Sramana Mitra: Let’s understand Tidemark better. I think the best way for us to understand Tidemark would be through your customers. What is your target customer segment and then explain to us how you’re delivering value in Tidemark.
Christian Gheorghe: One of the main challenges our customers are trying to solve is business transformation. Sometimes by their own volition, competition, or the market environment, they are forced to transform their businesses. Now, what does that mean? The metrics by which they used to run their businesses no longer apply. They are changing because there is a greater degree of requirement to look at how the business is doing and plan and model the business on a much higher frequency. For example, moving from doing a revenue plan once a year to achieving revenue targets monthly by trying to understand the profitability.
We have a customer who runs their business by modeling their financial and operational performance around metrics that dealt with software license revenues for on-premise software. Then comes SaaS and all the metrics associated with running a maintenance license software fee go out the window. You have to figure out how to plan your business based on the SaaS model.
Because of more data, competition, globalization, changes in the work force, mobility and consumerization, there is a need to plan, forecast, and analyze both financial and operational aspects differently. Companies are also acutely aware of the disruptions that new technologies bring both in terms of competitive pressures and business models. For example, it was recently announced that Bitcoin can now be used for a university in England to pay tuition fees. Now, think about that for a moment. Think about how you need to model your business once your currency and ledger becomes a virtual ledger and currency in the cloud. It has total transparency and immediacy as it relates to the currency rates. It has the ability to fluctuate based on the limited value that the data drives. At the end of the day, all these factors have to be analyzed and mapped into data-driven decisions, and then forecast for the growth of that university.
The type of analytical applications that we provide enables you to do that in real time and in a mobile way. We enable user experience that allows companies to make decisions very fast. More importantly, they can leverage the cloud to elastically drive that type of action across their company.
Sramana Mitra: How do you sell? When you’re trying to get a new client, how do you go about selecting where you want to try to get in? We have this terminology that we use called pain extraction questions. These are questions and the line of questioning that allows you to unearth pain inside of an organization. What questions do you ask to get you to position your solution into a company?
Christian Gheorghe: That’s a very good question. I like your idea of pain extraction. We call it a pain chain. There’s a couple of dimensions to my answer on this question. First and foremost, we have decided to build a business on an enterprise direct sales force. We have a sales team that is pretty good at selling to the line of business. We talk to the business owner, VP of Finance, VP of Marketing, or VP of IT. We also have a process that drives a strategic conversation at the office of the CXO as it relates to the transformation. So the type of questions that we ask are questions related to, “Are you in the process of understanding your profitability to a degree that you haven’t been able to do before? Is speed and agility of importance to your financial process or are you okay with closing your books two to four weeks after end of the quarter?” Those are the types of questions that we’re asking. We literally built an enterprise sales force here.
The last thing that is even more important is if you look at the way we build and sell these applications during the OutlookSoft and Hyperion era, the selling process and the pain extraction process were always and almost exclusively driven by the vendor. What’s interesting about the revolution that we are seeing right now, not just from Tidemark but also from Salesforce and Workday, is that this is process driven and being asked and pushed for by the customer and the users inside the customers. They are simply questioning why they should go about doing something in their work lives that is so disjointed from what they’re used to in the consumer experience.