VENDOR WATCH

BI Bridge-Building: Q&A With Noetix CEO Morris Beton

The Business Intelligence (BI) space has been on a mission for severalyears. 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 ekeout usable data. Today, most line of business users can get the sameresults.

Noetix is the latest vendor to ride this trend, offering toolsthat allow users to easily access the enterprise application data thatreside 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 ina 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 ourfinancial metrics. In fact, this has been the strongest Q1 in thecompany’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 aneconomic downturn but that my objective was not to cut headcount,salary increases or bonuses or benefits. That we wanted to keep thosethings in place. What I would like us to do, I said, is take a look atdiscretionary spending and to be careful about rehiring fromattrition. 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 inthe near term?

MB:

We are in the BI arena. Typically what most customers aredealing with is BI platforms such as IBM’s Cognos, SAP’s BusinessObjects and Oracle. These platforms require a lot from a customer — theydo little on their own.

So the customer has to build a lot of applications, which can takemonths if not years. And it is very costly. We have some veryspecialized patents that allow us to do some things that thesecustomers cannot in terms of producing automatically generatedapplications. It allows BI users to go into production very quickly –much faster than if the customer was to do it manually. On average, wecan get a customer into production in 10 days, compared to 300 daysthat 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, richoperational reporting and BI application at a low price. We’ve beenoffering it for years, but this type of application is much moreattractive during harder economic times. Especially now, every companyhas to have a level of BI and reporting so they understand what isgoing on.

CRM: How will your company look a year from now?

MB:

Our outlook for this year is very positive — see ourselves asbeing in a similar position but having grown substantially.

CRM: What changes or additions to the platform can the marketexpect to see?

MB:

We are investing in engineering efforts that will increase thedepth and breadth of our product offering. And we are also doing morewith other BI platforms besides the major players.

CRM: How is it that you have been able to get these BI vendorsto work with you? Don’t they view you as competition?

MB:

Not at all. We are BI platform independent or agnostic. BIapplications can be used with our platform or any other platform onthe market. There are two parts to our product offering, with onebeing content. We offer a huge amount of content, in fact, and becausewe are platform agnostic the Cognoses and Business Objects of the BIworld and are very willing to work with us.

CRM: Obviously the BI space is consolidating, with SAP’s andOracle’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 boileddown to IBM, SAP, Oracle’s Hyperion and Siebel Analytics, andMicrosoft. Of the four, Microsoft is the smallest player. This hasworked to our advantage — it makes it easier for us to work with otherplatforms, and as a result we have been able to invest in engineeringto build products that take our content and automatically generate itinto these other platforms.

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