SM. Where did you get the idea for LucidEra? What is your domain experience in the Enterprise 3.0 business?
KR: The idea developed in two stages. First, when I ran my Business Intelligence consulting company many years, it became obvious that while Business Intelligence solutions were common in large enterprises, they were rare in small and midsize companies. So, I started focusing my efforts at Emergent on selling Business Intelligence solutions to the midmarket. My message was that if only large enterprises have BI solutions, then they have an unfair advantage over midmarket companies who had to “fly blind” because they had no easy way to get visibility into what’s going on in their company.
Ultimately, however, that initiative to provide BI solutions to midmarket companies failed. Why? Because even though we could build a solution for these companies at a reasonable cost, they didn’t have the specialized skill sets in house to manage these solutions once we left. As one IT manager told me, “I bet it’s easier to manage a nuclear reactor than it is to manage our BI solution.” So, I refocused Emergent back to Fortune 1000 companies where we had previously been successful. But the idea of bringing BI to the midmarket was still something I really wanted to do.
Then, when I was at Siebel, as my second attempt to bring BI to the midmarket I decided to embed the Siebel Analytics product (which is now Oracle’s Analytics product) into Siebel CRM OnDemand. Customers loved it. And then something unexpected happened – prospects would call us and say that they didn’t really want our hosted CRM solution, but they did want the hosted analytics portion of it and asked if they could just buy that separately. That idea was shot down internally, for fear that it would cannibalize Siebel’s very profitable Analytics product line. But, it was the “a-ha!” moment for me: delivering Analytics as an on-demand service made a lot of sense, and the fact that customers were already asking for it meant that it filled a real market need.
So, at that point, I took my two great business passions – Analytics and On-Demand – and combined them to create LucidEra.