Dell Acquires Vancouver’s Make Technologies

Dell buys Make Technologies | BCBusiness
Make Technologies, recently acquired by Dell, will be rolled into the company’s services capabilities.

Make Technologies, a complex software company in Vancouver that operated globally but was relatively unnoticed at home, is rewarded by being acquired by the computer maker Dell.

Interesting that the sale agreement of Vancouver’s Make Technologies to mighty Dell passed almost unnoticed over the holiday weekend.

It was announced briefly on Thursday, but who was watching? On the day before the Easter weekend, as the city experienced the first real breath of spring, and Canucks regular season came to a close, people were preoccupied.

Perhaps they should have been watching, because the sale is another Vancouver technology sector success story – or a tragedy, depending on your view of the world.

Make has been around since 1999, but has never really made waves in the Vancouver tech community. That’s probably because its product is heavy duty software – it has developed over time, software that converts larger enterprises’ legacy computer systems to modern coding standards.

Recoding the monster computers of banks, insurance companies and the like isn’t as sexy as this week’s newest social media app, I guess. But it’s very important to the thousands of big companies around the world stuck with 20-year-old (and more) computer systems loaded with ancient code that makes them look like a stone-wheeled cart next to modern coding’s high-powered sports car.

These old systems were expensive to maintain and would have cost companies millions upon millions to convert to modern code if not for companies like Make, which made it much easier and cheaper. In Make’s case, this is done with a suite of coding robots that “modernize” legacy computer systems.

In recent years, Make has also been helping to put these systems on the cloud; the migration of large enterprises to the cloud is another unnoticed story these days. That’s why Dell wanted it.

Dell is known for selling computers to consumers, but it’s been diverging from that business for some time. One of its latest strategies is to make waves in the large computing systems modernization space, which involves open, standardized platforms such as those used on the cloud.

Dell also bought Clerity Solutions, which is similar to Make. Both will be rolled into existing Dell services capabilities, which is going after the kind of clients IBM likes to service. With these acquisitions, Dell will be able to provide end-to-end solutions from hardware through application migration services.  

No price for the acquisition agreement was released, but it’s undoubtedly substantial, given the market Dell is chasing. But it probably doesn’t matter because there will be some in the city who see the sale as another example of a local company selling out before it grows large enough to anchor the local technology industry.

I have some sympathy for that view, but not to the exclusivity of everything. Companies like Make are not going to anchor anything in B.C. They operate globally and in technology fields that are very unusual for B.C.’s small-business technology companies.

So I say, congratulate them. It’s been a long hard slog that’s finally been rewarded.