Coordinating Business Intelligence (BI) analyst for the Boulder BI Brain Trust (BBBT), Claudia Imhoff, has described the business model of BI and analytics vendor, Yellowfin, as “refreshing” and “remarkable”.
The comments were made as part of a one-on-one interview with Yellowfin CEO, Glen Rabie.
The BBBT is a BI forum based in Denver, Colorado. The BBBT is a gathering of leading BI analysts, experts and practitioners, who participate in regular half-day briefings with ‘interesting and innovative BI vendors’.
Imhoff – BBBT host and Present & Founder of Intelligent Solutions (the company responsible for coordinating the BBBT and producing its events) – highlighted Yellowfin’s unique “refreshing and remarkable” approach to clients and reseller partnerships.
Imhoff: “I found it remarkable and refreshing that someone in our business would have the business model that you do. I’m going to ask you to explain it, because I think it serves your company, customers and partners well.”
Rabie: “Our goals are like any other business – to grow our customer base and to grow our revenue. But I think our approach is very different. When we do business, the first entity that we think of is actually the customer. We don’t think about ourselves. That’s one of the core tenants of our business.
“We don’t have quarterly targets internally – our sales guys or our partners. They have monthly targets, which we wish them to achieve. And the reason is because we want them to think about the long term. We believe that thinking monthly makes you think long term because you’re building a sustainable model, which has predictability in it – rather than pushing people to sell hard at the end of the quarter or up-sell a customer and create these terrible dynamics that exist in software sales. [The type of dynamics] where there’s inordinate pressure placed on the customer to buy – I don’t think that should be the case.
“We want our customers to buy when they’re ready, and we want them to buy in a way that’s scalable. In an ideal world we actually prefer our customers to start small. We want them to start small. We want them to grow, and we want them to be successful. If our customers are successful, we ultimately know that means more sales for us. So that’s probably the difference in our approach.
“Now, the difference with [how we interact with] our partners is that everyone has the same percentage discount. So there’s no differentiation based upon volume of sales. The reason for that is because we don’t want to create a situation where a smaller partner is disadvantaged because there’s a big elephant in the room who can go and discount significantly, and therefore really impact their capacity to win business. We want everyone to be on the same playing field.”
Imhoff: “And you stated earlier that the reason for that is because the small guys are sometimes very innovative…”
Rabie: “That’s right. Firstly, I think that [smaller reseller partners] often have deeper customer relationships, because their business is small and they rely [upon those relationships].
“Now, imagine a potential customer has a choice of being able to buy cheaper from a bigger partner. I think that customer could actually make the wrong decision. By taking price out of it, customers really make their choices based on the type of engagement model that’s important to them. And again, most of our customer success is built on the implementation, and the implementation partners we have. So we want our customers to have the best experience woe-to-go – from the product to the implementation.”
Imhoff: “Well, and you also have – which again I found refreshing and remarkable – a rather forgiving stance with your customers as well. If they say I need a thousand seats, and they come back six months later and they say, geez, we’re not even using 300, what do you do?”
Rabie: “Well, we just take them back. Again, who wants to be lumbered with shelfware? It’s a cost to the organization, it’s complex, and it’s dissatisfying. We want our customers to feel that they’ve achieved value. And, that can only be done if you’re completely transparent around your pricing. You tell them what the price is, and that there’s no ‘gotcha’s’. We’re just a user-based pricing model – it’s very simple. We don’t charge by module or anything like that, and it’s all of those things combined that gives the customer a low risk environment in which to make choices.”
Imhoff: “Well, and confidence that you’re not going to pull the rug out from underneath them…”
Rabie: “That’s right. We talked about the fact that there’s no fine print. We don’t [turn around and say], ‘oh, we can’t believe you’re using it that way – we’re gonna charge you more for that’.
“Even when we issue licenses, we only issue licenses for exactly what you’ve bought. So you can never [accidentally] use more than what you’ve purchased – there’s no [usage] audit. It’s great for the customer because they’re never going to have a situation where they have accidentally used too much product, and we come storming in with the lawyers and say ‘you owe us’.”
Rabie – Imhoff podcast
The entire interview between Rabie and Imhoff can be listened to here: http://www.yellowfinbi.com/YFCommunityNews-Imhoff-Yellowfin-s-Collaborative-BI-incredible-business-model-refreshing-142778
The podcast discusses:
- The progress and industry recognition achieved by Yellowfin in 2013
- Yellowfin’s marketplace positioning
- How Yellowfin’s unique business model puts the needs of clients and partners first
- How Yellowfin believes Big Data hype is hurting BI and analytics
- The potential dangers and drawbacks of prescriptive analytics
- How Yellowfin’s focus on Collaborative BI is responding to changing workforce demands
Yellowfin rewarded by customer first approach
Yellowfin’s insistence on making its customers’ needs the first priority, in any of its dealings, has also resulted in indirect business benefits over the past 12 months. Yellowfin was rated as a standout BI vendor in two industry-leading studies – both based on survey results from BI end-users.
Yellowfin achieved the highest score in Dresner Advisory Services’ (DAS) 2013 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study. The global study, compiled via eligible survey respondents – those with first-hand experience using vendor products and services, compared 23 of the world’s leading BI vendors and awarded Yellowfin the best overall score of 4.74 out of five. One hundred percent of respondents also said that they would recommend Yellowfin and its products.
Find out more about DAS’ 2013 Wisdom of Crowds BI Market Study here: http://www.yellowfinbi.com/YFCommunityNews-Download-Dresner-s-2013-Wisdom-of-Crowds-Business-Intelligence-Market-Study-130791
Find out more about BARC’s The BI Survey 12 here: http://www.yellowfinbi.com/YFCommunityNews-Download-BARC-s-The-BI-Survey-12-121516
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