Saturday, 1 October 2011

Last year: installing Drupal

Company history

2010 was a special year for Oyster Bay Systems, celebrating 25 years in the commercial and consumer finance industries.

Oyster Bay has helped finance companies gain profitability and efficiency for over 25 years with an expanding portfolio of products and services that is used throughout the UK, offshore financial communities and in Europe.

Since winning their first contract a quarter of a century ago, Oyster Bay has grown consistently and steadily with its clients, empowering them to exploit opportunities and to achieve success. Oyster Bay's experience and range of products means it can provide the most appropriate system at each stage of a client company’s growth.

Michael Breach, Managing Director explains "We are committed to adding business value, providing guaranteed support and services throughout project development, implementation and beyond".

Oyster Bay prides itself in taking a true partnership approach in the way in which it works with its current and future customers. It is this approach that has forged successful long term relationships and placed Oyster Bay as the preferred choice for many companies over the years.

As a software company that came into being during the 1980s, Oyster Bay has a distinct advantage in that it has evolved expertise and experience in response to many changes in the marketplace and to the legislative and regulatory demands of the times.

Michael Breach said "I formed the company as a consultancy in 1983 writing software on Apple II computers.

It soon became apparent that asset lenders were a niche badly in need of the benefits of computerisation. He explained: “it was pure chance that our initial clients were asset finance companies. They were using legacy systems usually comprising mainframe computers or even Kalamazoo-style ledger card mechanical tabulator, and it is sobering to think that there were hardly any spreadsheets or word processors to be seen anywhere.”

An early client for Oyster Bay was Lloyds Bowmaker, which in 1983 commissioned Oyster Bay to develop a system for its joint venture with Caterpillar in Saudi Arabia. Michael recalled “We developed the software, which was an Apple II based CP/M networked system, and shipped it out to Saudi Arabia, all suitably conformed to Sharia Law.”

A series of other new customers included Weston Acceptances, Larch Finance, Lancashire Leasing and the DC Cook Group. Michael recalled that “Client demand was mainly for administration systems including a route right through to collection procedures. At the same time, since we were obtaining consumer credit information for an increasing range of lending organisations, and since demand for payment profile information was on the increase, we fought to introduce the first consortium for consumer credit data submissions to UAPT which later became Equifax. This bureau facility is going strong today under the Profile Data Services label, and sends data to all three major UK credit bureau from a wide range of subscribers, big and small.”

Oyster Bay’s offices were located at Swansea University’s Innovation Centre. In the early days this provided excellent shared reception and conference facilities, more importantly unlimited access to the University’s academic and computing departments proved very valuable. Michael said “When we eventually moved to larger premises we stayed close to the university since the advantages were still so obvious.”

A significant breakthrough for the company came about following senior staff changes at NatWest’s Centrefile bureau which had been running asset-finance portfolios for several years. The result was that Oyster Bay came to inherit some 90 per cent of the Centrefile’s client base. Michael said: “one such was Lombard, which today is still using our software in its Marine, Channel Isle and Manx divisions.”

A further event that propelled the company forward was winning the contract to supply Volvo Financial Services with the first installation of the pioneering Vienna system. "Looking back," says Michael, "this was the turn of the century, the internet was still basically an unknown force, and yet despite the difficulties surrounding the nascent techhnology, the project was completed very quickly and successfully. In my mind, it was a perfect example of the true meaning of 'the partnership approach', with both parties playing an active, positive and collaborative part in achieving the common goals."

Although Oyster Bay has a number of products and services, Vienna remains the flagship system, and has been adopted by a number of significant lenders within the UK and in Europe as the 100% web based enterprise level system that is both fully functional and proven. Vienna provides straight-through processing with in-built workflow management features that control the movement of a proposal from point of sale, through to underwriting, payout and into ‘go-live’, all in real-time.

Michael explains that “Vienna came about as a result of the need to progress from systems in Microsoft DOS. The way forward seemed unclear at first and as we had determined that it would not be sensible to go the route of early Windows based systems, we spent some time in evaluating current platforms and attempting to forecast the future.

It seemed probable, even at this early stage in the internet’s development, that the adoption of web-based systems would benefit clients. The end result was the development of a new front office underwriting system.”

Vienna has recently been introduced into Volvo Financial Services’ Service Centre, North West Europe region, with one of the main goals being to have a single back office system capable of managing all of the North West region operations. This expansion means that Vienna is now being used to manage the UK, Southern Ireland and Netherlands (which includes a Russian division) portfolios. Michael said “I am pleased to say that the team, again by working in close collaboration with VFS’s staff, migrated the Southern Ireland and Netherlands portfolios onto Vienna in a very short space of time. ”.

In the financial services marketplace, which has become acutely cost conscious, systems efficiency is a core business requirement, and Oyster Bay Systems has an established pedigree in serving the client, with a strong reputation for “getting it right”. The company delivers a compelling business proposition with high-quality off the shelf and tailored software solutions in a timely, cost-effective and efficient way.

Oyster Bay has a range of solutions to manage portfolios of any size and all product types with end to end processing. It provides powerful, robust, scalable and secure solutions to support business requirements. These solutions can be used in-house or as hosted services, where shared cost access to on-line credit and asset search facilities is available.

Oyster Bay never lose sight of the fact that “less can be more” for clients and end users. They believe that systems should be simple to use, transparent, flexible and proven. They should have the functionality to improve manual processes whilst delivering answers to issues raised by the challenging and constantly changing regulatory framework.

New technologies that focus on how information and its surrounding processes are managed rather than simply on data capture and reporting are now central to Oyster Bay's proposition for the rest of the decade.

change of subject
This page used to be about installing Drupal but there are auto installers now...
I don't remember why, I just remember a lot of FTP installs of Drupal 6.

Drupal is no ordinary program to install. It talks to you on little notes attached in "readme.txt" files next to other files that have to be uploaded. It plays tricks on you, asking you to install new modules into a folder called


rather than a more appealing folder called


which is just put there like a mermaid to distract seafairers.

Even when you have your modules in the right place, there file called default.settings.php which has to be renamed .settings.php and there are various read/write permissions which have to be changed temporarilly.

There's another thing. Drupal comes with its own installer that you look at through a browser on your web site. It asks the route to your database and one or two other things I've now forgotten for Drupal 6. I have never had to press the onscreen buttons that my server provides to set-up a database before, nor given it a username and pass, nor thought how to describe a route to it. Localhost did in in the end, but the permutations of things that can go wrong took over a month to work-through.

Blog on a single page from the vegan shoe shop

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