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Local company specializes in productivity tools.

Many people start companies because what they need in the marketplace doesn’t exist. Joseph Stangarone, president of Chicago-based MRC is one of those people, and he told us how his company has survived, even thrived, in these interesting times.

Tell us a little about MRC.

MRC is a full-service software firm offering the MRC-Productivity Series and MRC-Lightning CE, menu-driven, iSeries (AS/400) productivity tools. I started MRC in 1981 after seeing a real need in the System 3x market. Sprouting up as a small System 3X report writing and query tool software company, MRC has grown to become a leading provider of enterprise-strength iSeries (AS/400), client/server, and Web application development.

What effect (if any) has the economic slowdown had on MRC’s business plans?

MRC’s business has remained strong throughout this last year because of the nature of its software. The savings associated with the development of one application alone can often justify the purchase of the MRC-Productivity Series to developers, IT Managers, and CIOs alike.

Layoffs have left many IT departments with twice as much work and half as much staff. Since the MRC-Productivity Series was built to speed up the development process, such departments can often justify the need.

Budget cutbacks can also mean extending legacy applications instead of searching for new solutions. The MRC-Productivity Series can not only extend legacy capabilities, but can actually convert these same applications to a Web environment (intranet, extranet, Internet) with Java, CGI, HTML, XML, and can run on OS/400, Linux, or Windows environments. Its overall platform flexibility can bring current applications to modern day.

How many employees work for MRC?

We have 20 full-time employees.

What sets you apart from your competition in this industry?

MRC is a full-service, one-stop shopping solution. MRC offers accessible, experienced, friendly, and informed technical support staff. MRC also has a Consulting division, MRC-Consulting, which is completely client-driven. Whether the client needs 10 minutes of our time, or 10 months, MRC Consulting works entirely around the customer’s needs, and because we use our tool, our turnaround time is unbeatable. The product offering itself, the MRC-Productivity Series, is a full tool-suite. There are no mysterious add-ons to consider in order for the tool to perform. What you see is all you need.

One major advantage MRC enjoys is that the software is tutorial-structured, menu-driven, and written completely in native code, which is unique to the industry. Basically, what this means to our customers is that they do not have to learn a new language in order to use our product, so the learning curve is the shortest in the industry. And, as a bonus, our clients don’t wind up dependent on a vendor by developing a system entirely written in any given vendor’s proprietary language.

Do you have expansion plans? What can we expect from MRC in the future?

We now enjoy global availability through offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, and we’ve added a new distributor in Mexico. With regard to expanding product lines, we just introduced our newest development tool: MRC-Lightning CE. It’s an easy-to-use, downloadable tool that allows users to bring live iSeries data to the Web, and build Web applications in what many consider to be the safest most stable method on the Web: CGI/HTML.

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