Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Steven Levy, CEO of Verivo Software (Part 5)

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Sramana Mitra: Numerous companies come through in this series that are working in that area. We are tracking that trend.

Steven Levy: We have gone through a bunch of changes to our own product and technology. If you look back and look at how the web developed, the first tools that came out tried to do it all. They tried giving me my tool to design the web page, then put on the server, etc. Then it split. You had the development tools, and then you had the app servers and the run-time component.

I see exactly the same thing happening here. The meat of the old days was closed environments, which gave you the development tool and then let you take it into a run-time environment and run it. That is what the platform gave you, and you had to use their development platform. Our previous product was just like that. But the industry was demanding more and more openness. They weren’t demanding openness by asking these tools to have APIs. They wanted to use best-to-breed development tools and then find ways to integrate run-time and back-end support into that, which is exactly what we have done. The demand for openness and the separation of the front end development and the run-time or back-end development has been important growth you have seen over and over again, and it is now finally coming to mobility as well.

[To continue by reading Part 6, click here. Follow these links to read Part 1Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.]

SM: If you were to advise a new entrepreneur starting a new company, where would you point that person to?

SL: I would point them to building enterprise apps – whether those are CRM apps or field service apps by vertical. If I sat down with my team and said, “We have some customers who are lawyers. Can we come up with a mobile app suite for lawyers that is really great?” There are 12 apps we could come up with that would make them more productive. The goal is to design those apps so that they are flexible enough to tie into lots of different back end systems these guys might have, but still have a certain set of functionality on the front, that would be a huge opportunity.

SM: Are you marketing your technology as a platform on which you are inviting developers to develop apps?

SL: Yes. Our platform can be used by businesses directly to build their own apps, by software companies to build apps that tie into legacy systems, or by other corporate systems or system integrators that might want to use our software in a solution they are promoting.

SM: What is your business strategy? Are you selling to enterprises and asking them to build apps on top of you, or are you building apps on behalf of enterprises? Or are you trying to develop this as a platform company?

SL: I view those two things as the same thing. Our sales pitch to go to market is that we provide a platform that businesses can use to build the apps they need.

SM: Those are two entirely different strategies. If you want to build a platform ecosystem, the amount of work it takes to build a developer network around the platform is huge.

SL: Yes. If you are trying to develop a platform ecosystem, where developers come in and start using it, there are two models for that. There are the developers building their own apps for their own businesses, and then there are enterprise developers coming in and trying to use that technology at the enterprise level. We are not promoting this for developers to use this on a standalone basis for their own apps. We are promoting it only on the basis of being able to use it within the business. But what we find is that those same developers we are talking about here understand that this platform is helping [clients] get access to their company’s corporate systems.

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