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On December 1st,2014, we met with Gene in our San Francisco office to speak about Provectus’ progress and the latest company news.
Katrin: I have noticed that Provectus’ website has recently moved from “Provectus-it.com” to the “Provectus.com” domain. What is behind this move?
Gene: Well, what has changed here at Provectus is actually a bit more than simply “losing” the “it” after the period and moving the website address from one domain to another. The changes at Provectus are actually far broader. As a matter of fact, the company has undergone somewhat of a re-branding exercise. A small one, but it’s still quite important: from “Provectus IT” to “Provectus”.
Katrin: This name change is not trivial and the reason is not obvious. What is the rationale for the re-branding? Why change the name? What is wrong with having an “it” in the name?
Gene: You are right, Katrin! Our re-branding isn’t just a change in name or identity. In our case, re-branding is much broader than that. It involves a change in the organization at its core. It includes a revision of our organization, vision, mission, goals, values and culture.The goal for “Provectus IT“ re-branding was to better reflect our company direction, our values and our customers’ expectations.
You see, Katrin, over the last four years of our company’s history, we have seen hundreds of customers come to us with various business challenges, technologies, and altogether different circumstances. With such experience, we are now in a lot better position to define our markets, leverage our strengths and learn from our weaknesses. This four-year history of relationships with our clients helped us to crystalize our own place in the market. As a result, our philosophy, approach and positioning have all evolved.
Today Provectus’ market philosophy is based on providing balanced value to clients. We have become a premier full-service software consultancy with a unique ability to deliver innovative software products to market rapidly, cost-effectively and with high quality. This is not only our self-assessment – our clients are telling us so. Our technology solutions help clients to address their most complex business challenges.
The history of the original company name “Provectus IT” is very relevant to the story. I have to tell the story for you to appreciate the nature of this move from “Provectus IT” to “Provectus”. From its inception, we intended for the company name to carry a message of advanced skills, capabilities, expertise and cutting-edge technologies. This positioning is a way to differentiate ourselves from the competition by focusing on big and complex business problems and technology solutions.
When competing for projects, we do not believe in winning by lowering the costs of our services. The “dead remains” of those technology startups that have chased, purchased and used low cost hourly labor have littered California’s Silicon Valley for the last twenty years. Today, everyone knows that price reduction has diminishing returns sooner rather than later…
Provectus shines at its best whenever we help our clients – or partners – tackle complex business and technology challenges. This has been the very essence of our positioning for the last four years. All-in-all our market strategy has been, and still is: advanced capabilities in business and technology, underpinned by the Eastern European labor, balanced by value.
This is not to say, of course, that a case cannot be made for seeking a low-cost solution… not at all. For non-differentiating “commodity” services such as support and maintenance, there are better pricing alternatives. Does this make sense?
Katrin: Yes, it does, but how does this positioning connect back to the “Provectus” brand?
Gene: Do you know the meaning of the word “Provectus”?
Katrin: No, I do not. What does “Provectus” mean?
Gene: In April 2010, when the “baby” Provectus was just being “born”, we needed a name for the firm. For the reasons I explained, we knew we wanted a concept of “advanced” somewhere in the name. Those things such as “Advanced Technologies” and “Advanced Solutions” were on the tip of our tongues.
However, back then, we ran into a “roadblock”: all of the variation of the words “advanced” and “technologies” or “advanced” and “solutions” in the domain names had (of course!) been already all taken, and we had no capital to purchase one. So we reached into the Greek and Latin word for the translation of “Advanced”. That is how we derived “Provectus” - “Advanced” in Latin. Unfortunately, the http://www.provectus.com domain had also been taken.
We were left with only bad alternatives: short of changing our fundamental approach to naming the Company, we were left with a choice that we did not like to begin with: we added the “IT” at the end. We did not have the investment capital nor did we have the time to wait, we had to name the company and get going with our business. As a result, purely because the http://www.provectus-it.com was available at the time and http://www.provectus.com was not, the company ended up being “Provectus IT” and not “Provectus”. That is the real story behind the “IT” extension.
Katrin: Now I see how it all comes together. Very interesting. It makes more sense now I have learned the story. So what’s new?
Gene: What’s “new” is this: since the time of Provectus’ formation, a lot has changed for us as a company in terms of defining our market, strength, and marketing strategies. From the inception, our focus has been guided by our clients and markets where we have seen substantial opportunities and demand. Provectus’ market today is in the Usability and User Experience, Consumerization of the Enterprise and Mobility, Wearable Computing and Internet-of-Things, Cloud and Managed Services, Electronic Commerce and Social Networking. We no longer simply engage with clients at the level of “How much is your Senior C++ developer per hour?” Instead, we are being asked more and more to help to build business by applying our industry knowledge, and through the application of proper technologies, processes and methods.
