The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: February 2006

A haven for technologists?

1 February 2006
Paul Booth

An IT business run by IT people and a haven for technologists is how Dariel Solutions is described by its managing director, Malcolm Rabson.
Managing director of Dariel  Solutions, Malcolm Rabson
Managing director of Dariel Solutions, Malcolm Rabson
Dariel Solutions, a South African professional IT services company and systems integrator based in Houghton, Johannesburg, established in 2001 is comprised of nearly 40 staff and is a software engineering practice, rather than a 'body shop', focusing on developing bespoke software for the financial services industry specifically, but not exclusively. Its skills have also been put to good use in the manufacturing, media, retail and telecommunications sectors. Assignments are either discrete projects over which they have direct control and are often on a 'fixed-price' basis; or as 'subcontractors' within other activities managed by other parties.
According to Rabson, Dariel's go-to-market model combines the best complement of people, processes and technologies, enabling them to deliver high quality solutions that are tailored to customer's specific requirements. Dariel has an unusual and amazing 100% success and track record in the delivery of bespoke development for systems. This is no mean feat and has come from delivering all its projects according to sound engineering principles, arduous software controls and implementing the necessary level of skills within the team. The skills and attitude of the individuals participating in an application development are seen by the company as the single most important factor for ensuring successful delivery of a system.
The unique value proposition of Dariel Solutions has been to create a professional IT practice or 'firm' with IT professionals and mentorship programs that is almost non-existent within the IT industry, although an accepted practice in other business sectors. In this regard, Dariel's staff complement consists only of university graduates from the computer sciences and software engineering facilities, which is seen as mandatory; in order to cope with the wide spectra of IT knowledge required to adequately handle the development of distributed systems. The university theory gives the developers the tools to deal with complexities such as networking constraints, memory caching, etc. Another important attribute of Dariel Solutions is that business ethics plays a primary role in the ethos of the company and its individuals, which it believes are paramount to doing business today. Thus, Rabson firmly believes that the 'approach and discipline' are key to successful software development and that the developers must operate within a 'scientific' framework if they are to become competent practitioners.
The company, which is already 10% black empowered, is owned by the staff and is profitable. The company, whose average staff experience is 3-4 years, encourages a technical career path for individuals and utilises an extensive mentorship programme for both its new entrants as well as its more experienced individuals. This programme, which includes both formal and on-the-job training, encourages appropriate further reading/study and participation in its Software Engineering Practice Group that takes up half a day per month, as well as its open forum that meets for 2-3 hours each month and discusses topics such as architectures. Rabson, as well as some of the other directors, originally came from a software company within the Dimension Data Group.
One of the unique offerings that Dariel Solutions provides is its software audit service and due diligence that is based on defined business drivers. Normally this process takes a period of only three weeks with the 80:20 principle often utilised during these activities. This is in stark contrast to the lengthy processes often offered by other consultancies. Architecture models/designs in a framework for 'real' ie, prototyping; and the migration of databases and their interfacing to other systems are also part of the offerings provided by the company. In this regard, Dariel Solutions prides itself on the 'Quality of Service' that it delivers to its clients.
Despite being a small company, Dariel Solutions prospers and includes within its customer base prestigious organisations such as African Life, Discovery Health, Discovery Life, FNB, Global Trader, HSBC, RM Assurance and Standard Bank.

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