Bellevue-based Tigerpaw Software Inc., a 21-year-old firm that specializes in the development of customer relationship management and business process optimization products, is rolling out the latest version of its signature software, focused on achieving a larger share of the global market.
“We’re in 29 other countries including Brazil, Panama, France, Chile, Honduras, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom, but only 10 percent of our revenues are generated overseas,” CEO Dave Foxall said. “Within five years we want that number to be 30 to 35 percent.”
Tigerpaw Software is a business he runs with his wife, Linda, who is president; their son, James Foxall, vice president for development; and their daughter, Chris Wright, who is CFO.
Sales this year should hit $3 million, an increase of just under 20 percent from 2004.
Tigerpaw Software moved earlier this month into 7,500 square feet of a 15,000-square-foot building the Foxalls purchased at 2201 Thurston Circle. The firm with 25 employees expects to add 15 jobs in the next 18 months.
“We’re really excited about this move,” Dave Foxall said. “We have some developments under way, and this new facility puts us on a better footing as we forge ahead.”
Foxall started the business in 1984 as Information Management Consultants. Initial projects included writing code enabling phone company technicians to track parts inventory. The name was changed after the firm identified its niche – business customers with 25 or more employees and at least $3 million in annual revenue.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the tiger, partly because it’s the largest critter in the jungle and it determines what it wants, and you had better get out of the way,” Foxall said.
Tigerpaw Software is gearing up for a midsummer release of an updated version of its chief product, CRM+. The new software, CRM+ Version 10, is in the beta testing phase.
“In a lot of ways what we’re doing is redefining what small and midsize companies consider customer relationship management,” Foxall said. “We’re introducing new features like project management and subcontractor support, along with enhanced business analytic features like our new Dashboard.”
Tigerpaw Software has more than 10,000 users, but only about 1 percent of them work for firms in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa. Longtime local users include Roberts Pool & Spa, Bishop Business Equipment and Gazelle Communications.
Version 10 had caused Tigerpaw Software to beef up its dealer network both locally and internationally. Bell Business Innovations, the firm’s Omaha dealer for three years, two months ago opened a business portal with a database of more than 150,000 accounts for marketing and follow-up.
“We’re e-mailing all over the country and eventually want to have 5 percent of revenues from this area,” Foxall said. “About 10,000 e-mails are being sent out a week, and we virtually don’t see any Midwest competitors.”
Initial sales were slow in Canada, where Tigerpaw Software found business users could use the product but were reluctant to do business with a firm outside their country. As a result, nonexclusive dealership agreements have been inked in each of Canada’s seven provinces.
Foxall said the plan is to give regionalized marketing and service by adding Tigerpaw partners-distributors on each continent. Locations in South America, England and Australia opened this month, and total Internet connectivity allows daily tracking of operations.
“We’re finding ourselves more and more in an extremely competitive market, and as we get more sophisticated, so do our competitors,” Foxall said. “Our goal is to remain on that cutting edge.”
For example, Foxall said, many significant modifications in Version 10 were directed toward overseas customers, especially in England, that need software support enabling them to use an international date – day, month and year. International currency support also was requested by firms with field technicians tracking inventory, serial numbers and service warranty work.
“Future growth for us could come from our product being used in banking system teller machines as well as a dozen or more vertical markets that could be huge for us,” Foxall said. “Another possibility is in the servicing of machines used in health care.”
Since 9/11 Tigerpaw Software’s largest increase in users internationally has been firms selling and maintaining security alarms. Other users are in telecommunications, computer networking sales and repair, HVAC and from horse farms to aircraft maintenance companies.
“We’ve designed in CRM+ a customer relationship package for management of all contacts, sales, service and inventories,” Foxall said. “These are solutions that enable a customer to improve its bottom line.”
He said about 65 percent of new customers come from referrals.
Two years ago the rapid growth of Tigerpaw Software spurred Foxall to create Tigerpaw University, a 13-course on-line training menu available to companies’ employees who are learning to use CRM+ and related products.
The firm has about 2,500 customers and more than 10,000 users of its products. Version 10 is being licensed for about $1,600 per user. One user, Colorado-based Telecom, has 150 licensees.
Foxall said Version 10 has been strengthened in its ability to enable a customer to track costs of a construction project by job phase; which employee is using each power tool; and the specific contributions of each subcontractor.
“It allows our customers to build their own system and tailor it to what they want it to be,” he said. “We’ve included more than 1,000 customer-generated enhancements.”
The 58-year-old Foxall said the Version 10 revision took about three years and required an investment of $1.5 million to $3 million.
About half the customers are on support contracts, but Foxall said a challenge is to better regulate revenue flow. Monthly electronic payments from customers also would aid customers in better managing their payments and overall cash flow, he said.
Foxall, a 1972 graduate of UNO with a degree in business management, said Omahans Ron Brodkey, John Jorgenson, Don Leath and Chuck Sederstrom Jr. were important business mentors.
Foxall spent six years in the Air Force and later managed the Omaha office of Chicago-based Digital Equipment Corp. He then spent almost 10 years as a computer systems engineer at Union Pacific before venturing out on his own.
Richard D. Brown