SM: What was the market landscape like when you founded the company?
KR: When we founded the company in 2005, the BI market was pretty stagnant. Not much innovation had happened in that market in the prior 10 years. It was basically a lot of vendors selling expensive solutions that were difficult and time consuming to deploy, impossible to manage and maintain, and hard to use. Instead of focusing on trying to make their solutions simpler to use, each of the traditional BI vendors just kept adding more and more functionality.
Also, the BI vendors were all focused on selling toolsets to people in IT to enable them to build their own solutions. That didn’t make much sense to me. People don’t want toolsets; they want solutions. Imagine if you were trying to buy a house, and someone tried to sell you lumber, a table saw, and a bunch of bricks and telling you “There! That’s all you need to build any house you want!” Unless you’re a skilled architect and craftsman, you’re going to have a tough time building your own house. So, you’d have to hire a team of contractors to build it for you.
We decided to take a very different approach, and instead of selling a toolset, we have created full prebuilt solutions that are role-based (such as Sales roles and Finance roles) and which focus on answering the key questions that people in those roles ask.
SM: What about data? Did you receive push-back on people being willing to let you take their data and play with it?
KR: Not really. In the early days of Salesforce.com only 1/4 of the customers were okay with this model, 3/4 resisted. By the time I got to Lucidera, the market had been trained, and only 1/4 resisted, 3/4 were asking for On-Demand solutions.