Rhonda Ridge Shares The History of AB Initio System's
Rhonda Ridge, Managing Director of AB Initio Systems Ltd and creator of the AdminBase Installer Business Management System shares her company’s history.
When did you first start?
After developing the system for some years I released the first version AdminBase at Glassex in 1995.
Did you have any adversities to overcome?
Not adversities as such but at first it was just myself working on AdminBase, doing everything, development, travelling to customers to install AdminBase and train them on using it; and then taking a long list of additional requirements back to the office to install them for the client. At this time, I had a young son so my husband travelled all over the country with me so we could take our child with us. We joke about how he saw every swimming pool and zoo in the country before he went to school.
What improvements have you seen in your products over the years?
Crucial for me was taking on my first employee in 1998. Roy Vassie took over all the installation and training of AdminBase and so all the travelling around the country – all before the days of remote access to companies’ computers. About this time, I took on someone to provide telephone support on AdminBase. These two things allowed me to focus on development and so AdminBase started to change rapidly.
My ethos has been to consider every single request for additional features from our installer customers and, coupled with IT progress in general, I believe that AdminBase still is the most fully featured integrated system you can find for this industry. Early examples of key fundamental changes were when we added a diary to manage sales appointments, installations and service calls – removing the need for the old T Card system. Then the ability to send emails and SMS messages directly from AdminBase was an important step.
Reporting is a very big part of AdminBase and we offer custom reports so that companies don’t have to change how they work when they take on AdminBase. Their existing reports can be created to come from AdminBase although there are a great many more in the system that they can also adopt.
Most recently we have released our mobile apps which many of our customers have called ‘the Holy Grail’. Companies can now operate without all the handwritten notes that often come back from front line operatives, which vastly improves communication and levels of customer service. Our latest development is the availability of the entire AdminBase software through a web browser, with the full system now available on any device.
How has your business changed?
Probably for us the most significant change has been the move to doing everything remotely. No more chasing up and down the country. That is so much better for the environment and you can get so much more done in a day. In fact for many years now we have demonstrated, installed and trained on line, remotely, so the coronavirus restrictions have not changed the way we work. Many installers are using the lockdown to install AdminBase for when we are able to return to work.
I have a fantastic team around me. Some of them have been with me for decades, others have joined much more recently. I try to listen to them and take on board their ideas for improvements. With their help with all the administration, development and support of our customers I can focus on the bigger picture to make sure we keep abreast of new developments and technologies in the world of software and make sure AdminBase is continually evolving with the needs of customers and the marketplace. That has worked very well for us and gives people what they need to run their businesses efficiently and profitably, under any circumstances.