25 Years: Building a Leading Geoscience Software Platform

Twenty-five years ago, partners Ed VanWieren, Murray Brack, and Ed Chow founded SeisWare to develop innovative software supporting geophysicists in the energy industry. While some things have changed dramatically over time, the company has stayed true to its core vision and goals. 

The founders recently unearthed the first version of the SeisWare software program they created all those years ago. This discovery and the company’s 25th anniversary have sparked a reflection on how the company first began, and how it has grown and evolved over the years.

Launcher from Version 1 of SeisWare software  (now Geophysics)
Launcher from Version 1 of SeisWare software (now Geophysics)

“We wanted to build easy-to-use software for geophysicists. That was our big goal,” says Ed VanWieren, Founder and Software Developer for SeisWare. “The second objective was that the platform needed to be stable, and the third was to have fun doing it.”

Twenty-five years in such a dynamic sector is a significant accomplishment, especially considering that approximately 90% of startups eventually shut down — with the highest failure rate being in the information industry. SeisWare not only beat these odds, but expanded its platform and its service area, opening in Houston in 2008.

In this article on how SeisWare has evolved over the years, we’ll explore:

  • Building a geoscience software company
  • How the company’s scope and capabilities have grown in 25 years
  • The importance of customers in SeisWare’s evolution
  • What’s next for SeisWare: goals for the future

Building a geoscience software company

Growing a company from a single software product to a portfolio of tools that support numerous geoscience functions is a complex process. Developing software takes time, yet the needs of the industry are constantly evolving. Companies that want to have a lasting impact must find ways to adapt and stay relevant to what their customers need most.

“We sat with, listened to, and watched users to understand what they were trying to achieve,” says Ed. “Then we worked to develop a broad set of products without losing the core stability of the platform.”

A foundational aspect of SeisWare’s success has been to develop new functionality as separate components that integrate seamlessly with its other tools. With this approach, the core functionality and dependability of SeisWare’s established products don’t waver, even as new elements are released. New tools are added as the company develops them, and each is refined through use and customer feedback over time. 

SeisWare also stands out for its early commitment to building a team to handle software support and maintenance for customers. Everyone on the team has a geoscience background and works together to ensure customer success. 

Focusing on continuous improvement, empowerment, and collaboration has also contributed to SeisWare’s longevity. The founders measure success by how well the company has upheld its values, with strong team connections and a people-first mentality. The team is encouraged to innovate and excel with the trust and support of SeisWare’s leadership.

How the company’s scope and capabilities have grown in 25 years

SeisWare began as one offering aimed to make the work of geophysicists easier and more efficient. With that achieved, the company turned its efforts toward innovating in related areas to build out a collection of other applications that could be used together by individuals or multi-disciplinary teams.

Today, SeisWare offers fully developed geophysics, geology, and field development tools as separate applications or integrated into one complete software package. 

SeisWare began as 1 product and has branched into 3: Geophysics, Geology & Field Development. Images show product logos and screenshots from the software.

  • Geophysics by SeisWare

This seismic interpretation solution includes all the tools you need to interpret conventional and unconventional plays in one comprehensive package. It was designed to be a multi-tasking solution that fully integrates geologic and seismic interpretation.

  • Geology by SeisWare

SeisWare was convinced there was a better way to handle geologic interpretation, so the team designed it. With the help of industry geologists, the company built a geologic interpretation solution that is fast and intuitive. It’s also fully integrated with SeisWare’s Geophysics tool for seamless data integration and swift results. 

  • Field Development by SeisWare

The Field Development Tool eliminates the manual work traditionally required in pad planning and field development. It includes the automated tools you need to improve collaboration and communication while reducing overall design time. 

“SeisWare has a great deal of functionality now, and we’ve evolved along with our customers,” says Ed. “Yet, it’s amazing how some of the layout and key components are still very recognizable in the product today.”

The importance of customers in SeisWare’s evolution

A commitment to customer success must go beyond routine software support and maintenance. Everyone at SeisWare understands that the company supports and contributes to its customers’ success. 

“Writing good software really requires that the end-user be involved in the process,” says Ed. “Whether it is a developer, product owner, or support person, watching that user during their workflows allows us to find alternative solutions that will ideally make that workflow easier.”

Partnering with customers to provide robust, personalized support from experienced geoscience professionals on the SeisWare team has also been key to the company and its software’s evolution over the years. 

Focusing on customer support is a well-known driver of business growth, with 88% of consumers and business buyers saying customer experience matters as much as products, according to Salesforce.

“We’re always looking for new ways to connect with our customers to make their work easier,” says Ed. “We encourage our customers to look at our online webinars and resources and even to drop by the office for a chat to see how we fit their needs.”

From a support team full of technical expertise to ongoing customer communication to gather feedback and suggestions, SeisWare doesn’t hold back on its investment in customer success. 

“Plenty of ideas have come directly from our users, and I love that I can point to our features and name the geoscientist who was involved,” says Ed. “The more we understand our users’ workflows, the more we can implement changes that benefit as many customers as possible. We try to bridge the gap between growing bigger yet being flexible.”

What’s next for SeisWare: company goals for the future

It can be challenging to plot out a five-year plan for software product development because the industry is changing rapidly. Companies must strike a balance between long-term organizational planning and being responsive to industry demands to ensure they continue to build what their customers need.

“We’re constantly working to implement user feedback,” says Ed. “Yet at the same time, we’re refining existing functionality, extending the field development tools, and working on new components we’ll release early in the new year.” 

Reflecting on the past 25 years of building out a geoscience software platform has given the SeisWare team the opportunity to celebrate the early visions they had for the company and clarify their goals for future growth. 

Ready to expand your skillset? SeisWare has new functionality and offerings you may not have tried. Book a personalized demo today. 

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