Belfast Telegraph

IT chiefs impressed by staff at new office

By Clare Weir

The Belfast arm of a Silicon Valley IT firm is moving to new premises in the Titanic Quarter after almost tripling in size in the last two years.

KANA merged with Belfast-based Lagan Technologies in 2010 and has since grown its employee count here by almost 20% to 108.

Following multiple acquisitions, recruitment is now under way to fill a further 10 positions and yesterday the firm officially opened its new premises in the Northern Ireland Science Park, which when fully staffed will house almost 200 employees.

However, KANA's chief financial officer Jeff Wylie said that the firm may not stop there.

"The headcount in Belfast has grown by 20%, three other businesses have been acquired in the period and we would say that KANA in Belfast has almost tripled in size since the takeover in 2010," he said. "We have not set an upper limit on employee numbers or growth."

He added that the new office in the Science Park would act as a flagship location for the firm.

"We felt it was the right place, at the heart of innovation and technology in Northern Ireland, it seemed like the natural choice," he said.

"We have a number of the senior management team here from California, Australia and elsewhere all here in Belfast to draw up our business plans for 2013 and they are very impressed with the new location."

Mr Wylie added that the firm is still impressed with the calibre of recruits they are attracting.

"We are getting a mix of people coming from other firms, people relocating coming back to Northern Ireland, but by far our best single source of employees are the universities, we take in around 10 placement students every year and almost all have come back to us for full time employment, which is a testament to the education being offered in Northern Ireland and why KANA chose to come in the first place."

KANA chief executive Mark Duffell, in Belfast for the opening, said the new premises are proof of long-term commitment to growing the company's Belfast and European business.

"I am very pleased to continue the innovative work of Lagan Technologies, which has built a huge reputation in the public sector and which provides a perfect balance to KANA's private sector business portfolio," he said.

"The Lagan product brand of public sector customer relationship management software will continue to develop. It is acknowledged around the world and KANA looks forward to building further on this very strong brand."

The group now employs 700 people across a number of development centres and sites in Belfast, Glasgow, California, Jakarta and the Netherlands.