Change Agents

By Joe Francica

In a soft economy, you look for companies that can rise above the malaise and strike a different message, produce exceptional products, and find value for their customers.Companies that can not only adapt but also innovate during the downturn will be poised for exponential growth during the upswing.These are the "change agents" in business.I believe there are a few that should be noted.

Two weeks ago, Directions Magazine was one of the sponsor of SRC's "Extend" conference.SRC is as company that many know from their websites and SRC's technology went into MapInfo's initial versions of TargetPro before MapInfo decided to take development internally.SRC has a portfolio of products for target marketing and site selection and delivers both hosted and intranet solutions for marketing and CRM.And SRC is quietly making a statement about how data can be delivered and solutions can be scripted in the context of a web service.

In his opening address, SRC president Dean Stoecker commented on "change" as the third element that you can always count on besides death and taxes. He said, "You can either define it or be defined by it; you either make it happen for you, or you let it happen to you."

I've known Mr.Stoecker for many years and our discussions over that time have often centered on "why businesses don't get it" when it comes to the use and application of spatial information.I'm happy to report that I think SRC has crafted a unique pairing of applications and has convinced a sufficient number of customers to "get it" through purchases of SRC's suite of solutions: Solocast, PinPoint, Allocate, or Portfolio. These products are complimentary to allow customers to progress through a logical workflow and expand to advanced applications of CRM and micromarketing.

The list of customers that "get it" include AT&T, British Petroleum, the restaurant chain "YUM," the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute (an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors), the Bank of America, and The Newspaper Network.It's not merely a list either.These users were genuinely passionate about their solutions.

I would suggest that SRC is one "change agent" in our business.Certainly, there are others.Last fall, IDC released a report called Spatial Information Management: Competitive Analysis and Trends.In it they listed companies that, for purposes here, could also be described as change agents: Questerra, Metasolv, Maporama, and ZAC Technologies.One company, Vicinity, was also listed and must have represented enough of a change in our business such that it was recently bought by Microsoft.I would add Action Engine to this list, a company engaged in LBS and suggested to me by someone more knowledgeable than I.

Watch for these companies.They are at the forefront of the "next big thing" in spatial information.

Published Wednesday, March 12th, 2003

Written by Joe Francica

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