Finding New Revenue Streams

Interview: Marne Martin on ServicePower selling up to Diversis

Apr 10 • Features, Software and Apps • 878 Views • No Comments on Interview: Marne Martin on ServicePower selling up to Diversis

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Kris Oldland speaks exclusively to Marne Martin, CEO ServicePower on the recent sale of the business to Diversis and ask her what does this mean for the future direction of her company…

KO: It’s been a real period of innovation and growth for you over the last couple of years, with the launch of NexusTM plus the investment on patents such as the work you’ve done in quantum annealing. So what was it that attracted Diversis to invest in you – was it a case of they just wanted access to the growing field service sector or was it more about being in line with the direction in which you were already headed?

MM: Firstly, it was an interesting financial opportunity for them because there is a disconnect between the valuations in the US for companies that are innovating and growing, those that have a national presence, versus what we were seeing on the A market – so there was a financial rationale.

But the real thing that they ultimately believe in, is in companies that have great products, companies that have core differentiators in their market.

They’d been interested in field service for some time – as you know it’s a hot sector and when they saw the use case of what we’d been able to do with Nexus and the wider service management tools…  plus also quantum annealing and taking that towards predictive maintenance, and then spare parts forecasting in the future and thinking about the journey we’ve been on in starting our intelligent customer portal as well… it was really just too good for them to pass up. 

They’ve been really passionate about investing in us, and in pushing us to continue to develop truly great products and as such they’ve brought in operational technical advisors as well as some other consultants, who are helping us to look further and have more functions in the next generation UX/user experiences and then tying the platform functions together more seamlessly, so the user experience is better and more automated.

KO: Of course, the one question that has to be asked with any acquisition is will it be a case of business as usual under a different name, or will there be a changing of the guard in terms of personnel and direction?

MM: I told them when we were doing our due diligence, I felt that we were 75% and we were really looking for someone to get us to 100% of where we saw the opportunity in the sector not just for the current but in the future.

I felt that we were 75% and we were really looking for someone to get us to 100% of where we saw the opportunity in the sector not just for the current but in the future.

There will be perhaps some refinement, we are no longer going to be focussing generally on the smaller end of the market from now on, at least not in the US – we are refining the focus towards the mid-market and enterprise space, but that is already pretty much where we were anyway.

With Nexus, we’re going to be rolling that functionality out to the core product and we will be transitioning the branding so rather than have all these product names we are going to have modular functionality that are all basically connected to the Nexus mobility and Service Management platform.

So all of the new UIs will be coded in that look and feel, we’ll tie in the mobile with the angular JS front end and we will still have the robust back-end. We are making it more seamless but also more configurable. The message from Diversis is yes it’s still business as usual but they are helping us to accelerate our own trajectories.

KO: Is the recent amount of investment we have seen in the industry – with yourselves, ServiceMax, ClickSoftware and IFS all having been acquired within a period of 18 months an indication of how important service is becoming in the wider world of global commerce?

MM: Absolutely. I think there are two things, firstly there is a lot of money floating around – the only way people make money is by investing, so you do have a lot of money in private equity that they are trying to put to work and that definitely is a factor here.

Field service really is the engine for growth in a business…. If you look at CRM and ERP players they are not really doing that much true innovation

It used to be that a lot of the larger endowments or high-net worth family funds might invest in public equity but because valuations have been somewhat volatile, many of those type of investors have actually become backers of private equity funds. That gives more money to PE investors plus the expectation that they are actually going to invest. So that’s one half of the story… 

But the second half is that field service really is the engine for growth in a business.

If you look at CRM and ERP players they are not really doing that much true innovation and that’s where if you had the ability to drive return on investment in terms of productivity plus additional revenue in the service arm and you start looking at what we call the e-commerce opportunity – how you can actually build customer prioritisation into your service model?

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