Holding down jobs, while trying to study for a degree, was hard enough for students Patrick Devine and John Hope without trying to work out their weekly rotas. While discussing their experiences at work, both entrepreneurs realised that the problem was down to the weekly roster, always being poorly communicated. With Patrick and John a good understanding of the internet and web based applications they decided that a web browser was the ideal platform to build a workforce management system.
“During my time at college I was working in a night club,” says Patrick. “While John, was working in a shop. Because both our managers didn’t seem to know when staff where available to work they had difficulty creating the following week’s schedule. This meant that neither of us was ever quite sure when we were supposed to work. That’s when we had a light bulb moment!”
Together they developed Rotify - a web based app that allows managers to create and publish employee schedules over the internet. Rotify also allows staff to log on to the system making management aware of their availability. This flexibility helps to create rotas more efficiently, preventing under/overstaffing and saving managers and staff time and money.
While Patrick and John had some experience of how to start a business and the knowledge to develop this application, they did not know how to prepare a business plan and how to take the business to international markets.
After being successfully accepted on to Invest NI’s Propel Programme Patrick believes they received the expert guidance they needed on how to price their product in Northern Ireland and how to sell at an international level.
“If it wasn’t for the Propel programme our business might never have got off the ground” says Patrick. “We certainly wouldn’t be in the position we are today without it. The support and guidance offered is unrivalled and it turned out to be vital for our business. Thanks to Invest NI we have been able to acquire customers on a global scale.”
At present the application is being tested by several businesses around the world with a planned launch date in October 2012.