A brief history of Cozan

About Cozan Consulting

Picture the early 1990's. That was when life started for us. Not with a bang, but not with a whimper either: we are designing and developing enterprise client server systems for large corporates. PCs were new, and the corporate IT departments had very little good to say about them - or us, the PC programmers, for that matter.

Staying just under the corporate IT bureaucracy's radar was an essential survival skill back then, so our world consisted of DOS, Windows 95, Novell Netware, Lotus 123, modems, stiffy drives and green screens. Not sexy by a long shot...but, eventually, as we all know now, the wheel turned.

Suck that mainframe fanboys.

The network arrived

A younger reader might think we are making this up, but networks in the 1990's were a rarity. LANs (Local Area Networks) were installed in some companies, but only in some departments. Countless meetings would be held to decide whether it was really worth the time and effort to connect a few PCs together. "Why on the good green earth would one want to connect PCs together?" was a question that needed answering time after time after time. To play multi-user games was not the correct answer...true as that might have been, strangely enough the guys with the cheque books never thought that a key business requirement.

Go figure.

Having had a taste for the usefulness of networking, more and more people started buying modems (which, at the time, costed a portion of the average person's monthly salary) and these were used to connect to bulletin boards ran by hobbyists. On these boards one could email other people on the same bulletin board, upload and download files, chat, and participate in discussion forums.

Suddenly the software systems we developed could share a central database, and send and receive data right across the country. It was so high-tec, we thought it was sci-fi that became real. All hail R2D2, C3P0 and all that.

The Naiveté of the time aside, networking really did change the way people worked - and it changed the way we designed systems and hugely improved the benefits our software could bring.

Then came the internet

A few years after we started, around 1998, it was clear as day to us that the internet was the future, and it arrived. It was the future not just in terms of software systems - the development of which was our bread and butter, but also in terms of improving the utility of any computer.

The total was more that the sum of the parts.

We thought that inter-web-thing would change the world, and we wanted to be a part of that.

Cozahost was born

What better way of living the internet revolution, than being a service provider and fuelling that revolution?

So, in 1999 we built our own network, installed servers in a data centre, and provided our customers with email services, internet connectivity (ADSL) and web site hosting.

For perhaps the next 10 years working as an ISP in the industry, the police dogs had rubber teeth, cigarettes grew on trees and rivers flowed with beer. It was incredibly exciting to be intimately involved with helping small businesses leverage the internet to punch way above their weight: taking on competitors twice their size by using the technology at their disposal.

But trouble was brewing in paradise:

As technology became cheaper and cheaper and more and more sophisticated, we found ourselves increasingly being crowded out of the industry we helped build - by everybody and his flea-ridden dog. Technology became so cheap and so pre-configured that everybody could be an ISP. Literally. One could (and still can) host a web site on your smart phone.

Big business's answer to this was to simply scale up - the only viable course of action when your business depends on selling a commodity that is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day. If you make only R 1 on a sale, you better make a million sales a week - that became the de rigueur strategy; so we found ourselves in a position where our target market was so used to services priced way below cost, our prices started to look ridiculous...until something went wrong.

When that (inevitable) time came when a customer needed assistance above the "have-you-tried-rebooting" level, they found out that the R 10 per month they were paying for services was worth exactly that.

Large scale providers cannot afford to support their customers beyond the very basics. It is not financially viable.

This was not for us. We love what we do - and that is to help make a real difference. Not to sell as many cookie-cutter solutions to as many people as quickly as possible.

Then came the cloud

Cloud computing arrived as a viable alternative to having in-house software and equipment around 2012, and, as the internet revolution before it, and the client-server revolution before that, we were (and still are) convinced that this is the second last step in the evolution of computing.

The last step, we believe, is super intelligence, or AI that is "smarter" than humans. Once that happens, who knows where computing will go - but one thing is for sure: humans will not be driving the innovation.

So, at the cusp of the latest revolution in computing, we divested from Cozahost in 2014 and started Cozan consulting - where we (and you) are right now.

In many ways, we made a big turn through the IT industry and returned to our original roots: to solve real world problems by applying technology while working directly with people.

The computing resources available to Joe-average today is truly stupefying: vast computer resources can be brought to bear on a problem in seconds, and dismantled as easily. The information that makes businesses tick are safely stored in a cloud where it can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

Sharing that information, so that teams work together more effectively is intrinsic to these new architectures. To use a rather mundane example: many people can edit a spreadsheet or document at the same time - each seeing the changes the other made in real time. Just a few years ago that would have been rocket science.

Today we call it Google Apps for work and consider it a matter of course.

Information can be shared freely between people and software, cementing an information architecture that is sci-fi'esque. Yes, we thought this before about other technologies...and we were right: it really did change the world. So is cloud computing.

From commodity software and services, the pendulum is now swinging back to people specific, customized solutions - the years of the cookie cutter one-size-fits-all is (thankfully) over.

We fell in love with IT all over again. Join us.

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