Jim and Chris McKinnell set up LOOK Systems in 1989. The aim was to assist businesses to exploit the advantages of "Open Systems", in particular Unix and SQL-based database systems. LOOK's first major project was the development an Executive Information System, drawing data from an INGRES database, for the Royal London Hospitals. This work developed from an initiative by the Management Focus Group of the NHS to deliver information to Health Service Management. The project was a mixture of consultancy, specification, design and programming work and involved working with the manager of the Acute Unit and staff in the computer centre and the information department. The multi-faceted nature of the project exemplifies the integrated capabilities LOOK apply to address customer needs. In 1990 LOOK were put in touch with the Employment Department at Moorfoot, following a contact about INGRES training at an exhibition. This began an association which developed through identifying and supplying contract staff to taking on the support and development of TFS in April 1993, when TFS Branch was disbanded. The work with TECs has encompassed a wide range of IT support services. The primary objective is to enable TECs to derive progressive benefits from the application of IT in a cost-effective manner. The support and development work is undertaken by experienced computing professionals, Stephen Jackson and Chris Wood , in addition to Ian, are the longest serving members of the team and currently the primary Help Desk Contacts. Roger Bedford has brought a measured qualitative approach in his role as Project Manager. The more recent recruits Martin Gilbert and Jon Banks have brought a wealth of development experience and have already completed key developments. Anne Marie Nissen is in the key role of documentation publication and training and Jane Peers is fully involved in a major project to develop a CMS for one of LOOK’s established client TECs. Lastly, John Elliott and Paul Underhill are fully involved supporting the training and contracts management products, TSMP and CMM, inherited from Hunting Engineering Ltd earlier this year. With LOOK Systems now supporting IT products and services at 20 TECs, Paul also is involved in focusing the marketing effort. The team has grown to eleven with a turnover of nearly half a million pounds and in January 1996 has moved to new premises in Gargrave. LOOK is planning further growth and is seeking to expand both the TEC and non-TEC client bases, to make full use of the increased resources and improved facilities.

Key Areas of Business

  • Support/Support Contracts. LOOK Systems is subcontracted to provide a Training and Enterprise Council IT Support package which, in the current year to date, has been taken up by 15 Client TECs.

    The package includes:

    • a) Access to the LOOK Systems Support desk.
    • b) On-Site days - the standard support package includes 12 on-site days which can be used at any time and for any purpose throughout the year.
    • c) Disaster Recovery - this includes a minimum of:
      • i) Assistance in Formulating and maintaining a Disaster Recovery Plan
      • ii) Provision of Project Management Support for the Recovery process
      • iii) Provision of Technical Support for the Recovery of the Network and Systems
      • iv) Supply of temporary replacement Hardware sufficient for a minimum service
    • d) Seminars - the most recent topics have included the Intranet, Windows NT v4, etc.)
    • e) Training - Where training is specified in the schedule of the support Contract, this provides up to 15 delegate days on courses and workshops run by LOOK Systems.

  • Development. LOOK Systems support a number of 'Core' software products which are continually being enhanced and upgraded to meet the changing TEC requirements. The primary software products are incorporated into the TESS (TEC Enterprise Support System) which has at its core a greatly enhanced version of the original TFS software, supplemented by the LOOK Systems Trainee Database, TrainTrack. In addition, "stand-alone" TEC specific applications adopted from Hunting Engineering Ltd enable integration with third party products. Bespoke development is undertaken where appropriate (i.e. where a common requirement cannot be identified through the LOOK User Group and Focus Groups). The Core Products are continually upgraded through the issue of regular releases which incorporate enhancements identified and prioritised through the User Group.

  • Consultancy. Over 70 years of combined experience in IT enables LOOK to provide Consultancy support in most areas of IT, both technical and management. In addition, considerable time is devoted, on an on-going basis, to reviewing and evaluating new computer technologies. The extent of this is demonstrated by the breadth of subject matter covered in the LOOK Seminars.

  • Project Management. A number of LOOK personnel have experience of managing large IT projects and this experience is available to clients for the planning and/or management of their own in house projects. A Project Manager is automatically assigned for any major implementation of LOOK software, or where LOOK is involved in the acquisition and installation of hardware, it can also be made available where other LOOK’s services are not involved.

  • LOOK User Groups. A highly successful User Group, targeted at the IT professionals in LOOK supported TECs, has been meeting regularly since mid 1993. This group has been instrumental in developing the relationship between LOOK and its Client base, establishing the LOOK Support Services and stabilising the Core Software products. The User Group will continue to provide the opportunity for contact and exchange of ideas between its members as well as providing the input to enable LOOK to further enhance the support services provided. Recognition of the need to develop a long term strategy for the development of the Core Business Applications resulted in the formation in February 1995 of a new User Group of TEC Senior Management (The Business group). The primary aim of this group is to establish the medium to long term business needs of the TECs and identify the computer Technologies, Hardware and Application Development required to address these needs. In conjunction with LOOK Systems, the Business group and associated Product Focus groups of TEC computer users are identifying and prioritising, on an on-going basis, enhancements and additions to the existing core products.

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