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June 26, 2023

In our Newsletter in November last year, I was excited to announce the restructuring of Progress and the news that the Sales and Marketing for the OpenEdge Business Unit was shortly to be in the hands of a real OpenEdge veteran – Stephan Leferink from the Netherlands. He has been working very successfully with Progress OpenEdge for over 30 years and understands the business needs of Progress Application Partners better than anybody else at Progress today!

Having known and worked with Stephan for much of my time with Progress, I was confident that we would soon see significant change to Progress’ focus with regards to OpenEdge – and already this confidence has been rewarded! The most significant change has come with the re-introduction of the OpenEdge World Tour, which is coming to South Africa in July! More details of this will be announced shortly but, in collaboration with MIP, we are holding events in both Johannesburg and Cape Town during the week of 24th July.

Recent years have not seen much growth in the number of people, worldwide, trained and capable to develop in the Progress ABL. (A notable exception is the Internship Program run by MIP!) Progress in EMEA recently ran a campaign designed to bring new developers into the OpenEdge world, with astounding success! Attend our World Tour Events in July and find out about our plans to mirror this success here in South Africa!

Many of you reading this will have either heard about, or been invited to, a Celebration Event that we are holding this month! I am a great one for recognizing milestones of achievement and ensuring that the recognition is directed to the people who have made it possible. On 1st March 1998 I was appointed, as the Sales Director, to the Board of Realtime Computer Systems (the then Progress Distributor). The past 25 years have seen significant change, and growth, in the Progress 4GL and Database world (now OpenEdge) and this success is entirely attributable to two bands of people – our Customers and our Employees. I am delighted at the excitement that this event appears to have created and particularly the interest it has sparked with some of our long departed ex-employees, with whom we have been able to re-establish contact, and who will be there!

At a business level, despite all the political and economic challenges we are faced with every day, the OpenEdge business in Sub Saharan Africa continues to flourish. Progress continues to invest in ongoing development and product enhancements and all of you continue to benefit from this extraordinary product! I say “extraordinary” because I find it very difficult to think of any other Software product that shows such longevity in the marketplace. A couple of years ago, Progress turned 40! In our region alone we have many customers and Application Partners who, by embracing the concepts of “modernization”, have effectively extended their investment by a further 10 to 20 years!

I have been the very proud “helmsman” of this ship for the past 25 years and I take great pride in the continuation of this role. I am greatly looking forward to seeing everybody on 14th June and having the opportunity to thank you!