AL Indigo lets go of Oracle business

Johannesburg, 28 Jun 2010

Local empowered ICT firm African Legend (AL) Indigo has released its BEA Systems unit to South African Oracle specialist firm EOH.

Roughly 200 employees and the solutions have been transferred to the JSE-listed EOH for an undisclosed amount. Oracle bought out the original BEA Systems business in 2008, and AL Indigo has had specialist teams working on the middleware offering for some time.

However, AL Indigo chairman Mashudu Tshivhase says the business unit represents a limited space for the company to play in, and AL Indigo decided it would be best to dispose of the unit.

EOH declined to comment on the deal, saying it was not big enough to make an announcement to shareholders.

Troubled times

AL Indigo has had several hiccups over the last few years, most notably a pullout of investment from ICT business Datatec. In 2009, African Legend Computing bought Datatec's 55% stake in the business, making it a fully black-owned business.

More recently, the company lost both its CEO Michael Jacobus and financial director Manuela Torres, which the company explained was not a serious problem. According to Tshivhase, Morne van Zyl has now taken up the reins as FD, and Mallele Petje, former DG of the Department of Education in Gauteng, is still acting CEO.

Petje was appointed to AL Indigo's board in December last year as non-executive director.

Despite the hiccups, Tshivhase still has big plans for the business. In an exclusive interview with ITWeb earlier this year, Tshivhase revealed that he expects to triple the company's value by boosting its foray into Nigeria and trying its hand in the telecoms market.

Better for business

He believes without the Oracle business unit, the company can achieve the value it is hoping for. Tshivhase says the BEA Systems unit focused entirely on middleware. “There is no space to grow in simply providing middleware. We want to be able to offer end-to-end solutions,” he adds.

According to Tshivhase, the sale of the BEA unit will allow the company to focus on bringing in full solutions and the company has already started looking at exclusive deals.

The first deal will see the company bring in a risk management offering for the financial services sector that will deal with real-time fraud prevention and legal compliance for international and local governance laws.

The company will also look at a solution for telecoms providers, which will help them prevent churn and create a loyalty base. The solution will essentially notify customers of the reasons for a dropped call, and possibly incentivise the customer whose calls were lost.

Tshivhase says AL Indigo needs to look away from being brand specific if it wants to reach its target of a billion rand value. “We don't want to be exclusive to one vendor, it makes more sense to be able to give our customers anything they may need,” he adds.

“We have also lagged behind in the hardware department and we will now be expanding our offerings to include HP, IBM and others,” concludes Tshivhase.