Origina's story in the world of IBM dates back to 1998.
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The Story of Origina
The idea behind present-day Origina can be traced back to a London office space a short stroll away from the River Thames in January 2013. While waiting to meet a business accelerator consultant from Enterprise Ireland, Origina’s founder Tomás O’Leary found himself reading the UK Market Feasibility Report on the UK IBM Support and Maintenance Market.
Tomás and his business accelerator would go on to meet some of the largest banks in the world in Canary Wharf to discuss their IBM spend. While the report Tomás read touched on the viability of an alternative to IBM support and maintenance, the conversations he had with the banks told a different story. Each one, bigger than the last and spending $1 billion or more every year with IBM, spoke of the vendor with adoration. They simply loved to spend and the cost every year to keep IBM in place wasn’t a concern to them.
But, what about the companies that weren’t spending over $1 billion a year with IBM? The retailers and insurance companies of the world; how did they feel about the high-priced annual fees?
Those companies didn’t want to spend. They wanted help.
They wanted to move away from IBM and executive leadership had been pushing to find a way to do so. While Origina initially sought to provide relief in the form of hardware and software support for IBM, it was clear that the company’s expertise could be put to valuable use in the world of software. Simply put, businesses struggled to understand their rights and entitlements to IBM software. While they knew of their obligations – and the penalties for not meeting those obligations – their lack of clarity led to an abundance of caution, which stopped them from taking full advantage of their software investments.
A law firm specializing in intellectual property law conducted a legal analysis on the market and it became clear exactly what was achievable with IBM software licenses and entitlements. It was at that point that Tomás and co-founder Rowan O’Donoghue began to look at the list of more than 1,400 IBM software products to identify which were supportable. Ultimately, the pair settled on a list of around 800 IBM products. Many, like IBM® WebSphere, IBM® Db2 and IBM® MQ were household names and in the technology stacks of thousands of companies across the world.
While Tomás and Rowan had proven it was legally possible to provide independent third-party software support for IBM, the pair required a way to deliver the service. And so, there was a new question that emerged: where would Tomás and Rowan get their crack team of IBM engineers to help them scale and deliver the service to customers? It just so happened, IBM itself was making Origina’s staff available in due time.
IBM had been letting go tens of thousands of employees and in 2014, the layoff surge seemed to be accelerating with estimates of over 250,000 in the firing line to be replaced with the “newer” and “younger” skilled workers. Tomás immediately began reaching out to IBM Z Mainframe technical engineers who were recently let go from the company. He knew personally that these were the cream of the crop from a product expert level. Not only would their skill form the baseline for the level of IBM software knowledge Origina would have internally, their experience would also lead the company to find and hire the best IBM software experts in the world.
With a growing team of Global IBM® Experts now in place, and a technical council of some of the most experienced IBM specialists in the world vetting their recruitment and hiring, Origina opened the doors for IBM third-party software support. In a short period of time, the company has blown those doors open, scaling to support over 100 of the world’s largest companies – with many being Fortune 500 – and their mission-critical IBM software. At the heart of that spectacular growth were the people who had built the service from the ground up to suit the needs of Origina’s customers.