Yesterday I conducted a brief phone interview with Pitney Bowes Software CEO John O'Hara and he brought me up to speed on several initiatives at PBS and the positioning of the company.
On the PBS/Autodesk strategic announcement and that of other partnerships O'Hara said: "Now is the time to look at partners like Korem and more strategic partners such as Autodesk. Many Autodesk customers are dealing in the large construction projects but still have the need for GIS capabilities." O'Hara mentioned that Autodesk saw Esri moving into design space and therefore saw an opportunity to work with PB as a partner to go up against situations with Esri. Similarly, Autodesk and PB have some dependence on desktop software and largely don't play in the same space. PB is focused on business applications of GIS in markets like insurance, banking and retail while Autodesk plays in the planning , engineering and energy space. Autodesk's go to market model is through a huge network of partners; and PB has a more direct sales organization.
Information that was not provided in the initial press release about the partnership was that PB will sell Autodesk software through their channel and Autodesk partners will resell MapInfo through theirs. O'Hara sees high growth opportunities in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) where infrastructure opportunities exist. Currently the direct sales organizations of each company are coming together to identify solution where they have not been working together before.
O'Hara said that software has become a more important part of PB's overall strategy as the company undergoes a transformation away from old mailstream business to the customer communication space. While clients have spent money with PB in the mailstream business, the company can now engage with them around more revenue creating capabilities such as leveraging the client's prospect database and helping them w/analytics. Because of PB's exceptional history and long-standing relationships with clients sales executives can get easier access to the C-suite. Typically, when PB discussed their portfolio of business intelligence and marketing solutions, their customer will say, "We had no idea you were in this space," said O'Hara.
Data management and quality assurance is a huge opportunity for PB according to O'Hara. PB is in this space and when combined with location-based applications PB is able to enrich the entire database. Clients like the idea of data enrichment quality assurance according to O'Hara. PB can help cleanse and enrich customer databases and manage communications with customers. PB is hoping that their complete solution in the area of customer management will be a natural extension of their mailstream business.
And what barriers does O'Hara see for existing MapInfo clients moving to the cloud? O'Hara says that clients want on-premise and cloud solutions. "We're betting on both horses and we're looking at the long tail of our products," he said.
And what about the MapInfo channel partners? "We're very much focused on partners; our revenues are still at 40% from the channel," said O'Hara. Most of this is from VARs selling desktop apps. "We're trying to do a better job with them," he said.