Rick Parry, former MD of Progress Software South Africa, has launched a new company, Albi Investment Group Services (AIGS), which will focus on consulting in the services-oriented architecture (SOA) space.
AIGS has been appointed as Progress’s non-exclusive distributor in sub-Saharan Africa. This follows Progress’s global restructuring which has seen the company downscale its direct presence in countries outside North America and Europe. As a result, the new business already has R40 million worth of annuity revenue in place.
AIGS has secured the local rights to a range of Progress Software offerings including the OpenEdge application platform, the Sonic enterprise service bus, and service-oriented architecture management solution Actional. In addition, the company also represents natural language search and query software EasyAsk.
“We are taking the opportunity offered by non-exclusivity to look at incorporating other, complementary products into our offering,” says Parry. “Our goal is to build a product-agnostic consulting practice focusing on the SOA and business process management spaces.”
Parry is quick to point out, however, that AIGS is a people- and services-based business. He says the company will be built on a specific set of brand values that include a passion for excellence, and for exceeding customer expectations.
“I have asked my team to declare war on mediocrity. The new business has given us all an excellent opportunity to really make a difference in our sector. A good salesperson sets expectations and knows what they can deliver. Our focus is on exceeding those expectations and ensuring that our customers have a delightful experience every time they do business with us. We want to cultivate real partnerships with customers, not customer-supplier relationships. The best way to do that is to ensure a good return on investment for your client every time they engage with you.”
He says that from a consulting perspective, there is a great deal of confusion in the SOA market in South Africa. On the understanding and acceptance curve, we are about three years behind our American and European counterparts. The local market tends to be driven by vendors selling products. In reality, SOA has little to do with product. It’s about how to derive true value from your existing IT assets so that your organisation can be nimble and responsive to market and customer demands.”
He says the question for most business leaders is “are we getting true value out of our technology investments?” Few of them want to throw away what they have and start afresh. What AIGS aims to do is help them sweat their IT assets. “There is a great opportunity for us to help businesses really understand what is meant by SOA, and cloud computing. The focus should be on real business opportunities, not technology opportunities. What is also exciting in this context is that business size is irrelevant. It’s all about services.”
Parry adds that many consulting firms become entrenched in organisations, seldom completing projects. “This creates enormous scope for a consulting organisation that can go in, identify issues and challenges, do the job, transfer skills, and leave. There’s nothing revolutionary in what we want to do, but there’s definitely a gap in the market and across every sector.”