MagmaTec, Comprehend-IT rebrand to Alacrity

Posted by batman on Jul 28th, 2010
2010
Jul 28

MagmaTec and Comprehend-IT have officially merged and rebranded to Alacrity with immediate effect; this final step marks the end of a year-long process to combine the services and competencies of these two organisations into a single entity offering MS.Net and Java software development services to an expanding range of blue chip clients.

Since announcing the deal in August 2009, both companies continued to operate as separate entities, although combining efforts where required.

“As technologies have converged it was no longer in our best interest to maintain our niche focuses,” comments Stuart Phillips, MD. “The technology environments of our clients are far more dynamic and require us to be as conversant in cutting-edge application development technologies and platforms, as well as being able to support legacy systems that need to be maintained to support their existing operations.”

Services

Alacrity is a software development company that offers consulting, development and support services to a broad range of clients.

Clients may need assistance in developing an IT strategy, competency-based resourcing covering the full SDLC either on- or off-site; or software developed for products or projects, or systems and software applications support.

The product division is geared to support technology entrepreneurs that need support services in addition to software development expertise to build and sustain the product or business. The company has an impressive array of clients, including Momentum, Discovery, Gallo Images, Paarl Media, Old Mutual, Metropolitan, Firstrand, Webber Wentzel and Media24 to name a few.

Leadership team

The Alacrity group will be lead by a combined management team: Stuart Phillips – Managing Director, Robert Marshall – Strategy & Business Development Director, Brian Ford – Sales & Marketing Director, Gerhard Pretorius – Technology Director, and Teresia Arendse – HR Director.

New brand

“Alacrity as a word is synonymous with agility, quick responding, efficient, flexible and engaging; important words when you consider the work that we do and the benefit offered to our clients,” adds Brian Ford. “Similarly, the corporate identity is more dynamic, using four colours interchangeably, as the IT in the word, it’s both simplistic and unsuspecting for a software development company.” The brand was launched internally to staff prior to the official market launch today.

ITWeb Press Release

Alacrity Homepage

Magmatec Homepage (limited time)

Comprehend IT Homepage (limited time)

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MagmaTec, Comprehend IT agree to merger

Posted by batman on Mar 7th, 2010
2010
Mar 7

Two of South Africa’s ICT companies, MagmaTec and Comprehend IT, today announced that they have reached an agreement to merge their companies.

Merger talks have been ongoing for a few months now and the boards of directors of both companies agreed in principle to the terms of the transaction at a joint board meeting held on Thursday, 30 July 2009.

A merger committee, representing both businesses and functional areas, has been established to finalise the transaction and oversee the combined strategy and transition of the new company that will now employ over 100 IT professionals; and a number of key announcements on services, products and branding will be made during the coming months.

“We’re excited to announce this transaction or partnership as we prefer to call it. It enables us to position MagmaTec for future growth in offering multiple technology platforms to our clients and more,” said Stuart Phillips, MD of MagmaTec. “We’ll be able to leverage Comprehend IT’s knowledge, capability and experience in the Microsoft .Net arena, their international experience and innovative products and applications in the mobile and Internet arenas.”

MagmaTec remains focused on supporting the IT strategy and complementing the development capability of financial services clients by offering systems development, integration, support and consulting services through all phases of the systems life cycle, focused largely on Java technology protocol. MagmaTec was recently awarded Level 1 BEE status and has a client base that includes FirstRand, Momentum, Discovery, Old Mutual and JP Morgan, among others.

Similarly, Comprehend IT was started in 1998 and is well established in the retail, marketing, health and publishing sectors as a software development company that offers consulting, analysis, architecture and design, development and training using .Net capabilities. Comprehend IT’s enterprising culture extends to the support they offer to budding entrepreneurs, and a separate division is focused on providing support, infrastructure and funding options to start-up companies or entrepreneurs that have developed cutting-edge applications in the mobile and online space. These products are taken to market and supported as separate divisions, operating on an international basis.

“As companies continue to outsource elements of their IT capability to a greater or lesser extent given their ever-changing circumstances, this merger will position us to assist them in responding to their needs irrespective of their technology strategy. We are truly an IT partner to companies of all sizes,” adds Robert Marshall, CEO, Comprehend IT. “Both MagmaTec and ourselves have well entrenched cultures within our business with staff that have been there from the beginning. In MagmaTec we’ve not only found a technology partner, but a company that shares our vision and ethos.”

While both companies will realise economies of scale through infrastructure sharing and will not be rationalising any staff, taking advantage of new market opportunities, a richer customer offering, realising synergies and an expanded product and service offering were the primary drivers for this deal. “We’re combining our resources and not retrenching anyone as we gear the businesses to take advantage of new and much larger opportunities here and abroad. For a while it’ll be business as usual for our staff and customers; however, our customers will start benefiting from an expanded product and service offering and a depth of knowledge that extends the full technology spectrum,” concludes Phillips.

