Ross Meyercord is CEO of Propel Software, a SaaS provider dedicated to helping high-tech, MedTech, and consumer goods companies build compelling and profitable products.
Throughout his 30+ year career, Meyercord has worked in a variety of capacities, including directly with manufacturers to implement Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Quality Management System (QMS) solutions, managed global technology organizations, and has been instrumental in guiding customer-facing teams to increase customer success and drive corporate growth.
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Table of Contents
How do Product Value Management (PVM) and Product Information Management (PIM) working together accelerate innovation for your customers?
Ross Meyercord: As a former CIO, I can attest that the holy grail for any CIO is to have a radically simplified systems architecture. Propel can provide that single view of the product that spans engineering, manufacturing, supply, marketing/commerce, service. Taking complexity, translations and integrations out of this flow creates agility and speed to value for our customers.
You and Ray Hein, the founder, have emphasized the importance of the cloud in moving away from legacy Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Can you explain why the cloud is so important to PLM/PVM and PIM?
Ross Meyercord: Across nearly every other software sector, the market has proven the need/benefit of moving apps to the cloud. PLM has yet to materially make the move, but the time is now.
Many of the prospects we speak with are working with on-premise solutions that haven’t been updated for years – or in some cases, decades. Any innovation those providers have built is wasted on their customers because they are so behind on upgrades.
Cloud inherently allows customers to stay current which provides security and functionality benefits. I believe industry clouds are the next evolution. Solutions that natively connect to each other – or at the very least can easily connect to other platforms – make it so much easier to deliver visibility, business intelligence and collaboration across the company, suppliers and customers.
Cloud providers have already moved on to delivering the next generation of benefits while legacy PLM providers are spending development resources to move their on premise solutions to the cloud. They are so far behind, I don’t see how they’ll ever catch up.
You highlighted the importance of innovation in your decision to come to Propel. Does the company have a formal process to facilitate innovation? If so, what does that look like?
Ross Meyercord: Yes, we have a couple things uniquely in our favor to drive innovation. We are built on Salesforce, so the core innovation that Salesforce builds into the platform we inherit without having to invest engineering resources (e.g. Slack integration, low code / no code).
Furthermore, building Propel on Salesforce allows our engineers to focus on domain-specific capabilities our customers need while leaving the platform updates to the experts at Salesforce. We have several senior engineering resources who have dedicated capacity to build new prototypes and absorb Salesforce innovation. We are an agile development shop, shipping products monthly with major feature releases three times a year.
We identify market needs and quickly deliver on them – such as our supplier community and supplier data intelligence – both of which were launched to help our customers navigate supply chain problems. You can’t innovate this quickly if your engineers are spending time on moving your legacy solution to a modern cloud architecture.
The company has grown explosively – 853% over the years 2018-2021 (per Deloitte). Do you expect to sustain that growth level? What will be the keys to sustaining it?
Ross Meyercord: 853% is a great number! My belief is that we can accelerate our growth rate but we are of course working against the law of big numbers as we grow. While we have 200 customers today, there are many thousand customers leveraging other solutions, using spreadsheets or paper based solutions. Our serviceable market is massive.
We’ve seen a big increase in interest from partners who want to position themselves as technology leaders, and we’ve increased sales during the current downturn. We know our product is a winner, so sustaining our growth requires a focus on execution and continued investment in the product to ensure it’s always ahead of the pack.
As you look ahead into 2023, what’s your outlook for customer purchasing processes, timelines, and processes? Do you anticipate a slowdown or an otherwise significant change in their approaches?
Ross Meyercord: As I was considering the move to Propel and since I’ve started, I have been talking to many CEOs and this is the #1 question on everyone’s mind. We’ve seen some of the industry bell weathers recently announce so-so earnings and/or provide modest guidance for the future.
While Propel won’t be immune to the market turbulence, we are still seeing strong demand for our products. Last quarter was our all-time high for new customer activations and we expect to beat that number again this quarter. The innovation agility we can provide our customers is a critical element for them surviving and thriving in an uncertain economy.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Ross Meyercord for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Ross Meyercord or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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