Never heard of it? Ventyx is the company that acquired Mincom, which was the pride of the Australian software industry in the 1980s and 1990s. It was (and is) the largest supplier globally of software to the mining industry, and has since branched into other asset-intensive companies such as transport and utilities.
Mincom became Australia’s largest software company after being founded in Brisbane in 1979. It grew quickly, and flirted with a public listing before being partially acquired by US machinery company Caterpillar.
It was subsequently bought be US private equity company Francisco Partners, which did little with it, before being acquired by Ventyx in 2011.
Now it part of Swiss conglomerate ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), which itself acquired Ventyx in 2010. The Mincom name has disappeared, and the Ventyx logo adorns the company’s impressive new offices in the inner city Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley. Almost next door is Australia’s other major software company TechnologyOne, still locally owned.
Over 200 users and partners are attending the inaugural Ventyx World conference at the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast, which ends today. CEO Jeff Ray says the event was so successful that it will almost definitely be held again next year.
“I’m impressed with what Australian users are doing with the software,” Ray told iTWire. “We’ve had 40 sessions and some great case studies.” User presenters included Hunter Water, Rio Tinto, Defence Materiel, Aurizon, Ergon Energy, Energex, and XT (formerly Xstrata).
Ray said that since the acquisition by Ventyx, Mincom’s product range and customer base had continued to grow. “The big trend in the industry right now is the convergence of IT with operations,” he explained. That suits as, because as part of ABB we have access to all the critical operations expertise. Our competitors can’t match that.”
Those competitors include SAP, IBM (through its Maximo range) and GE, which has made a major push recently. German engineering giant Siemens and French conglomerate Schneider are also players, but Ray says the combination of Ventyx and Mincom’s software with ABB’s engineering and industrial skills is unique.
“Asset management is becoming asset health. We are the first the bring products to market which not only track and manage large scale assets, but which proactively report on their health. We call it condition-based monitoring.”
Ventyx has maintained Mincom’s large development group in Brisbane. Nearly 500 of the company’s 2600 employees are based in Australia.