Manchester-based reseller Tailored Business Systems (TBS) has said it was forced to sell off a business unit to a rival last week after consulting giant Deloitte & Touche poached the company's two project managers.
JM Computing, also based in Manchester, bought the Great Plains business unit from TBS for an undisclosed sum, declaring itself highly satisfied with the deal. In contrast, TBS feels hard done by.
Andy Roden and Rob Beattee, project managers at Great Plains, joined Deloitte & Touche in June and Stuart Law, TBS managing director, was powerless to intervene.
"It is a rule that you do not pinch employees from your channel partners," said Law. "Apart from hurting them, you are shooting yourself in the foot. But it is something I understand Deloitte & Touche do quite often."
"It had taken over a year to train both Andy and Rob, they were irreplaceable. We knew we couldn't start from scratch, even if we wanted to," he added.
Law revealed that TBS had invested £250,000 setting up its Great Plains division and had just broken even when the company was forced to sell. "We had to do it for our customers as we had no way of servicing their contracts," he said.
"I don't hold a grudge against either of the guys who left - they just went where the money was. They both had share options with us but we cannot compete with international corporations when they pull this sort of thing," said Law.
He added that as a result the company would be moving its financial software onto a solely Pegasus-based platform, while investing heavily in its own professional service automation product, Synergist.
Andrew Burgess, director at JM, said he was unaware of the reason for TBS' sale until after the acquisition, but said JM had been looking to expand Great Plains for some time, and may make further purchases soon.
Deloitte & Touche declined to discuss the situation but said the appointments were made in "good faith". It said it had no policy against recruiting staff from channel partners.
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