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Global CIO: How The World's Hottest Enterprise Software Company Defies The Downturn

In this first of a two-part series on Autonomy, find out how the company finds growth and drives change in the gloom.
Positioned For Success
As with all endeavors, good fortune always plays some part, and you could make the argument that Autonomy happened to be in the right place at the right time. But consider this comment from Ovum analyst Mike Davis, and bear in mind that this piece was written almost 18 months ago:

"After declaring record earnings for the quarter and the year, Mike Lynch, CEO of Cambridge, U.K.-based Autonomy, said in addition to a good pipeline for 2008 he is expecting a positive bounce resulting from the U.S. subprime debacle through banks adopting Autonomy's technology," Davis wrote in late 2007.

He continued: "When describing the year ahead Lynch highlighted that the fallout of the subprime issue in the U.S. is that banks were having to secure and analyse very large amounts of disparate information in a very short time scale, exactly where Autonomy positions its Meaning Based Computing message, and reflected in the recently announced $70m deal (see EuroView Daily, 7 January) with a global bank. To illustrate how significant the demand being seen by Autonomy was, Lynch stated that the cycle time for that deal was two months, and that the company was in the first instance moving people across to support the sales and deployment activity, and it would be supporting its partners to undertake the work in the near future."

So clearly, this isn't some gold mine Lynch happened to stumble into -- he's been positioning Autonomy for these types of essential plus forward-looking applications for some time. And before closing out the first part of this two-part series, consider these comments from Autonomy customers Avis Budget Group and Allstate Insurance:

"On the Budget.com site, we had a new design based on several iterations of multivariable testing. We tested over 20,000 different pages, colors, etc., and honed that number down to three completely different designs, and then we picked the best based on results that we knew were real, not guesswork," John Peebles, Avis Budget Group's VP of online marketing, said in a phone interview.

"When we compared the revenue lift from that new design, it measured out to $5 million. These Autonomy tools and the multivariable capability give us the ability to measure the value of what we're creating. A few years ago, the only measurable detail we had to test for was price, but now we have millions of options and variables out there to test," Peebles said.

And at Allstate, senior internet marketing strategist Lizzie Schreier described the impact of Autonomy this way: "For all of our online business and progress, Allstate is still a true brick-and-mortar company. But in working with the technology team and the business, I've been able to become a real change agent. I've been here 2-1/2 years, and since the day I walked in, I told the IT guys I don't want any specific things, I just want an open box that I can keep changing as fast as our customers change. And I finally have it.

"The Autonomy suite allows me to do as much as I can without getting IT involved, and that means IT can now rely on higher-value projects."

PART TWO: A closer look at how Avis and Allstate are using Autonomy's products to increase revenue, give customers more choices, and respond more rapidly and effectively to the demands of the marketplace.

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

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