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Risky move helps bring success to Orem's AtTask

 Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson had a product before he had a company.

Johnson, now chief executive officer and founder of Orem-based AtTask, had an idea in 2001 for software that would help companies better manage workflow and communication.

He worked on the idea on nights and weekends until he had a workable first version. And when Johnson decided to form AtTask, he continued that do-it-yourself approach by self-funding the company's startup.

As that first year progressed, Johnson funded payroll with a second mortgage on his house. When that money was gone, other staffers voluntarily skipped paychecks. Johnson remembers sitting around the table dividing up revenue based on who was about to get kicked out of their homes.

But growth did come. The company had a good year in 2003, but by then Johnson and his team had decided the platform they were using could be improved. So, in a risky move, they mothballed that platform and rewrote the whole application, a process that took more than two years.

In 2006, the company rolled out the new version of @task. The product's strengths were ease of use coupled with a rich variety of features, full foreign-language support, strong integration capabilities and, most importantly, "Software-as-a-Service" delivery.

SaaS means that AtTask's customers sign contracts with the company to provide project- and portfolio-management software services rather than buying a stand-alone software product. This allows firms to save up-front money and implement the new software more quickly, speeding return on investment.

As clients' software needs continue, AtTask's Client Services division makes sure everything runs as it should, driving customer satisfaction and leading clients to renew their contracts with AtTask.