The Good, Bad, and Ugly of our Niche…Part 1

By Chris Heller • July 19, 2007


The blog entry goes under the heading of “If Grey Sparling Solutions were a B-School case study”. You see, the Grey Sparling management team is constantly looking at our business model and execution to see what works, what doesn’t, and how we can improve. We had one of these discussions yesterday and Chris said, “You know, this would make a good blog entry, even though it’s not a PeopleSoft tip or technique”.

Although it’s a little different than posts we’ve done in the past, I believe that it does provide some insight into how the PeopleSoft ecosystem works (a few months ago, I gave a keynote to a PeopleSoft user group that discussed how there’s a rich ecosystem out there to help PeopleSoft customers leverage their investment in PeopleSoft better). I have a half-written blog entry out there that discusses these points (but I got distracted with other things).

I will split this entry into 3 parts (to make it readable). The first part is to define our niche. Part 2 will cover how we’re doing in the areas of Strategy, Marketing, and Sales; and Part 3 will cover Engineering, Support, and Administration. Let’s continue with Part 1.

Our Business Model
For those who are familiar with Business Plans, you can think of what’s included here as a bulleted list that summarizes our business plan without the numbers added. For those not familiar with business plans (and don’t want to buy a bunch of books, as we did prior to starting the company), the plan defines who the company is, the market it is going after, how it plans to differentiate itself, potential competitors, and other risks.

Who we are:

  • We are a software company
  • We differentiate ourselves from other organizations with the level of expertise we have with PeopleSoft. We are the PeopleTools experts. This is our corporate identity.

Who are market is:

  • We focus on current PeopleSoft customers, which means we focus on larger organizations.
  • Our products use technology to enhance PeopleSoft, regardless of the PeopleSoft application being used by customers (in other words, we do not limit ourselves to an industry or an application).
  • These products do one of the following things for customers:
    • Reduce the cost of running and administering PeopleSoft
    • Improve end-user productivity
    • Improve controls
    • Reduce operational risk.

Our engineering and support strategy:

  • Our products have minimal footprint and plug into customers’ existing PeopleSoft infrastructure seamlessly.
  • To ensure that our products are easy to set up, configure, and support, we include installation, configuration, and support services with our products. Whenever possible, we add features to our products to reduce the cost and effort of these items.
  • Our products are priced, so that ROI to customers can be measured in days or weeks, versus months or years.
  • Although services are a part of our portfolio, we are not a consulting organization.

Our sales and marketing strategy:

  • We utilize viral marketing and web technology wherever possible.
  • We do not have dedicated salespeople who do not have a role on the support side.
  • We use technology to make it easy for customers to determine the fit of our products prior to making a purchasing decision. This means providing open access to recorded demos on our website and providing trial versions with support services of our products.
  • We believe that every PeopleSoft customer will eventually be interested in buying one of our products, so we are willing to invest in relationships with PeopleSoft customers regardless of whether we see a specific opportunity. This includes providing free advice and even code to solve specific problems that PeopleSoft customers are having.

Now that we’ve defined our niche, our next blog entry in this series will discuss the issues and how we’re doing with our corporate strategy, marketing, and sales.


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One Reply to “The Good, Bad, and Ugly of our Niche…Part 1”

  1. Keep the posts coming, Grey Sparling Solutions, Inc. We’re listening.


    -Existing PeopleSoft Customers

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