A group of developers and professional services staff that left Tenuteq in 1999 have now found their former employer has gone to the ground, leaving them with an opportunity to pick up a host of new customers and business partners.
In 1999, advanced warehouse management and ERP software developer Masterpack changed its name to Tenuteq, deciding to become a reseller of Pivotal CRM products and Great Plains financial software. It decided it would no longer spend money enhancing the Masterpack product, and would only provide customers with support for existing versions and statutory updates for taxation changes such as the introduction of the GST. As a result, the majority of its research and development and professional services team left the company and established a new development house named Evolve360.
In May 2000, Tenuteq was acquired by South African based vendor Ixchange, who re-branded itself on a worldwide basis as Ability corporation. Managing director of Ability Asia Pacific, Brad Adams told ARN at the time that Ability would grow to a $100 million company within two years, and would launch an initial public offering in the US.
But within 12 months the company was making staff redundant across its global operations, culminating with the appointment of an administrator and the sacking of 40 Australian employees in early May 2001.
During this time, Evolve360 had been developing its own product based upon the legacy code of Masterpack. It had agreed not to approach Masterpack customers before 2002. But with the collapse of Ability, it suddenly found itself the only option for many distribution and logistics companies that relied on Masterpack software. And as Ability was no longer able to support customers, its former staff began taking them on.
Evolve360 managing director Dionne Dumitru explains said many Masterpack customers stayed with Ability for its continuing maintenance and support of the product, especially during the GST transition. Evolve360 has quickly moved to contact as many customers as possible and stage an event in Sydney to explain what additional functions it has added to the project in order to migrate Masterpack users across to its product, E360. "There was a high level of interest in our ongoing support and the additional functionality we have developed," said Dumitru. "While we won't see a huge increase in the short term, we look at this as an excellent opportunity for the long term. Right now these potential new customers have to test the new product, and a lot of them won't migrate for a while anyway as they are already in the middle of their sales cycle after upgrading for the GST."
Dumitru also used the event to comfort customers and partners that were anxious to know whether IBM would continue to support the database products developed by acquired competitor Informix, products the Masterpack and Evolve360 software is based on. Dumitru said IBM has given her every confidence that IBM will continue to enhance and support the Universe database product into the foreseeable future. In the US, Big Blue has even created a separate business unit for the product in a similar way to how it absorbed Lotus Development. "When we started talking to IBM we felt pretty confident users wouldn't be forced onto DB2," she said. "We are seeing all the right messages to say they are standing behind us."