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September 12, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Groupe Concept SA, the ambitious systems integrator from Paris that was featured here last month (CI No 1,492), is to cut nearly 200 jobs at the CCMC accountancy and small business systems division that accounts for almost half its turnover. It had been common knowledge that CCMC, acquired by Concept in 1988, had seen a noticeable slackening in demand for its accountancy systems, but now the French trade weekly 01 Informatique reports that there are serious problems in its traditional bureau services operation, which is bearing about half of the job cuts. Possibly with the benefit of hindsight, French analysts are stating that CCMC’s personnel costs have always been exeptionally high, and that the cuts should have been implemented a long time ago. On the other hand, the unions vociferously claim that the difficulties arise from a layer of high-level parasites. For his part, CCMC managing director Francois Hermann blames Concept for insisting on a costly programme of development for microcomputer-based systems, while company observers reckon that CCMC was simply too late in getting into microcomputers anyway. Aside from all the back-stabbing, it transpires that the bureau services offered by CCMC have hardly inspired eulogistic reactions from customers. A spokesman for a large Parisian bank is on record as saying: We use CCMC for our internal accounts, and now none of our salary calculations add up – CCMC bureau services are a recipe for chaos! As if all this wasn’t enough, the unions are now spreading the rumour that the profits reported by CCMC last year of $15m are completely unrealistic, with some heretically suggesting that the division was in fact operating at a loss. It remains to be seen whether these problems – the first real ones that the group has experienced in its dramatic growth of recent years – do anything to dampen the acquisitive ambitions of Concept boss Olivier Spire.

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