Kanata IT firm Eclipsys Solutions eyes southern expansion after acquisition by U.K. company

Eclipsys Solutions acquired
Simon Goodenough (left), CEO of DSP UK, and Michael Richardson, CEO of Eclipsys Solutions, seal this week's acquisition. Photo courtesy Eclipsys Solutions

A Kanata IT consulting firm that caters to Oracle users across Canada has been acquired by a U.K. company in a bid to expand the combined enterprise’s footprint south of the border.

Eclipsys Solutions said Wednesday it has been sold to DSP, a London-based organization that provides data and cloud management services to Oracle customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Terms of the deal, which was finalized on Tuesday, were not disclosed.

In an interview with Techopia on Wednesday afternoon, Eclipsys co-owner and CEO Michael Richardson said the move has “nothing but upside” for his company and its 55 employees, most of whom live in the Ottawa area.

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He and Eclipsys founder and co-owner Jack Gulas received multiple offers for the firm. Richardson said DSP, which employs 200-plus people, is keen to gain a beachhead in North America and has pledged to keep Eclipsys in Ottawa with the goal of expanding its workforce in the National Capital Region.

The new owners believe Eclipsys’ local talent pool gives it a clear edge as it attempts to crack the massive U.S. market, added Richardson, who will remain in his current role.

“They’re going to bring money to help us grow in Canada and into the States, where I can use Canadian resources at a 30 per cent exchange rate benefit to sell and do deals in the U.S.,” he said. 

“I fully expect that we will use this as an opportunity to go after more U.S. business but have (employees) located in Ottawa or Toronto, for that matter – wherever I can find the resources.”

DSP chief executive Simon Goodenough said the acquisition will accelerate his company’s efforts to make a mark on this side of the Atlantic.

“DSP has always had an acquisition strategy to expand into North America, and the opportunity with Eclipsys presented itself as the perfect way to provide a beachhead to do so,” Goodenough said in a statement. 

“From the moment I first met Michael and his senior team, it was clear that there was a great cultural fit, both people and purpose – I am hugely excited to be bringing together two such well-respected Oracle specialists.”

Founded in 2009 under the name Maplesoft Technology, Eclipsys began as a subsidiary of Ottawa-based management consulting firm Maplesoft Group that resold Sun Microsystems products to the federal government.

After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems the following year, the Ottawa company shifted its focus when its owners realized many users did not understand “the serious complexity” of Oracle’s software, Richardson said.

“Customers were buying their technology but not always able to get business value from it,” he said. “Oracle didn’t want to be in the services business, so we felt there was a real opportunity with large customers to help them take their investments in Oracle technology and help them drive business value from it.”

The firm later split from Maplesoft Group and rebranded to its current name in 2012, the same year Richardson came on board as partner and chief executive. 

Competing in a niche market dominated by global professional services firms such as Accenture, Deloitte and KPMG, Eclipsys has more than held its own. 

Its revenues have been growing at an average rate of 30 per cent annually for the past decade, Richardson said. He explained that the firm is consistently profitable thanks to its low churn rate and growing customer base that includes private and public-sector clients such as Carleton University, the City of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital.

“It’s turned out to be a great strategy,” he said of the company’s decision to specialize in Oracle products.

As the firm sets its sights on new frontiers, Richardson said his biggest challenge will be finding enough workers with Oracle expertise to fuel its growth engine.

“My retention rate is very high, but even when the economy is a little soft, your best people are always at risk (of leaving),” he explained.

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