Published January 18, 2011
Volume 19, Number 1

MI9 Offers Full Suite of Software for Retail Operations

MI9 CEO Mike Burge is working to take the firm to its next level of growth.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

Almost two years after an ownership change, one of Hacienda’s oldest tenants is getting ready to welcome the CEO of its new parent, MI9 Business Intelligence Systems Inc., to its recently expanded offices at 3825 Hopyard Road.

In March 2009, Software Development Inc. (SDI), a park occupant for more than 20 years, was acquired by the Toronto-based MI9. Both firms specialize in software for the retail environment and had complimentary offerings in that marketplace. MI9 CEO Mike Burge, who holds citizenship in the United Kingdom, has just received a U.S. visa and will be bringing his expertise to the Hacienda location to spend the next three years completing the integration of product development, sales, and support teams that will take the firm to its next level of growth.

Both of SDI's prior owners had been on the job since 1979, explains Finance Manager Sylvia McKewon, who joined the company herself in 1987. When the owners were ready to move on, they set out looking for a buyer that would be the best fit. “We had some common customers with MI9—they do the corporate side, and we do the front-end POS [point-of-sale] side, so we were very familiar with each other,” McKewon observes. “When it came down to the final sale of the company, our previous owners made the decision that was best for the employees and for expansion potential.”

It was a win-win situation “for all of us,” McKewon continues. “All our employees were retained, and there were no benefit changes or attrition. We are very fortunate.”

If MI9 sounds familiar, that's because the company derived its name from the legendary British military intelligence service, MI6, widely popularized in James Bond movies. MI9 was a specialized subdivision established to aid resistance fighters behind enemy lines in World War II.

The unit's sophisticated intelligence gathering was the model for the company when MI9 was founded in Toronto in 2001. “We were determined to become the force to reckon with in the world of business intelligence; and our team included nine people– hence MI9. Like our namesake, we positioned the bar very high,” states the corporate website.

With the acquisition of SDI, MI9 capabilities now encompass a full suite of integrated products that enable retailers to manage all functions with utmost efficiency and productivity, from intelligence and data warehousing to merchandise management, POS and store management, and inventory optimization across all channels of the business. “It's rare for one company to do everything, like we do,” says McKewon.

The Hacienda office has been gearing up for the business expansion, recruiting a sales staff, including a vice president of sales, late last spring. In August it took over an adjacent 1,400 square feet, creating more space for product demonstrations, sales training, and a new office for the CEO. It also expects to hire a few more software engineers.

In mid-December MI9 announced the signing of a major new client, Crabtree & Evelyn, the international toiletry and gourmet foods retailer. Other well known names on the customer list include Barney's New York, Bare Escentuals, Tuesday Morning, and Hard Rock Café.

For more information, visit www.mi9retail.com.  


Also in this issue ...