Saturday, January 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022
36° F Dallas, TX

SOFT-SELLING SOFTWARE

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“Computers Made Simple” sounds a little like “Brain Surgery in Three Easy Steps’-impossible (at least for most of us). But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Anthony Francis, president and founder of Computers Made Simple Inc. (CMS), a Dallas-based company whose sole purpose is to unite man and machine.

Although the concept of CMS seems like a natural in the midst of the computer explosion, the idea is rather unique. Hundreds of computer stores offer assistance up to the point of purchase (and only at the place of purchase), and a number of computer schools only teach people how to deal with machines that they’ve already purchased. But it is a rarity to find a company that will guide people (or, more typically, corporations) through the steps of analyzing their own needs, studying the products available, purchasing the equipment, setting up the system and training the system’s users.

CMS will recommend complete computer systems, including software. If the necessary software isn’t available, CMS programmers will write the proper programs. CMS trains those who will be working with the system (either at the CMS training center or at the purchaser’s office) and sells all of the equipment.

The first CMS center opened in Dallas last July; more centers will follow this month in San Antonio and Tul-sa. Rather than franchising the operation, CMS will expand through joint ventures with individuals familiar with the market in which the company will expand. Those local investors, who are 50 percent equity participants, will be known as “center directors”; each center will act as a separate corporation.

Francis perfected the computer seminar to be offered at CMS centers for more than a year before he opened CMS for business. He conducted a market research program by questioning scores of business executives about the training methods to be used. Pilot seminars were held in eight cities, and the training program was tested in Cincinnati for a year.

CMS courses last four to 20 hours and are scheduled during days or evenings, with no more than 12 students per class. The courses, which Francis says are taught in “plain English,” not “computerese,” are offered in graduating levels, beginning with “How to Buy a Computer” and continuing with training on various existing programs and courses on programming.