Logi Analytics keeps focus on embedded app development
Kevin Greene is the new CEO of Logi Analytics after previously serving as the vendor's COO. In an interview, Greene discusses his vision for the vendor's future.
Logi Analytics is singular in its focus.
On Oct. 13, the vendor revealed that CEO Steven Schneider was stepping down voluntarily after nearly five years, during which Logi's annual recurring revenue grew by more than 100%. Kevin Greene, who had served as Logi's COO since 2017, was named CEO and Schneider remains with Logi as executive chairman.
Despite the change in leadership, the vendor's mission remains the same.
Unlike many analytics software vendors whose platforms contain an array of tools designed to enable customers throughout the analytics process -- from data ingestion and data management through data visualization and insight -- Logi aims to do one thing, and attempts do it exceptionally well.
Logi's platform is completely focused on facilitating the development of embedded analytics applications.
Logi is based in McLean, Va., and its tools include Logi Composer, which was released in June. At the time, Schneider said Logi Composer was seven years in the making and represented the most significant release in the vendor's history. Its entire platform, meanwhile, is designed to enable application developers with a low-code environment to create applications that can be embedded throughout users' workflows.
Other vendors also provide tools to enable developers -- software giants Microsoft and Salesforce and analytics specialists Looker, Sisense and Yellowfin among them -- but they don't have developers as their sole target audience.
Greene first joined Logi in 2013, and before becoming COO in 2017 held roles as vice president of business development and vice president of global sales and alliances. Greene recently discussed the transition in leadership, including his vision for Logi's future, and what it's been like to take over a company during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a personal level, how exciting is it to be named CEO of Logi Analytics after seven years at the company?
Kevin Greene: It's exciting, but more an honor than anything else. I'm a reformed venture capitalist who joined the company about seven years ago, and I met the company first as an investor when I tried to lead their Series B round. The thesis I had back then is still the same, just strengthened, which is that applications are the single best way to distribute information to people. All that's happened over the last seven years is that's become even more true.
There's been a bit of a renaissance the last seven years at Logi as the importance of software applications has grown, and not just in the world of commercial software applications but in the amount of custom applications that are being built in the enterprise to power operations. Every company is becoming a software company, and every single one of them is going be needing an analytics layer in their applications.
What led to that renaissance?
Greene: We had two decades where software companies were majoring in collecting information, and what's happened over the last 10 years is that information flow has changed and many of them have now recognized that the real value is going to be getting the data they've been capturing and pushing it back out to their end user so that they can make better decisions. What's awesome is that Logi is right at the center of that. We're a big part of helping the data that these software applications have been capturing be moved out to their end users so they can make better decisions. It's fun to be a part of a company that does that. It's important work, too. When you look at some of the applications that we're the analytics layer in, they're helping power some pretty important decisions in the world, whether it's in the healthcare arena, in finance, in government. To be the leader of that company is a huge opportunity.
How did it come about that Steven Schneider left his role as CEO of Logi Analytics and you took over?
Greene: It was totally Steven's decision, entirely his choice. I suppose we'd been preparing for the day this might come for several years. We have a culture at Logi of succession done right -- that's a big part of our leadership culture. Even myself, if something were to ever happen to me -- and you have to think about that in the world of COVID-19 -- there are several people at the company that could pick up the leadership torch tomorrow. The transition has been very smooth. This is not the first time Steven and I have transitioned together. When I took over worldwide sales, he was the person that trained me for that role back in 2014, and we were part of a CEO transition before when the former CEO, Brett Jackson, handed over to Steven. We've got good practice, if you will. Steven actually first started as a customer and was one of the first 200 customers at Logi. A couple of years after that, Logi bought Steven's company, and in my opinion what they really bought was the founding father of the company, and he's held almost every business role at Logi since then.
In terms of the process, Steven felt it was time for a change after 15 years. He wanted to do something different, and so over the summer the board spent some time evaluating what the best transition would be. It's made easier by the fact that he's now our executive chairman and is hopefully going to stay on the board for a very long period of time.
Kevin GreeneCEO, Logi Analytics
Now that you've taken over as CEO, what's your vision for where to take Logi Analytics in the next few years?
Greene: I don't like to say anything is my own because it's all about the team, and Steven and I have been working very closely for a while and our vision and mission is working. So if anything, we're going to triple down on the existing vision and mission of focusing on software application teams. I come from a Navy family, so I suppose if I was taking over the ship that's called Logi, it would be steady course and full steam ahead.
I think the big opportunity that's ahead of the company, especially with our new product, Logi Composer, is we've [had] the privilege of being the analytics layer of application in a lot of commercial software companies, but the enterprise application market, the corporate application market where people are building custom in-house applications is, I think, is going to triple in the next three to five years.
