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Why-aye, interesting news for the North East this morning, as MRI Real Estate Software ‘broadens capabilities’ an acquisition of Orchard Information Systems.
Veterans of social housing asset management, might remember Qube, quite a ‘family atmosphere’ outfit in the day and also RAM (which many RSLs have purchased for Component Accounting), all part of this big US software group.
While rumours have done the rounds for a decade (like a few other UK standalone social housing software houses), that the for-sale signs were up, this is an interesting development. Orchard may well see a large injection of cash, similar to when NEC acquired Northgate recently. Alternatively, some consolidation, particularly around asset management solutions, may be on the cards. I would certainly consider some of the latter myself, even if investment was forthcoming. Many peers in this tight market are now scrambling to move to SaaS/browser delivery, or successfully implement new adopters. Slow movers stuck on traditional client-server models, will soon not be long for this world I fear.
MRI certainly have deep pockets and it will be interesting if some of it will be coming to ‘toon soon, to revive Orchard’s Progress based integrated housing solution and successfully move it to the SaaS space. Orchard have had a few false starts and there is a risk that once royal customers, may find they need/want to go to market sooner than development roadmaps permit. I have encountered a few sites where often perfectly happy housing teams, have been corralled to OJEU, due to having deemed to have hung on to a solution too long.
It’s a fair point, as RPI/CPI accumulates, like compound interest on annual maintenance, these organisations can be effectively re-purchasing the solution, very 2-3 years or so. Not brilliant value for money. Orchards relatively static and broadly content customer base, might well be the biggest attraction to MRI. It will be interesting what differences Orchard customers will experience going forward. I will keep an eye on this one (from my lock-down household )
Full press release here
Related Post: Covid-19, is it changing the way your organisation measures staff contribution and throughput?
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