Progress making progress

A year ago Progress Software, which makes a database, middleware and tools used by independent software vendors and companies for building applications, decided to shake up its Canadian unit.

Apparently it worked.

This month, Bedford, Mass.-based Progress announced that licence revenues

from the division are expected to shoot up from about US$3.5 million to US$5.8 million when its fiscal year ends Nov. 30.

“”It’s been a fantastic year,”” Ron Reed, the company’s Canadian manager, said at a Toronto luncheon for its ISVs and users here.

After Reed was hired from J.D. Edwards Canada in the summer of 2002, he brought in people who had experience in going out and making business.

“”Prior to a year and a half ago, the Progress business in Canada was somewhat neglected,”” he said in an interview. “”We delivered when you called on us, but we weren’t out there proactively engaging with partners and customers.””

One of the ISVs that saw a difference is Strategic Information Technology Ltd., a Stouffville, Ont., company that makes applications for banks with Progress tools.

“”We have more interaction with Progress Canada than we ever had,”” said company president Rob Leeming. “”We’ve actually had some leads from Progress, which we never had in the past.””

Reed and Progress CEO and co-founder Joseph Alsop were here to visit Progress’ offices in Toronto and Montreal. A Calgary office was opened in January. Progress has 12 employees in the three cities and 70 software Canadian partners.

“”What’s really unique about Progress Software amongst all vendors is the success we enjoy with partners,”” Alsop told the luncheon. “”We get something like over 50 per cent of our business from our partners.””

In an interview, Alsop said ISVs don’t have to fear Progress will go into the applications business, like Microsoft and Oracle.

The publicly traded company has three divisions: Progress, known for its OpenEdge Studio application development suite and RDBMS embedded database; Sonic Software, which makes middleware; and PeerDirect, a Mississauga, Ont., database replication software company it bought two years ago.

In addition to licensing revenue, Progress gets income from an application service provider offering, which lets companies host Progress-based applications.

Competitors include IBM, Microsoft and BEA.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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