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Choosing the right Gates to the market
Part of Microsoft's e-commerce initiative, Pivotal's solutions are 100% Microsoft compliant, and do not support any other platform.
The company is totally dedicated to Microsoft, said Runge, and in the early stages had decided that everything done, would sit on a Microsoft platform. Runge said that one of the reasons the company decided to choose specialization in one platform over having a larger (multi-platform) customer base was because of the option of dedicating all their resources and efforts into producing a higher quality solution.
One other reason was to have a Microsoft-integrated marketing strategy.
"If Microsoft needs to get a large company to adopt Windows 2000," said Runge, "they need a compelling reason. Today it's a compelling Internet solution."
Microsoft still outsells Unix and Lunix combined, he said, while pointing out the eRelationship solution only cost 15% to 25% of other Unix solutions.
Pivotal is also a reseller of SQL servers, and also provides a complete hosting solution.
"Our engineers are very skeptical," said Runge, who has also held senior marketing positions at Sybase and Oracle. "They don't just take stuff from Redmond just cos Microsoft puts it out."
But Runge says that Windows 2000 has the robustness and stability that is appreciated by Pivotal; eRelationships was benchmarked with real-data of 20,000 customers with sub-second response times.
People just like to pick on Microsoft, said Runge.
Bring it on
The last six months has seen Pivotal targeting industries with their Industry Alliance Program.
By signing customers into an alliance, Pivotal offers a discount on price in exchange for knowledge, said Runge.
An example of this is the Pivotal eFinance Hub, done together with Heller Financial to produce a B2B web exchange specifically designed for financial services companies.
Other prospective targets include the services sector of various Asian governments, such as Australia's Social Services Group, as well as Singapore's Productivity and Standards Board.
Private sector clients include RS components, GE medical and GE plastics, as well as Japan-based OG Paper, Diamond, Mitsubishi, Sony, and NTT Data.
Pivotal aims to triple its customer base in Asia within their next fiscal year (which starts in July 2000).
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