U2 Targets Growth Opportunities with Rocket Software - Industry Leader Q&A with Susie Siegesmund

Rocket Software completed the purchase of the UniData and UniVerse Servers and Tools assets from IBM earlier this year. In the December issue of Database Trends and Applications, Susie Siegesmund, now vice president and general manager for the U2 brand under Rocket, talks about why the timing was right for this move and what U2 customers and partners can expect under the new ownership. Here, an excerpt of that interview, which was conducted just after the acquisition closed.

DBTA: What should customers know about Rocket?

Siegesmund: We are obviously explaining to the customer base that Rocket is a solid company, and they have been profitable for the 20 years they have been in business. They have a reputation for quality. I have often talked about the fact that that our customers give us a 96% to 97% rating for satisfaction with support and Rocket has a 98% rating. You can tell that there is a focus on the customer and there is also a real focus on the quality of the products. They do an integrated product development process that is similar to the one that IBM uses but scaled down and more lightweight to fit the size of the company. And at the end of that process when you think a product is ready to release, there is something called a quality certification and all quality certifications are done by Andy Youniss, who is the president and CEO of Rocket. He has always taken quality very seriously and that is something that we have always been focused on. That focus will continue for us at Rocket. We are looking forward to being the data servers of a company that is focused on our growth.

DBTA: Why was this a good time for this move?

Siegesmund: We see some factors out there that we feel will help us grow this business. We think the time is right for this move - the economy number one; companies are beginning to look for other solutions that aren't as expensive as some of the ones they have on those big-name data servers. They are looking for a history of low total cost of ownership, which we can provide. Our products scale extremely well. They are very stable you can put many more users and higher volume of business on a smaller machine. We see the opportunity to go into the emerging markets because not only do we have that low total cost of ownership, but you don't have to have a DBA.

DBTA: U2 has very a strong partner ecosystem.

Siegesmund: We have a data server with a tightly coupled application development environment. Historically, what we've done is find someone who wants to build an application and that can be a person who knows a business very well so they know the business rules, and it is easier for them to build an application using our data store because things like an inventory can be single record; it doesn't split out to become 10 or 20 tables. It can be all in a single inventory file. The same with orders, or customers, or anything else - so it is much easier for people to conceptualize that the order comes in and the product goes out than it is that the order comes in and maps to 20 tables. Historically, we have had people who really knew different businesses build applications that solve business problems and then they delver those to the marketplace using our data server and our application development environment as the underpinnings of that application. When they sell their product, they sell ours for us. It is sort of a leveraged sales model through partners.

We have also had people who wanted to build something just for themselves or people who have started off with a partner's application and then wanted to do customization on their own, and they have bought the source code for the application and then taken it completely down the path to customization for their commercial advantage. We actually have in the United States about 2,000 direct end users as well as our partners. But our major route to market in today's world is through our partners and will be through the selling and recruiting of new partners to build new solutions.

DBTA: Will that change? Will it continue?

Siegesmund: That will continue. It is a very good model. There are no pricing changes planned. All of the contracts that partners had with IBM were simply assigned to Rocket. Every partner that was an IBM partner for U2 is now a Rocket partner. Read the complete interview in the December E-Edition of Database Trends and Applications.