Fresche Acquires Quadrant Software, Creates Powerhouse IBM i Platform Solution Provider

Two solution providers specializing in maintaining older IBM i platforms and, where needed, helping customers migrate to more modern platforms, have combined in a move to consolidate multiple capabilities for their customer bases.

Montreal-based Fresche on Thursday said it has acquired Boston-based Quadrant Software to become a leading provider, second only to IBM, of solutions for such legacy IBM platforms as AS/400, iSeries, and System i servers, as well as current Power servers.

Both Fresche and Quadrant are profitable companies and are working with a potential market of over 150,000 businesses worldwide who still depend on the IBM i platform, said Stephen Woodard, who was Quadrant CEO and is now the new chief revenue officer for Fresche.

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Fresche's acquisition of Quadrant stems from the importance of keeping that customer base up and running, Woodard told CRN.

"A lot of companies run their businesses on the IBM i platform," he said. "A lot of people who wrote apps using RPG are retiring. And a lot of younger folks can't spell 'RPG.'"

Quadrant has customers who do several millions of dollars of business every year with a couple of IBM i programmers who are over 65 years old, Woodard said. "There's a lot of value in those platforms," he said. "We help customers continue to get value from them."

Fresche has traditionally focused on services, staff augmentation, and application modernization, Woodard said. The company has a software tool, X-Analysis, which analyzes applications for interdependencies. "If you change one thing, you might kill six applications," he said.

Quadrant brings IBM i document management and distribution capabilities, as well as application modernization and mobile device capabilities to older server platforms, he said.

The IBM i platform has always been robust, which means customers often prefer not to go through the expense of migrating to newer platforms, Woodard said. "I have a customer with a form document faxing solution running on DOS on a server connected to an IBM i server," he said. "We've offered to move them to a new platform, but their existing solution works too well. Sometimes these things are just too expensive to migrate."

Woodard said he met Andy Kulakowski, president and CEO of Fresche, about three years ago at the IBM COMMON conference, and over the years both companies grew via acquisitions. "When we met three years ago, we started to wonder if it might make sense for us to get together," he said.

Both Fresche and Quadrant Software are profitable companies, Woodard said. Combined, they have a total of 250 employees across the U.S., Canada, Australia, India, and the U.K.