November 1, 2011

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The Business of Intelligence

Josh James’ New Venture Brings Data to the Decision Makers

Tom Haraldsen

November 1, 2011

Despite the success his previous company, Omniture, enjoyed and the achievements he helped it realize as its CEO, Josh James faced a frustration many similar executives face every day—lack of immediate access to company information.

It was, perhaps, the biggest challenge he faced at Omniture, the Utah County company that Adobe Systems acquired in late 2009. So James left the company nine months later and set out to solve that problem through a new venture: Domo Technologies, Inc., a company that is poised to change the landscape of the business intelligence world.

Simply put, Domo is designed to give execs the information they need immediately, at their fingertips, with a simple push of a button.

“Running Omniture, I was challenged to get all the information I needed in a timely manner and in a format I wanted,” James says. “If I wanted to know how many employees we had in a sector, or cash balances, or customer feedback, or sales projections, I had to call someone else to get that information every single time. Once a month, I got a combined report with all that data, but only on that one day a month. I knew there had to be a better way to go about this.”

Cloud-based Solution

This past summer, James introduced Domo, which is the Japanese word for “thank you.” Utilizing the cloud, information is gathered, analyzed and made available on demand to execs through either a web browser or a mobile device like an iPad or iPhone. The delivery is immediate, and the process revolutionary.

So, why hasn’t someone thought of it before?

“I asked myself the same question,” James says. “Everyone has known that the problem has existed, but frankly, without the cloud being around, we’ve been sticking giant amounts of data into databanks and been satisfied with that. It seemed like about 98 percent of the market was being ignored and only 2 percent were able to get the information more often than just once a month.”

James put together a business plan, bought Corda Technologies (a company also looking at trying to develop a solution to the business intelligence challenge), and raised money—over $40 million in funding—to kick start Domo. He also studied the market and the competition, and formulated a roadmap to enter into a business intelligence software sector that has an estimated $10 billion in annual sales.

“I also turned to the talent I knew we had right here in Utah,” he says. “I’ve worked with intelligent, amazing people who I wanted to bring to our team. They’ve developed our technology system at Domo.”

The reception to Domo’s concept has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Anyone we’ve showed this to—their mouths have been dropping,” James says with a smile. “Executives have data in their companies that they haven’t been able to readily get to until now. Certainly everyone is interested and excited about this.”

Breaking Boundaries

Still in its infancy, and with James planning a huge rollout of the Domo product in the first quarter of 2012, the company already has more than 100 clients using its services. James says the product that comes to market next year will be even stronger than the current model, though those using Domo right now include Nissan, Comcast, Prudential, Merrill Lynch, AT&T, and Disney Parks and Resorts.

“Customers who use our product love the fact that they can get information they can leverage immediately while making decisions,” he says. “We’re focused on much more than just technology here. We are focused on building it, selling it, servicing it and putting it all together in an application that customers want to use.”

With Domo, James heads a company that he says is “not encumbered by legacy thinking. Our creativity and aspirations are not bound or limited by our resources. We can move at a speed that is very uncommon.”

Eventually, James expects Domo to have about 120 employees, with at least one-third to perhaps one-half of them engineers. Client services and customer-facing roles will also be an important component. And of course, James will also be prepared for the ever-changing tech world.

“I love the way technology evolves,” he says. “When you look at all great companies, you find that a lot of times, they are limited by their own imaginations. That won’t happen here. We have a team with great experience and great ambition. Providing the system from which executives can have real-time information and make real-time decisions—that’s what we do.”

And James says he’s not focused on customer count or revenue numbers. His dream for Domo goes far beyond that.

“I want to do for business intelligence what the iPod has done for listening to music—so that it’s an experience that everyone can benefit from and wants to talk about.”

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