My, how the IT world is shrinking. It seems like almost every day another company is acquired by a bigger player, dramatically changing the IT landscape, even if the big effects are only localised.
Back in late 1997, I was offered a job in Sydney, working for a small IT services company called Somerset Systems. They were a Lotus Notes, MQSeries and WebSphere development and consulting shop with around 30 staff split between offices in Sydney and Melbourne. They were also a premier IBM business partner.
in 1999 (I think it was), they were bought by Candle Corporation – another IBM business partner – but much much larger, based in the US with offices throughout the world. They bought Somerset to augment their local services capabilities in Australia.
In early 2000, my boss at Somerset/Candle moved to Brisbane and found work with IBM there (Somerset/Candle didn’t have a Brisbane office).
I left Candle in late 2000 to join IBM who were putting a new team together to provide technical enablement servics to the channels organisation – IBM’s business partners. As it turned out, I ended up working for my old boss who was asked to manage this team !
Through my involvement with the Somersoft dicussion forum (Somersoft – not Somerset !!), I met a guy in Adelaide who worked for Rational Corporation. He left the company just before IBM bought Rational back in late 2002.
I had become friendly with a guy who did most of the enablement work at Presence Online, another IBM business partner who developed a product called Aptrix, which was quite popular with our customers, especially those who used Domino. I knew him through Somersoft, and I also met him through work several time. IBM bought Presence Online in mid 2003, by which time my friend had moved on to a new company.
IBM Global Services Australia was a joint venture between IBM, Telstra and Lendlease in Australia – but they were a separate entity from IBM Australia and not considered to be “true blue” like we were. I got to know several people who worked for IBM GSA through networks like the Somersoft forum, and I always considered them to be working for a completely separate company to the one I worked for – which was true to a certain degree.
Of course, when IBM bought out Telstra and Lend Lease’s shares in mid 2003, they became IBM Global Services – a true blue part of IBM, so these friends of mine were suddenly working for the same company I did (although a completely separate division).
Earlier this week, IBM announced that they were going to buy the Australian and New Zealand operations of Logicalis – the local arm of the global network services integration company. They will be incorporated into the ITS group within IBM Global Services. My sister-in-law works as an accountant for Logicalis ! It’s still unclear yet as to how this will affect her. We are hoping she will be offered accounting work in IBM.
And now yesterday, IBM announced they were going to buy Candle Corporation – the company that bought Somerset Systems when I was working there !
I still have several friends who work for Candle, and it will be very interesting to see how this affects them. I’m going to have to make some phone calls and find out what this all means to them locally. Candle will be incorporated into the Software Group (where I work), and I assume that their services people will be offered jobs either in Software Group Services or in IBM Global Services. If they do become part of IBM SWG Services and choose to join, I know they will be extremely valuable additions to the team – I have a lot of respect for some of the guys I worked with there.
With IBM’s rapid expansion in recent years, looking for strategic aquisitions to fill gaps in our product and services offerings, it has had an interesting impact on the local IT marketplace, and the effects are far-reaching. Some of the biggest impacts are actually on our competition, who constantly scramble to keep up with the surprisingly nimble Big Blue Elephant that is IBM.
These are indeed interesting times, and it is left as an exercise for the reader to determine whether “interesting” is indeed a blessing or a curse.