I must admit that I was a little surprised when I received an e-mail from Zycus indicating that they wanted to talk with me to provide an update on their company.
It is not because I am not a good conversationalist. I think that I can be an interesting, delightful, and perhaps even entertaining contributor to any discussion. Just ask Kelly Barner.
The reason that I was surprised, besides the fact that I had not heard from them for a number of years, is that I have very little interest in the perfunctory “here is our latest version of software” dog and pony show.
Vendors generally know this about me. They also know that if it is newsworthy, anything they say can and will end up on the pages of this blog – even if it means providing a less than complimentary perspective.
To their credit, they didn’t offer to demo a new version of their application. Nor did they deliver the marketing mumbo jumbo of why Brand A is better than Brand B. They simply and frankly talked about where – in their opinion – the market is headed, and how they see themselves fitting into the new mix of things going forward.
So in the spirit of Dragnet’s Jack Webb, I am going to provide just the facts according to Zycus.
To start, Zycus’ strongest markets are in the U.S. and Australia. They added that they are facing some resistance in Europe. One reason they offered for the lack of traction overseas, is that they are relatively new to the European market and are not a recognized brand.
The U.S. accounts for 70 percent of their total number of deals, which translates into 3 new deals every month.
From the standpoint of their integrated suite offering, they identified Ariba as being their number one competitor.
In what they called the “standalone” P2P world, the company’s biggest competitor – someone whom they say they are “facing alot,” is Coupa.
In these head to head battles, Ariba is strongest in the $10 billion plus market, while Coupa is best aligned to serve the $1 to $2 billion client range.
Zycus said that their sweet spot are clients who fall within the $2 to $5 billion range.
What about Oracle I asked?
Donning their former analyst hat, one of the representatives from Zycus said quite simply “Oracle is not succeeding, and they need to buy someone.” While identifying Coupa as a possible target, they went on to say that one of their biggest strengths is that they are the “last of the great independents.”
Referring to the fact that their CEO bought back the remaining Venture Capital stake in the company – meaning that there are no outside influences with competing agendas, they reaffirmed their commitment to stand alone. There is as they put it “no exit strategy” in play.
They also talked about focusing on a slow and steady growth path in terms of adding new clients, with the emphasis on retention, versus pursuing a fast customer growth track with low retention rates. I can only speculate as to which competitor such a comparison would be directed. Although I will say, that the Zycus representatives at no time disparaged or dismissed any of their competitors, which I must admit was refreshing.
Finally, they thought that it was important to close our conversation sharing the fact that 40 percent of their workforce is focused on Research and Development, while only a “relatively small” percentage are involved with marketing. Or to quote them, “we prefer to let our solution do the talking, as opposed to our marketing might.”
So there you have it, a market perspective from the last of the self-proclaimed great independents.
Given that technology is, relatively speaking, the same across the board in that today’s emerging cloud-based solutions all work, based on the above, would you be more inclined or less inclined to partner with Zycus? Why?