Sramana: That brings our story to present day. What is the synopsis of the situation you are facing now?
Steve Millard: The company has been around for 25 years and has always been successful due to strong, dedicated customers in EMEA. My joining was at an interesting inflection point of the company.
Sramana: What was the revenue level when you came on board?
Steve Millard: We were at £5 million.
Sramana: When you joined the company did you have to move to the U.K., or did you remain based in the U.S.?
Steve Millard: I joined to run the US operations. Within two weeks I received a phone call from my CEO, who told me that he was ready to retire and that he wanted to prepare me to become the CEO. I had plenty of notice that this is what he wanted me to do. He made it clear that the future of the company was based in the U.S. and that the change in leadership needed to move to someone based in the U.S. The intention was never for me to move over there, rather to spend the majority of my time here working with customers and analysts while also making sure things were taken care of back in London.
Sramana: In 2011 you had a £5 million analytics company based in London. What did your competitive landscape look like? Where would you position the company at that point?
Steve Millard: It was a crowded market that was consolidating quickly. I walked into a chaotic situation. If you take a look at the landscape competitively since 2008, you will see that most of the companies in this space have been acquired by larger organizations. You have folks like Greenplum, EMC, and the list goes on. If you look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant from four years ago, you will see that it looks far different than ours because other organizations have been acquired and are part of larger companies.
That is the situation that I walked into. We were competing against other companies that were like us. They were smaller companies that did not have the multi-billion dollar pockets that they have now. What has happened since is that I was suddenly one of only two companies in the space that competed in the market who were independent. The rest of the companies were part of HP, IBM, and larger companies.
I felt the situation I walked into was a bit scary, and it reminded me of David versus Goliath. When I talk about us having great technology, it was no longer a differentiator. Great technology just gets you to the table. It does not get you the deals. We were always very proud of our technology and the fact that we would win POCs against the larger organizations. However, we would lose the deals against the larger organizations primarily for commercial reasons.