Written by The Business Journal Staff
Founder & CEO of Redcort Software
Name: Keith DeLong
Organization: Redcort Software www.redcort.com
Title: Founder & CEO
Education: B.S. Quantitative Analysis, Fresno State.
What we do: We develop, sell, and support Virtual TimeClock software that enables employers to easily manage
their employee time and attendance.
Family: Married to Patricia, 3 great sons, 3 beautiful daughters-in-law & 6 amazing grandkids
What led you to found Redcort, Keith?
I’ve loved programming and software construction ever since I was in college. In 1997 I had an “Aha!” moment when it dawned on me that www.redcort.com would be just as easy for anyone to find as www.microsoft.com. This meant that the Internet had leveled the playing field for software developers, allowing a small software publisher to effectively compete right along side the well-funded established players. At the time I thought that if I could publish half a dozen useful business programs that we might have a viable business.
Serendipity really led to employee time and attendance becoming our company niche. As a test of my new idea, I updated a very simple time clock program that I’d written many years earlier and posted it on the Web. I was completely unprepared for the thousands of software downloads that soon followed. Downloads led to lots of emails, telephone calls and a steady flow of customers. Virtual TimeClock has been the only software product we’ve worked on ever since.
How has the company itself grown since its establishment 13 years ago, Keith?
Redcort Software was initially a one-man operation run out of a spare bedroom of our home. I did all of the software development, sales, customer service, technical support, and figured out how to manage a website. Our rapid growth forced me to spend a lot of time automating processes to keep our small team efficient. As we grew my wife took on the bookkeeping and banking. Our son became our first employee a couple of years after he finished college.
We moved the business into offices in the River Park area as we began adding non-family employees. Last year we remodeled and doubled our office space to facilitate the steady growth of the company. Today Redcort Software has customers in over 55 countries with hundreds of thousands of employees using our time clock software every day.
How have you adapted to changes in time and attendance software since the company began, Keith?
For us, the dramatic changes over the last decade have been in how businesses have adopted technology. When we started out, Virtual TimeClock was typically installed on an old computer in the break room. It often replaced an old-fashioned manual punch clock. As businesses embraced computer networks, we completely re-wrote Virtual TimeClock to run anywhere and everywhere simultaneously on our customer networks. A couple of years later we modified Virtual TimeClock extensively to allow businesses in multiple locations and employers working from home to easily connect to their business time clocks over the Internet.
This year we’re responding to the trend for payroll processing to become a simple Internet transaction. This summer we’re shipping a new Virtual TimeClock release that seamlessly integrates our software with Paychex and SurePayroll, two of the leaders in online payroll processing.
As we look ahead we’re working on a mobile version of Virtual TimeClock that will allow iPhone and Android mobile phone users a new way to access their time clock. We’re also developing Web-based time clock servers that will allow companies to effortlessly run their time clock in the Internet “cloud” with no concern at all for hardware or software as we knew it a decade ago. It’s no wonder that we’ve never gotten beyond time and attendance!
Have changes in employment law prompted new features, Keith?
As labor laws and regulations have increased employer liability, our customers needed the ability to track a variety of unpaid worker time. So in Virtual TimeClock ’10 we enabled employers to easily track worker breaks, lunches, and unpaid leave, as well as set time limits on paid worker breaks. We also did a major overhaul of our report writer, adding more than a dozen new timecard report printing options.
With so many skilled hackers out there, what safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of the data, Keith?
Besides standard worker privacy concerns, many of our customers function in arenas like health care where data privacy concerns and business liability issues are huge. Because of this we use data encryption and password protection to ensure the privacy of sensitive time clock and personal employee related information.
What are your roots in the San Joaquin Valley, Keith?
I moved to Fresno from Southern California in 1981 to complete my B.S. degree at Fresno State. After graduation I directed the Fresno Juvenile Hall ministry for Fresno-Madera Youth For Christ. I had the privilege of serving on the pastoral staff at two Fresno churches in the 80’s and 90’s. My wife’s dad worked for Edison, so she was born and grew up in the mountains above Fresno in Big Creek and Auberry. We’re delighted that her family and all 3 of our sons and their families continue to call Fresno home.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Keith?
At 15, I started sweeping the parking lot for a mobile home sales company that was run by a neighbor. Over the years I think I did one of everything for the company. I cleaned, painted, installed carpeting, poured concrete, furnished model homes and delivered bank documents. When I turned 18, I passed the state exam and become a licensed salesman for the company. I loved being the youngest salesman in the office. It was a great first job because it taught me the benefits of doing every job, not matter how insignificant, to the best of my ability. I continually learned new things and it always led to more interesting opportunities.