Denis Dorval, Vice President, EMEA & APAC, Alfresco, articulates the distinctive proposition as a preferred ECM vendor in the Indian market.
CW: Why did you pursue an open source path with content management instead of proprietary solutions, which is more mainstream?
Dorval: As an ECM (enterprise content management) software company built on commercial open source, the intention was to deliver a quick and fast platform. The idea was to disrupt the ECM landscape by offering easier-to-use software at a much lower cost to a market that fast-growing (in terms of usage and content management proliferation issues) and was flanked by legacy vendors offering complex and high cost solutions.
From a go-to-market perspective, open source allows for an instantaneous test-and-try model that can be extended anywhere in the world. It's a great distribution model, as we don't need heavy field organizations to take the product to market. Second, we get a quick check on whether we are developing a good pitch or not. With an open source product, the community size swells if the real problems are addressed effectively. That's possibly true with proprietary products too, but the real value lies in addressing a large community through open source.
CW: How beneficial has this market disruption been?
Dorval: Open source was the focus of our business model and it still forms a major component of our product roadmap. The model was similar to Red Hat in terms of a subscription-based model from a revenue standpoint. With over 2,500 enterprise customers and 250-plus partners worldwide, Alfresco is no longer just seen as a de facto disruptive player, but as a leading provider in ECM, especially for innovative solutions.
With open source, vendor lock-in is flexible compared to traditional proprietary software. Running a subscription-based model is like running for elections every year. If customers are not happy with the service or the value they get, they exit. Hence, we are on our toes all the time. We are well-positioned to drive the hybrid content management market to a new era.
CW: Many enterprises prefer multi-technology vendors across their IT infrastructure. How can a niche vendor like Alfresco win an ECM deal?
Dorval: In some conservative accounts, IBM can have an extremely powerful account control especially when the factor is no longer about leveraging technology for competitive advantage. When a CIO or a company wants to make a decision objectively on business application or technology, then we have an upper hand.
CW: What is your short-term and long-term strategy for the India market, both business- wise and partner-wise?
Dorval: We invested in India by fielding a team, with Vivek Pai as the country manager. We want to build a core team in Mumbai and will field staff in Delhi and Bangalore eventually. Our target is the Fortune 200 companies mostly, though the Tier-II segment will see an increased partner involvement. We are well positioned in financial services, banking and insurance, and government sectors.
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