Spokane Journal of Business

Software Spectrum booms

Texas-based company expects to employ 900 here by later this year

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Software Spectrum Inc., the Garland, Texas-based software seller and technical-service provider, says it expects to add more than 300 employees here this year, giving it a total work force of around 900.

Alison Eldred, the companys human-resources manager here, says Software Spectrum expects to add about 160 employees this month alone at its Liberty Lake facility, where 900 workers would put it at full capacity.

The company, all in all, is definitely committed to growing here in Spokane, Eldred says. Turnover is very low in Spokane compared with some other locations, and our customers are very satisfied, she says. We have happy employees that turn out good customer satisfaction. We really find that Spokane is just a good market.

Software Spectrum has good recruitment here and gets strong support from the colleges and technical-training programs here and from North Idaho College in Coeur dAlene, Eldred says.

The jobs that the company is adding here are very technically focused, she says. We look for really strong customer service, but more than that a demonstrated knowledge in operating systems and networking. Were looking for a little bit of a higher skill set (than that of the typical call-center employee).

Software Spectrum has two main business units here that together employed about 585 people as of Dec. 20. The larger of those units, which employed about 465 of that 585, is a technical-support division, or outsource help desk, that contracts with large software makers to provide technical support to software users. The other business unit sells software to major corporate, government, and academic clients.

Software Spectrum bought that latter division from competitor Egghead Inc., then based in Spokane, in the spring of 1996 and took over part of Eggheads 115,000-square-foot facility at Liberty Lake.

The companys operation here now is its second largest, behind its headquarters office in a suburb of Dallas. Overall, it now employs about 2,400 people at 12 sites worldwide, says Texas-based spokeswoman Katherin Dockerill. Along with a 400-employee call center in Tampa, Fla., two of Software Spectrums larger operations are in Dublin, Ireland, and Sydney, Australia, each of which has about 120 employees, she says.

Part of the companys current ramp-up in hiring at Liberty Lake is due to a new contract with an undisclosed client that specifically wanted its software customer-support services to be based in the Pacific Northwest, Dockerill says.

Software Spectrum, which is traded publicly on the Nasdaq stock-quotation system, had net income of $9.4 million on record sales of just over $1 billion in its fiscal year ended April 30, 2000. The company was started in 1983 by three accountants and initially consisted of a single retail software store, but soon began focusing on reselling software to big corporations. It later closed its retail outlet.

Kim Crompton
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