news about Oracle acquiring Fatwire motivated me to reconnect with Fatwire's CEO, Yogesh Gupta.Yesterday the
Gupta is an interesting guy on several levels. First, he has been around tech for quite some time and can play in the major leagues. This is the second time that a company of his has been acquired by a big software firm (CA, which used to be called Computer Associates, was the first). Second, he has an amazing depth of understanding about both business and technologies. Spending time on his customers' extensive websites means he stays current with trends too.
Gupta spoke about how Oracle was the right acquirer on so many levels. "With the technologies that Oracle has acquired over the last five years, you couldn't imagine a better fit. The number of mutual touch points of technology between us is fascinating. Their ATG ecommerce engine, for example, many of my retail customers have this as their engine, and we integrate with it already. We are weak in document management tools, and Stellent is a nice fit and obvious integration point for us. They have a real-time decision engine that fits in with our Engage engine to look up personal profile or track a particular person's activity and target content accordingly. Oracle can leverage their CRM databases and provide additional analyses, and we see those technologies as very complementary to each other."
Now just stop and re-read that quote. Here is a CEO who sells a very expensive and complex tool set, and he just ran down a laundry list that I doubt many other tech CEOs could do as quickly and as insightfully. "It is easy to put up your first Web page or blog. But to have a multilingual Web site with different products with different pricing in different countries, all with self-service help, it can get difficult and out of control."
"My customers can see this as part of a broad ecosystem that we can be part of and want to see us as part of a more stable and larger business. Oracle sees this as a growth opportunity, we think with more feet on the street that we will grow faster," he says.
Gupta says the plan is to close the merger within the next 60 days and be ready with a joint roadmap so that Fatwire customers can know what the order and time-frames will be for their particular products.
Fatwire is an interesting company that doesn't often get much press play. Part of it is that they have such technical scope and depth. But part is that most of their customers don't want to make a big deal that they are using someone else to supply their critical Web infrastructure. For example, Apple has a dozen different projects where they are using Fatwire products, including a recent deployment called Smart Stores that uses special iPad-based apps. It is built entirely on top of Fatwire's platform. 3M uses their products to manage a Web database of over a million SKUs in 200 different locales. For example, products sold in Brazil are different from those sold in Portugal, even though both share a similar language. "3M manages all of this with a relatively small number of people, because we have a tool that is designed for this level of complexity," he said.
Fatwire is also unusual for a US-based software company with 60% of its revenue from overseas. Gupta suggests this is because of the nature and strength of their partners and resellers abroad. "In Spain, we had a terrific country manager there and started winning a lot of business, so that now we have more market share than everyone else combined. We also did a better job of retaining customers internationally and that momentum has carried us forward."