My perspective in what’s happening in the cloud is reasonably deep because I’ve been living in it for so long. The three trends that I see at this point won’t probably be new to you. The way that I packaged them might shape what it is we’re doing here for Scribe. Number one is the tsunami that is the cloud. It is growing exponentially faster and especially within the last year. Despite all the negative stories regarding concerns of privacy, security, and the bias against using cloud in certain geographies, there’s an acceptance now that the value of cloud is so overwhelming that it seems like some of these concerns are just eroding. The ubiquity of the cloud is all but assured. That’s the number one driver.
Number two relates to my business in the area of customer data. The cloud has really created the Internet customer. Internet customers are 50% to 70% educated on their buying decisions before they even contact the company. In the two and a half years that I’ve spent as an executive at IBM, I had the opportunity to work in the software group and was aligned with some of the CEO and CMO studies that IBM did. They need to engage prospects, customers, and partners – in the case of public sector, the citizens – at whatever touch point, and at whatever stage of the process that the Internet customer is.
If you were to look back five years ago, there’s no one line of demarcation. Maybe it’s social technologies that tipped it, or marketing automation technologies, or some of the breadth of some of the CRM technologies, or even the different cloud services like Salesforce. The second macro trend is the fact that customers are self-educating and companies know that they have to get all of their customer data to the touch point to make the customer experience better at whatever point in the sales cycle or in the service cycle that customer is.
The final one is – I have to say, you might think it’s just a requirement of number two – the level of collaboration between the CIO, the CMO, and the line of business leader. I’ve been in enterprise software for quite a while. The level of shift that’s happening now is staggering to me. I have worked within those executive offices for a long time. Because of the ubiquity and global acceptance of the cloud, a line of business users are just not really even following protocol. In some cases, they’re getting application functionality to do their jobs from the cloud. They are looking for some help from the CIO around data governance. The CIO realizes that she needs to work more collaboratively with the line of business and the CMO. The marketing folks are just gathering more strength because they’re trying to deal with this internet customer. It’s really the powerful influence of these things that seem to be really creating a lot of opportunity for what Scribe does.
Sramana Mitra: The final question is where are the white spaces?
Lou Guercia: My view is largely shaped by my business life. I’m pouring all my energy into what we’re doing here in Scribe as it relates to customer data. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in what we’re doing. That is certainly shaping my perspective. We all know that the phrases of technology that seem to emanate out of the Valley more than any other place are around Big Data, the Internet of Things, and massive analytics. There’s tremendous goodness that does come from those technologies.
We’ve heard of the API economy – that things should just plug-and-play. In no time, we’re going to have all cloud and on-premise applications working harmoniously. But the truth of the matter is we are in a real war between two suites and two best of breeds. You’re going to have the big players building suites, doing acquisitions, rounding out their portfolios with offerings that seemingly are integrated together.