SM: You are in multiple markets. How big are those markets? What is your TAM?
TM: From our perspective the IT operations and service management TAM is somewhere between $600 million and $1 billion. The business continuity marketplace has a $1 billion TAM. We like our positioning in that marketplace because we have such a unique value proposition.
SM: How do you define the business continuity marketplace?
TM: Business continuity planning deals with the folks in an organization who are dealing with risk issues. For example, UBS uses us to determine at what point it should stop currency trading. We also deal with physical security issues which illustrates how it fits risk on the operations side. There is a marketplace for disaster recovery as well. That is a fast growing area yet the deal size there is smaller.
SM: What is next in terms of growth?
TM: We have cash and our product is great. There are always additions and great ideas we would like to include. Our hope today is that we can turn communities around and let new user groups use our infrastructure. We have never catered to people building their own applications. When it comes to people who are concerned about communicating and connecting with customers, I think we need to give them a tool set infrastructure. They have more knowledge about their unique situation so we could best enable them by given them better tools. That is consuming a lot of our time and attention right now.
SM: Tell me about the What Matters Now project.
TM: It is easy for a technology company to be guilty of wanting to talk technical too much. We have technical teams and we sell to technical teams. In some cases that meant we lost sight of what was on the mind of our technical customers’ customers. The IT shops in a company essentially have all of their users as customers. Part of what we are trying to do is make people aware that what matters to people changes all the time. We have sponsored am Open Project to do sentiment analysis across open source web apps like Twitter to find out what matters to people at different times and places.
The idea is that we will be able to sit down with a client like Toyota and illustrate to them the changes in their customer’s interests. Two years ago customers were concerned with service and value. Today they are concerned about recalls and hiding information. What Matters Now is an open project that scans all of those sources and builds trending analysis. It is a way to raise awareness with our clients that they need to be focusing on what is important to their customers and that we can assist.
If Toyota used a relevance engine for the recall and provided that information to the customers who owned particular vehicles at that moment in time then Toyota could have gotten information out to them in 30 seconds. Their customers would hear information from them before the news announcement. If that were the case, perhaps customer sentiment would be different. The problem of ‘who owns what VIN number right now’ is hard. We want to show them that they can connect to their customers at the moment in time when it matters.
SM: What does your competitive landscape look like today now that you are 10 years into this?
TM: The landscape is very similar. A lot of what we see are people still using push notification without regard to process or want/need of information. Companies push information and assume people want it. There is no other vendor who competes the way we do. We have various competitors in the various market segments, but their products are not architected like ours is. We run into Sybase and SAP a lot. In business continuity we compete with Dell and other mass sending architectures. Our key is personalization.
SM: This has been a very good story. Thanks for telling us about your journey.