Imagine running a business in today’s digital world using a typewriter instead of a computer. Day-to-day business operations would take too much time, ultimately translating to money lost. While businesses are no longer using typewriters, they still face operational challenges with similar time-wasting processes. For example, if your employees spend hours downloading documents to upload to another system or manually type information to move data from one software to another, then your company is wasting money.
So how does a business tackle process bottlenecks in an ever-changing digital world?
Savannahians Rob Lingle and Steve Ross are co-founders of Oak.Works, a strategy and development company that helps businesses update their workflow process. Oak.Works customizes online products, apps, websites, and entirely new software to meet the needs of the businesses they work with.
“We help companies solve problems first then we build tools to help companies fix those problems,” Rob says. “We sit down with customers and help them think things through. We determine where the most value to be gained is and where companies can save time quickly. Once we know that, we can build it.”
Steve explains that most companies come to them after struggling “with 10 different pieces of software that do not work together...companies often don’t think about how much time they waste moving through systems and how much more money they could be making if they invested in their software infrastructure a bit.”
Rob and Steve are childhood friends turned business partners. Both grew up in Savannah and got their start with computers at a young age. Rob, who always had an affinity for fixing computers, went to Georgia Tech to become an aeronautical engineer, but fell in love with software development after graduation. Steve’s first job in web development happened when he was a high school intern at Savannah Morning News. They needed a webpage for the 1996 Olympic sailing events and recruited web-smart Steve to make it happen. Eventually they left Savannah for school and job opportunities, but their love for the east coast brought them back. Circa 2014, the two reconnected via The Creative Coast community and wanted to combine their passion for modernizing business processes with their desire to help local companies. So, they co-founded Oak.Works.
Beyond software, Steve and Rob take their work a step further than most developers by working directly with businesses over time. Their work is not a one and done deal. Instead they consider themselves long-term partners with their customers. “We invest ourselves in the companies we work with because we want to take their idea from great to amazing and continue to help their business scale up over time. We’ll turn a company into something that recoups the cost of what they spent to make it better,” Steve says. “Also, our customers know that if they have a problem, they can walk in our office and we will help them. We enjoy that part of it. We love being the CTO for businesses.”
In order for most companies to stay competitive in their market, having a committed and trusted relationship with dynamic software developers is the way to move forward. Rob says, “If a company wants to keep growing they’re going to have to look for better tools. Once we build a tool, we can make it better. We can keep adding features. At some point a company may be satisfied, but typically they keep seeing opportunities to improve.”
Oak.Works partners with local businesses such as Kelly Tours, Tour Buddy Apps, and Blue Focus Media to name a few. Rob and Steve are seeking more Savannah partners who realize the value of web applications and cloud-based solutions for fixing impeding and unnecessary steps caused by out-of-date software.
Oak.Works will kick off year three of its startup with a free neighborhood cookout from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at its new office in the Starland District. All are invited to meet their team and learn more about how they are updating businesses in Savannah.
The Creative Coast connects Savannah’s top thinkers and do-ers. We help innovative companies like Oak.Works thrive and are proud to work with them to make Savannah an even better place to live and work. To RSVP to Oak.Works neighborhood cookout, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kait Lance is an entrepreneurship evangelist and community manager at The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Kait can be reached at 912-447-8457 or email@example.com.