Plasmon’s newly installed CEO Steve Murphy says he is sticking with the company’s existing plan to build its business around the sale of complete systems – including third-party products – rather than just components.
Formerly CEO at Softek Storage Solutions, Murphy last month took up the CEO’s position at embattled Plasmon, which sells optical storage.
Although Plasmon says that sales of gear featuring its latest UDO drives are growing fast, demand for the company’s older products has been dwindling for some while.
Last year Plasmon launched its first archiving appliances, a move that Murphy said was a massive sea change for a company that had previously only sold optical drives, and had relied on resellers to put systems together for customers.
No IT customer anywhere in the world is just buying components any more – they want a solution, Murphy said.
Our strategy is to continue to layer on capacities, Murphy said, but would not say what further products are in the pipeline. Early this year Plasmon began shipping the second generation of its proprietary UDO optical drives, with a 60GB capacity. The next generation UDO3 drives are well beyond planning stage, Murphy said.
This year Plasmon began selling CAS storage systems originally developed by Nexsan Technologies, and an ICM appliance created by Arkivio.
Plasmon clearly hopes to develop into an integrator or service provider. For the mid-market we may have the right solution for every company, but large sophisticated businesses may require magnetic disk. We’re trying to position ourselves as consultants that will help customers identify the best solutions for them, Murphy said.
That does not mean that Murphy cannot make a sales pitch for optical storage.
If you’re banging against an archive constantly, if you feel you need a 24-hour archive, then [magnetic] disk is probably the right answer. But you’ll need to back that up – and tape isn’t the right answer for that, he said.
Unlike optical disk, tape does not create an immutable copy of data, and cannot provide random access to data, the CEO argued.
In December 2006 Plasmon signed up giant distributor Avnet, and now says that that through that deal it has won 22 sophisticated integrators in North America. Many of these are IBM resellers that are happy to be able to offer an alternative to EMC’s Centera CAS box, Murphy said.
Plasmon is sticking to its prediction that a cost reduction program it launched this summer will return the company to positive cash flow by its fourth fiscal quarter, ending in March 2008. For the six months to September 30 2007, Plasmon’s revenue was 15m pounds sterling, or around $30m. On a constant currency basis, Plasmon said that was down 14% year on year.