Last week, I conducted an interview with Marne Martin, CEO of Service Power, a leading provider of workforce management solutions. I was intrigued by recent developments in her company, most notably their release of Nexus FS™, a new cloud-based #field service management software. My interview with Marne provides some interesting insight on her company and her perspectives on the market for Field Service Automaton.
Michael R. Blumberg (MRB): Congratulations on Service Power’s progress. It looks like you are continuing to gain momentum in the market. Interim results for H12015 are very encouraging.
Marne Martin (MM): Thank you. Service Power is going through a revitalization campaign. We’ve concentrated on strengthening sales execution, managing our expenditures, making investments in new technology, and migrating to the Amazon web services platform. Our efforts are producing positive results that are the building blocks for the future.
MRB: Service Power is obviously gaining traction in the market with its core mobile workforce management software, including the patented ServiceScheduling route optimization software. Why release NexusFS™ (“Nexus”)?
MM: ServicePower’s feature rich ServiceScheduling and ServiceMobility solutions are great for the enterprise market where an enterprise might already have CRM, ERP, etc. already. Nexus FS ™ provides an easy to use, easy to implement solution for SMBs and enterprise customers who require field service management functionality separate from their existing CRM/ERP solution or simply a new all in one solution.
MRB: What perceptions existed in the market about ServicePower prior to launching NexusFS™?
MM: A criticism that we heard was that even though we had a well proven and robust scheduling, dispatch and claims products in terms of their features and functionalities, we were not prioritizing the user experience to be able to tailor UI views and information for the different types of users in an organization, as well as simplify integration challenges for customers. NexusFS™ gives customers a one size fits all solution through which we also have ready-made integrations to our other applications through our Restful API integration layer. It provides a full front-end solution that can be deployed all in one, or on a modular basis to fill gaps in a technology portfolio.
MRB: Obviously you’ve done your homework. How did you validate your assumptions regarding market wants and needs for the NexusFS™ application?
MM: Like many vendors, we relied on competitive market research to better understand our market position and opportunity. I also brought in people with alternative perspectives to validate our assumptions and test our conclusions. It is always my belief that teams of high performing individuals are the ones that create great companies and technologies.
MRB: What resistance did you get from the shareholders in your company when you told them of your plans to release NexusFS™?
MM: I presented shareholders in fall 2013 with a three year plan. It required that we focus on people, process, product first – and then profits, although we of course did commit to managing tightly expenses. This has required us to prioritize and make choices, to focus on efficiency and output internally, and we have been able to drive clear progress in all four areas as you can see from the interim results recently released. Shareholders weren’t certain back in 2013, and even in 2014, we would be able to bring out new products using internal talent and funding, but we have been able to accelerate our output migrating to a fully agile process and using small internal dev teams like “skunkworks” teams. Certainly there are some shareholders that desire us to focus only on profits and not invest in technology, but what creates a new trajectory for the company is the investment in products and marketing first, and then of course sales execution on an increasingly larger scale thereafter.
MRB: What makes you think the #strategy is sustainable?
MM: Investors want to invest in sensible things and are happy to put cash into companies that are prepared to grow steadily and deliver a return on investment. We have proven our ability to make the investments in our products, generate new cutting edge technology, so the next step is to add scale through our direct efforts, as well as do more in partner enablement related to indirect channels. This is all related to being able to deliver investors consistent topline growth linked to bottom line profitability, which is what they want. We must therefore show investors not just strategic results but also share tactical execution feedback with them metrics and progress, which we are doing. Examples of these touchpoints include getting NexusFS™ to market, managing the internal cost of development, migrating to the cloud and therefore more efficient IT and support structures, increasing the penetration and footprint of our existing applications, building out our professional services capabilities, and of course implementing new logos.
MRB: Thank you Marne, we look forward to learning about ServicePower’s continued success in the market.