Brisbane centre to stay: Mincom CEO

Brisbane centre to stay: Mincom CEO

Summary: Mincom's trimmed headcount has put it under the microscope over the last year; however, the company's CEO Greg Clark has said that its Brisbane research and development centre "isn't going anywhere" and that a slimmer employee base didn't mean reduced capacity.

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Mincom's trimmed headcount has put it under the microscope over the last year; however, the company's CEO Greg Clark has said that its Brisbane research and development centre "isn't going anywhere" and that a slimmer employee base didn't mean reduced capacity.

The beginning of last year had seen the company lay off 100 workers as the financial crisis sank in its claws.

"Coming into 2009 with the financial crisis looming just like every sensible software firm in the world, we trimmed some headcount," Clark said. "There's a substantial amount of our revenue from the mining sector and the commodities prices were obliterated at that period of time. So we had some restructuring activities."

A smaller number had also been shown the door later in the year. The company had also "booked some efficiencies" over the last few months.

"Mincom has delivered some efficiencies through process improvement in the software development area of Mincom and this results in a small amount of headcount reduction," Clark told ZDNet.com.au.

New management with experience in software development had been put into the company, according to Clark. This had resulted in purchases of systems from vendors such as IBM to help with testing automation among other tasks.

"We definitely have had some efficiencies on how we develop our products. We've brought in some different product development processes. We've brought in a substantial investment in tools. For some of the laborious parts like testing and testing validation," Clark said.

Efficiencies meant working better, which meant angling for big deals were definitely on the cards, according to Clark. "We're very focussed now on our mining products, our asset management products and our field worker enablement mobility products. We have tried to streamline everything at Mincom against those missions for the industries that we serve," he said. Mincom has recently done very well in utilities and resources, the exec said. It had also just won what he dubbed a "substantial" deal with Defence.

Offshore resources were used for low tech functions, he said, explaining that the company had moved from an outsourced model to an in-sourced model. This had meant movement of jobs from the outsourcer in India to in-sourced positions in Kuala Lumpur. However, he stressed that the number of offshore jobs in low cost geographies had not increased under his aegis. There had been around 100 jobs in India and there were less than that in Kuala Lumpur now, he said.

Not having some of the labour force overseas was competitive disadvantage, Clark said. In tenders, Mincom was asked how much of the help desk work was overseas and given that, what savings would be passed on.

"It's a fact of life that you have to have an element of low cost labour. Australia is a first-world cost basis, especially with a 92 cents exchange rate," he said.

However, that did not mean that all jobs would be done overseas. He doused fears that the company's Brisbane research and development centre would be drained of people.

"Mincom is still committed to the same set of products from the Brisbane development centre as it used to be," he said. "We are extremely committed to Brisbane as one of our centres of competency and a substantial amount of the intellectual property built up in the employee base in Brisbane."

Topics: Software, Emerging Tech, Government, Government AU, Tech Industry

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

13 comments
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  • what POPPYC0CK

    This comapny have changed their 'direction' so many times. A hard push that they 'weren't just a mining software company' followed by this latest pitch - f'ocussed on mining. It seems they'll re-market themselves for whatever big deal is looming and don't actually have a long term direction.
    anonymous
  • Um anyone else notice this

    It's referred to as the Brisbane Research and Development Centre and *NOT* Brisbane Corporate Headquarters?
    anonymous
  • The truth about Mincom

    Replace Mincom staff with mates from E2Open.

    The rumours were that every time a high paid exec was brought in, a bunch of Mincom staff will go out. Crap In Talent Out. (CITO)

    Kill the MMS ITO outsourcing business. Reason: The CEO and his people know nothing about this type of business. (maybe you should have sold it, could have got 50M + change)

    This would have freed you up to concentrate on your core business, which by the look of it is, obliterate the software division

    Fire the staff that knows the business and replace them with egotistical people.

    But who cares, is Francisco Partners money.
    anonymous
  • Wow...

    Harsh.... but not without reason.
    anonymous
  • Who are they trying to fool...

    The "everything is fine" storyline from Mincom is increasingly delusional. Revenue is falling, employees/customers leaving in droves, strategic disarray, management turmoil. The list goes on and on. Good company with good employees being ruined by current management...
    anonymous
  • Reality Bytes Mincom

    ""It's a fact of life that you have to have an element of low cost labour. Australia is a first-world cost basis, especially with a 92 cents exchange rate," he said."

    Reality is new execs seem to be arriving from Austin Texas USA, that's a 100 cent exchange rate!
    anonymous
  • What to Believe???

    Company morale is at an all time low. They say it is like working in a crypt (but still better than in America) - don't get close to anyone, you don't know who to trust. Frightened people care far more where their next job is going to be than ANYTHING else. This is NOT the Mincom of the 2000s.
    anonymous
  • New Management

    Not really fair to criticize management for clearing the decks and filling positions with mates from E2Open, that's common practice with a new CEO.

    Criticism for paying their mates twice what the people they replaced were paid, and then fly them around the world for no reason in Business Class (in this economy!) - that is fair.
    anonymous
  • Mincom continues the slaughter

    As the new year approached, the bleeding at Mincom continues... end of January saw 3 people from the Denver office axed. On the heels of that, it was another gloomy Friday (March 12th) and through the following week (March 16th)as the axing of Mincom staff continued... apparently not performance based, cut of positions - Denver 8,Bali (Mitrais) 21 people, Brisbane 25. It seems like the desire on the part of Mr Ali Tabrizzi to reduce the headcount from 1000 worldwide to 800 by the end of 2010 is definitley in the future. As Mincom continues to burgeon its management, there are no Indians left to perform the work adequately and effectively. Customers should pay attention as they may end up with a liability rather than an asset in software. One wonders who will be the last person to turn off the lights.
    anonymous
  • Its easy to critize Mincom in isolation -- maybe posters should look at the stats in marketplace and other software companies to see that Mincom is only doing the responsible thing seeking to managing the business efficiently bases on demand in the global market. Customers seem to be investing in Mincom (see ZDNet article on Western Power, and recent Australian Defense contract news) not leaving.
    Anonymous-7d17d
  • That is EXACTLY what Greg Clark and his crew did at E2open. Nearly ruined the company.
    Tigerteam
  • Last comment on 18th March was obviously written by a mincom manager. The constructs betray the intelligence. Clark and his E2Open playmates probably took a week to put that English language gem together.
    gregclark-35a70
  • In the year following Mincom's 30th anniversary, let's not forget that Mincom WAS the iconic Australian software company, founded by 3 individuals in their backyard that developed a vision of being one of the most successful "grassroots" technology stories in history. They inspired a whole lot of people to work hard, built key customer relationships to become Australia's largest software company and a recognized and respected exporter of software and consulting services. How unfortunate that an off shore private equity firm who acquired Mincom failed to recognize the historical value and complexity of their investment.

    No one has yet mentioned the number of employees voluntarily leaving Mincom and joining competitor technology organizations. How sad this is for the customers of Mincom who have invested heavily in Mincom's vision as an Australian centric organization that has until recently proactively worked with their customers to solve their business issues and built significant deep relationships. This instability is causing customers and partners to question the viability of their technology decisions. What a great opportunity this short sightedness has presented for IBM, SAP and Technology One.
    mincom escapees