, the development of its consultancy service and new software products. In terms of export Planning Sciences is going great guns in Australia where the tiny UK company has pulled off a deal with the Royal Australian Navy for EIS-EPiC. Its products have also been launched in Finland and France, but it is as yet too early to see how they are prospering. Active distribution discussions are reported to be taking place in the US. As for consultancy, it would like to encourage skill transfer to the end-user organisations it serves, helping them to customise their software packages. And it intends to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and is considering which operating system offers longevity for its information services product portfolio.