Invest Northern Ireland is helping Advance Systems, a Magherafelt technology company, to export its original software for managing cemeteries to markets outside Northern Ireland.
Advance Systems, formed by Malachy Devlin in 1997, has sold its Cemetery Pro software to major councils in Northern Ireland and has already received inquiries from England, the Republic of Ireland and the U.S. through its internet site.
Invest NI’s North West Local Office (NWLO) is providing marketing support to enable the company, which currently employs four people and is based at the Workspace business incubation complex in the Co Derry town, to explore opportunities in New York, particularly with organisations that assist those interested in tracing their family history.
Mr Devlin says: “Most cemetery management systems today are document-based. What Cemetery Pro offers is an easy to use means by which the records can be computerised. It is a very flexible, internet-based system for recording the ownership of plots, registering burials, printing out relevant certificates and also for issuing bills to undertakers.
“An important feature of the system is a powerful search engine that enables users to trace burial information, a facility that is especially useful for those interested in genealogy. It will also provide reports quickly in areas such as burials by month, region and gender, making it an important management tool.
“It includes a touch screen facility that enables the exact site of a particular plot in a cemetery to be pinpointed.
“The technology is a proven success with Northern Ireland councils such as Lisburn, Newry, Cookstown, Omagh and Strabane. We are currently in discussions with interested parties in England and the Irish Republic,” he adds.
Kevin Helferty, NWLO manager, outlining Invest NI’s backing for the Magherafelt company, said: “Advance has recognised that success in software can best be achieved through innovative products for niche markets.
“We are encouraging and assisting the company to build on its existing success in Northern Ireland by exploring export opportunities. Our support for innovative technology projects with global sales potential is an integral part of the North West Action Plan which seeks to strengthen the region’s business base.”
Cemetery Pro has been developed by Mr Devlin over the past three years. He established the company to realise an ambition to run his own business.
“I developed an interest in starting my own business during my time studying computer science at the University of Ulster,” he says, “Setting up and running my own business has been personally very satisfying. While it’s hard work and requires a great deal of commitment, being my own boss has been very rewarding. I appreciate greatly the guidance and support that I’ve received by Invest NI’s Derry office.”