After building and designing software, users must continually update it.
That was what Brian Anderson and Marty Balkema aimed to do when they launched LOFT last year.
The duo are co-founders of Augusto Digital, which specializes in building and designing custom software solutions for businesses. After working on building software for different companies, businesses and organizations for years, Anderson said they wanted to offer a different service that Augusto wasn’t created to do.
“There are two sides of the coin when it comes to software systems,” Anderson said. “There is the construction side, the development side and that is what Augusto Digital is. We focus on software projects for companies and we help them build digital products for their businesses, and LOFT is a support and property management business that is complementary to Augusto but runs independently. There is a whole different engagement model than what you’d deal with on the development and construction side.”
Anderson and Balkema launched LOFT, which is a software maintenance and support business that focuses on applications, websites and mobile apps by providing technical support, security upgrades, troubleshooting bug fixes, conversion optimization for SaaS and e-commerce, among other things.
“We built LOFT to become that digital property management company, essentially, that is solely focused on maintaining and supporting software that is already built,” Balkema said. “We can focus on it because we think we can do a better job.”
While the technological world changes, especially new solutions developers use to build software, Anderson said for the last 20 years, many companies in Grand Rapids have been building its websites in Microsoft .NET, which is an old website builder. As a result, IT professionals who built those systems decades ago are now invested in building new software, leaving those companies with old software that needs to be updated, which is where LOFT fits in. It is working to prevent companies from doing a complete overhaul of its software system.
“There are a lot of options now, but there are a lot of companies in town that have Microsoft .NET running key business systems that they have built over the years and those systems aren’t going away because they have invested a lot of money into those systems,” Anderson said.
Although two decades is a lifetime away in the world of technology, Anderson said software solutions are rapidly changing, and the software that businesses are using now will be deemed as “old” three years from now because engineers and IT specialists are continually working on the next big solution.
Anderson said there is about a three-year life cycle for (software) before it has a fairly sizeable disruption. However, during those three years, there are glitches, bugs, data breaches and inaccurate reports that can frequently occur.
“Like any property, there is monthly or regular support needed for software,” Balkema said.