A brief history of Co-operative Web
In the beginning there was pandaNET. PandaNET was setup as a web focused software house and it created several important pieces of web software including the first version of a product we still use today: the content management platform CME. When CME was first written it was among the first ever pieces of software to enable users to write websites without the need for technical knowledge and now today there are a whole group of products written all around the world doing the same job, known collectively as "content management systems" or abrieviated to CMS. All of the founding members of Co-operative Web worked within pandaNET, and helped shape this and many other groundbreaking applications.
PandaNET did business with a range of clients, and in amongst them was a company called the "Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative Society" or OSG for short. OSG had worked with a number of suppliers over the years but pandaNET shone out by delivering value to the business whilst delivering to tight timescales. OSG needed companies like this to expand it's portfolio of services so they bought pandaNET, and so Co-operative IT was born.
Co-operative IT was the brand for selling pandaNET's services under the new Co-operative umbrella as we were now part of a large retail Co-operative that sold food, cars, childcare and other items. Co-operative IT had two main functions: the internal one which was to support the IT services for the OSG business, and the other, external interest, in selling IT services to other companies. The seeds of what is now known as Co-operative Web lurked in the externally focussed business.
At the end of 2005 the next chapter opens in the story of Co-operative Web. OSG had always worked closely with another regional Co-operative, called the "West Midlands Co-operative Society". They both ran supermarkets, sold cars, ran funeral homes and had travel businesses. It was decided that the best course of action for both societies was to merge to form one large organisation with a turnover exceeding £750 million. This was completed and the new organisation was called "The Midcounties Co-operative".
When the Midcounties Co-operative formed there was a need to concentrate on core business such as the supermarkets, which at the time were facing stiff competition. The external arm of Co-operative IT was being run by the team that went on to form Co-operative Web, and they were beavering away creating new and exciting web applications and products. Midcounties realised through the help of the Chief Information Officer (a nice man named Alan Miller) that there was a profitable business in here but needed more freedom and support than could be given by Midcounties. So it was that Co-operative Web was formed in 2006 to take the external business from CIT and turn it into it's own company so that the attention and focus that was needed could be lavished on our clients and products.
The next stage was to see red. I mean, it was to change our logo to red! Co-operative Web launched officially in 2006, and in 2009 decided to rebrand with a new logo that you see on this website.
At the end of 2010 comes the next big chapter in the Co-operative Web history. We aquire and then merge with another local technology business called PSL who bring all of their staff and clients to a bigger, improved Co-operative Web.