Apr 19 2011

Explorer acquires two Australian businesses

Vancouver, Canada-based Explorer Software has acquired two more construction software firms, both based in Australia: Adelaide-based CSSP and Adelaide/Sydney-based Kensington Computer Services (KCS), a CSSP reseller. Back in 2007, I blogged about Explorer’s acquisition of UK construction accounting software vendor RedSky IT (formerly Ramesys). These latest deals, for which no value was given, will also cause some ripples in the UK; CSSP has four UK offices, in Bromley, Birmingham, Manchester and Northern Ireland.

Explorer’s new Australian division will apparently operate from offices in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Auckland, with former KCS managing director Marc Hemmett as its local MD. Existing staff will be retained to support clients, said Explorer COO Mike Aspinwall. His President and CEO colleague Jim McFarlane said: “We see Australia as an important component of our global market. Acquiring CSSP has given us a significant footprint in Australia and we look forward to steady growth in this region.”

Explorer has made a dozen acquisitions since 2004, mainly of construction accounting software businesses like RedSky IT and CSSP, with the acquisition’s branding often being gradually superseded by Explorer, and staff encouraged to embrace remote working. RedSky’s experience may be worrying for some CSSP and KCS staff; a comment on a Canadian news site alleges:

“When Explorer acquired Redsky in England they sacked over half the employees and closed all the offices – they said that it gave employees a better work/life balance but it was just a cost cutting excercise.”

The group’s technology portfolio has some document management capabilities (see 2004 document imaging news) though these mainly relate to scanning and storage of invoices and related documents (see Explorer ezDocs); it doesn’t, as far as I can see, yet offer any construction collaboration functionality.

Update (28 April 2011): Here is clarification so far as CSSP in the UK is concerned, courtesy of Colin Rule (technical director, CSSP UK):

CSSP UK is a separate company from the CSSP Australian business, and was not purchased by Explorer Software.

CSSP UK develop, market and support RIPAC (a major player in the QS market used by over 500 clients in the UK and around the world ) and EES (a water industry estimating system in use by many of the large UK water authorities). CSSP UK currently support the Cheops product in the UK on behalf of the CSSP Australian business, and are in negotiations to maintain this relationship with the new owners.

The offices of CSSP UK are in Bromley (head office) and Manchester, Blackpool and Scotland; the Birmingham office has been closed for some time. We have updated our website in the light of the purchase of the Australian company to reflect the change to the offices.

For more information on the CSSP UK product and business, please see the website, or contact either myself, or CSSP UK managing director, Barry Hook for more information.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2011/04/explorer-acquires-two-australian-businesses/

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