CHARLES McSherry has the world at his fingertips, and is making tracks

on the information superhighway. A keystroke at the Royal Crescent

offices of Glasgow-based computer systems retailer Prosys will appear on

a terminal in Pennsylvania, courtesy of British Telecom and US sector

stablemate AT&T's ISDN2 technology.

The equipment which enables this -- two boxes the size of mini-CD

players -- may not look much.

However, it was this compact technology which allowed McSherry,

Prosys's managing director, to secure a #200,000 deal with L&N Max

Control Systems in North Wales, outside Philadelphia.

Dramatic advances in communications have enabled Prosys to provide

systems support from Glasgow. ''Land bridges'' and ISDN2 technology

allow Prosys to be part of L&N's computer network and vice-versa.

According to McSherry, this arrangement gives Prosys 10 or 20 times

the access power of a standard dial-in arrangement using a normal modem.

L&N, a division of Essex-based Industrial Control Systems with a

turnover of about $30m, manufactures control systems for power stations,

largely in China and the Far East.

With L&N having a raft of issues to manage during the two to four-year

lives of its various contracts, Prosys's project and manufacturing

control system has to ensure such essentials as the scheduling of

materials for the right time and in the correct sequence.

Having convinced L&N in February of the benefits of a system based on

UK computer giant Misys's Strategix software, customised by Prosys,

McSherry, 36, got the bold project up and running last month.

For Prosys, which has a turnover of #975,000 and a staff of 16, the US

contract is a fairly major one.

McSherry's preoccupation with it is, therefore, not hard to


He said: ''Since I put the system in, I have been a bit like a cat on

a griddle. I have actually been phoning them to check it is working but

there has been nothing wrong.

''We are sitting here with all this hardware and we can't play with


The US contract materialised out of work Prosys had done for Ian Kimm

at ICS in Grangemouth. He subsequently moved to the US and ended up with

responsibility for L&N's computer function.

McSherry said: ''The phone call literally came out of the blue, and he

said he hadn't seen anything that he liked over there, and would I be

interested in coming out and doing some consultancy work.

''I went over for three days and did a root and branch analysis of

their business and their IT requirements. I made a presentation and they

accepted the proposals.''

Mr McSherry owns 60% of Prosys, with fellow working director Tom Smith

holding a 40% stake. The company has about 100 customers throughout

Scotland, deriving about half of its turnover from Strategix-based

systems at 12 sites.

Prosys, which is also developing clinical software for Glasgow's

Yorkhill Hospital, does work for Dundee-based denture company Wright

Health Group. Among its other major customers are East Lothian,

Clackmannan and Hamilton District Councils.

Set up in 1987 as Accounting Software Consultants, when the world and

his dog were scrabbling to become part of the business start-up

explosion, the company grew throughout the subsequent recession.

On Hogmanay, all stationery and boot-up discs bearing the old name,

which had become a misnomer, were consigned to the dustbin and Prosys

was born.

Although he has an information technology background, Mr McSherry sees

it as his job to point Prosys in the right direction and relies on the

boffins on the payroll to keep abreast of developments.

He said: ''Technology is running like an express train. It is almost

impossible even when you are in the business to keep up with it.

''I just say, 'Can we do this?' and they say, 'We can do this. This is

how we do it'.''