Pivotal Focuses on Service and Growth
At Pivotal's Customer Summit 2004, the buzz was all about advancements and customer focus. "We're refocusing on innovation and on partnerships," CEO and President Divesh Sisodraker said in his keynote speech. "We're looking to be the defacto trusted leader in CRM."
Sisodraker cited significant customer wins over the past few quarters. Last quarter alone the company won two million-dollar-plus deals, according to Sisodraker. Pivotal, partnering with IBM Global Services, also closed a major deal with a large, French organization--winning against a major competitor.
Discussing Pivotal's commitment to various partnerships, Sisodraker explained the company's close ties to Microsoft: "We can innovate and differentiate on the Microsoft platform." Much of that innovation is focused on such issues as integration and usability.
In his presentation Pradeep Rathinam, Microsoft's director, independent software vendor business, also discussed the importance of integration. "Most of the problems in IT today are integration problems: How can we get systems to talk to each other?" he said. "Our challenge as we move forward is, how do we make integration intrinsic?"
Pivotal is working closely with Microsoft, and within its own development team, to make integration as seamless as possible. According to Bruce Kenny, Pivotal's senior vice president of products, the company's goal is to have its applications available "on any device, from any location, integrated into any application."
Kenny outlined in detail Pivotal's plan for making that ubiquity a reality. The plan includes a migration from the Windows generation to the Web generation to the .Net generation, Kenny said. "As we innovate on .Net, we will continue to innovate on the Web generation, because that's where most customers will be over the next few years."
According to Kenny, Pivotal's product road map is based on both customer feedback and on several market drivers. Those queues include an increased demand for reporting and analytics, a growing interest in vertical applications, a continued focus on integration, and a heightened interest in mobile solutions.
Pivotal is targeting its version 5.7 release for spring 2005. The update is scheduled to include such improvements as full UNICODE support for global deployments, .Net foundation libraries for application development, integrated Outlook email support for Pivotal's Windows client, and phase one of Pivotal Analytics. According to Kenny, Pivotal's analytics strategy with this release is to help deliver "analytics for everyone." Pivotal Analytics aims to be an enabling analytics platform with integrated tools to gather, store, and present data to all employees in an organization. "Good reporting should be in the hands of every user," Kenny said.
Kenny also gave a preview of version 5.9, slated for a winter 2005/06 release. Version 5.9 is targeted to have server-to-server synchronization with all Outlook and Notes items, to increase the throughput performance of native APIs, and to boost its mobile devise support. Additionally, the release aims to include updates to several business applications, including territory management, forecasting, global accounts, and scripting.
The biggest changes will come with Pivotal .Net6, also targeted for a winter 2005/06 release, and .Net7, scheduled for winter 2006/07. Based on such market drivers as component-based systems and increasing demand for system flexibility, Pivotal .Net6 will include application building blocks, additional industry-specific solutions, and out-of-the-box multidevice deployment. "Smart architecture allows you to build for one and deploy on many," Kenny said.
According to Kenny, Pivotal .Net6 will include a Pivotal Toolkit that is fully integrated with Visual Studio, will have full .Net Web service support, and will run on native .Net architecture in which integration is "built in." Integrated reporting and analytics will leverage SQL Server 2005. Pivotal .Net7 will include standard business process management infrastructure and support, an expanded application set, and a unified portal infrastructure with expanded mobile applications and integration, among its upgrades.
With all this change, Pivotal remains focused on customers, Kenny said. "There's a reality that systems have a life span. We will build out tools and services to help customers with migration." Pivotal is also expanding its earlier adopter program, introducing a customer advisory board, and using its Pivotal Customer Office of advisors all to help customers with any issues they may have, as well as to gather feedback to improve both the products and the customer experience.
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