SEP at 50?

May 23, 2013

SEP-at-50?You may be thinking to yourself “Wait? I thought SEP was celebrating the 25th anniversary this year?” You’d be right. But we’ve been asked to think about what the future holds. And while thinking about what SEP might be like in another 25 years feels incredibly difficult to me, it is also fascinating to me.

Because I have every intention of being here to see it happen.

Sure, I’ll be closing in on retirement at that point. And likely the face of the company will have changed quite a bit. I suspect that most of the people that I’ve spent the last 14 years with will have retired or moved on. But, assuming the core culture of SEP remains, I plan to be here.

So what will SEP be like in 25 more years?

I’ll caveat that these are just my musings. I have nothing substantial to base these on. You might call these “wild guesses” (and you’d be right). But I’m willing to wager on five things that will happen and one that won’t:

  • We’ll have around 500-600 employees. This will likely be split among four or so locations, to help ensure that people in an office actually get a chance to know each other. I see this as each location serving a geographic area, rather than having locations specialized in certain fields. I suspect though that we’ll still be mostly in the midwest, with locations in : Indianapolis (likely still in Carmel), Chicago (almost certainly a suburb), Minneapolis (St. Paul?), and St. Louis.
  • We’ll still be writing custom software. But we’ll be providing products and long-term services more and more. In fact, 75% of our income will be from products or long-term agreements instead of the current tiny amount that it currently is.
  • We’ll have some different clients and different domains from those we do today. I’d bet that some of our current clients (companies, not individuals) aren’t with us in 25 years. But I also expect that we’ll be celebrating the fact that some of our clients have been with us for 40+ years.
  • We’ll be more actively recruiting at a wider spread of colleges than we currently do. Right now that list is downright tiny (but even so, we get awesome people). I suspect that one of the nice side effects of having multiple locations is that it will be easier to expand our recruiting to other awesome colleges near our new locations.
  • We’ll be getting ready for another enjoyable SEP anniversary trip! Due to global warming, this will likely be a resort in Greenland 😉
  • The one thing I don’t see happening is SEP turning into a Fortune 500 company. Or being bought by a Fortune 500 company.

Prognostication is hard.

Especially trying to look 25 years ahead. And let’s face it. That’s so far off that I’ll likely forget that I even wrote this post. But who knows? With the eternal nature of the internet, maybe 25 years from now I’ll look back at this post and see what I got right and what I got wrong.