Sohaib Abbasi doubled Informatica’s revenues in five years

Create a growth strategy

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, then you can move forward.

“The second step that we took was to develop a focused growth strategy,” Abbasi says.

The strategy was a three-prong approach: The first part was to expand Informatica across all major geographic regions, the second was to grow beyond the data-warehousing market, and the third element was to advance the company’s technology leadership.

“The first element of a growth strategy needs to be around customers,” he says. “What is your growth strategy in terms of attracting and acquiring more customers? Are you focused on particular geographic regions or specific verticals?”

For example, he saw that Informatica’s customer base outside of North America accounted for only 30 percent of revenue — it was too dependent on North America. He compared his revenue mix to that of more mature companies and realized that he could grow the revenue much faster outside of the continent, so he worked to try to gain more customers in those places. As a result, in the second quarter of this year, the company was now up to 36 percent of revenue coming from outside North America.

“The second element of any growth strategy is, ‘What value do you deliver to your existing customers and how will you expand that to deliver more value and more business purposes for your customers?’” he says.

At the time, just 20 percent of his customers used the company for more than data warehousing. By focusing on ways to expand this area as part of the growth strategy, today more than 50 percent of Informatica’s customers do so.

“The third element of a growth strategy is, ‘What are the technologies and services and how broad based of a product offering will you deliver?’” he says.

Informatica started by focusing on one product offering, but by expanding the core to embrace other technologies, it now has eight.

He says, “If you are executing well, your core will continue to grow.”

Abbasi also advises that you be prepared to modify your growth strategy.

“It’s essential to not only have a road map but to continually update the road map based on your progress and the changing IT landscape,” he says.

That’s been especially true during the downturn, so as part of the annual planning process, Abbasi and his team look at the technology industry as a whole on top of the data integration market so they can adjust the strategy if need be.

“At times, the operational discipline needs to be adapted to the changing macroeconomic environment,” he says. “We went through some unprecedented times of uncertainty as part of the great recession, and in our experience, if you go through those times of uncertainty, it is critically important to, very closely, monitor the changing circumstances and adapt the processes accordingly. In other words, the operational discipline needs to adapt, and in some cases, you need to change the planning horizon accordingly.”