ABS bails out of the local market
ABS' office is locked up after the enterprise solutions provider fires its entire staff and leaves customers without a final word or support.
Enterprise solution provider, Advanced Business Systems (ABS) has ceased its operations, leaving some customers in the UAE and lower Gulf out in the cold.
ABS shut down its operation without informing either its principles, or customers at the tail end of April, after amassing huge debts.
“There was no official communication to the 500 customers we had around the region, and there were no plans to do that,” says an anonymous senior executive with ABS.
“The employees themselves were given just one hour to clean out of the office, before the doors were closed.”
Regional manager of Baan Middle East, Eric Smith, confirmed that it hadn’t received any official communication that ABS had ceased operation. However, Smith did add that any Baan-site in the region that had paid for support would be able to call on either the local office or Baan’s global services organisation.
Other end user companies aren’t so lucky. ABS has a number of customers running its homegrown enterprise payroll systems. These companies will now have to look for alternative products.
Also customers that had invested in the US Sage’s Acuity product — recently renamed Sage Enterprise Suite — are also “without a safety net… They are mostly likely going to have to replace that software,” predicts the ABS executive.
Just how the end came about for ABS remains a mystery. The enterprise solution player became a Baan reseller in 1998 — just before the ERP vendor entered its decline, which later resulted in its acquisition by Invensys last year. Still, ABS managed to win several accounts during 1999.
However, there were extensive periods last year when very little business came into ABS. But the main reason for the company’s decline appears to be, “financial mismanagement,” says the senior executive. “Perhaps we should have seen what was happening with Baan, and focused on other areas of the business.”
“A number of people were approached about becoming possible external investors… but by that time things had gone on to long. When the final possible investor turned down [the management] the doors had to be closed.”