Sinara at 30: the early years (1989 -1991)
In 2019, Sinara Consultants are celebrating our 30th anniversary. To mark this significant milestone, we’ll be publishing a series of blog entries that look back on some of the events and projects over that time. This entry covers our early years, including the search for a name and challenging customer feedback (flying keyboards!).
Sinara Consultants Limited was incorporated on 16th June 1989 by 3 of the current directors, Phil Bain, Dennis Church & Steve Dobb. The aim of the new company was to produce high quality and practical software solutions to business problems.
All three founding directors had previously worked together as software engineers, and already had experience in networked and multi-user microcomputer systems in an age where such knowledge was not as widespread as today. These skills had been applied across a number of business sectors, but principally the financial and publishing industries.
The first issue for the new company was to come up with a name, more difficult than it appears. But after due consideration, and at the cost of only six pints of IPA, Sinara Consultants Limited was chosen and registered. For those interested in the etymology of the name suffice to say that Sinara is not a real acronym.
Sinara’s first major assignment was for Datacorp Ltd, a small London based company whose Microsoft Windows based dealing room products integrated a wide range of digital and video information feeds.
Sinara helped develop a variety of interfaces to various sources including IBM mainframes, Reuters Quote Feed and the London Stock Exchange’s Topicline. More interesting perhaps was the rewriting of the video switch software. Some say embedded 80186 and Z80 assembler coding has gone out of fashion, though Dennis still awaits their return as major development languages.
Sinara’s work was of sufficient value that when Datacorp were taken over by Quotient plc in June 1990, we were kept on within the new software development department. This was a pattern that was soon to repeat itself.
In 1991 Sinara’s relationship with Quotient changed in name when the latter was bought by ACT Group plc. Our technical capability combined with our track record for delivery ensured that Sinara were still part of the ongoing development process. This association would last for a few years to come, and would transcend yet another takeover.
1991 was also the year that saw Sinara provide a small team to international money broker Exco International (which subsequently became part of ICAP) to help automate their front and back-office systems, a team that was to remain in place for nearly three years. The work was interesting using a variety of technologies, not all of which have stood the test of time, for example OS/2. But the outcome was very successful; the system was rolled out world-wide and was still in use well into the new millennium. Looking back however the most vivid memory is that of the 1990’s trading room culture. Support can be quite challenging when the user reaction to a sluggish system response is to throw the keyboard out of the second floor window.
Next up…our first office, our first employee, and an interrupted wedding!