This is a very different “ask” on the part of the clients. We are being asked to provide solutions that help our clients to tap into their markets and grow their client-base and revenue.
There is more…
What about a tectonic shift within the enterprise to cloud IT deployment that has been happening in front of our very eyes over the last four years? Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and a mass of other cloud vendors all promoting their platforms in a relatively new market. Cloud is the way of the future no one doubts this anymore. It is no longer a “no-brainer” for the CIO which option to take at the end-of-life for hardware. I would categorize the impact of what has happened recently (within the last 4 – 5 years) in the industry with Cloud transformation as a revolution similar to the ones brought to us by the Internet or Mobile Technology.
It is absolutely clear that we are just at the very beginning of a major shift of how software products/services are being built, delivered and maintained. The tectonic shift is happening in the industry where IT increasingly becomes a commodity. The CIO in the Board Room is being viewed as business partner, not as cost center. Enterprises are looking for a competitive edge, a technology partner to leverage and to get ahead through innovation and ingenuity – terms rarely associated with IT.
In the changing world of the CIO – their role in the Board Room and the IT function specifically – Provectus sees it’s place as taking the opportunity to enable our clients and partners to focus on making their business more agile, reduce the cost of new product introduction and innovation, and allow the business to focus on the IP and unique differentiators rather than non-differentiating IT.
With all that being a commodity, we felt that having an “IT” in our name has a negative marketing connotation dragging us back.In parallel with that, we continued to monitor the domain registry. This past summer, we finally acquired Provectus.com domain to become our new home.You now have the full story and the rationale for the re-branding and the “name change”.
Katrin: What are your plans for 2015 and beyond? What do you see as Provectus achievements that will carry your growth forward?
Gene: Well, indeed we are very pleased with Provectus’ growth, performance and our ability to hold our ground in competition. We have acomplished a lot by going from just two founders in 2010, to over 300 best-in-industry engineers over the course of just under four years.
Nevertheless, we are not satisfied to just rest on our laurels. We plan to leverage our success to move forward! … and fast!
What this means to our Clients and Partners is that we are opening new services, technology capabilities, platforms, further developing new (for us) industry vertical expertise and, therefore, new opportunities for collaboration.
One example of a specific area where we have already made substantial investments is our capabilities in the Data Science and Predictive Analytics domains. What we have done thus far is master the most popular and commonly deployed technology platforms and analytics toolsets. We have gained critical know-how, with practical experience and expertise through numerous engagements with our clients and partners in Energy, Advertising, Retail, Insurance, Education and eCommerce spaces. We expect to grow this important segment of Provectus’ business significantly in the upcoming 2015 and beyond.
Internet-of-things, wearables and mobile projects have continued to fuel Provectus’ growth in 2014 and I do not see the demand subsiding any time soon. Our growth in this segment has more than doubled this year. I expect that the rate of growth in this segment will increase exponentially during this coming year and beyond.
There is much to say about our expertise in eCommerce – a new market segment for Provectus. It is not new, however, for the people we brought in to build this business. We built an experienced team of managers, developers, architects all with many years of eCommerce backgrounds. With this team, we have managed to gain trust from a wide range of clients in a short period. These include:
Early stage startups, who seek our guidance in everything including business advisory and financial planning, monetization of the solution, marketing strategy, technology platforms (such as Magento and PrestaShop) they look for our help in developing their solutions, increasing their monetization, improving conversion rates, deepening consumer analytics and, ultimately, increasing business profitability. To these clients, we offer a holistic view and approach to building their eCommerce business.
At the opposite end of the spectrum of our client portfolio are large enterprises and market-leading brands those clients with a multi-billion dollar eCommerce presence. Still, we have the experience and knowledge and – more importantly – an in-depth appreciation for the business and technology challenges faced by the “big boys”.
For these “big boys”, the world of commerce has evolved to adopting an omni-channel strategy. Such strategy nowadays includes traditional retail, eCommerce, mobile payments, location-base services, and big data analytics which are all designed for a more effective user-centric shopping experience. In this market, we see a substantial gap in the quality of consulting and implementation services. This is a very large gap that we intend to close. We bring expertise in helping large enterprises to better leverage technology solutions and their integration into the rest of the customers’ ecosystem. We have mastered Oracle Commerce, IBM WebSphere, Hybris and other enterprise class eCommerce platforms.
In 2014, Provectus has become more than a software R&D firm. We have ventured into Managed Services business and have successfully on-boarded our first clients. Our service offering includes strategic business advisory, change management, technology platform choices and their selection (AWS, Google, IBM, private cloud), deployment, hosting and monitoring. Our “green dot” services cover device and application-level monitoring. We believe Provectus’ growth in the Managed Services space, with its recurring revenue stream, will represent a significant portion of the overall earnings. This new market will fundamentally change our ability to scale. We expect this new business will have a profound impact on Provectus capitalization.