Sramana Mitra: If you take that line of thought, your competitors are the platform-as-a-service category, right, Force.com and so forth?
Alex Osipov: I actually don’t think of them as competitors. I don’t think we’re even in the same space, to tell you the truth.
SM: When you look at the value proposition of the platform-as-a-service players, they’re offering the same thing. They’re offering the same kind of infrastructure stack in their platforms, and then vertical players put the application layers and the services layers on top of that and provision them on somebody’s data center. So, help me to understand. How is your offering different?
AO: If you compare us to a platform-as-a-service like OnForce or Spring, we’re not competing. I’ll say that up front, but the difference is what our value prop is. We take all those things that you’re running, so, all your old legacy infrastructure and your cloud services, and we can automate them and run them as a single unified platform. We kind of sit in the middle; we become the glue that brings together your old windows that you can’t let go of. If you can imagine a banking client or a law firm that has invested a lot of money, and it’s maybe a 500- or 1,000-user company, there’s been a lot of money invested in infrastructure over the years and in software. The company can’t just go all cloud; it can’t go to OnForce and just rebuild everything from scratch. So, what we do is we have integration with a lot of these cloud services [and] Windows.
We handle 26 or 28 different website products today. And we orchestrate them so that they come in one unified package so the user doesn’t have to worry about, how do I create accounts in different systems? How do I keep it in synch? How do I keep it secure? We take all of these different offerings. We’re very good at the legacy stuff that most companies have. We’re good at taking that and augmenting that with some of the cloud services that are coming online today.
SM: Drilling down on the example that you gave of a law firm with 500 to 1,000 users that has a lot of legacy infrastructure, can you take me through what exactly it is that you do? Presumably, there’s a managed services provider in the picture as well.
AO: Yes. Imagine you run a law firm and you do a lot of different things during the day, Office productivity, email. You might have SharePoint. When it starts, most of these law firms have complex workflow systems to keep their documents moving around the company. Most people don’t realize that they’re attached to a lot of different hardware that sits in their offices. And there are all kinds of scanners and secure printers, all these things you use. So, our platform gives them all of the base tools, and then the managed services provider can go in and help them customize their secure document workflow, for example. When there’s a secure document that can be printed somewhere, they’ll set up those things or maybe focus on some specific line of business app. So, they can use SharePoint to create workflows or control how their documents flow or are archived, searched, [with] all kinds of different applications. They’re mainly the same, but a lot of companies have different software. That’s more or less the breakdown.
We give the technology to make it work, but the managed services providers really do all of the servicing and do the customer relationship management.
SM: If I understood you, you’re trying to put Microsoft email on the cloud, is that correct … in that scenario that you just described?
AO: We offer several options, Google Apps being one of them.
SM: I understand. But isn’t Microsoft supposed provide the kind of transition of email to the cloud that you described in your law firm example?
AO: I think there are two sides: there’s the public cloud, say, Office365, and then there’s the private Office365. Some of the companies we deal with are still not ready to go to the cloud, specifically, the banking and the financial sectors, maybe even the law firms because they have certain requirements that are just not met by the cloud yet. The cloud is a very early iteration. It’s an early technology.