The New CEO - Transcript
Interview with the new CEO of a software company.
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Diana: With me today on Business Matters is George Jensen, the new CEO of Savannah Software. Welcome to the show, George.
George: It's great to be here.
Diana: How long have you had your feet under the desk at Savannah?
George: Well, it's been about a month now, a pretty hectic month I must say.
Diana: And how are you finding things?
George: Savannah is a very strong company, good financials, buckets of potential for future growth. There's no way I would have even considered coming to Savannah if I wasn't already sold on what a fine company it was.
Diana: But you left your previous company and went to Savannah also knowing the company had underperformed in the last few years?
George: Every company has the potential to perform better. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.
Diana: So where do you see room for improvement at Savannah? What areas have you earmarked for your attention in these early days of your leadership?
George: Well, obviously I'm not going to be giving away any trade secrets here on your show, Diana, however great I think your show is! But it's no secret that Savannah has lost its focus somewhat in recent times. We need to get back to basics, which is of course high-quality, competitive software for businesses.
Diana: Where has this loss of focus been most evident in your opinion?
George: I don't think Savannah has any business trying to force itself into the home entertainment market. In time, of course, that might well change and we can reassess the software landscape at that time. For now though, Savannah needs to return to its core business.
Diana: What is Savannah's core business? What are its flag bearing software applications? We've seen you branch out into entertainment areas such as gaming and, if I may say so, low standard educational titles.
George: Well perhaps I don't share the severity of your opinion concerning some of our recent publications, but yes we do have core applications: text to speech and speech to text applications for businesses are what put us on the map and we need to focus our attention back there because we have lost a significant amount of market share. Others have come along and beaten us at our own game, they've made improvements where we should have done so, met customer requirements where we failed. In short, we must return at Savannah to the very pinnacle of business software solutions. We can't be playing catch up anymore.
Diana: What about your prices? One of the biggest criticisms I've heard about Savannah was the disparity between quality and price.
George: We spend a huge amount on research and development. Our prices do reflect the work that goes into the development of what is very complex software. If we think we can gain market advantage by dropping our prices, that's of course something worth considering.
Diana: I read an interview you gave in Business Weekly a week or so ago. In there, you said you wanted to bring Savannah to the world, or rather the non-English speaking world.
George: I spoke before about looking for areas of potential growth, areas where we have been historically weak and I think this is certainly one of them. There's no reason why we can't produce our top language recognition software for business people in Paris, Madrid, Munich, or anywhere else for that matter. Savannah has been too inward looking, too parochial in the past. You know, the first thing I did when I got into my new office in Boston was to put a map of the world on the wall above my desk. That there wasn't one, I think, speaks volumes about some strategic mistakes that this company has made in the past.
Diana: What about the mobile revolution? As of this moment, there isn't a single Savannah app available for any mobile device and I'm thinking that so many of the products that you offer would be perfectly suitable for development as an app. Are there any plans in that direction?
George: Well there are now! No, obviously this is something we've been thinking about for quite some time. Clearly we should have been more proactive and had something on the market already, but we will do, there will be something by the end of the year. There's a fantastic potential for using our software on mobile devices, phones, iPads, things of that type. Our applications were designed for a fast moving business world and their use on handheld devices is a dream come true. We think it's a match made in heaven.
Diana: George Jensen, new CEO at Savannah Software, it's been a pleasure talking to you today. We'd love you to come back and talk to us once you've been in the job for another little while longer.
George: That would be fantastic.
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