Tigerpaw CEO Foxall gazes into crystal ball

While Tigerpaw announced its new software release at its user conference, it also previewed what is coming beyond that, solicited feedback about future changes, and emphasized that their partners need to change to stay competitive in a changing industry.


Tigerpaw CEO James Foxall

OMAHA — Tigerpaw announced the new 16.1 update to its software at its annual user event in Omaha. However, they also previewed additional changes which are coming next year, announced changes to their software development process, and solicited partner feedback on improvements they want to see down the line.

Tigerpaw has fundamentally restructured its process of software development, adjusting to the quicker pace imposed on the market by hyperscale vendors like Facebook, as well as broad expectations created by the consumer market.

“We are not where we want to be yet on software,” Tigerpaw CEO James Foxall told the partner audience at the Tigerpaw user event here. “I think we’ve gotten a lot better on prioritization – defining what we are building, and testing what we are building. The quality of the product has come up a lot in the last couple of years.”

Two major changes have taken place to the development process. First, it is in the process of being updated from two releases a year to four. Secondly, the process is being changed to segment development into different functional areas – something that becomes easier with smaller but more frequent releases.

“We have been doing two releases a year, but we would like to shorten the cycle and have quarterly release cycles,” said Rudy Jivaraj, Tigerpaw’s director of software development. “We want to standardize the cycle so that there are updates every three months. “

“We are the most comprehensive PSA out there, which touches every aspect of a user’s business,” Foxall said. “Given that, I could not see going more frequent than one a quarter. There comes a point where it can be a burden on the client to keep up with you if you make changes too rapidly.”

Segmenting the development process into different channels is also a major change, Jivaraj said.

“Before, we prioritized all the projects together,” he stated. “This caused problems, having just the one bucket, because desktop was the most used, and the other areas felt left out. What we want to do is separate development into different channels, so that desktop, mobile and portals will see constant refreshes, with dedicated people working on each.”

Some of the things that Tigerpaw is working on for early next year include getting credit card data out of their system.

“We are getting rid of credit card data,” Foxall told the partners. “It is going to go away.” This doesn’t mean that Tigerpaw users won’t be able to have customers pay by credit card. They will. But it means that the Tigerpaw system won’t be handling them directly any more, as the constant stream of security breaches have simply created too much risk.

“Credit cards put you at risk and put us at risk as a vendor for you,” Foxall said. “We are going to move them to someone else’s PCI compliant cloud. It’s for your own good. We want to protect you guys.

Foxall said this will work by embedding a secure web page within Tigerpaw, passing on the credit card data to the secure third-party provider, and receiving a token ID back.

“If someone gets the token, there will be no liability for it,” he stated. “We will no longer need to be PCI compliant. This takes us out of the PCI compliant scope.”

Another major upcoming change is a new partnership with Etilize and their huge product content database.

“Their catalogue is mammoth,” Foxall said. “They have built a matrix which creates a price book item, and will save you hours of copying and pasting.

The Etilize partnership will replace a long-standing one with Quotewerks.

“Quotewerks has been a good partner of ours,” Foxall told the partner audience at the event. “They wanted to come here to the event, and we let them know we were building this, which is why they are not here. We will be switching over from Quotewerks. I almost feel bad about this, but switching off of this and onto Etilize is the whole point.”

Numbers can be manually changed if a user is getting special pricing. Foxall said the beta for this might begin by early December.

Etilize will be available as a part of the Tigerpaw One subscription-based system the company is now encouraging users to move to. Users on the traditional concurrent licensing system can purchase it as an add-on.

Another thing partners can expect to see early next year is timer service evening process performance improvements.

“These are important for the big guys to stop downtime,” Foxall said.

Foxall also solicited feedback from the partner audience about changes further down the line they would like to see. Assessing opinion from these kinds of forums is always perilous – some people always sit on their hands. However, a proposal to allow users to create quotes for recurring services drew robust cheers.

“You can’t quote that cleanly today,” Foxall told the audience. “We would change this so it becomes a recurring service, not a work order.”

Foxall said Tigerpaw is well aware that it has to give partners the tools – and the incents – to move forward in a changing marketplace and diversify their businesses.

“The term ‘own the network’ has become more important today than it has ever been,” he said. “Everything is becoming an endpoint on a network. Everything is absolutely becoming converged. The voice guys have all got into IP. Very few guys are just voice any more. The threats to partners, whether voice or IP, are addressed by owning that converged network. If you pick one kind of service to provide, and think you can do that forever, you will get buried.

“Supporting convergence is our strong point,” Foxall stressed. “No one can do inventory like us. That’s very important in converged business. Even though only one partner put their hand up when I asked who was in managed print today – that’s the future. Our guys need to have the tools and knowledge to be competitive with that.”