By all accounts, Amphora had a pretty good year in 2020, a record year that saw the vendor almost double its client base in just two years, so I was keen to catch up with Amphora’s Ivan O’Toole to see how the first quarter of 2021 had been. “It’s been a quarter of significant activity,” he told me. “RFI’s, RFP’s and more software demos than I have ever known. So we have been swamped responding to inbound inquiries from all across the industry, both large and small entities.” There had been few decisions made in that time frame, however, apparently with most sales cycles still in flow. This echoes what we have heard across the board, really; lots of activity and interest, perhaps even lengthening sales cycles but few deals consummated so far this year. In fact, I think we have seen only 2-3 announced deals in the first quarter! Ivan does expect some closure activity soon, however.
Ivan also sees the landscape as a tad more competitive this year, with other vendors being more active and willing to set more competitive prices. He also observes that some RFPs remain broad and all-encompassing when there is no need for them to be. This complicates and slows the sales cycle. “We quite often have inbound inquiries and do a set of demos gaining in the process a strong impression of the actual requirements only to be surprised by a very generic RFP document!” he told me. ComTech has written about this in the past, and has often observed situations whereby third parties propose template RFPs in which requirements are added, but others that are not relevant are not removed from the template resulting in bloated and generic RFPs and vendor responses. Indeed, I will probably write another article about this and other issues with sales processes later in the week!
Meanwhile, adding to Amphora’s busy quarter of course was the implementation projects following last year’s wins. “The last four implementations went live on time and budget,” Ivan tells me and the last new customer, STX Group, is also on target to go live next month. Part of Amphora’s positioning is its ability to implement efficiently, Ivan reminded me, so it is very important to him that these implementations are on time and budget. Meanwhile, Amphora has initiatives in the US and around the EU ETS phase 4 coming into play and is looking at the implications of carbon and carbon footprint/mass balances going forward.