Tucked away in a small office in the ABS-CBN Building along Perdices Road, nine programmers are putting together business applications. This is a young team, composed of graduates of schools from Dumaguete City and headed by a lead veteran programmer. This is Ryte Solutions, Inc., and
it's representative of one of Oriental Negros' possible futures in outsourcing.
Ryte Solutions is a startup company, put together by Youson Uymatiao, Lindon Seediet, Benjie Calderon, Alex Aguel and John Villanueva. It had been an idea long in gestation and with several aborted attempts. In February this year, things finally came together.
The team has several systems lined up. In the advanced stages are a general warehouse management system, a hospital billing system, and point-of-sale terminals for department stores and restaurants. These are being developed for Ryte's first customers but could very well form the
backbone of systems for other companies.
While these general business systems may be regular fare for software development houses, one aspect that's truly exciting is Ryte's use of Linux as their deployment platform. Linux is virus-free and has substantially lower costs than the corresponding Windows operating system. Overall, costs for customers should be lower.
Instead of deploying a web-based interface, Ryte chose to use Borland Kylix, a rapid application development tool. running Pascal underneath.
Using Kylix, Ryte's developers have put together very professional looking and visually-pleasing interfaces for their applications. This is a boon to users who will barely, if at all, notice the underlying operating system. I saw the results myself and was suitably impressed.
As of this writing, Ryte is on track to deploy their applications to Friendly Mart in
Dipolog City, Southern Negros Doctors Hospital in Kabangkalan, and Cebu Tristar Corporation, an electrical parts distribution network in Cebu City.
Being a startup, Ryte's success is by no means guaranteed, but there's a very good chance that it will, and we can hope other ventures will soon follow.
Underneath this story are some important lessons worth expanding on.
Starting a software development company is no easy task, as Youson explained in our chat. Prospective customers usually look for a track record of successful implementation, either by the company itself, or if not that, then key people within the company. One of Ryte's primary aims is to establish the company track record and gain a foothold in the market.
The linchpin in the Ryte business plan is veteran application developer Alex Aguel, a graduate of Silliman University and formerly head programmer at Ingram in Cebu. Alex brings to Ryte the programming skills and business experience, both of which he is imparting to his young proteges.
Attracting native talent back into Oriental Negros is a key component into further development of the province. India and China have demonstrated the ripple effect of repatriated specialists; there's reason to believe that this also works on province-level. People like Alex bring back the experience and the stature of their achievements, fuel for the province's dreams of outsourcing glory.
Attracting young local talent is also key. Ryte pays its young programmers rates which are competitive with the Cebu software development market (and correspondingly above par for the Dumaguete market). Apart from the working experience, this provides them with added incentive to
stay in Dumaguete, thus becoming the future core of experts in the province.
Who knows? Perhaps one day, Ryte will become a large company, but despite its size will become too small for young and big dreams. And perhaps this current crop of developers will become technopreneurs themselves and attract the next generation of people with the right stuff.