Symphony’s history goes back to 1979, when The Da Gama Rose Group launched Computer Applications Ltd (CAL). CAL was Wang’s exclusive business partner for numerous countries in Eastern Africa. In 1982 CAL introduced the first portable PC to East Africa, the ‘luggable’
Osborne. By 1984, an independent study carried out by Price Waterhouse showed that CAL had already become the IT market leader in Kenya. In Tanzania and later in Uganda too, the company took the market by storm. Then in 1982 CAL opened up in Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia, soon reaching leadership positions there.
In 1993 CAL acquired Business Computer Systems Ltd, IBM’s then principle Kenya IBM business partner, launching a major relationship with IBM, the world’s largest technology company.
In 1991 Legend Technologies was set up in the Export Processing Zone to assemble its own Legend-branded PCs. The company also took on the East African representation for Sun Microsystems, which also led to undisputed leadership across the EA Region in bringing The DGR Group into high-end Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, through its partnership with BaaN.
It was also in 1991 that the Institute of Advanced Technology -IAT was established, introducing a completely new quality of IT training in Kenya. IAT has grown in leaps and bounds, quickly becoming by far the largest training institution in the Africa, and the ongoing standards set the pace for excellence in the training industry. IAT is now a separate entity.
MagnetiCAL had been the first of CAL’s sisters. It brought in computer media, UPSs, structured cabling and other products to support the computer environment. MagnetiCAL was later renamed Technology Strategies Limited, to better reflect its functions.
Systems Reliability Ltd - SRL specialised in communications needs, representing Racal among others. And as the emphasis on software and associated consultancy grew, Impact Consultants took on all the Group’s activity in this area, including that in the ERP domain.
Action Plus – which specialised in military and National ID card solutions.
Each of the group companies established itself in its area of focus, and each had pioneered major breakthroughs in technology. Over time it became increasingly apparent that there should be more synergy between them. The process was taken to its logical conclusion when they were all fused into a single entity, “Symphony”. Everyone moved to one building, Symphony Place, under a unified management team and with common support services.
Over the 31 years of IT activity in Africa, the IT division of The DGR Group has been constantly reinventing itself to adjust to the dramatic changes in technology and market expectations that have occurred. New products and services require new skills, both technical and managerial. They bring forth new partnerships, both locally and internationally, while others fade. If survival of the fittest is the way of life for this industry, then Symphony has proved it is among the leaders.