WANdisco narrows losses as big data sales soar

Software company WANdisco saw a leap in big data sales bookings in the first half of the year, as losses at the firm also narrowed.

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco.
David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco.

Sheffield-based WANdisco said big data sales bookings were up 88 per cent in the six months ended June 30, compared to the first half of 2015.

Losses after tax narrowed to £4m from £13.3m, while overall sales bookings were up 36 per cent at £4.4m.

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The big data provider signed a major partnership with IBM, which will see 5,000 sales representatives selling the company’s technology.

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco, told The Yorkshire Post: “There are two really important factors to the results. The first is the partnership that we signed in the first half with IBM.

“We now have 5,000 sales representatives quota carrying – that means they get compensated for selling WanDisco’s technology.”

The other positive factor, Mr Richards said, was the cost efficiencies as a result of product simplification and the operational leverage provided by the tie-up with IBM.

He said: “We don’t have to go out and hire 5,000 sales people. Bringing our intellectual properties into these channels enables us to leverage very large companies like IBM in order to go to market.”

Mr Richards said that the deal “demonstrates clearly the uniqueness of the technology and the potential market”.

Paul Harrison, chief financial officer at WANdisco, says the software provider is “driving hard” towards a cashflow break even.

Mr Harrison said: “Losses have narrowed. Very importantly cash burn has more than halved. As we see continued acceleration of the business that gap closes further. We are driving hard towards a cashflow break even.”

Mr Richards says he sees the momentum in big data continuing. “I think we’re set for growth in big data. Key partner channels like IBM will help that continue,” he said.

WANdisco has 55 employees in Sheffield and 32 staff in California. The team in Sheffield is currently working on enhancements to the firm’s Fusion product.

Fusion is designed for companies that are deploying dig data and works in a similar way to an app. The CEO said: “Our office in Sheffield is building out connectors, additional connections to different cloud platforms for example.

“Today we support IBM and Amazon and we’re looking to support other cloud platforms. We’re also building connectivity into other storage systems. We’re also looking at other markets where we can take Fusion to as well.”

Mr Richards expects to see an improvement in the company’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) business. ALM saw a 12 per cent growth in the six-month period but the CEO expects to see that improve further.

He added that the firm was seeing larger deals in ALM and that he hoped that that trend would continue, though that doesn’t mean they won’t do smaller ALM deals.

Firms are using hybrid cloud

There are several trends to look out for when it comes to big data, says David Richards.

“The variance of different types of companies that are adopting the technology, the movement of data in and out of the cloud and something that is called hybrid cloud,” he said.

Hybrid cloud is where a firm uses a mix of on-premises private cloud and a third party public cloud provider. Mr Richards said: “The movement of data in and out of the cloud is a really interesting concept as companies need to scale up their infrastructure without scaling up their costs at the same rate.”

He added: “The growth statistics around big data suggest a lot of the new work-loads are moving into the cloud, that’s good news for WANdisco.”