Fusepoint buys Quebec application management firm

Fusepoint Managed Services said on Wednesday it had purchased a small Montreal-based IT firm that will allow it to add application management to its portfolio of services.

The company will add approximately 60 employees

through the acquisition of Versus, a privately-held outsourcing firm. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Versus was formed 14 years ago as an IT service provider to telecommunications firms, but morphed into an Internet application management specialist and IT outsourcer about five years ago.

Fusepoint has been providing hosting services to Quebec customers for about a year and, but via the company’s data centre in Mississauga, Ont. In July it opened a data centre in Montreal, adding to a set of locations that includes one in Vancouver, where the company started.

Robert Offley, Fusepoint’s chief executive, said the company was attracted to Versus by its track record with customers and its expertise in Microsoft environments.

“”When a company’s looking for help in terms of managing or running their applications, quite often they go and hire a developer and a hosting company,”” he said. “”People end up pointing fingers until you end up looking for one person to run the whole project. We’re now in a position to do that.””

Versus recently signed a $2 million contract to manage and host applications for Exit.ca, the online travel service owned by Transat AT Inc. Christine Beaubien, Versus’ CEO, said the company has increased sales by 50 per cent this year, though she admitted there was considerable competition in the Quebec market from some well-established players.

“”We see CGI, but they are more focused on very large companies,”” she said. “”We see IBM, we see Telus.””

While Offley said he was eager to see Versus provide its services to Fusepoint’s existing clientele, Beaubien said there still considerable demand for local outsourcing contracts.

“”I think they’re starting to look at all the banks and major companies that already outsource their IT, and they start to think, why not?”” she said.

Fusepoint, which recently secured a second round of funding from M/C Venture Partners, may make a couple more acquisitions in the first quarter of next year, Offley said. He admitted, however, that finding potential partners was getting harder in a consolidated market.

“”There aren’t many, and you have to delve below the surface,”” he said. “”Some of our competitors who have put on record that they’re going to grow through acquisition are just starting now. We’ve been looking for a few years, so I think we’re in a better position.””

Versus, which also has offices in Quebec City, will retain its existing management staff and become a Fusepoint company under the terms of the agreement.

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