What’s in a name? Plenty, according to Ingres A/NZ and APAC general manager, Jason Leonidas, who sat down with ARN to talk about the company’s evolving business strategy as it undergoes a name change. Patrick Budmar (PB): What is Ingres and what do you do?
Ingres A/NZ and APAC general manager, Jason Leonidas (JL): Ingres in the Asia-Pacific area services 500 enterprise customers, which are organisations that range from small to large enterprises. Some of our customers include the Department of Defence running all the naval and aircraft fleets using Ingres based systems, as well as companies such as Qantas, ING and Fisher and Paykel.
That’s some significant, mission critical systems that we manage the data for. Our heritage is in database management, and over the last two years we have expanded that into business intelligence (BI) data warehousing and analytical databases with our new capability called Vector Wise. It is achieving some staggering results, particularly in the area of performance benchmarking, where we have overtaken previous benchmarks by an order of magnitude. Leveraging on that success and growth, particularly around Vector Wise, we’re now entering a new product area called Cloud Action platform.
PB: Ingres is changing its name to Actian while it shifts direction sharply to kick sales of its BI software into a higher gear. Why the name change and why now?
JL: Boring old IT companies don’t generate a lot of excitement these days, so it’s a really good opportunity to shift our focus to something new and cutting edge in terms of the name, particularly in the intersection of business and consumer apps. I think Actian has a clean, fresh image which marries very nicely to the market area that we’re entering into, which is all about moving away from traditional monolithic IT to these consumer style IT paradigms.
PB: How is Ingres going to make its BI products behave more like the consumer-oriented apps found on smartphones?
JL: What makes an action app is quite clear. It has to be lightweight, so it’s typically the sort of app you would find in an app store, single function, specific, very purpose built, easy to configure and use. It’s very much a consumer style app and something that I, as a business user, will like to use. It requires very little or no training whatsoever. So that’s in terms of characteristics, but in terms of its architecture it will enable the end user to select what data they think is important, and set triggers and thresholds for those events, as well as what actions need to be taken. I manage sales people all around our region, and as sales people forecast deals in our CRM system, I’m required to be in front of my laptop to analyse what deals are going in and out.
What I would really like to be able to do is be able to get an alert or find a mechanism that enables me to manage deals that are slipping in and out of the quarter. In that way I can action on them immediately rather than having to wait until I am back at my computer. These types of business-consumer apps are applicable through all verticals and industries, and they’re not unique to one area. It’s all about empowering business users to get value from their investment in BI and ERP.
PB: What are your growth plans for the next six to 12 months?
JL: We’re fully expecting to gear up and skill up around solution architects, professional services consultants, and support engineers. We will also be recruiting, and in my part of world, we will be focused on business development resources and system engineers to help with the sales efforts, particularly in Asia and Australia as well.