When newly developed software works - when clients start buying it - the talk gets big fast: "We are changing the way code is built," says Chris Gali, cofounder of Enterprise Cloudworks, from the conference room past the pool table in his high-rise offices at 1818 Market St.
"Right now, we are 52 people. By the end of the year, we will be 75. My belief is that in two and a half years, we'll be 350, right here on Market Street, Philadelphia," says Jim Rourke, the firm's president.
Enterprise Cloudworks makes GraphiteGTC (Graph To Code), a software platform for non-programmers.
GraphiteGTC collapses the often tedious business of writing, matching, and updating the varying software that modern institutions cobble together to link secure data, mobile systems, and cloud-based remote servers beneath a string of shapes the company designed to depict basic business needs. The hieroglyphs include 110 "screen widgets" representing forms, displays, toolbars, graphics; and 22 shapes that "build behaviors" to guide data flow.
Place them in order for what you want to do, and GraphiteGTC compiles code the firm says is accurate, detailed, compatible with the bewildering range of common business software, compliant with Microsoft and other industry standards, and tracked clearly, to make it easy to update and fix.
Enterprise Cloudworks started as Adminovate in 2012; that's now the name of its busiest division, which sells to insurance companies. Gali and cofounder Chris Doggett sold their previous company, Chester insurance software developer AdminServer, to Oracle Corp. for $125 million in 2008.
There are dozens of simplifying "platform-as-a-service" software systems targeted to corporate users frustrated by the cost and complication of constant software updates, according to a recent report on the nascent industry by analysts John Rymer and James Staten at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
Because GraphiteGTC isn't mentioned in the Forrester report or other early industry compilations, I asked a couple of GraphiteGTC customers why they bought it.
Chris Bauman, who manages a $90 billion (yearly volume) investment pricing, trading, accounting, and financial reporting business for insurer AIG, told me he paid $150,000 to Cloudworks to create what he calls a "trade aggregator tool," which collects and interprets securities data pouring into his office in many formats to be "translated and consolidated electronically into a single format," easy to update.
When he asked AIG's internal IT group what it would cost to build a similar system, Bauman says it was priced at "well over $2 million" - plus updates at $50,000 a year. GraphiteGTC meant significant savings.
"This might be threatening to IT guys. But for us it's more practical. I was able to tell them what I needed and this was able to design the code without me being an expert," Bauman said.
I also asked Dan Sehnal, vice president for operations at Enquizit, a McLean, Va., Amazon-cloud software development firm that claims Qwest and the National Park Service among its clients.
"The concept of a code generator - which, in the least flattering terms, is what GraphiteGTC is - has been around 30 or 40 years," Sehnal told me. "What is so brilliant is that they've been able to fuse the concept of code generator into modern technology, so the code they produce is completely .net compatible, it's Java-compatible, you can push a button and make it Web-services compliant."
It's already in demand by federal agencies with loan-guarantee programs, which need frequent updates: Once the right symbols are lined up, "they can generate the code with the push of a button. That is the key that is so beautiful here."
An earlier version of this column included an incorrect explanation of the meaning of the letters "GTC."