This week, MIDAS will celebrate its 5th Birthday!

On 10th December 2005, the original concept for MIDAS came into being. At that time, Mark Harrington, the creator of MIDAS, was working in a brand new Performing Arts College – the first one of its kind in Greater Manchester, UK. This new school for students aged 11-16 boasted impressive state-of-the-art facilities. These included a sports hall, gymnasium, all weather pitch, atrium, conservatory, a 300-seat community theatre, outdoor stage, recording studios and rehearsal space.

All these spaces were to be available for internal use by the school, and also to be hired out to external and community groups. Soon after the new school opened, the school appointed a Community Facilities Manager, Miriam, in November 2005. Her role was to oversee the booking and smooth running of the new facilities which were in very high demand.

It soon became apparent that the software the school had been using for handling their room bookings was not up to scratch. It was simply not meeting the increasing demands on the new facilities. The software (which shall not be named here!), was slow, cumbersome, buggy, and not very user-friendly! Consequently, Miriam and Mark both spent time researching what other alternatives were available.

After much discussion, frustration, and plenty of “wouldn’t it be great if we had software that could do this…?” comments, they soon realized that there were no alternatives available that would do exactly what was required out of a room scheduling program.

Mark, coming from a strong programming background (which is perhaps a blog post for another day!), was sure he could write something that would do everything a Community Facilities Manager would need to manage facilities, clients and bookings. So Mark sat down with Miriam and the two of them “brainstormed” how she wanted the software to ideally function. Dozens of sheets of paper later, covered with all kinds of scribbled notes, arrows, and flow charts, Mark had something to go away and work on! A few days later, an initial prototype v0.01 was born.

Mark named the software “MIDAS”, an acronym, although to this day he remains elusive as to whether it actually stands for “Mark’s Infrastructure Daily Allocation System“, or “Miriam’s Infrastructure Daily Allocation System“(!)

Over the Christmas holidays of 2005, Mark worked diligently to develop MIDAS so that it could be “rolled out” in the new year. He even spent New Year’s Eve in front of his computer at the stroke of midnight coding away!

Within the first few weeks of 2006 (and numerous revisions of the software later!), MIDAS went “live” for the first time. It transformed the way staff and external clients booked rooms. Now, for the first time all staff could check room availability using their web browser, the booking process was simpler, efficient, and stream-lined! The number of bookings and revenue substantially increased during the year, and double-bookings were finally thing of the past!

Realizing the potential of MIDAS to help other schools and organizations in similar situations, just three months after the first prototypes, MIDAS v1.00 saw its first public release!

MIDAS in 2005 MIDAS in 2010
MIDAS in 2005 (above left) and 2010 (above right)

Five years on, and MIDAS is going from strength to strength! It is now being used around the world by schools, universities, churches, hotels, as well as recording studios, garages, and even bowling alleys!

If you’re a MIDAS user, we’d like to thank you so much that you chose us! We have lots of exciting developments in the pipeline, so here’s to the next 5 years!