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ASP sees need to manage faster growth

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By JIM ROSS
For The State Journal

Associated Systems Professionals has had a slow, steady growth over the past few years, and that’s the way its founders wanted it.
But they know they will have to get used to faster growth as new clients arrive through word of mouth and new marketing campaigns.
At present, the company has 17 employees, including the four partners, said Dan Tate, a partner and engineer in the LLC. Marketing efforts in the past year or so, headed by Tina Cobb, have brought in enough business that ASP will have to learn how to grow at a faster pace, he said.
ASP is located at 419 D St. in South Charleston. It provides managed IT services for clients, and it develops applications for work stations and over the web. Much of its work is in the medical field, Cobb said. ASP started out as a regional company, but through social media, search engine optimization and Google Analytics, it is drawing clients from as far away as Missouri and Tennessee, she said. Cobb said she often gets calls from health care practices in Ohio asking for help.
ASP’s work on phone and computer systems tend to be local, while web-based work and applications can be marketed nationally, Cobb said.
The company started as a couple of IT people in the former First Physicians Group in Kanawha City, Cobb said. Tate said he and partner Ken Connelly had talked in the 1990s about forming their own company, but they didn’t have the confidence to take the plunge. But about a dozen years ago, the physicians group was disbanding. Connelly and Scott Duernberger did its IT work. Connelly called Tate, who was working for a law firm in Charleston at the time, and said it was time to go for it. The new company had a built-in client base with the physicians who were leaving the group, Tate said.
So they formed the company.
Tate and Duernberger are engineers. Connelly is a software developer. Later, they added another software developer, Warren Patterson, as a partner. Tate said the four partners are working partners. They started out working entirely on IT infrastructure. Within two years, they had branched out into applications, he said.
Cobb said ASP applications enable clients to simplify their database storage and use. One application ASP developed allows the client’s admin user to track employee timesheets and certifications both in the office and remotely. Employees’ certification and license renewals are tracked to minimize downtime.
Another application is a medical patient registry that stores personal demographic information and related documents for each patient. Calendar scheduling with reporting is built into the system and lets staff know which patients have not been rescheduled for their next appointment.
ASP applications are designed so they can be customized “on a platform that’s easily edited and accessed by different developers,” she said. Cobb said such applications are better than what she called “canned software.”
Some software companies are formed by owners who hope to develop a must-have program so they can sell their firms to larger companies at a good profit. Tate said he does not see that happening with ASP.