Sramana Mitra: What is the size of your market at present, and what segments do you go after? It is a very interesting analogy to cater to that segment. It could be products and services. I just did a story with an HR services provider. They specialize in recruitment technology: job posting and recruiting technology with big data. They are doing it as a service. Everybody is doing job postings, especially when they are managing large scale job posts on a global basis. This provider, for example, rules out much of the visibility into the data implications of this process. It is a very specialized application in terms of rules and data sets, but it is also a large enough market. So, it could be a substantial business.
In our incubator we are not hung up at all on very large businesses. We are perfectly fine with it being a five to ten million dollar business. I think there are a lot of opportunities like that, with specialized knowledge of certain types of problems. There are high-end custom solutions. Some of these solutions are used with only 10 or 15 clients, but each can be half-a-billion-dollar clients.
Dale Skeen: What you are doing is one of the things I am also excited about. You can focus on customer markets that tend to be ignored. You can also address a long tail of a lot of these opportunities, where you are reaching very small customers. There can be many of them. It may not be a small company in a building, it can be a large company or a range in between those.
SM: If you go after specific segments and understand the problems those segments face, you will realize that their data usage is very workflow specific. There are a few obvious ones. Retail has a lot of data-crunching needs. But there are a lot of niche data modeling needs that are over the business firmament, and these needs could very well be tackled by smaller companies.
DS: Absolutely. First we talked about the infrastructure players. They tend to be larger companies.
SM: The infrastructure [they use] is much more expensive to build.
DS: Yes. So there are fewer players in that layer. The next is the apps layer, which requires more domain knowledge. The apps layer tends to encode some of these business rules, but it also empowers process owners and business owners who have their own rules in their mind. Then there are the smaller business owners who may not understand the rules and cannot invest in technology. That is where you can address this longer tail to smaller business owners, including all those business rules as a service.
SM: I feel that it will break down into increasingly specialized areas, because this approach becomes increasingly complicated. Maybe what the app layer offers is a 70 percent stock that is applicable to that segment. Then there is another layer of providers on top of that – you can call them value-added resellers or developer networks, whichever way you frame it. There are going to be opportunities for further customization and domain knowledge. The breadth of domain knowledge gets smaller the deeper you go into it. What I mean is the deeper you get into it, the fewer people there are who have that knowledge. If you go deeper into the workflow of businesses, there is more customization. It becomes harder to scale businesses on deeper domain knowledge.