A West Midlands company inundated with interest in its new 4D baby ultrasound images has found help on its doorstep with a new IT system designed by its neighbours.
The Baby Ultrasound Company ( TBUC), based in Lichfield, has been producing 3D photographs of babies in the womb to private patients since 2002 but now has 4D technology, allowing it to record a living image on video or DVD.
The company - which has a comprehensive Obstetric ultrasound service - has performed 1,500 such scans since introducing the technology in March, alongside the traditional ante-natal screens.
But in the face of rocketing demand for its 4D scans, the Lichfield firm needed a new IT system to keep on top of increased enquiries.
Jonathan Leonard, managing director of Must, TBUC's parent company, said that the solution came during discussions with Oceanworks UK, a web solution company based in the same Lichfield business village.
The company's Affinity system was initially designed for its own use, but the potential to adapt it to work for other small businesses was soon realised, especially those with staff working away from the office.
Affinity is similar to the Windows operating system, requiring minimal training, and is web-based so it can be accessed anywhere, allowing managers to stay in touch and get up to speed with what's going on in their organisation.
"Oceanworks pointed out the opportunities we were missing by not having an effective customer relationship management system, and introduced us to their Affinity system," said Mr Leonard.
"We had worked with basic CRMs (customer relationship management systems) but they were not as encompassing as this one and it was the simplest to use which was important for our staff who are not 'fresh' from college.
"They can now work independently from home and I am able to keep track of everything, and communicate simply using Affinity, which has really streamlined our operation."
Rory McCaffrey, managing director at Oceanworks, said many CRM's currently in the market place tend to be expensive, inflexible and complicated to use, making it impractical for small businesses.
"We found the company generated a lot of leads from their website and they needed a solution that could cater for the leads," he said.
"They employ people who work from home to handle the leads and they needed a solution that would allow these people to use one system, with a data trail, which means you can log in and see the progress and generate reports.
"Because CRMs tend to be designed for large organisations, smaller businesses who do use them often pay for applications they do not need and spend unnecessary time and money training staff on implementation.
"Our system is so simple that anyone literate in Windows applications can use it effectively as we have designed it to look and feel like a Windows desktop, eliminating training costs.
"After seeing how successfully it has been utilised by Must, we have now made it more adaptable for specific business applications and can add modules like a property manager for estate agents or a candidate manager for recruitment agencies, giving it universal appeal."