When Gene Hatcher joined Danka Business Systems as corporate vice president and CTO in August 1998, the company's IT strategy was nonexistent. Danka, a distributor of office imaging equipment and related services, had a habit of growing by acquisition since its founding in 1977. Along with new business, Danka acquired a mishmash of outdated hardware and software that had to be spun off and integrated into its own architecture by the concrete deadline of Dec. 31, 1998. But a rudderless IT strategy wasn't Danka's only problem. Along with IT, the company's finances were in disarray. By the end of fiscal year 1999, revenues were $2.9 billion, down from $3.3 billion for the previous year, and losses amounted to $295 million. Company executives even entertained the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.
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