— written by Jason Mausberg, Managing Director, itelligence Business Solutions Canada, Inc. —
itelligence recently acquired the Software AG SAP reselling and consulting entities in North America. The Canadian office which was the first SAP reseller in Canada in 1996 is based out of Toronto and services primarily the Ontario market place. I was one of the founding members of the organization in 1996 and am the Managing Director. I have has seen a lot of changes in the ERP Canadian marketplace over the last 17 years.
When we started the company, Y2K was a huge driving force in terms of growth and SAP software sales. Like the rest of the world, Canada has seen tremendous changes in the economic environment since then.
The itelligence SAP reselling business is located just up the street from SAP Canada in Toronto. Many people don’t realize how big Canada is. From one coast to the other is over 5,000 kms and the time difference is 4.5 hours from Vancouver to St John’s. Based on the size, different cultures, and industry differences the Toronto office focuses primarily on South Western Ontario in the areas of manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products, food and beverage, and public sector. The itelligence office in Montreal focuses successfully the on the French speaking markets.
Just following the internet bust in 2003, Canadian exporters suffered major earning losses due to the strength of the Canadian currency. The internet bust had a tremendous global impact however for Canadian manufacturers in particular who did roughly half their business in the US, the change in the Canadian currency vis a vis the US dollar was much more significant. From 1997-2002 the Canadian dollar was roughly 1.4 to 1 compared to the US dollar. In the next few years the Canadian dollar gained in value to almost 1 to 1. For Canadian manufacturers with fifty percent of the sales to the US, this meant a 20% drop in profitability. In addition to the currency pressures on the Canadian market, companies also faced the decline of the North American automotive industry as well as the recent global economic melt down.
2013 is a significant year in Ontario which accounts for 40% of Canada’s population, the automotive industry has seen growth based on the strength of the US car companies’ successes and the overall manufacturing environment is growing once again. More importantly after ten challenging years, companies are investing and investing specifically in IT.
So itelligence Canada once again is enjoying a tremendous period of opportunity. The pipeline has grown fourfold in the last six months. I think it is the busiest my office has been since before Y2K.
With public sector more heavily on IT infrastructure in Canada both at the federal and local levels and with Canadian companies having overcome economic crisis and significant changes in the Candian dollar, the ERP market will continue to be strong for at least the next year.