Judge rules out staff cuts for Crystal

Newlywed business intelligence firm Crystal Decisions will put on staff rather than shed them as the merger between Crystal and Business Objects takes shape, according to Crystal CEO Jon Judge.

Judge said that while names and branding issues are still being determined for Crystal's product line, following its $US820 million takeover by Business Objects, the newly acquired BI vendor sees itself recruiting and redistributing staff rather than pruning them off.

"There's very little overlap. They [Business Objects] are strong where we are weak, and we are strong where we are weak. When you put it all together it's magnificent. We have been the Cinderella story of software for the last few years…and we think that will continue," Judge said.

Judge's theory is that continuing growth will be achieved by sales and account executives being liberated to concentrate on revenue streams previously neglected due to limited capacity.

"In our case this was an accretive deal from day one. Because both companies were [already] highly successful, when they come together it's more a matter of putting on phenomenal growth."

Judge added that any structural efficiencies will be achieved by rationalising services to the combined entity through a reduction of "normal expenses" with a focus on "natural savings".

"We don't need two CEOs, two accounting forms, two legal firms. In terms of sales it's more a matter of putting people on. Both companies are in the process of hiring at a clip of 300 to 400 per annum. There could be a few redundancies on the general administration - but that's it," Judge said.

Judge was also positive about Microsoft's plans to enter into the business intelligence market, arguing that the entry of the software behemoth is more likely to benefit his company than harm it.

"Microsoft has announced it will get into the business intelligence space with Yukon, and our view is that a company like Microsoft will accelerate the rate of growth in the market. We're happy to work with them. We like the people, we like the company," Judge said, although he cautioned that size does not work in the same way as experience:

"What we learned on scalability and EDI to EDI and [Crystal] Reports is that all the money in the world will not solve some of the problems. We've been in this business a long time and invested hundreds of thousands of man hours. And we are very confident we can capitalise on our lead," he said.

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