CMC link helps with Jade’s Indian expansion

Financial, student management and investigative software added to deal

A partnership formed two years ago between Jade Software and India’s CMC has been extended to launch several of Jade’s products into the Indian market.

“We’ve reached agreement on the terms and should sign the contracts within a few weeks,” says Jade chief executive Craig Richardson.

CMC will focus specifically on selling Jade’s financial risk management product, Methodware; its investigative software, Investigator (which is used by the Australian federal police); and its student management system.

As well, Jade is developing another product – yet to be disclosed – to launch early next year.

The Indian company, which is 49 percent publicly listed and is owned 51 percent by Tata, which was once IBM India. It has 3500 staff and turnover of around NZ$250 million.

“We’ve agreed to share ideas and concepts for both our markets,” Richardson says. “They have products that are suited to the Australasian market, and India is a huge opportunity for us. For example, CMC has 80 percent of the Indian insurance market and there are more than 5000 banks there.

“We will send people over there to work with new product design to make sure it fits the Indian market.”

CMC’s Mumbai-based managing director has a long-standing relationship with New Zealand. As a young man he worked on LINC – Jade’s predecessor – at Todd Motors. “He liked New Zealand and decided to bring New Zealand innovation to India when he could,” says Richardson.

For Richardson, who took up the chief executive role six months ago, the CMC deal is just one step in changing Jade Software from pure technology to customer focus.

“We’re reshaping the organisation to prioritise opportunities,” he says. “We’re targeting products rather than bespoke solutions, looking at innovation through collaboration with our customers.”

Specifically, he wants to position Jade as what he terms “a house of brands”.

“We’re looking at much stronger business units, competing on products, with execution and capability.”

Richardson was previously chief financial officer for Coca Cola-Amatil for New Zealand and Fiji.

“I joined Jade because it was an opportunity to do something different, to work for a New Zealand company with unrealised potential,” he says. “To realise that potential would be really satisfying, as well as creating employment.

“I’ve worked for several large multi-nationals and there is a sense of frustration about the way they do things.”

There is, he says, a lot of work to do at Jade in the sales and marketing end of the business. The two operations now sit side by side at the company’s Christchurch premises.

“In the past, we’ve tended to be too technologically focused. Now, we are focusing on specific lines of business.”

He outlines these as logistics (Jade Master Terminal); government risk and investigation; financial services (Methodware); and enterprise services.

“It’s about positioning our brand, both here and overseas.” (Jade generates 60 percent of its revenue offshore.)

Richardson says the company has a good pipeline into the new year and that he doesn’t anticipate any dramatic changes. “We’re stable with around 350 staff. That said, the second half will be challenging. I expect we’ll earn slightly south of $50 million.”

Significant recent wins include the Messina Line in Italy, with Jade Master Terminal, and what could be regarded as a windfall with the buy-out by DB Schenker of English, Welsh and Scottish Railways.

DB Schenker Rail is Europe’s largest rail freight operator. In June 2007, DB Schenker acquired Britain’s largest rail freight company and rebranded it DB Schenker Rail (UK).

The DB Schenker Rail business has 120,000 freight cars and 3300 locomotives – the largest fleet on the continent and around 30,000 employees in Europe.

Jade is supplying a suite of systems covering the main areas of customer ordering, train planning, train operations and transit planning, which delivers a controlled and efficient wagonload operation. The suite is now used and marketed by DB Schenker Rail and Thales Group through a joint venture called Transeo. Product design and development is still managed by Jade from Christchurch. The most recent sale was to Bombardier in Canada in 2008.

Richardson says the rail operation has the potential to take Jade’s Master Terminal into Eastern European ports. “Master Terminal is well suited to them because they are complex operations.”

Methodware is a global provider of risk management and internal audit software applications. Customers signed in 2009 include BDO North America, Suncorp, Tyco, Adobe, Sydney Ports Authority, American Red Cross, State Bank of Vietnam, NZTE, Jubilee (Jubilee is a Lloyds of London agency).

The benefits are primarily in process efficiency and effectiveness in audit management, policy management, compliance management (Sarbanes Oxley, Basel II and so on) and enterprise risk management.

Richardson says Jade has also packaged its intelligence-led investigation management tool, Investigator, for the European market. “It was developed on the Jade platform with the Australian Federal Police and allows easy-to-use visual management of complex cases – small teams of investigators can visually connect threads, identify relationships and solve complex cases.”

He says it was recently selected by one of the Europe’s most prestigious police forces, which he can’t at this stage name.

Jade Investigator is currently used by 40 agencies in 18 countries, including China.

The packaged version of Investigator will be released in the first quarter of 2010, targeted at the UK, India and Australia.

“From a technology point of view, I’m very happy,” Richardson says. “Now, we have to prioritise our opportunities by collaborating with our customers.”

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