Embarcadero refines strategy

A little more than a year after former Adobe executive Mike Singer came aboard and six months after it acquired security firm Ambeo, Embarcadero Technologies is assessing its progress in the government market and fine-tuning its strategy.

The software developer is known for data management systems, but now it wants customers to think of it as a provider of comprehensive solutions rather than individual point products, said Singer, the company’s vice president of government sales.

“Traditionally, this has been a tools-based business, but we’re about much more than that,” he said. The company has integrated 14 separate products into its Strategic Data Management (SDM) initiative, which it announced last fall and has been promoting since.

Although Embarcadero has sold products to the government for some time, it created a specific government sales vertical practice only upon Singer’s arrival. The practice includes contract specialists and business development experts who concentrate on cultivating the market.

The company appeals to agencies that have too much data to sort through, he said. This “data glut,” a widely known problem, developed over a period of years as agencies accumulated information. Agency officials now wonder how they can use the data, and that’s the problem Embarcadero proposes to solve with the SDM strategy.

The acquisition of Ambeo was the first step in adding the final piece of the equation, he said. “Those 14 products [in the SDM suite] represent all but the security aspects of SDM. This was the piece that we needed to add,” he said. More acquisitions may be in the works, he added.

“The tie-in with the security applications is that if you’re using other of our technologies, you would see that it provides a solution as opposed to point products,” he said.

The company’s main challenge is visibility, said Ted Friedman, a vice president of research at Gartner. They are well-known among database administrators, but to make the new strategy successful, Embarcadero will need to capture the attention of higher-level agency decision-makers, he said.

“I think that Embarcadero has struggled from a marketing point of view,” Friedman said. “They’re trying now to be viewed not just as a vendor with a bag of tools, but as something more strategic. I don’t think their problem is having product to support that. The problem is their perception in the marketplace.”

Some market analysts say words like “solution” and “enterprise” are becoming overused to the point they may no longer resonate.

“If the customers are hearing the same ‘enterprise solutions’ message from smaller companies, I think we will have a believability saturation point in the near term,” said Mark Amtower, a consultant specializing in marketing and advertising for federal contractors. “Too many people claiming to do larger things will make it hard for buyers to believe you.”


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