Technical Editor Hal Reid interviewed MapInfo's
Bob Buckner (pictured at right), vice president of services, regarding
acquisition of MarkeTech.
Hal Reid (HR): This latest MapInfo acquisition
(MarkeTech) follows a series of acquisitions, including the Thompson
Associates acquisition (which included AnySite) in January of 2003.
Looking at the acquisition activities, there seems to be redundancy in
terms of each company's capabilities (e.g.retail expansion, models,
development strategies, etc.).Can you expand on the differences
between these acquisitions and how they benefit MapInfo?
Bob Buckner (BB): An important component of MapInfo's strategy
has been to enhance our domain expertise in targeted vertical markets -
retail, communications, the public sector, banking and insurance.The
intent is to increase our ability to provide location intelligence
through solving specific vertical market problems where location is an
important component.The acquisition
of Thompson Associates in January 2003 gave us a group of people
who understood the retail market, had a well established customer base
and a strong predictive analytics offering to help retailers make
better strategic real estate decisions.The acquisition
of GeoBusiness Solutions in February of 2005 gave us similar
skills, presence, customer base and value proposition in the UK, thus
accelerating the expansion of our retail predictive analytics delivery
capabilities into our second largest geographic market.
The MarkeTech Systems acquisition in June of 2005 serves a similar
purpose as the GeoBusiness Solutions acquisition; but instead of
accelerating our geographic expansion, the acquisition accelerates our
application of location intelligent solutions into the banking
industry.Like Thompson before it, MarkeTech Systems has an established
customer base, a strong team with a deep understanding of the banking
industry and a strong location intelligence offering.
In a similar vein, the acquisition
of Southbank Systems in September 2004 provided MapInfo with
local government asset management knowledge, applications and customers
in the UK.In the aggregate, these acquisitions have strengthened our
global presence in three of our targeted vertical markets (retail, the
public sector and banking).
HR: One of the reasons that companies are acquired is to access the
key people who have highly valuable expertise.This is certainly the
case in the banking industry within MarkeTech.Can you provide some
understanding as to how these key people will be integrated into the
BB: Our industry is driven by the knowledge and skills of its
people.As noted above, our motivation for the MarkeTech Systems
acquisition is to enhance our knowledge of and presence within the
banking industry.Our intent is to retain the entire staff and
integrate the team within the services organization.Sales, marketing,
development and Predictive Analytics teams in Raleigh will work closely
with their peers in Troy, Toronto, Ann Arbor, Windsor and elsewhere to
share best practices and customer opportunities.The MarkeTech Systems
team will become an important driver of our banking strategy and will
be key influencers on the overall evolution of MapInfo's strategy and
HR: Thompson and AnySite traditionally provided performance modeling
services - sales forecasting, location/allocation models and product
mix models to name a few.Is there going to be a central model source
for MapInfo customers or is each entity going to retain its own
BB: Customers within each vertical market want to work with
teams that "speak their language." As a result, there necessarily will
be a segregation of clients and projects among the teams that hold
specific industry knowledge.As a result, the MarkeTech Systems team
will focus on providing banking solutions while the Ann Arbor team will
focus on retail solutions.That being said, underlying modeling
methodologies, application development approaches and process best
practices will be shared among all of the teams.Additionally,
individuals within each team will have the opportunity to grow and
expand their knowledge base by cross-training or even transfer from
team to team.
HR: A geographic question.Is MarkeTech going to remain in Raleigh
or is it moving to Troy?
BB: The MarkeTech Systems team will remain in Raleigh.
HR: Thinking about possible product and services expansions for
MapInfo, what other acquisitions could we anticipate in the future?
Perhaps a data company?
BB: MapInfo is always looking for ways to fill strategic gaps in
our offering or our geographic presence.One method for doing so is an
acquisition.As such, we are constantly evaluating opportunities as
they arise.However, none of these evaluations are at a point that they
can be disclosed.
HR: The MarkeTech web site makes no mention of incorporating
lifestyle segmentation as a tool in their modeling products and
consultancy services.Is this an opportunity to apply the Thompson and
AnySite resources or is this more of a data source issue rather than a
BB: There is an opportunity to enhance MarkeTech Systems'
lifestyle segmentation capabilities both through applying the broader
MapInfo data and services capabilities.