Business

Patrick McAliskey: Another testament to Northern Ireland's IT success...

Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk-Ozgul of Derry-based Elemental Software, which has been acquired by Sheffield-based company Servelec.

THERE have been a number of noteworthy bits of business in recent weeks involving Northern Ireland IT companies that highlight again the success of the sector, and by extension the quality of the people in it.

Kainos is so often a leading light for the IT sector, and increasingly the business community in Northern Ireland as a whole. And again last week it broke new ground with the acquisition of a business in Argentina.

The purchase of UNE Consulting is part of a strategy to grow the firm's international practice in Workday, a suite of financial management and HR software.

It will add 42 staff, mainly in the Americas, to the company’s workforce, and it represents Kainos’s fifth deal of this type having previously bought firms in the UK, Germany, Finland and US.

Another transaction worth mentioning is the acquisition of Elemental Software by Sheffield-based company Servelec.

I can speak in an informed way about how good a business Elemental is, having served a period as chairman, and it’s fantastic to see the hard work of its founders Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk-Ozgul being rewarded.

Such has been the company’s success in creating its innovative platform to enable digital social prescribing, and in building its customer-base across the UK and Ireland, that it proved a very attractive opportunity for Servelec.

Elemental will continue to operate from its current base in Derry under its own well-established brand and leadership team as part of a larger business focused on connecting communities through digital care. Hopefully it will result in the ongoing growth of the company and its team in Derry.

In June, we also heard that Northern Ireland digital services firm Neueda had been bought by Dublin-based Version 1, which recently announced it was adding around 180 new jobs to Belfast.

The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, is the 12th for Version 1 to date and the company says it will help it meet ambitious growth plans, particularly in capital markets where the newly-acquired company Neueda specialises.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention Cancom UK&I. It was acquired by Telefonica Tech in July.

The skills and expertise of the team here in Belfast and the quality of the customers that they have enabled the company to win and service were no doubt a big part of the attraction.

As José Cerdán, CEO of Telefónica Tech, said: “Having the Cancom UK&I talented team join Telefonica Tech will strengthen our cloud and cybersecurity capabilities in the UK and Ireland, with a strong focus on professional and managed services, and combined with our value proposition and global reach allows us to position ourselves as the strategic partner for our B2B customers in their digital transformation strategy.”

Northern Ireland really has shown over recent years that it really can generate very high quality tech companies that lead their fields and are therefore attractive to investment and acquisition by bigger businesses outside of Northern Ireland.

And in Kainos’ case that Northern Ireland can generate businesses that can grow significantly and acquire around the world. This is all very much something that we should celebrate.

Patrick McAliskey is strategic adviser to Cancom UK and Ireland, which delivers a range of technology services across the public and private sectors.

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