While many CRM vendors agonized over missed revenue targets during this year's first quarter, Dave Gould, CEO, president and chairman of the board of directors for Witness Systems, didn't blink. His company was enjoying a 97 percent revenue increase over the same period last year.
This 42-year-old head of the Roswell, Ga.-based customer interaction recording, analysis and e-learning software vendor, says such numbers fit nicely with the goal that he set when joining the company in February 1999--to build Witness Systems' leadership position in the e-learning management space.
And, to hear Gould tell it, Witness Systems is well on the way to fully achieving this goal. The star in the company's crown is eQuality, a multimedia monitoring, analysis and e-learning software suite that optimizes Internet-enabled call centers. It is designed, says Gould, to increase cross-selling, employee retention and customer loyalty. It also records data and stores information graphically, so administrators can analyze the conduct of customer representatives. "You know when you're on the phone and you hear, 'This call may be monitored for quality purposes?' That's us," he says enthusiastically.
Gould's current unique position in the CRM industry is the culmination of a professional journey that, like those of many of his peers, began back in the '80s before high-tech was considered a career path of choice. "There really wasn't a software industry back then," Gould says. "This was back in 1981, and high-tech was defined as mainframes."
Gould's first job was in sales for The Burroughs Corporation, which was at that time a major hardware vendor. He then made the jump to software, accepting a position with a company called MSA (Management Science America), which, Gould says, was "arguably one of the first software companies." During a seven-year stint at MSA, Gould developed an expertise in the growing software field that would, throughout the '90s, lead him to positions in venture capital and software consulting, and finally to Witness.
"My wife and I didn't really want to move again, but when it came down to it, this was a fantastic opportunity," he says.
Since Gould's arrival, the company has expanded its customer base--it now has 650 customer sites in production--as well as its global reach. Under Gould's leadership, Witness has opened offices throughout Asia, Latin America, Europe, the UK and Canada. He also took the company public a year ago.
It seems that Gould, who jokingly refers to his leadership skills as "baseline at best," has achieved the goals he set for the company. "It's a very hot market," he says, "and we are the market leaders."