The Birth of DigitalThinker, Inc.

How it All got Started.

In Tony’s words…

“In February of 2000, I was driving home from my day job with the South Carolina Army National Guard when I decided to ask the man above for help. I was miserable and had simply had enough of the life that I was living. I was being pressured to accept a long deployment to Kosovo, and recently had finished a six month mission in Honduras. As soon as I parked my car in the driveway, I heard the telephone ringing inside my house. I raced to answer it.

Me: Hello?
Female voice: Hello, may I speak with Tony Bolan?
Me: I am Tony Bolan.
Female voice: Hi, I’m Jill with Datastream! I have your resume and want to talk to you about a position we have open.

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That’s where this story begins.

If you remember, early 2000 was during the dot com hay day. Datastream hired me and a boat load of other warm bodies because business was booming and they were eager to boom with it. I was trained specifically to be an MP2 and iProcure consultant. At the time, the training director was this guy named Tim. I noticed something very unusual about Tim—he was actually passionate about what he did. At some time during those eight weeks of training with Tim and his trainers, I absorbed this passion too. For the second time in my life, I had found real passion (the first time was when I met my wife).

By now, we’re in the mid 2000… Most of you remember what happened then. The dot com bubble burst. My managers kept me out in the field consulting one customer after the other in a row during that time, so I wasn’t aware of the office politics going on at home. Suddenly, many of the support people at the home office that I had grown accustomed to working with weren’t answering their phones or e-mails any longer.

The firings had begun. There were rumors of people still in training who had previously quit comfortable jobs to join Datastream getting called to H.R. only to be told that their employment was terminated. I continued to travel all over the country doing one consulting gig after the other. I had met some really incredible people and had seen a variety of industries. One of most fascinating people I met was Earl Jackson of Nucor Steel in Darlington, South Carolina. Earl was passionate about what he did. Another fascinating person I had the privilege of meeting was Tom Kane of Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. Tom was also passionate about what he did. They are both two of my best friends still to this day.

Traveling from customer to customer, and being out on Sundays and then back late Friday nights, it became too difficult to attend weekend drills with the National Guard. Once I received my letter stating that I had completed twenty years of service, I resigned my commission and in so many words told them not to call me back. Months later, I was in my first day of a two week intensive 7i introduction training class at Datastream when a friend sent me an instant message telling me a plane had collided with one of the World Trade Center Buildings. We didn’t do much training that day. Luckily, I lived close to the Datastream office, and wasn’t out on assignment. Sure as shinola the Army called. My oldest son answered the phone and reminded them that I had retired. They never called back.

I decided I would master 7i or D7i as I came to call it. I loved it, but it was a pain to figure out. I went out training customers on D7i knowing that I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer. Nonetheless, I worked hard learning all I could about it while alone at night in hotel rooms. Within a couple of years, I felt confident with the application even though I knew I still had a long way to go to master it.

One day a fellow consultant told me that he was sent on an assignment with an IBM consultant as a tag along. He was told to teach the IBM consultant all he could about 7i. Rumors were being floated around that several other consulting firms were going to be implementing 7i. Meanwhile several other fellow consultants who we considered 7i champions were fired for no apparent reason. I began feeling insecure with my employment. More importantly, I felt that my passion, that I had worked so hard to kindle, was threatened.

I decided to eliminate the threat by leaving Datastream on my own, and starting my own consulting company. That was years ago, and I still have the passion. Datastream is now owned by Infor. 7i is now called EAM, and I master EAM.”

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