Consistent Change Offers Adjunct Services for SoftLanding Tools
June 23, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As all of us who grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s can tell you, three is the magic number. And as many of you know, while working alone as an IT consultant and having the freedom to set your own work schedule, build your own client base, and do the kind of work you find rewarding is a beautiful thing, sometimes it would be very useful if we could get cloned and thereby cover more customers and leave less money on the table. That is, of course, why professionals form partnerships, and often they form limited liability corporations.
Such is the case for three independent experts for application life cycle management and security tools from the formerly independent SoftLanding Systems, who have ganged up to provide ancillary services for the TurnOver software change management and SoftMenu security programs now sold by Unicom Systems, which acquired SoftLanding Systems in October 2006. The partners in the newly constituted corporation, which is called Consistent Change, have all been providing training and implementation services for TurnOver and other SoftLanding Systems programs, and have each implemented the software at hundreds of companies over the years.
Donna Westmoreland, who runs a consultancy called WestComp in Houston, Texas, has the longest experience, at 15 years, with SoftLanding’s products and was for two years early in her career an employee of the company. She does project management and security implementation work for the OS/400 and i5/OS platform as well as training and implementation of SoftLanding’s products. Joan McKittrick, who runs a consultancy called Solutions First based outside of Los Angeles that does project management and security for the OS/400 and i5/OS platform, has 13 years of experience implementing SoftLanding’s tools. And finally, Greg King, who runs a consultancy called Endeavor Software Development of Portland, Oregon, and who does RPG application development, has 10 years of experience implementing SoftLanding’s tools and providing training to users. The three are equal members of Consistent Change, and they don’t have titles other than “consultant.” They have banded together so they can multithread the workloads they have as they relate to the TurnOver and SoftMenu tools. Several years ago, SoftLanding said that it had over 1,200 customers using its TurnOver product alone, so the potential customer based that Consistent Change is reaching out to is quite large.
The three members of Consistent Change want to be clear about a few things. First and foremost, they want to stress their independence from both SoftLanding prior to the acquisition and Unicom Systems since the acquisition. The three are not affiliated with Unicom individually, and neither is the new corporation that they have formed specifically to offer training and implementation support for SoftLanding’s tools. The other thing that Consistent Change is not doing is offering third-party maintenance support for the SoftLanding tools. If you want maintenance for SoftLanding’s products, you have to pay Unicom for it.
So what services is Consistent Change offering to i shops? Anything else. “We come across plenty of sites where there hasn’t been a change control manager who copes with the day to day stuff, and now we can offer these services,” says King. “We are here to fill in the gaps and help customers understand parts of the TurnOver system that they might be activating for the first time.” This includes giving a facelift to change management workflows, making code implementations smoother, preparing for auditors, emergency administration if an employee is sick or has left unexpectedly, and training of new administrators and users, particularly for new features like WebSphere Development Studio Client plug ins.
The partners in Consistent Change can span the globe, thanks to the Internet, and they use Citrix Systems‘ GoToMeeting software to work remotely with customers. They also provide onsite training and implementation, obviously. It costs $1,900 a day for an onsite engagement, plus travel and lodging expenses, and customers who sign up for a long-term contract get price breaks. It obviously costs a lot less for phone or Web engagements, but pricing is really done on a customer-by-customer basis, as is the tradition in the IT services area.