Sramana Mitra: Where are the opportunities to do new and innovative companies in this whole space?
Keith Anderson: There’s at least a couple of ideas that spring to my mind. There’s always a diffusion of technology over time from the very high-end to the broader mainstream market. Think of technology that originated from the Department of Defense, for example, and then eventually making it to the more mainstream. There’s the lower end disruption that starts as more affordable and reaches the mainstream by meeting the basic need and getting more sophisticated over time. In this area, I think it’s more of the former.
It started with Amazon, which was a power house. Then, companies like ours that have pretty significant R&D capabilities. We really serve the high-end of the market. We are oriented towards the larger scale retailers and manufacturers that have higher demands. There’s a huge market of thousands of small- and medium-sized retailers and manufacturers, which are probably not the right fit for us, but I’m sure with the benefit from similar capabilities. I think whether it’s in this area or any other area, it’s always useful to look at which parts of the market might be underserved.
Then secondly, look at not only pricing data but all data. We are, every week, interacting with these massive organizations that have their own business intelligence platforms. They have more data than they know what to do with. One of the biggest pieces of feedback that I’ve heard from every single one of our customers is to make the data almost invisible unless there’s someone inside that really wants to drill into the data itself. What we’re really trying to surface for them is the insights, applications, and guidance. I think there are already all kinds of startups from visualization, BI to more data-driven consultancies that are tackling some version of this.
I can tell you there’s still going to be opportunity for the next five years because the amount of money that’s being invested in data or analytics capability compared to the adoption and actual realization of the potential is not a pretty picture. What I would be really excited about is there’s so much, almost, scientific rigor around growth that’s happening in consumer-facing technology startups. That really hasn’t come yet to B2B in the frenzied way that I’ve seen it in the consumer world.
Sramana Mitra: There’s a part of B2B that’s going through that kind of rigorous process in the SaaS sector.
Keith Anderson: We’re trying to do the same thing, but there are some big distinctions between the way you can grow in a B2C business versus a SaaS business like ours. There’s likely to be some pioneering work done over the next few years to figure out what you can do to drive massive adoption inside these companies. Not just adoption and make sure that it becomes so sticky that they don’t feel locked-in, which unfortunately is the reality with some SaaS. It’s not a feeling of grateful lock-in. It’s a feeling of being trapped. It’s an interesting bigger picture topic that has started to surface.
Sramana Mitra: All right. Thank you for your time.