And how can Logi take advantage of that growth?
Greene: The big opportunity for Logi is going to be moving beyond commercial software companies to helping these enterprises build software, because one of the challenges with a lot of enterprises is many of them don't have a lot of product managers. When they're building an application, it's not something IT can quickly enable. They need to have a product manager who understands their employees' requirements, they have to build a products requirements document, they have to go through a series of sprints with their development team, they have to launch that application, and they have to maintain it. You're starting to hear the term product as a service in the marketplace, and I believe every enterprise company is going to have to learn to build products to service their partners, to service their employees, to service their vendors and to power their company, and every one of those applications is going to need an analytics layer. Beyond analytics, many of these software companies need help in terms of best practices on how to build these products to operationalize all the data and insights they have so end users can make better decisions.
The advantage for Logi is that we're the only one in the marketplace that is completely devoted, no distractions, to software application teams.
Logi Analytics honed in on enabling embedded application developers a while back, so are there any plans to expand beyond that niche?
Greene: In my opinion, the BI industry is slowly dying. We are taking a very different approach that is completely, 100% grounded in application development. We believe product managers and the developers they work with are the future, and that's where the future of Logi is going to continue to be. We're building from a nice base in the analytics layer of applications, and we have a number of products, including Logi Composer, that are low-code development environments that developers really like to use. There's a lot we can do to expand as a company from there. There are very few options for them to have a company that's totally devoted to their success.
I'm proud to call [what we do] a niche, and I think it's a pretty large niche, and I think the future of application development is completely up for grabs right now. There hasn't been a single vendor out there in the marketplace that's devoted to software application teams. I think we're building from a nice base as the analytics layer for a lot of these applications, but there's a lot of other help that these teams need that I think is going to take us further and further away from what I think is largely a dying industry.
What are some unique challenges you face taking over as CEO of Logi Analytics in the middle of a pandemic?
Greene: First, we've been fortunate. Financially, we've got a great backer in Marlin Equity Partners. We're profitable, which is a very unusual thing in this market. But I don't think I'm going through anything that's unique compared to any other leader and parent right now, but it is a different time. We were all parents that were home-schooling, so leading a company with an 8- and 10-year-old running around the house trying to learn online was a unique challenge. My wife works at the local hospital treating COVID patients, and that's brought a set of unique challenges and stress but also I'm really proud of her in terms of what they're been able to accomplish. What we've tried to do is just look at the positive. Every day I get up and I thank that I have a good job and I'm working for a great company in a neat industry, that I've got a great family. I'm just thankful for that. I just feel very fortunate, because there are a lot of other people out there that are not in as fortunate a position as I am or as the members of my team are.
Is there anything in particular the leadership at Logi Analytics has leaned on for guidance during the pandemic?
Greene: In terms of what's really helped us, there are two things. We rolled out a set of new training for our employees that was Zoom-based about five months before the crisis hit, and boy did that make going online a lot easier because many of us were already used to it. That brought us all online so there was a lot of familiarity with how to collaborate online. The second thing is I was really fortunate that Harvard Business School hosted a series of webinars just as the crisis started, and one of the things they ended up doing was going back and offering up a series of lessons on how to lead a company through a crisis. One of the things I took away from that is there aren't a lot of playbooks for running a company in a crisis like this, so what ends up becoming really important are your values and your decision-making process. We'd already spent a ton of time on values, so I'm grateful we had done that as a company because during a crisis is not the time to be figuring out who you are and what you stand for, but the decision-making framework really helped a lot.
We also had some people advising the company that helped us understand this wasn't going to be a short-term thing and we're taking the mentality that it's not even a marathon, it's several marathons. It's nice to be a company that knows what their vision and mission is, so we're just focused on that.
Is there anything else we should discuss about your vision for Logi Analytics as you take over as CEO?
Greene: I think our priorities are threefold, which is continuing to focus on great innovative products -- we have a value at the company called innovate, and it's that leaders don't wait, they innovate or evaporate, so you've seen that in Logi Composer. We're getting great momentum with that product as well as our new subscription service, Logi Symphony, which gives you the ability to buy all of our software in one package for one price. The second is great service for our partners. We just have be maniacally focused on making sure our partners are successful. And third, of course, is our people. None of this happens without a great team at the company. I'm stepping into big shoes with Steven transitioning, but I'm also really grateful for the amount of time he invested, as well as the CEO before him, in mentoring me. I think we're well prepared for the future, and now I'm just looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Editor's note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and conciseness.