Infor and SAP partner Sapphire Systems has made the first acquisition in its 25-year history in the shape of "respected enemy" General Systems.
The move makes Sapphire the largest global Infor SunSystems partner, extending its customer base for the product from 500 to about 600 (it already claimed to be SunSystems' largest reseller by licence revenue).
General Systems' headquarters were near Sapphire's Mancunian office and Sapphire's technical director Ralph Bolton (pictured) said the duo had competed in earnest for 20 years.
"They were a respected enemy," he said.
"Our strategy to date has been organic growth and we have grown nicely and profitably every year for 20 years. We are now on a new paradigm and are considering acquisitions as a growth strategy."
Sapphire's £16m revenue is split fairly evenly between SunSystems – a product Infor inherited through its 2006 acquisition of Systems Union and is now known as Infor10 Financial Business – and SAP Business One.
Bolton said the two offerings gel perfectly, with SunSystems suited to mid- to large-sized organisations with rigorous financial requirements and SAP aimed more at organisations that focus on sales and services.
"Ninety-five per cent of the time we get an enquiry it is a no-brainer and it is either one or the other," said Bolton.
Privately held Sapphire will forge on with its international expansion strategy this year to ensure it can provide maintenance and support to UK clients with overseas offices. It will soon open an Australian outpost.
But Bolton refused to rule out further acquisitions.
"We are on a learning curve as a management team, but we now know the formula. The options are either to scale up or buy a business in a new line of activity – business intelligence is an expanding market."
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