Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Memories of 'troubled' trips to Belfast as Autonomy buys Meridio

I note that Autonomy, during their Q3 results presentation today, announced that they were to acquire Belfast-based Meridio and its enterprise Document and Records Management (eDRM) software. Today's Ovum EuroView piece - Autonomy to buy Meridio - gives a good overview of Autonomy's results and the strategic importance of this $41m acquisition.

For many years, in the 1990s and early 2000s, I made an annual visit to Belfast to give my "State of the IT Nation" speech to the Northern Ireland branch of the CSSA (or Intellect as it is now known). I went every year despite "the troubles" staying in the Europa - the most bombed hotel in the world. I really liked going as I always got a very warm welcome - probably because I was one of the few prepared to take the risks.

This all came flooding back when I realised that Meridio was basically a 'spin-out' from Kainos Software - who had sponsored so many of my Belfast presentations - and Teamware, the Document management and Process Division of Fujitsu. Kainos was itself a joint initiative by ICL, Queens University and ACT. Kainos has revenues of Euro18.5m and is still one of largest indigenous Northern Ireland software companies. Kainos founder - Frank Graham - went on to be CEO at Meridio and still serves on Kainos' board.

Belfast has two great universities producing just the kind of graduates the IT sector needs. During "the troubles" those students left for the relative peace of the mainland once they graduated. So it is particularly satisfying to see indigenous Northern Ireland companies now doing well and providing great career opportunities. I'm also pleased to see that, with Autonomy, Meridio will remain in UK ownership.

1 comment:

Richard Holway said...

I received the following email from Brendan Mooney, Managing Director, Kainos


Delighted to see your note on Meridio and Autonomy and reference to our local universities – who are still turning out excellent qualities – since Kainos debuted on to the scene in 1986 the number of ICT employees in Northern Ireland has risen from under 2,000 to over 16,000 in 2007 – and long may it continue!

Frank does indeed remain on the Kainos board, and this year observing a respectable 25% growth as we drive towards Euro25m revenues – I'd be delighted to give you a fuller update at some time in the future – we continue to win business in London and I'm over pretty much every week.

Very best regards,


Brendan Mooney, Managing Director, Kainos