On Jan 23 Torex announced it has acquired the Retail Division (RBS) of Sanderson Group plc for a consideration of up to US$18 million. RBS supports 25 UK retailers on Retail-J (technology from Torex) including Wilkinson, Selfridges, Hamleys, Fenwick and French Connection. The run rate of these combined businesses is now approaching US$230 million per annum from three adjacent vertical segments: retail, hospitality and petroleum & convenience.

We reviewed Torex’s approach to maintenance as part of our technology operations study. The company is an example of an IP owner that has chosen to outsource its customer maintenance obligations. In September 2010, Torex formed a strategic partnership with Fujitsu to provide enhanced installation and repair services for POS, payment terminals and peripherals to Fujitsu customers in The Netherlands. In an earlier move in November 2009 Torex announced transfer of its hardware maintenance business to Phoenix IT Services.

Although Torex presents a portfolio of services that spans its customers’ needs throughout their IT lifecycle, there is greater emphasis on managed services than maintenance. This is part of a broader market movement towards more meaningful operational management. In an earlier review of open source player Sirius, we highlighted its managed services offering.

As IT budgets continue to be squeezed, we notice more enterprise customers pushing back on conventional maintenance services. However, broader services that assure high availability and user management are gaining traction. Savvy vendors are shifting their emphasis to keep pace with customer sentiment.

Image credit: Rick Hebenstreit

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