A recent addition to the Local Measure Board of Directors, Ralph Breslauer is a veteran high tech executive with over 30 years of experience. After a very successful 25 years as an operating executive, he is now a trusted advisor to a number of startups and leading companies covering multiple sectors and geographies. He is focused on high growth industries utilizing experience and capital to create jobs and propel teams to thrive. He has helped transition companies from selling premise-based perpetual licenses to offering their solution in a SaaS model both on the cloud and internally.
How were you introduced to Local Measure?
Local Measure CEO Jonathan Barouch and Chairman Kim Jacobs were introduced to me via a mutual friend. I had worked with this friend for 30 years together on a number of projects. When he saw what the company was doing he suggested that we meet since I come from an omnichannel contact center background and so the journey began.
What was your first impression of Local Measure?
I was excited to see the omnichannel vision coming to fruition and especially how Local Measure works with AWS and Amazon Connect. Other businesses spend so much time on hardware, building networks, security etc. – I think it’s a great approach to just focus on the value-add components of automation, messaging and agent experience. Great and seamless customer interaction has long been a requirement but it has been exacerbated by the situation with Covid-19, where much more is being done remotely. Social media messaging has created an even greater need for every business with a website to have a consistent way to interact remotely with their customers. True omnichannel service is appealing to a much broader audience now.
Tell us about your previous experience.
I have been in deep tech for over 30 years. Currently, through Valydian Group I’m a trusted advisor to a number of startups and leading companies covering multiple sectors and geographies. My last operating role was as CEO of Vertica. Vertica’s founder was Dr. Michael Stonebraker, a pioneer in the computer world. Vertica introduced new database technology and was sold in 2011 to HP. We had an incredible run with big VC backers from Silicon Valley like Kleiner Perkins, Bessemer and others.
Before Vertica I spent five years running global operations for Aspect Software, a contact center and customer experience technology company. We started with outbound dialers from Davox, and over the years made a number of acquisitions including Cellit to form Concerto Software. In 2005 Concerto Software acquired Aspect Communications for over $1B to form Aspect Software. When I was there I had 800 people working for me across, sales, services and marketing, and we did over $600 million USD in revenue. While I was and continue to be U.S. based, these teams were based in and served all markets around the world.
"The speed and time to value with Local Measure’s solution is the thing that impresses me the most."
What’s it like coming back into the contact center space?
Firstly, it struck me how little has changed. Aspect was pitching cloud based omnichannel a decade ago. At that time, very few businesses were using different channels beyond voice. Now, maybe the biggest companies have done it but they are using multi-vendor approaches, storing their data in multiple systems of record and siloing interactions on multiple non-integrated platforms. The angle of social media has also changed things since it was sort of sidelined earlier on. So the market is ripe now, you don’t have to be big to take advantage of the current technology, any business with a website can get into it.
I think a lot of the earlier slowness had to do with cost, complexity and security issues. Now an omnichannel solution can be hundreds of dollars instead of tens of thousands and you can be up and running in a few hours to start with. Clearly there can be a lot of additional revenue as customers grow in size and complexity. Also, I think more people are comfortable with the concept of having data in the cloud.
What do you see as Local Measure’s greatest opportunity?
Local Measure can be a very quick easy and easy solution for SMBs to spin up. That’s an exciting area. For Enterprise businesses, the path is a bit different. You could get established with a particular branch and then grow from there. The speed and time to value with Local Measure’s solution is the thing that impresses me the most.
What do you think of the competitive landscape?
There’s a ton of theoretical competition, but ultimately there’s just a handful doing exactly what we’re doing. The proof is the fast acceptance Local Measure has had with Amazon Connect in Australia and Europe. If I look at the AWS site, there’s only a few Amazon Connect partners they highlight. We can use our history in customer satisfaction, our relationship with AWS, and our ability to act nimbly. The market will grow even more in 2021 and 2022.
What do you think is most important for a company like ours as we navigate through a major pivot?
This year has been unprecedented, many businesses pivoted because they failed, but we’ve got a unique opportunity. Hospitality took a blow, but the pandemic opened a new area for us to focus on. We have the ability to use what we had in the past, our understanding of customer interactions and our current partnerships and then we can tap into what will become a huge market for every company that deals with the internet in a time where there's less physical customer interaction. This behavioural change we’re seeing is permanent. It's a great opportunity for Local Measure.