New Onyx CEO Settles In

Onyx Software CEO Janice Anderson has spent her first month on the job assaying the CRM field, and her new company's place in it. So far, Anderson says, she likes what she sees. Anderson was named CEO and chairman of Onyx's board of directors on June 9, after a five-month executive search. She tells CRM magazine that she remains "in information-gathering mode, learning what's working, what's not, [and] where the synergies are." She has identified a great deal of potential, primarily what she calls Onyx's "wonderful strengths," including powerful customer testimonials and strong technological underpinnings. Any turnaround, Anderson says, will hinge on the execution of clear strategies, but those she's still trying to divine. "I don't yet have a big change in strategy," Anderson says, adding that she's been talking with Onyx customers and partners for the past several weeks, trying to gain a clear line of sight with them all. She credits Onyx's solid architecture and technology as the reason that a recovery is possible. "It's still challenging, but not as difficult," she says. Anderson says she's spent part of her first month assessing the competitive landscape. The process entails "standing in the shoes of everyone you're competing against." Although she acknowledges Onyx's "erratic financial performance" over the past several fiscal years, Anderson says that she expects the company's recent partnerships, especially those overseas, will help turn the situation around. "The international focus for us seems to match our strengths," she says. "We plan to keep a good balance in the international/U.S. mix." Onyx will be revisiting both Asia and Europe with a new focus, she says, in part through reseller arrangements like the one the company signed with Fujitsu Consulting earlier this month for Japan. The trick, Anderson says, is to realize that continents can't be conquered in one fell swoop. "They're not one market," she says, "but many." Partnerships will play a big role in Onyx's future, Anderson says. For example, the recent arrangement with Microsoft and Unisys for Onyx's CitiServe offering--targeted to municipal 311 programs--is the first of several such arrangements. "Unisys won't be the only partner," she says, adding that regional market agreements are in the offing. Onyx's place in the market is clear to her: "We've got very good functionality at the high end of the midmarket and the low end of the large [market]." Smaller competitors aren't really a factor yet, she says. For example, of going head-to-head against Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com, she says, "we see [them], but not a lot." Nevertheless, hosted CRM, she says, "in general makes the [overall] market larger, [and] is probably going to evolve over time." Anderson expects to make some decisions about Onyx's short- and long-term future by the fall. "I'll know where we'll push harder--and where we'll pull back," she says. The future for Onyx will depend on "more segmentation as the market evolves," and on verticalization, which she describes as "just a way of creating more value." Onyx is scheduled to report results for its second quarter the last week of July. In announcing its first quarter results at the end of April, which showed a net loss of $0.6 million on revenue of $14.2 million, the company predicted only that it expected "a sequential increase in service revenue in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter...." Anderson said she had no reason to amend any previous guidance, but was unable to comment further. Related Articles: Onyx Names a New CEO Onyx Expands Its Global Focus
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