At Pro-Found, we believe that our long-term success depends as much on our corporate culture as our technology. Corporate culture is a way of describing our organization's values and how it determines what is "the right thing to do" relative to both clients and employees. All companies have a spirit that defines them. Pro-Found's dynamic spirit is based upon integrity and serves as our greatest asset.

Empowering Clients

". . . A consultant is a person who takes your money and annoys your employees while tirelessly searching for the best way to extend the consulting contract. Recommendations must be justified by a lengthy analysis . . . cleverly designed to be as confusing as possible, thus discouraging any second-guessing by sniping staff members who are afraid of appearing dense. Consultants will ultimately recommend that you do whatever you're not doing now. Centralize whatever is decentralized. Flatten whatever is vertical. . . ."

Scott Adams - The Dilbert Principle

The above excerpt from the "Dilbert Principle" by Scott Adams depicts, with biting cynicism, the classic conflict-of-interest between service providers and their clients. In contrast, Pro-Found's business model is designed to avoid even the appearance of conflict-of-interest and strives for win-win situations. Clients, just like employees, are treated as partners striving for mutual benefit.

Unlike the conventional practice of charging clients on a time and material basis, Pro-Found prefers fixed-price contracts. Although potentially riskier for us, it avoids the syndrome of "the slower we are and the more missteps we take, the more you pay." With fixed-price contracts, the focus is on value delivered not hours spent.

Further, our practice is to correct Pro-Found software defects forever for free. Many software firms are "sloppy" in their initial creation and then add insult to injury by charging clients a software maintenance fee for help in getting around or fixing the problems. In contrast, we take a craftman's pride in our work which we design to be as robust and bulletproof as possible. Software, unlike physical machinery, does not wear out over time. Therefore, if we inadvertently introduced a defect, we feel ethically compelled to fix it without charge.

Pro-Found's component-based approach is also consistent with our client empowering culture. We reject the notion that clients must adopt today's new technology in an all-or-nothing manner forcing wholesale abandonment of previous investments. As today's technologies become tomorrow's legacies, such a notion leads to a never-ending cycle of gut-wrenching fits and starts. In contrast, Pro-Found's component-based technology allows coexistence between old and new technologies and allows clients to evolve to newer technologies on their own timetable, not that of the consultant. Artificial dependency on consultants is greatly reduced.

Empowering Employees

"Companies succeed when they adapt quickly and easily to new market conditions. . . . The source of this flexibility is the ability of the people inside the organization to grow and change, to take on new challenges, to cultivate new behavior, to entertain new ideas. . . ."

Geoffrey James - Upside, Nov. 1996

This quote clearly articulates one of our most Pro-Found beliefs -- Corporate growth and personal / career growth are inseparable. Acting on this belief, we regard employees as more than just resources. We regard employees as partners.

Employees as resources, a view held by many organizations, implies that people are good for the skills they have right now. Exploit those skills, use up the resources, and replace as needed. To optimize the use of human resources, many organizations create elaborate sets of rules and regulations to control employee behavior. In response, employees learn to resent management and spend their time "beating the system" rather than engaging in productive work. Organizations become dysfunctional.

Employees as partners implies collaboration and mutual growth. At Pro-Found, we find people who demonstrate an ability and desire to learn. We encourage employees to adopt the learning style of a curious child who is unafraid to ask basic questions, to experiment and even to make mistakes. We provide tools and training and then we demand excellence and growth through constant improvement. The skills we possess today are important, but the skills we are capable of acquiring in the future are even more important.

Constant improvement is hard work and potentially stressful. But this work is positive. Employees will excel because they truly enjoy contributing to their own success and the success of their colleagues. And Pro-Found will excel along with them.

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