Maestrano Group PLC (LON:MNO) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Andrew Pearson caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss going live with a US technology distributor, the go live with a major US bank and future plans.
Q1: First of all, I’d just like to say congratulations on going live with a US technology distributor, could you explain the background to this and also what it means to the company?
A1: It’s obviously a great step forward for the company, we’re very pleased to move into live operations.
Our customer, in this case is a major distributor for hardware, software and other technology orientated services, is using our platform as an open cloud business integration platform and a lot of capabilities around data integration, data synchronisation and some front-end data presentation. They’re using that as part of their main go to market systems, obviously with the world moving to the cloud, everybody has to make sure their business can operate in a cloud context, particularly technology distributor.
Their reseller customers are looking to them to provide cloud capabilities in terms of ordering, provision of services, marketing, fulfilment and so on for a wide range of products, applications and services. This is part of a rollout of an overall refresh of their systems including a new backend system that we’re integrated with and essentially, our technology is being used to organise, integrate and present large amounts of content within their overall business system with which they’ll run their company.
So, it’s great step forward for them as a company and a great step forward for us too to see our platform used across a wide geographic area. Their business operations area that this platform covers is essentially entirely all of Asia-Pacific and Europe although there’ll be a phased rollout over a period of time in terms of recruiting resellers and onboarding them onto the platform in the day, weeks and months ahead.
So, it’s a great achievement for us, a lot of deep integration with back office which is a specialism of ours and we expect to see the solution grow in terms of its usage over time. It’s one of a number of projects we’ve been working with our customers on this year and it’s great to see this one get through as many months of implementation and go live.
Q2: You also recently announced another go live deal but with a major US bank, how will they be using the Maestrano platform?
A2: One of the US’s premier banks, a very prestigious organisation, has now moved into the first phase of its rollout of some new services for their business customers. So, business account holders in the United States will be using our technology within the core banking portal of the bank.
So, right now, their banking customers, corporate customers, they have the basic functionality you would see in all banking portals so the ability to look at their transactions, look at their balances, pay bills and so. What we’re doing is we’re bringing our technology to play, to allow through integration and synchronisation, some extra data and application functionality to be provided to those banking customers.
So, ultimately, if they agree, and the service is free to them, the data from their own internal accounting system, for example Intuit’s QuickBooks online which has a high market share in the United States, will be merged with their banking data and other applications that the business use such as point of sale applications if they’re a retailer or a restaurant. That data will be integrated together, merged with the banking data and used to do two things:
1. To present some graphs and capability and functionality for them to view all of this data in all different ways.
2. Some functionality to allow them to manage and work with the data.
A couple of examples would be an up to date list of those people who they’ve sent an invoice to but who haven’t paid yet because the money hasn’t hit the account. So, they can understand how much is overdue and then obviously take action on it. Another example would be a forward cash flow forecast to allow them to assess the future requirements the business has and fundamentally understand if they’re ok or if they need some help or need to make some changes.
So, those are just two examples of the kinds of things the bank was going to be doing with the platform. You should see it as a set of free services which are incremental to the bank’s current services to their business customers which provide extra value to those customers who don’t pay extra for that value and functionality.
Quite clearly, the bank is interested in retaining their customers through improved services, hopefully requiring some new customers because they have some new services that maybe some other banks, their competitors, don’t have. Also, being able to in the future to do some interesting things for example, understand whether or not the customer needs a loan and offer that loan at a future time. That’s not part of the initial rollout, which is very data driven, but it’s the kind of thing that they’re investing in this platform to do as they iterate from here.
So, the first customers are being recruited through email and banner ad campaigns and we’re going to be working very closely with them to understand how those early customers engage because the business model our company has is driven by engagement volumes. So, the more customers that sign up to their free service here, the more licence revenues our company will acquire as a result.
So, we’re very motivated to work with them to assess these early days and weeks in terms of who uses which piece of functionality and add further functionality as we go through 2019 to drive incremental usage which is better for them and better for us in terms of our business model.
Q3: Following your float earlier this year, what are the plans for the months ahead for Maestrano Group?
A3: So, we’re very focussed on monetising our existing customers, we are a company who has a small number of enterprise customers so a small number of large scale customers, we’ve talked about two of them on this call. We have another two customer too that we’re working very closely with to bring to market, similar style solutions that involve a lot of data integration and data synchronisation as I’ve talked about. We’re looking at monetising all four of these significant customers, we have a little bit of revenue from other customers too, but these are our four principal revenue-generating opportunities. As a company in this current timeframe.
As we head into 2019, hopefully with the attention that we can generate, with these go lives, and some future go lives too, then we’ll be able to recruit some further enterprise-level customers and do similar projects to the ones I’ve described due in 2019 to drive our revenue in 2019, 2020 and onwards.
So, we’re very much now into the commercialisation phase of our company, we’ve spent a lot of time, a lot of years building some fabulous technology with a great engineering team and we have a really modern, very impressive cloud platform for data integration and synchronisation now.
We’re going to take it to market working with these large enterprises who typically target SME style and shape of customers so the bank I talked about is focussing on the initial rollout of this into their SME base. The technology distributor I talked about, by definition really, they’re resellers, are SME’s, nation state focussed resellers around the globe typically. So, they’re looking for similar opportunities working primarily with banks but also with other organisations to really help us understand how to drive our technology into small/medium sized businesses around the world and help these large enterprises service their SME/SMB customers.
So, really, we’re really into the execution phase now having spent some years investing a lot of capital and building a really great platform.