Telephony focus keeps Callista buoyant

Telephony focus keeps Callista buoyant

Specialising in call management software has helped the longevity of North Shore company Callista, says managing director and co-founder Roger Ansin.

The company was founded in Auckland by Ansin and his partner Pat Ansin in 1988 to offer general purpose software development services.

“We were asked to build a call billing system, looked at the rest of the market and thought we could do a good job. About a year later we made the decision that we needed to be in that market and totally focused on it, so we dropped all our other work.”

Both externally and internally Ansin says there have been a number of changes over the past 20 years.

“In the beginning there were a few programmers, we used to develop the software and go out and sell it. Everything used to run on Dos and we connected to PABX via serial cables. Now everything runs on Windows and we connect via IP. We used to have to go on-site to do installations and now we do all of our installs and support remotely through the internet.”

Technology has been the biggest change, says Ansin.

“People’s requirements are somewhat the same. Our software does a lot more than it did 20 years ago, but essentially it’s just an extension of the basic concept we started off with.”

He adds the company has been selling through local PABX distributors and resellers from the beginning.

“Most of the big companies that sell and install phone systems use our products. The channel is very important to us and always has been.”

Callista has 7000 customers in 14 countries and locally it holds more than 20 percent of the hospitality industry with its hospitality management system, says Ansin.

“One in four hospitality businesses are using the system, which is high penetration.”

And having the same founders in place means the vision has stayed the same.

“That vision is to be the best in the market. As a software company we’ve received different requests over the years, but we’ve always declined because it would have taken us down different paths.”

Last year the company made a number of internal changes.

“We set up a new development group for software and a new helpdesk group. They will be providing extended service so we will have 24/7 coverage worldwide.”

Callista only has 22 staff worldwide.

“We deliberately keep staff numbers low so we can invest and grow through technology,” says Ansin.

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