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March 20, 2012

Speedware leaps into Fresche Legacy brand

FrescheLogoSpeedware is growing beyond its 36-year-old company brand starting today, becoming Fresche Legacy. The move that completes the company's 2010 repurchase of itself from Activant aligns it with a new business focus on IT legacy management. While the company continues to support HP 3000 software products like its 4GL and migration tools, it will take mission-critical applications and enhance them to support the growth of business needs.

It's also aimed at making IT less of a fire-fighter at a company, to evolve into more of a value generator for customers. The rebranding includes a motto of "IT can make you smile." President Andy Kulakowski says the expansion of the Speedware mission flows from engagements with legacy users outside of the HP 3000 community.

Kulakowski"We know this is very bold," Kulakowski said. "Rebranding ourselves is a demonstration of how much we believe in this. Here we are dropping a name we’ve held for 36 years. We felt it was a good to rebrand ourselves according to the new value propositions we offer. Legacy tends to have a negative connotation because it refers to old stuff. We call it Fresche Legacy because that’s what we do: freshen up legacy environments. We make people happy with our 100 percent referenceability track record, and we really believe that IT can make you smile."

The HP 3000 business opportunities for the company over the past fiscal year didn't include any migration project start-ups, he added. It was the first in 15 years without a transfer or replacement of a 3000 customer's operations. Kulakowski noted that three application support contracts were launched last year for the HP 3000 segment at what's now Fresche Legacy. The Speedware 4GL enhancements are still being engineered as needed by the customers, along with migration-related software such as AMXW, he added.

"We’re still very loyal to the HP 3000 and active in the community," he said. "That doesn’t change for us. It’s served us well for 36 years, and we’ll continue to serve our customers with the same care. The Speedware brand will continue. It’s a brand that represents the software tools of the past, including the migration tools of the last several years."

What's been growing for awhile at Speedware has been engagements in the IBM mainframe and AS/400 replacement business. In July, 2010 on the heels of its buyback from Activant, Speedware joined HP in a drive to get IBM customers onto HP's Unix, Linux and Windows servers. That effort provided AS/400 legacy modernization solutions in tandem HP. Hewlett-Packard has worked since 2003 to get IBM customers to adopt HP-UX. Speedware also purchased the ML-iMPACT code conversion tool for AS/400s in 2010.

"We realized we had developed another skill: how exactly to perform migration projects, and how to modernize legacy environments," Kulakowski said. "Hence, this dream we started in 2010 to get back our company, and convert this skill in migrating and managing legacy applications into bigger markets. It’s bigger opportunity and bigger business."

Fresche Legacy will be run by the same group of executives, handling greater responsibilities. Christine McDowell, who's been focused on strategic alliances and sales, now has an expanded role in marketing. McDowell has pointed to "customers frustrated with the limitations inherent in the [IBM] platform," adding that owners among IBM's 200,000 AS/400 and Series 1 servers are reaching out to Speedware and HP.

Chris Koppe, formerly the company's marketing director and more recently its business development leader, has stepped up to be responsible for building corporate strategy, exploring new opportunities in new marketplaces. Maria Anzini, the company's director of customer support for many years, will expand her responsibilities into human resources. "She’s not only responsible for relationships with customers, but more importantly, relationships with our own employees," Kulakowski said of Anzini.

The shift to a legacy management strategy has been urged along by curtailed 3000 migrations. “Quite frankly, we thought that would take a little longer," Kulakowski said. "We thought that HP 3000 migrations would be a significant contributor to the business. As it turns out, we were forced into this transition a lot sooner than we thought — and it ended up being a good thing for us. We’ve completed our transformation a lot quicker than we might’ve envisioned two years ago."

Application support engagements for 3000 sites have arrived from both new and existing Speedware customers. “Because of a great relationship, they trusted us to do application support for them," the president said. "In another case, it’s a brand-new customer who was looking for someone to mitigate their risk of their retiring HP 3000 skills.”

The fresh business at Speedware over the last year came from IBM sites where legacy management meant reducing risks. These newer customers "are running projects on the AS/400 and IBM mainframe replacement," Kulakowski said. "This is why we’ve repositioned ourselves as a legacy management company, for environments that have complex, mission-critical applications in them. We transform them to lower-cost, lower-risk, more modern operating platforms."

That doesn't limit Fresche Legacy to migrations and replacements, he stressed.

"We have something to offer regardless of where a CIO wants to bring their legacy," Kulakowski said. "We respond well to retiring, rehosting, and re-architecting legacy environments, or just looking for app support services. We’re positioning ourselves as a legacy management company, instead of just a legacy moderization company."

The company's preparing for a move in May to new offices in the up and coming Griffintown section of Montreal.

"Springtime is a great time to be aligned with what we’re doing with the business," Kulakowski said. "As we freshen up our image and the company, we’re very excited."

11:01 AM in Migration, Newsmakers | Permalink

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