I caught up with Mr. Hugo Stappers of Pioneer this week. Hugo and I go back a couple of decades and both spent many years living in Houston, Texas, but are now both back in Europe, so it’s always a good conversation covering more than just CTRM! Hugo seems to follow what we write quite closely as he quoted different reports and articles we had written in the last few weeks or so. What he had to say was also intriguing….
In common with many other vendors in the space, Pioneer have had a busy period and Hugo also found himself traveling the day before Christmas to give a demonstration – something he says he cannot recall having done before! “We are seeing a lot of requests coming in and certainly some increase in demand, but some things haven’t changed that much either,” he warned me. “We still experience hugely long sales cycles and procurement projects are continually slipping. People come out and look, decide then change their minds and approval processes are as long as ever once a decision has been made!” He cited an example of a recent procurement that he said “took 2-years from first contact to contract signing,” to back up his point.
In the era of CTRM in the cloud and SaaS, we might also expect the procurement process to change. Why go through a long and complex RFI, RFP process if you can get a trial, a hands-on demo and go that way instead? It’s as simple as providing a login for a cloud CTRM solution after all! The issue of course remains complexity and familiarization with the software – you still need to guide users through the solution so it isn’t quite as easy as you might think. Additionally, many regulated and/or public companies need to demonstrate due diligence and openness. Still, surely improvements in the process can be made? It is something we covered in 2018 in a CTRMRadio podcast and yet, the sales cycle is still long we are told.
What interested me as an analyst is when Hugo mentioned that Pioneer was getting a good deal more interest from the type of company that would in the past have gone straight for an ION solution like Allegro, OLF or similar. “It’s apparent to us anyway that buyers are broadening their search and looking at other vendors these days,” he told me. Why would this be,? I asked.
We have been anticipating this as analysts for a number of reasons. These include buyers not wanting to be a small fish in a large vendor’s pond through to wanting to take advantage of the newer technologies and potentially lower costs of cloud native CTRM solution vendors. “Actually,” said Hugo, “buyers looking for reduced costs is not a new trend at all. It’s been there for a long time now. The difference is that 3-years ago it was just playing lip service to the concept and now it seems to be real. But the bigger thing for us is that buyers have also begun to realize that there are other enterprise grade CTRM solutions on the market that offer a lower cost and that they can live with without any real reduction in functional capabilities.”
Hugo believes that Pioneer has become better known and as a result of that and the shift in the market, he is rather hopeful that Pioneer is about to make the breakthrough in Europe and Asia – where he also sees growing demand. The European replacement market is growing also offering an additional opportunity to vendor like Pioneer and as we have remarked many times, we do expect the ‘smaller’ vendors to take market share from the larger and more well-known names.