Cyberprise Achieves, Rumba Overachieves

Wall Data’s gamble on its Cyberprise initiative is beginning to pay off. As the company reports, Cyberprise accounted for $3.5 million of its $40.4 million overall first fiscal quarter 1998 net revenues.

What’s more, Wall Data (Kirkland, Wash.) also reports a 9 percent growth – when compared with the same period in 1997 – in its Rumba and OneStep offerings, two products overachieving in what is widely considered to be a declining PC-to-host connectivity market.

Wall Data exceeded analyst predictions in both overall revenue and Cyberprise revenue, according to CEO John Wall, who adds that Rumba’s growth does not indicate growth in the PC-to-host connectivity market as a whole, but rather an increase in market share from some of Wall Data’s competitors.

"The strength of the Cyberprise strategy is helping us in the Rumba business because it gives our drifting Rumba customers, as well as potential new ones, a way forward as they move to an Internet/intranet-type computing model as versus the more traditional LAN/WAN environment," Wall says.

"Most of Wall Data’s current Rumba business comes from the existing customer base as they continue to deploy projects that they’ve put in place," according to Wall, who adds, "From our perspective, at this stage, we don’t really care how they want to implement their system. We’re not trying to push them toward the Internet, or keep them in the LAN/WAN environment, it’s really their choice."

Rumba’s success has even managed to wrestle some of the host access market share away from IBM in 1998, according to Stephen Drake, research analyst with International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.). While IBM is still by far the host access leader, with approximately 74 percent of the market, Wall Data holds about 7.3 percent of the market, up from less than 5 percent in 1997.

Two occurrences over the past year have contributed to IBM’s slight slippage, observes Drake. The first is IBM’s support of Windows 95 and NT on the AS/400’s Integrated PC Server (IPCS), which reduces the need for Client Access/400 in certain scenarios. Second, "IBM hasn’t seen a large growth in AS/400 sales over the past year," he says.

The Cyberprise initiative was developed such that Rumba 95/NT users would have a smooth, economical transition to the Cyberprise environment, which does not distinguish by host type (i.e. AS/400, mainframe or Unix), explains Wall.

"Customers want to know how they can use the Web in their businesses," he says. "Making it easier for channel partners to do business with you changes IT from a cost center to a revenue generator, helping companies conduct business more efficiently."

According to Wall, this change in general management’s view of IT inspired Wall Data to put its Cyberprise strategy in place, to rethink how the company packaged and sold its technology. "The Internet is driving this change," he says. "Why go and spend a lot of money on fat-client technology when the Internet represents the future? Since 1993-94, Wall Data started to deliver` Rumba Office as a suite product, and we’ve sort of continued that trend in Cyberprise packaging."

IDC predicts the Web-to-host market will continue its growth through 2002, when browser-based access will own 80 percent of the market, Drake points out.