Datawatch, an enterprise information management company, announced Nov. 20 its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2008 earnings and signaled a commitment to expanding its technology offerings to small and midsize businesses. Despite a dip in quarterly and fiscal year earnings, CEO Ken Bero said expansion into the SMB market offers the company new opportunities.
In August, Datawatch announced the release of Monarch BI Server, a Web-based business intelligence solution built specifically to address the unique needs of SMBs. "The SMBs marketplace is a high priority for us," said Bero. "We are extending into this marketplace because of the economic conditions affecting small businesses." Bero said Datawatch plans to double the sales resources that are focused on the SMB market.
The Monarch BI Server was designed specifically to strike a balance between increasing operating efficiency and reducing the total cost of ownership to SMBs, Bero said. "Monarch BI Server gives SMBs the benefits of BI without the significant time and resources required for traditional BI deployments," he said. "When you take a look at the SMBs, they generally don't have big IT shops. These BI products need to be easy to install and easy to use, and that's the criteria we built the product around."
Datawatch Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Kitchen said although marketing the product will pose a challenge, Datawatch is well-positioned to reach midmarket customers.
"We sell to larger enterprise customers and the desktop, and I think, quite frankly, we felt we had the capability to reach the SMB market," he said. "It just so happens that we came out with a product that has a really low administrative cost and allows [SMBs] to move forward with their business at a reasonable cost."
Kitchen said that for many midmarket businesses, maximizing the value of client information is crucial to day-to-day business efficiency. "This is all information that already exists, but by being able to leverage that information and analyze that info without having to write custom reports, you can work smarter and make a heck of an ROI on it," he said.
Andy Abbott, assistant controller for Russell Sigler, an Arizona-based wholesale distributor of Carrier air conditioners, said he is looking forward to Datawatch's Web-based version of Monarch. "One of the first ways we used Monarch was to take information from inventory and accounts receivable and streamline the process," he said. "We used to put that info into an Excel spreadsheet daily, and it took 45 minutes a day and was error-prone. After Monarch, it would read the report files, extract the info we needed and export in to Excel, and that took about 45 seconds."
By implementing the BI Server, Abbot said the company can make the same kind of analyzed information available to the sales force.
"What that will do is provide not just the information, but the analysis of the sales to the sales force, so that they have a better handle on their customers and their own numbers. That will be done without their having to learn more about spreadsheets and data analysis," he said. "Wherever there is data, we have found a benefit by using this technology."