Restructuring at CSE

14 Mar 2003

It has emerged that two weeks after the reported closure of the Centre for Software Engineering (CSE) the board of the organisation has entered into restructuring that will see the CSE continue its existence in serving the needs of the software sector at home and abroad.

A communication from the chairman of the board of the CSE, Terry Larkin, indicated that the board of directors entered into a joint shareholding with the CSE’s general manager Michael O’Duffy. “Following a review of the operations of the CSE at Dublin City University, the board of directors took the decision to restructure the company and extend its role in the context of serving the needs of the software marketplace,” it said.

Two weeks ago it was reported that the CSE was to close, with the loss of 12 jobs due to funding problems. The National Informatics Directorate fully funded the CSE during its first few years since its establishment in 1991, but this was gradually scaled back. As a result the CSE was running at a loss for several years. The situation was made worse by the technology downturn and it was reported that the board of the university felt it could not afford to fund a loss-making enterprise and the decision was made to close it down.

However, the CSE’s chief executive Michael O’Duffy told that the centre had not in fact shut down and that it has in fact undergone a restructuring that will safeguard the CSE for the near future. “It was reported that the CSE has been making some losses, but these losses were not as substantial as reported. There have been years that the CSE has made profits and other where it has made losses. We have been able to fall back on a financial reserve. This year the review of our operations has been quite significant.

“This has been the first year that the CSE has been doing a considerable amount of work overseas, with government projects in China and Iran. A significant amount of work should be coming to fruition this year and we are pursuing other market opportunities”, O’Duffy said.

In his communication, Larkin said: “As part of this restructuring, the board entered into negotiations with Michael O’Duffy to create a new structure that will involve joint stakeholding in the company.” Larkin continued to say that these negotiations are understood to be at an advanced stage and the proposed agreement went before the governing authority of the university last night for approval.

Under the new structure, O’Duffy will assume the role of CEO of the CSE. O’Duffy has been with the CSE for over 10 years and, according to Larkin, had played a key role in identifying industry trends central to supporting indigenous software companies in their strategic and technical development.

“Dublin City University remains actively committed to supporting the CSE and the important role it plays in providing a range of high-level consulting services to senior management in the software sector in Ireland. In addition to industry training, the CSE will continue to work on a one-to-one basis with individual companies and to provide specialist programmes such as the upcoming Software Project Management Programme,” Larkin said.

As well as this, it is understood that the Chinese Government, through the China International Talent Exchange Foundation (CITEF) agency, has named the CSE as the preferred supplier of IT training to industry. “The first group of Chinese IT professionals will arrive in Dublin next month,” Larkin said.

When news of the closure broke two weeks ago, it prompted widespread anger by industry observers who felt that the closure of the CSE was a backward step at a time when the indigenous software industry needs support.

By John Kennedy