The DB, the most important software in the enterprise, is controlled by the vendor
New solution next month is 'going to change the global ecosystem’
IT took more than 12 years of development and market verification before agile system software and middleware solutions provider TmaxSoft felt confident enough to take its solutions portfolio global.
[Updated to reflect latest market share]
Established in 1997, the company specialises in mainframe rehosting, RDBMS (relational database management systems), big data solutions and middleware. It touts a 42.1% share share of the middleware market in its home country of South Korea according to IDC, counting corporations such as the Bank of Korea, Hyundai-Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics as customers.
In an interview with Digital News Asia (DNA), founder and chief technology officer Professor Daeyeon Park said that when it comes to database systems, the space is being monopolised by "only a couple of global vendors."
“It’s strange, as the database system is the most important piece of software in the enterprise environment, yet it is not under complete control of the company but rather the vendor. The technology is so complex that no company can implement it; only a few vendors like Oracle are set up for it.
“Other vendors such as SAP, IBM and even Microsoft also dominate, and others have tried to catch up ... but it is difficult and takes a long time, and many have given up,” said Park.
In October 2014, industry analyst Gartner’s Magic Quadrant survey of the operational database management systems market found a widening gap between market leaders and niche players, with heavy hitters Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and IBM continuing to dominate.
Park believes that TmaxSoft is more than ready to catch up by offering a compelling alternative to the market, adding that many decision-makers are keen to regain flexibility and choice when it comes to critical IT assets.
In a previous interview with DNA, TmaxSoft Singapore managing director David Kim said the company has gotten a very good response for its database management solution from customers looking for performance and in particular, compatibility with Oracle products which account for a large percentage of the market.
“The complete compatibility means that customers are more confident about adopting our solution, and we can help minimise migration disruptions and application modifications, and save cost,” he claimed.
This positive response is what prompted Park’s recent slate of trips to various overseas markets to meet key customers and partners, many of whom were keen to expand their relationship with TmaxSoft after undergoing trials of its software.
“In the past month, I’ve been visiting many of our customers, and I get the impression that most of them want to change their enterprise solution environment – but that begs questions 'Which new company?' and 'Which product?’
“I don’t see a particular difference in markets when it comes to enterprise demands; all complain about the monopoly of existing vendors and customers are happy with the solutions [we offer],” he claimed.
Park’s visits outside of South Korea to further promote TmaxSoft’s value proposition also marks a turning point for the 61-year-old founder.
He confessed that he hasn't given press interviews in 10 years, preferring instead to stay within the walls of the company’s research and development division, focused on further developing its portfolio of technology products.
“We wanted to thoroughly test our products, and before this was done, I didn’t want to meet with customers just yet.
“One we were satisfied with the product, the focus was on future strategy and working with vendors on how to better work together to provide support for solutions.
“The important thing about business-to-business is how to provide tech support seamlessly, to train the engineers and localise the solution to suit different markets – there’s a lot of things we have left to do and this is just the beginning,” he said.
Park also said that it is not just about customers knowing how to using the software, as many IT departments are more then equipped to do so.
“It’s about solving problems that come up suddenly and quickly, where speed is important,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kim said that the company offers a 24-hour hotline with a direct channel to the core engineering team at headquarters.
“There are fewer layers and steps to our support processes, and our customers are very satisfied with our level of service as issues are resolved within hours instead of days.
“Turnaround time is key and, in addition, while the right solution or patch can take several months for other vendors, we can patch and support problems in a much stronger timeframe; [this is] one of our strong points to potential customers,” he argued.
TmaxSoft has been aggressively expanding its global footprint since 2014, with plans to add another 30 branches to its network this year alone, including a presence in Malaysia.
But expanding its enterprise footprint is not the only card up its proverbial sleeve, with Park saying that major announcements are to be expected in the coming months.
“We’ll be announcing a big solution next month, that’s what we’ve been concentrating on with our research and development efforts. We think it’s going to change the global ecosystem.
“We’re also looking at launching a business-to-consumer portfolio next year as well. Gone is the time when just having one solution is enough to survive; a company must always develop new solutions and evolve with the business environment,” he said.
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