Functional Solutions more than 25 years ago by the grace of God was given $100,000 by Ferntree Computers to take over their 85 school library customers of the Ocelot Library system as they were pulling out of this market and would be dumping these schools.
To put perspective behind this history; the average wage back then was $28,000/year, all library software licenses were a minimum of $35,000 to purchase plus $6,000 annual support and there were 28 library products to choose from.
A gift of $100,000 went in the face of all commercial business decisions, especially from a corporate organization. This so inspired us that we decided we would honour this legacy and as we had “freely received, we would freely give”.
We decided to freely give away our software free of any purchase or license fees and only charge a nominal support fee of $2,000 for primary schools and $5,000 for secondary schools. Additionally, we also committed never ever to charge for upgrades.
This went against the grain of all commercial business practices, especially in the education sector.
What surprised us then and still continues to surprise us today is the ridicule and negative reporting from education departments and our competitors about our business practices in regards price.
Now in July 2017, I am pleased to report we have been vindicated against all the naysayers and our competitors (most of whom are no longer in business), we are still here. Additionally, our competitors no longer charge excessive obscene license and purchase cost.
The big benefit for education is funds are rightly being placed where they should be; in material resources and NOT services.
We believe we have single handily brought down the cost to market realistic terms.
Well, what about the future?
My next blog we will tell you our direction and how we believe we will also succeed in this new direction.
Our business ethos is “education is a right and NOT a privilege”. Anything we can do to make our ethos a reality for every student is our goal!
Michael Fernandez, CEO Functional Solutions International P/L