May 5, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Web-Based Hypertext Journal for Collaborative Content and Action Tracking
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – May 5, 2014
CEOCFO: Mr. Lloyd, what was the concept for Traction Software initially?
Mr. Lloyd: The concept was being able to comment on, share, tag and link anything that would cross a business person’s desk using web and web technology.
CEOCFO: How does that manifest itself today?
Mr. Lloyd: Traction Software’s TeamPage product combines two capabilities. One is collaborative content creation, discussion, tagging, and search for uses like web forums or wikis. The other is the ability to assign tasks and track discussion, edits, and other activity tied to that content. For example, a remark written by a customer in a support space might turn into follow up action for sales, a software bug report for engineering, an idea for a new product – or all three. There are many systems that maintain to do lists for an individual or even for a group. There are systems like wikis, which are good for collaboratively editing content and sharing plans, policies and procedures. We put the two capabilities together in a way that makes sense for collaborative work. You can organize actions as tasks, combine tasks into projects, and tie start / end dates together using a specific date or a shared milestone definition. TeamPage automatically creates shared and individual calendars, along with task and project dashboards to see what’s happening in context by person, task, or project. This is ideal for business activities like project work, product creation, quality management, ISO 9001 procedures and other business activities where you really need a combination of content creation and action tracking to get work done.
CEOCFO: You were recognized by KM World’s 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management. In the editor’s comment, he indicates that you have sparkling technology. How so? What do you understand that others might not to provide that experience for your customers?
Mr. Lloyd: My co-founder Chris Nuzum and I worked for a company called Electronic Book Technologies, which was one of the early leaders in hypertext technology used for aircraft maintenance manuals and other complex systems. When we founded Traction Software, we set off to apply some of the lessons from the Lotus Notes and other hypertext systems, but carry it forward and provide those capabilities using the web as a platform. We invented a strong model for commenting, tagging, linking and cross referencing combined with revision control that extends the way the web works, and got a US patent on that core technology.
Mr. Lloyd: There were two challenges. One is the software architecture and engineering challenge, which was for us pretty straightforward given the background and history of the co-founders and the founding team. The bigger challenge was being able to articulate the business value of the technology. That is why we focus on specific use cases where the features and capabilities that are unique in the technology deliver clear, measurable business value.
CEOCFO: What is an example?
Mr. Lloyd: We have a customer Alcoa Fasteners, featured in a Deloitte study. Alcoa Fasteners – an Alcoa subsidiary - sells products to the aerospace industry. They are ISO certified for quality, environment, health and safety. Alcoa Fasteners keeps excellent records of their productivity, and over a three-year period before and after deploying our TeamPage software, they demonstrated a 61 percent reduction in the overhead cost of their compliance-related activities. We have also worked with companies large and small doing manufacturing and work involving everything from drilling rig inspection procedures, shipping and logistics plans, to manufacturing procedures and competitive intelligence analysis. If you are an ISO certified organization, your ISO auditor can ask what you did to correct a defect? What processes did you alter? How did you alter your inspection and testing? How did you get the word to the people on the floor? We have a manufacturing customer in Sweden whose ISO auditor was absolutely delighted when he came in to see what they were doing with TeamPage. Our customer wrote:
"We had an audit last week and because we have incorporated about 90% of our procedures in TeamPage and also having the output from them in TeamPage our auditor was freakin' ecstatic. I demoed the 'Add' button for sections and a template article and I see his jaw drop. Pretty funny to see, these guys are very seldom impressed.
We also use TeamPage for work instructions read/used mainly by 40 machine operators. We also post news about new work instructions and change information on updated ones.
Earlier the same day the auditor came to see us we received a customer complaint. That is serious stuff in our line of business. I wrote an 'Quality Alert' in TeamPage (based on a template) and in this particular Quality Alert there were a few things that the operator needed to do and inspect so that we are again able to supply parts within customer specifications.
The auditor picked-up on this immediately when he arrived. I showed him the procedure written in TeamPage, the Quality Alert in TeamPage and the updated work instructions in TeamPage. He said “Good, but have you talked to the operators?” and I said, “No, I don't need to. I would have but I have been to busy preparing for this audit”. He walked directly to the machining area and started interrogating operators. I was grinning; he looked surprised. It was amazing. All operators knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing, the information distribution and the Quality Alert simply worked. It always works.
Thank you Traction Software for making my professional life so much easier."
Stories like that make customers and us happy.
CEOCFO: How do you reach out to prospective customers?
