Total Systems Plc’s chairman Terry Bourne continues to despair at the attitude of some directors in the insurance and other markets into which it sells. He said that the London-based financial software, systems and services company is continuing to come against a hell of a lot of resistance from computer departments, perhaps understandably, as adoption […]
Total Systems Plc’s chairman Terry Bourne continues to despair at the attitude of some directors in the insurance and other markets into which it sells. He said that the London-based financial software, systems and services company is continuing to come against a hell of a lot of resistance from computer departments, perhaps understandably, as adoption of Total’s Ultima or Optima packages could result in job cuts as dramatic as 90%. He said Total will just have to wait until new boards are in place that are willing to make such bold moves. The company’s strong cash position once again rescued it from recording a loss. It turned in an operating loss, but interest received of ú60,096 resulted in pre-tax profits of ú53,516, down 62% on last year. A stronger second half resulted in turnover improving by 9% in the the year at ú2.3m. Ultima, an insurance package, was taken up by about six UK insurance companies during the year, but there were no names forthcoming. Bourne described the vicious circle of companies demanding to see proof of the open system in action, but are unable to because of non-disclosure agreements, and then insist themselves on anonymity. Bourne predicted that tough market conditions continue and are likely to persist. He added that markets are a lot more competitive and open than they were in the 1980s, with a lot of spare capacity. Total is looking abroad for opprtunities while competitors struggle with their domestic problems, which is one way of interpreting the slow take-up in its domestic market. Markets such as Germany are about to undergo similar deregulation as Britain, and Bourne is hopeful that British companies are ready to move in and exploit their knowldge of operating in such a competitive environment, and, it hopes, taking Total’s packages with them. Revenues are split roughly 75% to 25% in favour if the UK at present. The joint venture with Ortec Consultants BV to market Total’s Optima’s pensions investment system in the Netherlands is not going as well as we would like, said Bourne. However, it is installed and expanding at Royal Dutch Shell NV in The Hague. The deal for a potential 4,000-user licence for Ultima with a UK insurance company ahs been shelved due to internal wrangles, said Bourne (CI No 2,567). He said it would have resulted in massive savings for the company, but cost 500 jobs in mainframe support. He added that Total will just have to sit tight until or unless new managers arrive. Bourne said that Total continues to buy itself into the market and take on new staff, and research and development is written off as it is incurred. Improvement in the short term therefore is unlikely, but the company does have a very long term strategic view, he said. Total still pays no dividend.