Sramana Mitra: I get all these things that you’re saying. Let’s say there’s a rule school that can afford to manage the core and in the edges; they can’t afford that many languages or higher level mathematics and sciences. My question is how much does it cost them to include that in their curriculum? Given that they cannot afford teachers, can they afford to layer you guys into the mix? If they do, the existing teachers who are teaching the core, can they then supervise the learning of those accelerated courses?
Sari Factor: Some can and some can’t. It depends on the certification requirements in a given state. Back to your original question, what we’re finding is indeed some schools are interested in using us to augment their staff. If they do not have somebody who’s qualified to supervise a course, we can do it through distance learning.
This feature on WSJ by Tom Davenport puts an analytics spin on Doblin’s Ten Types of Innovation. It looks at how innovation can be driven, supported, or measured with analytics. For this week’s posts, click on the paragraph links. >>>
Sramana: How has the change in industry tolerance and culture affected your marketplace?
Ratmir Timashev: These changes in business requirements have made the legacy solutions by Symantec and IBM less effective. Access to data should be almost continuous. You can only tolerate a few minutes of downtime and data loss should also be minimal.
Everybody needs access to data at any time, from any device, and anywhere that person is at. That is why most companies over the past five years have started projects that change their data center. They are modernizing their data centers to meet these requirements by leveraging server virtualization, network virtualization, and storage virtualization. >>>
Atanas Kiryakov: The purpose of maintaining an online process is to be able to classify and enrich content with more metadata. A typical media website contains 10 or 20 categories like specific regions in the world, which means there would typically be 10 to 30 web pages that are pretty much maintained by them. Their editors make decisions on which articles, materials, and pictures get promoted and presented on each of these web pages.
What BBC did back in 2010 with the help of our technology was make a website where they have 800 different pages. They had one page for each team, each group of teams, each player, each coach, and stadium. Basically, all sorts of objects that had something to do with the World Cup were maintained automatically. There is >>>
Sramana Mitra: Your system maintains the personalized skill gap data for every student that is on your platform?
Sari Factor: Correct.
Sramana Mitra: Can different teachers, as they progress through the grade, access that data?
Sramana: What did you do when you left Quest?
Ratmir Timashev: We left in 2005 and for the next year, we took our time to look around and find the next big idea. We saw that virtualization was the new big trend. I have some good friends in the venture capital community who told me that virtualization was the big new thing.
We decided to do something similar to what we had done for Windows NT but for the VM world. We wanted to create different tools that VM administrators would need to do their day-to-day jobs. In mid-2006, we started creating different tools that involved things like monitoring, administration management, and finally a backup tool that we released in 2008.
The backup tool has been the most successful tool that we built. We ended up getting rid of most of our other products and keeping only our backup tool product. We still have a couple of management products, but the backup product creates 95% of our revenue. Our primary focus is backup data protection and a new product category that we call availability. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Basically, you’re addressing regulatory issues for pharmaceutical companies. Then you’re helping some of these media companies reconcile and clarify their databases and perhaps even enhance their databases, which are then accessed by their clients. That’s the other use case that you talked about, right?
Atanas Kiryakov: Yes. We also help pharmaceutical companies with drug development. The other application is in regulatory enquiries. It’s a cross between applications related to compliance and regulation that we also have with other clients. To give you another example, we have a project called Open Policy that recently won the innovation award of Washington Post in April 2014. >>>
Sramana Mitra: They are using online curriculum but there’s a teacher who’s telling them, “You take this course. Do this exercise.”
Sari Factor: Absolutely. The system is telling the student how much they need to accomplish each day, but a teacher is always monitoring that. We offer adjunct teachers as well. We provide that service. That’s a very small part of our business but one that is growing and we think will continue to grow. There’s always the supervision of a teacher.