Aussie entrepreneur jackpots in Fujitsu sale

Australian entrepreneur John Orrock has sold his CRM systems integration business Okere to the US arm of Fujitsu Consulting in a multi-million dollar deal.

Australian entrepreneur John Orrock has sold his CRM systems integration business Okere to the US arm of Fujitsu Consulting in a multi-million dollar deal.

Australian-born Orrock established Okere in late 2003 as a systems integrator providing professional services around the delivery of enterprise-grade Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

In the four years since, the company has grown from a one-man operation to a firm with 80 staff and offices in New York, London and Sydney. Okere serves blue chip financial clients including Merrill Lynch and ABN Amro, and has achieved revenue growth of over 100 percent year on year.

While neither Fujitsu nor Okere would confirm the price paid for the acquisition, Japanese business news outlet Nikkei Net estimates Orrock will have pocketed somewhere between 2 to 3 billion yen (AU$20 million to AU$30 million.)

Orrock told ZDNet Australia that the acquisition reflects how far the industry has come in terms of delivering SaaS.

"Okere was created to look at better ways of delivering CRM (Customer Relationship Management)," he said. "At first, CRM products were infrastructure intensive and very expensive to operate ... We had a vision for a better way to deliver CRM."

Orrock credited the on-demand technology of partner supplier Salesforce.com for enabling Okere to deliver industry-tailored business solutions as a service. "That took away the infrastructure barrier," he said.

"Software-as-a-Service is relatively new in the enterprise," Orrock said. "Fujitsu sees it as a practice that will be in high demand -- and by acquiring us they jump-start their own Software-as-a-Service practice."

Fujitsu has committed to retaining all of Okere's staff, and Orrock will head up their SaaS practice.

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