Not many software companies can say that the biggest businesses, municipalities, and organizations in the world use their products. But A.Net Solutions Inc. can. Started in 2004 and headquartered in Ottawa, the company provides business and IT services in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States for public and private groups, including governments, state departments, and nonprofits.
A.Net Solutions’ latest piece of tracking software, DataByDesign, offers a fully customizable interface designed to be intuitive and hassle-free, allowing users to search all fields and generate various reports, which are then available online. The software was launched in 2012 and is available at anetsolutions.com.
The foundation for this widespread influence is a single, key piece of tracking software, which evolved from an original piece of software that president and CEO Annette Noronha first found and wanted to change while working for a consulting company under contract with the government.
Noronha’s own firm supported this original software—WebCIMS, WebDocFlow, and Inbound—when she began the business 10 years ago, but she quickly discovered certain limitations. “There were many enhancements and needs of our clients that were not being incorporated into the software,” she says.
At the time, a US company owned the software and let many upgrades fall by the wayside. A.Net tried to implement modifications, but its efforts were not well received. That’s when Noronha decided to buy the Canadian rights, and she invested in software upgrades to stabilize the product, fix bugs, and add extra requirements for clients in Canadian governing bodies. In 2009, clients in the US asked A.Net to take over support for them, but as the company did so, it realized that its products were already becoming obsolete.
It was at this point that Noronha decided to develop a new product with more functionality than the one she had purchased. “I had always wanted to build a piece of software that was very dynamic and would meet all clients’ needs for tracking,” she says. “I wanted to offer a product capable of tracking anything out there. That’s when DataByDesign Tracking Solutions was born.”
That program is now A.Net’s tentpole offering, with layers that add flexibility atop the company’s old systems and with unprecedented customization built into each of its screens. “Clients can place fields wherever they want,” says Marc Poulin, director of technical services. Administrators can add subscreens, share permissions with other users, and choose robust security settings. The manipulable program also boasts drag-and-drop functionality, a graphical user interface, and seamless links, allowing companies or departments to configure the software in intuitive and business-driven ways to track correspondence, grants, calendars, findings, recommendations, hierarchies, documents, notes, invitations, and complaints.
Poulin says that A.Net’s experience with Canadian municipalities has helped the company understand what clients are looking for, and it has taught him how to identify gaps in current software. Noronha agrees. “We keep in very close contact with our clients to learn what their needs are,” she says. “That’s how we developed this effective and responsive product.”
Now that DataByDesign has launched, A.Net has its eye on the future. Since governments are always transitioning and changing, the software needs to evolve. Noronha and her team are also expanding, looking at new markets such as legal, oil, and gas. “Our product is fully customizable and configurable,” Poulin says. “Clients can change any field to fit their needs, so we are always looking to add functionality. That’s how we approach new clients.” A.Net is even preparing e-learning modules and building its own app for mobile outlets.
As it moves deeper into 2014, A.Net is also increasingly focused on expanding into the private sector. The company has completed a value-added partnership in the United States and is looking for similar deals in the UK and Europe. On the software side, Poulin and Noronha are adding functional reply components and automation to printing and shipping processes. These steps will help solidify A.Net’s growing place as a leader in the world of tracking solutions.