On the 5th December 1991, Datos Professional Solutions began full time operations. The company was located in a spare room of MD David McKane’s house, remaining there until 1994 when they moved to rented premises.
The first software product was called COMiT (COMplete Information Technology) and it was decided to develop the product using the programming and database language ‘DataFlex’, which is developed by Data Access Corporation in Miami, Florida. In 1991 Data Access released their latest version of their development platform which used new programming techniques called OOP (Object Orientated Programming) and it was decided to develop COMiT using these new techniques. This was a major decision since these techniques were completely new to the software world.
COMiT was initially targeted at the manufacturing sector, designed to be flexible and accommodate different manufacturing techniques. Over the years we worked in a variety of sectors including the production of Vinyl Records, Plastic Bags, Ceramics Mouldings & various distribution Companies. However, it soon became more focused on the Food sector
In June 1993 Datos exhibited COMiT for the first time at the Object World Exhibition, London.
This was a turning point for the Company since they exhibited one of the first working programs using OOP in the UK.
Following the exhibition, David McKane was invited to a number of Companies to run training courses. In addition, some of the new classes developed by the Company were sold to other developers.
Pictured are David McKane and Colin Hanlon
Datos moved to rented accommodation in Portadown and in 1995 the premises were officially opened by Debora Vazquez, Vice President of Data Access Corporation.
Pictured: Deborah Vazquez – VP of Data Access Corporation, David McKane – Datos Professional Solutions and Steve Meeley – VP of Product Development (still the current VP of Development)
On the 20th March 1996, the Food Industry stood still – a statement was released from the Secretary of State for Health concerning the possible link between BSE in cows and new variant vCJD in humans. This had a catastrophic effect on the UK Beef Industry. The entire industry had to be re-engineered and rationalised along with intensive marketing activity to try and rebuild the domestic market and eventually the export market.
The industry faced a major challenge in restoring the high consumer confidence that beef once had. Systems of traceability, monitoring, quality control and assurance had to be established to bring back consumer faith.
It was at this stage that Datos decided that they would concentrate the development of COMiT based on the highly complex, yet growing food industry.
Datos continue to develop COMiT and in 1999 deployed the software for the first time using SQL.
One of these installations, Eden Valley Group are still using that very version of the software today.
COMiT continued to evolve, new modules were added including Customer Complaints, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), Batch Traceability etc.
Datos also began their first integration project with factory floor touch panel scales. This project involved the transfer of orders to a scale system and the receipt of the confirmed weights back.
In 2001 Direct Seafoods began their first implementation of COMiT. Their first implementation was actually at a catering butcher, Billfields in London, this was then followed up by Direct Seafoods London. Direct Seafoods have now evolved into Seafood Holdings and have grown to become the largest provider of fresh seafood in the UK. They operate Season in eight sites throughout the UK.
In 2005, Datos purchased their own property at 16 Armagh Road, Portadown. This property adjoins the property owned by the MD, David McKane, so in a way the business was returning to where it had all started back in 1991.
Datos House contains a purpose built demonstration facility along with training areas. The demonstration room is equipped with a variety of Touch Panel PC’s linked to scales along with wireless networked PDA’s linked via GPRS. It provides an ideal environment for a potential customer to experience how software can work in a practical, working environment.
COMiT was proving to be a great success to the Food Industry and providing vital solutions for many businesses.
Datos founded their new products division to develop software for hand held PDA’s and continue the development of integration with factory floor scales.
After an extensive development program Season Road was launched, this product allowed hand held PDA’s to communicate with their head office and provided a full Van Sales system along with a Van Delivery system.
Season Road allows drivers to be fully autonomous from their office, invoices can be created, printed, or emailed directly from a hand held device with customer signatures providing electronic POD’s.
Full Stock Management, control of customer receipts, and electronic orders can all be completed while ‘On the Road’.
In 2008 Datos began a rapid development program, at the end of 2007 it was decided to stop development of COMiT and begin developing a Windows version of the product using Visual DataFlex, this product was to be called ‘Season’.
This was a huge development program and at Foodex 2008, Season was launched.
Initially, the product was launched as a Sales Order Management system using COMiT ledgers for the financial accounts.
In the same year Datos began to develop their own software to run on touch panel scales. This product was to be called ‘Season Touch’ and it was launched to a number of eager customers in the Autumn of 2008.
Season Office, Touch and Road continued to evolve, new customers began to experience the benefits of the complete package and in 2010 the financial ledgers were finally completed.
This completed the development project to have a fully windows compatible Office, Factory and Road system.
COMiT had now been operational for 20 years. It had served the industry well and provided a vital solution for many businesses.
Datos had continued to develop their software and had a complete portfolio of products now based on the Windows operating systems.
Datos celebrated their 20th year of business, and reflected on their achievements as well as looking forward to the future. It is amazing, but some 20 years after its launch Datos still had customers using COMiT and some of these customers had not had an upgrade in years. This was testimony to the strength of the product, its reliability and endurance.
In 2012, the Season suite of Software received a rebrand.
A new Season Logo was designed and rolled out
Season Touch also received a name change to Season Factory
In May 2012, Datos entered the Craigavon Business Awards.
We received a Bronze award for ‘Best Export Initiative’ and beat 11 finalists to receive a Bronze Award for ‘Most Innovative Business’
In November 2012, Datos Staff decided to raise vital funds and awareness for mens health including prostate and testicular cancer by participating in Movember.
Movember is all about bringing back the moustache, having fun and doing it for a serious cause. ‘Mo Bros’ commit to growing a moustache for 30 days during November. The moustache is the symbol by which conversations are generated, and awareness and funds for men’s health are raised.
The Datos staff raised a total of £524 for this worthy cause.
At the end of 2012, Morgans Fine Fish based in Omeath, Ireland, implemented Season Road.
Having been a Datos client since 2009 running Season Office and Factory, this made them the first company to run all three products and their entire operations through Season.
Pictured at this milestone are Stephen Elliott from Datos and Brian McCullough from Morgans Fine Fish
In July 2013, Datos exhibited at the MeatUp Exhibition in Birmingham demonstrating their Season software.
The Datos technical team had been working on revamping the Season Factory software by modernising it and allowing it the capability to do more. This new software was launched at the exhibition.
To the future
Datos looks forward to a full development program including a full web based system and re-development of existing software by incorporating new technologies and techniques.