Tuesday, 24 June 2014

R.I.P. Clarity

Clarity OSS has been losing $100,000’s AUD per month for the majority of the last decade. In the last few months, it fired most of its employees in its Australian HQ, including the old-timers who have been the pillar of the product development; lost its COO; sold an arm to a Malaysian group; saw its CEO hospitalised... months of turmoil is now concluding. Now its chairman and financial backer Dr. Campbell has gone sick of pumping money into the bottomless pit and forced the board to sell.  Finally the sinkhole has collapsed, ironically on its 20th anniversary.

I have to admit that I absolutely enjoyed the 2.5 years working for Clarity. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I had ever had for work. At the time, being a small company we had to take on multi-million dollar projects with a handful of people in the project core team. So you can imagine that the roles each team member played had to go well beyond what their job description defined, especially for PM and Solution Architect roles, not to mention burning the mid-night oils. Therefore, every delivery milestone achieved gave me personal satisfaction.

Although it’s a shame, I can’t say that I am surprised to see the outcome of the company today. I quit the company in 2007 because of its C-level bun fights and long term financial viability. Even extremely cash-strapped (or none at all), they still spent 10’s of millions buying a UK company of another line of business on the other side of the globe. Since inception, the only way out for the owners of the company (and many small loss-making companies in the world) was to sell to the highest bidder, hopefully someone big like Oracle, Microsoft or even Huawei. In fact, the only times their book was black was from selling off subsidiaries. It probably has missed the boat several times over the years by putting the price of its crown jewel – Clarity OSS too high. Unfortunately, after the 2008 GFC, the price for telco companies has plummeted even further and all hopes are lost. Fire sale is the only option left for the company to move on.

I hope everyone working at Clarify end up well and even better after this ordeal. R.I.P. Clarity on its platinum anniversary.