It has been a while since we last heard from Rosslyn Analytics, a company whose intelligence sharing platform empowered buyers in a way that forever changed the industry’s view of data mining and its practical utilization in the purchasing decision-making process. In short, Rosslyn was efficiently managing big data before we called it big data.
Said interest and recognition notwithstanding, the real question that lingered in relation to Rosslyn was whether or not the company was ahead of its time. More specifically, was the market ready to accept the fact that it did not need to spend tens of millions of dollars on lumbering ERP-driven applications to painfully extract intelligence that by the time it reached the buyer had lost its relevance? Let’s face it, how would ERP champions within an enterprise justify spending millions over a period years to obtain information of questionable value, when they could spend relative pennies with Rosslyn to access real intelligence in a matter of days?
This was the actual barrier to entry into mainstream market acceptance for the UK-based intelligence innovator.
Not to be deterred by what was certainly a daunting task, Rosslyn embarked on an aggressive (some would suggest in your face) marketing campaign that saw the company go so far as to offer to do a “UK central Government-wide spend analysis free of charge.” According to a post by Spend Matters UK’s Peter Smith, the offer p***ed off the government for obvious reasons. In this regard, I can speak from experience.
Back in the late 90s and early 2000, my company had successfully saved the Canadian Government’s Department of National Defence considerable sums of money with our Interactive Parts Ordering System known as RAM. Without going into the technical details, the web-based platform streamlined the ordering process to the extent that the outsourced purchasing department was able to cut their head count from 23 down to 3, while improving SLA delivery performance from a dismal 51 percent next day to 97 percent within a matter of months.
This success ultimately led to my being an Ottawa finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in two consecutive years.
Flushed with such recognition, it would only seem logical that our solution would be welcomed with open arms across the entire government. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case as PWGSC had already embarked on their ill conceived Way Forward initiative.
Even though I had encountered similar challenges to those of Rosslyn, I nonetheless persevered in proving my point that the government would be better of with RAM than pursuing their then present strategy. This included a similarly generous offer. Instead of being viewed in a positive light, I ultimately became a tack in the shoe of the senior bureaucracy. In the end, and despite the fact that the Way Forward program as predicted failed miserably and was ultimately scrapped under a cloud of public criticism, my victory was a Pyrrhic one at best.
So here we are with Rosslyn today, 3 years after their offending offer, to find that times have changed considerably . . . and for the better.
To begin, at the end of May, it was announced that Rosslyn had joined the Government’s latest G-Cloud 5 Framework for Software-as-a-Service Providers. Through the G-Cloud 5 program, Rosslyn will offer free cloud-based self-service spend analytics to the public sector.
Obviously, this is very exciting news on many different levels including the fact that it is another important indication that the market is indeed going through a true paradigm shift in terms of both recognizing and leveraging the power of real innovative technology. This isn’t just great news for Rosslyn obviously, but for all of the SaaS-based application providers who, for so many years, toiled under the negatively erroneous ERP bolt-on designation.
Within this new age context, it is good to see that Rosslyn has come out on the other end of the transformation process shining brighter than ever before. The end result is that they are going to be one of the more exciting organizations to cover over the balance of 2014 and beyond. So be sure to stay tuned for future updates.