Mr. Lloyd: We try to find organizations or activities where we can communicate value by example. We look for trade shows, trade associations, participate in online forums, social media, webinars, and find other places where the discussion is centered on what the prospective customer wants to do. We aim to provide technology to help get that job done, ideally with a relevant story and testimonial from a similar customer. It is almost entirely an application or use case driven focus.
CEOCFO: When you are speaking with a potential customers, is there a typical aha moment when they understand the depth and breadth of your offering?
Mr. Lloyd: Yes. In general, this is one of the advantages of talking about a particular business use case. If we already know we are talking to a customer who is ISO certified for manufacturing, and we walk them through an example of our Swedish customer cited earlier they say, “Aha, I see what you’re doing and why it would be valuable for me.”
CEOCFO: What is your strategy as you move forward?
Mr. Lloyd: We are building a portfolio of use cases and business solutions based on our TeamPage platform and technology. The TeamPage product itself – the underlying technology – is broad, horizontal and general. The real value is taking the business activity into TeamPage using its extensible interface, attributes, and templates to specialize TeamPage’s user experience while maintaining a common back end. For a quality oriented manufacturing firm, TeamPage is a quality management solution that covers the creation, distribution, auditing, review, and improvement the business activities that are part of their ISO business process. For a customer who is a consulting firm (or internal support team), TeamPage becomes a solution to work with their clients and internal team to gather and map requirements, define projects, work through the project, report status, and use TeamPage as a high quality, interactive portal that keeps the clients informed about what the consult is doing. It is all built from the same TeamPage technology.
CEOCFO: Is there a particular point in time when organizations may look to you? Are you typically replacing one or two other methods they have or is it more of a new concept that they really can track, see and handle things in this manner?
Mr. Lloyd: Let me use the quality system example. In many cases the system we are replacing is a collection of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of Word documents in a SharePoint system or a bunch of file folders, along with Excel spreadsheets that try to track activities relating to creation, improvement, updates, auditing, and use of the process defined in those documents. People typically have ad-hoc ways of addressing this problem, and the ideal situation is when we can show them how TeamPage handles the editing, action tracking, audit and communication without resorting to manual processes or dealing with fifty thousand individual Word documents. If we can show them an alternative, it becomes a really attractive proposition. Other examples such as product development, case management, and consulting are similar structurally – and can also use the TeamPage platform – but are also introduced using TeamPage’s ability to tailor the terminology and user experience to that specific business use case.
CEOCFO: What will be different a year from now and five years from now?
Mr. Lloyd: The shift I have seen is from social software as “Facebook for the enterprise” – something which you just plunk down in your business and imagine that magical things automatically happen – to an understanding that you can build software to augment the abilities of people who depend on purposeful collaboration to get work done. Over the next five years I see more and more of the software and services developed and used for internal business processes shifting to a web and mobile architecture that’s much closer to what people see and use every day on the public web than cumbersome and inflexible legacy business applications. I see the capabilities we’re delivering with TeamPage as web based ‘glue’ that makes it simple for people to collaborate and track activity across this constellation of business applications that look and act like the web.
CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why pay attention to Traction Software today?
outstanding customers, we have a great team and we have a product that has
been designed, built, and successfully applied by businesses to make best
use of the talents of their own people to innovate and compete. I believe we
have a clear way to articulate what TeamPage does to save business customers
money and work more effectively, along with a vision for how those
capabilities will become even more valuable over the next five years. I
believe the Alcoa example with 61 percent on compliance-related activities,
and our Swedish manufacturing example are really good ones. We use examples
like these as bright beacons to set our own priorities and innovate, as well
as to reach potential customers.
Collaboration Solutions, Traction Software, Technology Companies, CEO Interviews 2014, Greg Lloyd, Web-Based Hypertext Journal for Collaborative Content and Action Tracking, TeamPage makes it easy to communicate, work together, find what you need, and stay on top of what's happening in your business, Recent CEO Interviews, eliminate the frustrating and costly inefficiencies in team communications and information management, TeamPage integrates action tracking, Twitter-style status, threaded discussion, collaboration, social networking, and deep search that work like the Web, TeamPage is ideal for work that combines collaboration and action tracking such as: quality management, project work, intelligence analysis, knowledge management, compliance, and case management, TeamPage is used worldwide by pharma, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, consulting firms, universities and branches of the U.S. Government, Traction Software Press Releases, News, Technology Stock, Tech Stocks, Companies looking for venture capital, Angel Investors, private companies looking for investors, technology companies seeking investors, collaboration software companies needing investment capital
ceocfointerviews.com does not purchase or
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.