BI Bridge-Building: Q&A With Noetix CEO Morris Beton
The BI world may be getting smaller as big names like SAP and Oracle acquire Business Objects and Hyperion, respectively. However, Noetix CEO Morris Beton isn't threatened. "It makes it easier for us to work with other platforms, and as a result we have been able to invest in engineering to build products that take our content and automatically generate it into these other platforms," he said.
The Business Intelligence (BI) space has been on a mission for several years. The goal: to simplify the way these applications work for the end-user.
Several years ago, one practically needed a Ph.D. to be able to eke out usable data. Today, most line of business users can get the same results.
Noetix is the latest vendor to ride this trend, offering tools that allow users to easily access the enterprise application data that reside in BI vendors' platforms. For all the advancements in the space, this is still an underserved niche, CEO Morris Beton told CRM Buyer. "The hard part is always finding just the right data that should go in a report. That is what we do -- provide a bridge to that data."
CRM Buyer: How is Noetix weathering the economic downturn?
Morris Beton: Things are going very well in terms of revenue and meeting our financial metrics. In fact, this has been the strongest Q1 in the company's history, and our outlook for Q2 is strong as well.
CRM: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you've taken?
MB: A year ago I sent out a memo that said we are going into an economic downturn but that my objective was not to cut headcount, salary increases or bonuses or benefits. That we wanted to keep those things in place. What I would like us to do, I said, is take a look at discretionary spending and to be careful about rehiring from attrition. That positioned us well from what is going on in the economy. We have reduced expenses by 12 to 15 percent as a result.
CRM: How can your products help your customers' bottom lines in the near term?
MB: We are in the BI arena. Typically what most customers are dealing with is BI platforms such as IBM's Cognos, SAP's Business Objects and Oracle. These platforms require a lot from a customer -- they do little on their own.
So the customer has to build a lot of applications, which can take months if not years. And it is very costly. We have some very specialized patents that allow us to do some things that these customers cannot in terms of producing automatically generated applications. It allows BI users to go into production very quickly -- much faster than if the customer was to do it manually. On average, we can get a customer into production in 10 days, compared to 300 days that it could take manually.
CRM: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?
MB: We have focused on very simple and straightforward, rich operational reporting and BI application at a low price. We've been offering it for years, but this type of application is much more attractive during harder economic times. Especially now, every company has to have a level of BI and reporting so they understand what is going on.
CRM: How will your company look a year from now?
MB: Our outlook for this year is very positive -- see ourselves as being in a similar position but having grown substantially.
CRM: What changes or additions to the platform can the market expect to see?
MB: We are investing in engineering efforts that will increase the depth and breadth of our product offering. And we are also doing more with other BI platforms besides the major players.
CRM: How is it that you have been able to get these BI vendors to work with you? Don't they view you as competition?
MB: Not at all. We are BI platform independent or agnostic. BI applications can be used with our platform or any other platform on the market. There are two parts to our product offering, with one being content. We offer a huge amount of content, in fact, and because we are platform agnostic the Cognoses and Business Objects of the BI world and are very willing to work with us.
CRM: Obviously the BI space is consolidating, with SAP's and Oracle's acquisitions of Business Objects and Hyperion respectively. Does that hurt or help you?
MB: It is true that the BI space is consolidating. It has boiled down to IBM, SAP, Oracle's Hyperion and Siebel Analytics, and Microsoft. Of the four, Microsoft is the smallest player. This has worked to our advantage -- it makes it easier for us to work with other platforms, and as a result we have been able to invest in engineering to build products that take our content and automatically generate it into these other platforms.