Origen remains Pick for new owners

The new owners of Tauranga-based Origen Technology have affirmed their commitment to the company's Pick-related language.

The new owners of Tauranga-based Origen Technology have affirmed their commitment to the company’s Pick-related language.

Former UK businessmen Roy Simpson and Richard Hunter bought Origen Technology late in March following the death in January of company founder Tony Dixon, aged 39.

The Origen language, which originated with Dixon, is based on IBM-owned UniVerse, a multivalue database related to the Pick language.

But the company, which produces a suite of financial products and software for local councils using the company’s Origen-based 4GL development environment, says it will stick with the language. “Origen is an essential part of our product offering. It is used by New Zealand companies and we will maintain and develop it,” Simpson says.

He says the company will undergo three to six months of “consolidation” as the pair get to grips with their new business. But Simpson says the changeover, which includes the Dixon family ending their links with the company, will mean “business as usual” for customers. “We feel that they see this [takeover] as a positive move. They feel that Richard and I bring a new dynamic to the company that will help it realise its growth quicker than before because of our international experience,” he says.

Simpson says two or three projects are “on hold” during the consolidation phase at the five-person company. But OrigenWeb — a standard web browser interface to other Origen products that uses XML — will be trialled next month. “That graphical front end is really a development of the Origen language to enable users to integrate the database with their existing or new internet portal,” he says.

Tauranga District Council IS manager Robyn Dines says her council’s relationship with Origen remains business as usual as the council is happy with its financial and regulatory software, describing it as “very cost-effective”.

“We have no plans to replace [Origen] at this stage,” Dines says.

Simpson says he was one of three managers who expanded UK-based Saffron Computer services from a five-man firm to having 100 staff over five years, before he sold his minor shareholding in 1999. Saffron produced local authority software also based on UniVerse. He then worked in Sydney as general manager of e-business solutions provider Next Systems.

Hunter has been an IT consultant for almost 20 years, working for most of the major consultancies in the UK. In the last two years, he has worked in New Zealand for the Gartner Group, the Simpl Group and Manukau City Council.

Simpson says the pair worked together in Auckland 16 years ago and kept in touch in London. Simpson knew Tony Dixon because they produced similar products and there was even a view he could sell Origen software in Australia — an idea which never eventuated.

Hunter was appointed interim manager at Origen earlier this year while he was at the Simpl Group. Following Dixon’s death, he recommended the business be sold, which led the pair to buy it.

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