ITWeb Press Release

Magmatec Homepage

Comprehend IT Homepage

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History in the making – MagmaTec turns 10!

Posted by batman on Feb 27th, 2010
2010
Feb 27

Original article posted by MagmaTec
Magmatec's 10th anniversary

A little over 10 years ago, members of the then Southern Life EB IT department underwent some anxious moments when it was announced that Southern Life was being “merged with” (or more correctly “taken over by”) Momentum Life. Some of the drivers at play in this regard were that Momentum had a relatively small EB operation, and were not in a position to take on the much larger EB book of Southern. The decision had however been taken that the merged Momentum EB head office was to be in Gauteng. Our EB IT staff were desperately needed up there, but not many (none!) were prepared to make the move from Cape Town. As in all mergers, the biggest question for our staff was “what will happen to me”.

Fortunately for us, Momentum had an entrepreneurial culture, which was open to entrepreneurial behaviour and risk taking. So when the idea of the Southern EB IT shop starting a company by itself was mooted, they accepted this as a win / win proposition, which would provide the new Momentum EB entity with protection regarding the maintenance of the Southern Legacy systems. Consequently, MagmaTec came into being on 01 November 1998! As a new business, it was started with a lot of idealism and enthusiasm, a contract to support these legacy Southern systems, and not much else in the form of business experience or further opportunities. The journey had however begun… Some highlights over the years included:

  • Early on, we had no structure, open salaries, and lots of lengthy debates over every decision – we took a few days of meetings to choose a name, and our first new person recruited (Vanessa) required a company vote for approval!
  • We had lots of “sessions” (at The Range in Tokai) facilitated by Helene Smit, with the purpose of getting everyone`s emotions and values incorporated in the new “MagmaTec culture”. Many of the cultural factors that emerged in those early years have in fact stood the test of time, and are still very much part of MagmaTec today.
  • Although we were primarily a mainframe shop at that point, we did have a few “new age techies” in our midst (eg Steve, Bruce) who actually knew how to “program for PC`s” as we called it back then. They did an investigation as to whether our future should lie more in the Java or the Microsoft worlds. History tells us what they decided!
  • We had no clue as to what services we actually offered, and basically tendered for any IT work that we could come across (any technology, any industry). We did a web site for Future Growth, a financial calculator called “Lighthouse”, and a few other small things that cost us money but didn`t go anywhere.
  • We did a lot of work for a company called Limon (now sadly demised), based in Jhb – so LOTS of stressful travelling was done by Brian, Shafiq and Cathy Kleyn, who became local residents in the Morningside City Lodge for months on end.
  • We looked hard for an office to rent, couldn`t find anything suitable and eventually took the risk of buying the offices at Greenford.
  • We then did a catering system for Fedics, and a survey system for Netcare, both of which in fact are still being used in one form or another, despite not being worked on for many years!
  • It slowly dawned on us that we always struggled to get new business, and we needed a marketing specialist. Brian emerged from the technical woodwork to start a drive in marketing strategy. Eventually (with the help of a consultant) – we got the idea that the one area we could in fact compete was – you would never guess – Employee Benefits IT! This insight had taken us a few short years (we were quick learners you see :). Once we focused on “EB IT”, the company growth started.
  • Growth meant many more talented people joining us, and making their individual marks on our fledgling company in different ways. Middle management layers started to appear, our “Finance” and “HR” functions began to get more formal, and in general, we became more structured and organized.
  • Once we started to reach our peak in our local EB IT clients, we decided to spread our wings into the broader financial services market, and also to Johannesburg… and this is where we are today.

On the one hand, it feels like we started the company just the other day, and it is difficult to believe that 10 years have already passed. On the other hand, we have grown and learned so much during this time, as we faced one challenge after the other, that it seems like a VERY long time since we started. But overall, I for one can say that although there have been some difficult moments (and there still are many challenges we are grappling with), the consistent reason that I have stayed at MagmaTec, is that all the people involved have made the journey a very special one. I wouldn`t wish to face the challenges of competing in today`s very competitive markets, and dealing with ever increasing demands from clients, with any other group of people!

I would like to end off by saying a big THANK-YOU to all the staff who have been with us along the way, regardless of how long they have been at MagmaTec. Our collective efforts have resulted in us being able to move from a small start up, to a professional mid-size IT company, and credit in this regard is due to each and every person who played a role. Apparently only a very small percentage of start-ups make it through to 10 years, and I think we can all be justifiably proud to be one of them.

Now to the challenges of the next 10 years!

Stuart Phillips – Managing Director

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