Crossing the Chasm

    This week AvePoint announces the global launch of 24/7 live technical support with certified SharePoint engineers. This represents a big step in our continued maturation as a global company, and also demonstrates our strength as a global SharePoint ISV with tremendous reach and technical resources.

    The journey to have 60+ SharePoint and DocAve certified engineers covering our Tier 1, 2, and 3 support levels around the clock 365 days a year is not an easy one. Just to put things in perspective, most SharePoint ISVs that play in some of the same markets as AvePoint do not even have that many employees combined, let alone engineers or Research & Development staff. Our support engineers are fortified by our 500+ R&D organization, which by the end of 2011 will exceed 800. This journey has certainly brought AvePoint a long way since we started building out our international presence in 2005 from our little office, deep in the woods of Somerset, New Jersey.

    Much like the principles distilled in Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, AvePoint has crossed the chasm from a cool, small startup technology company serving early adopter customers of SharePoint 2001 and 2003, to today’s true enterprise-strength product company that helps our more than 8,000 customers worldwide scale and manage their rapidly maturing SharePoint 2007 and 2010 deployments. To accomplish this, AvePoint’s management team made a conscious, concerted effort to expand our footprint internationally. While many companies found comfort in staying in their local markets, we went out of our comfort zone to go international.

    Another big initiative at AvePoint is to reinvest every single dime back into the business year after year, without incurring any debt. This highly disciplined business practice, while at times seeming overly frugal and restrictive, has become the hallmark of our culture, DNA, and mantra: “Invest for the future and anything is possible.” This practice is what paid us dividends through the great recession years of 2008 and 2009, enabling us to continue our exponential growth for nine straight years. Even today, all top AvePoint executives still fly economy class – even for long-haul, 14-16 hour non-stop flights. Our attitude is to never rest on our laurels, be grateful for our present opportunities, and always challenge ourselves to go above and beyond expectations.

    AvePoint Chairman and Co-CEO Kai Gong always tells our top management team, “Nothing in business comes naturally.” So our new level of 24/7 excellence in customer support is treated internally at AvePoint as serious as the development of any of our new products. As today’s customers rely more on SharePoint as their strategic collaboration and application development platform, risk-averse and high-performance customers demand off-hour technical support. For example, what IT team would conduct major SharePoint migration or upgrade projects during production hours or even weekdays? Interestingly enough, given today’s critical shortage of SharePoint expertise, our support organization found that more than 60 percent of the calls and support tickets we field are about teaching our customers how to fix issues with their own SharePoint deployments. So, in many ways, our global support and technical pre/post sales organizations act as Microsoft SharePoint evangelists and consultants. This is why it’s critical for every one of our engineers to be certified in SharePoint in order to provide technical know-how and tackle any SharePoint deployment variants, be it on-premise, hosted, or Office 365 hybrid environments. Fortunately, DocAve as a SharePoint infrastructure management software platform also lends itself scalable in managing multiple SharePoint environments, across different networks and domains as well as versions of SharePoint.

    2011 is a very exciting year for AvePoint. As our existing and potential customers and partners worldwide will learn throughout the year, there are many exciting new developments – and even surprising announcements – coming out every single month. So stay tuned to watch AvePoint progress, as we work hard to implement and roll out global expansions and upgrades to guide our entire organization across the chasm and into greatness.

    TJ

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    TJ
    Dr. Tianyi (TJ) Jiang oversees product strategy and business development for AvePoint’s global businesses, and is one of the main architects in guiding AvePoint’s evolution to become a Collaboration Enabler, focusing on helping enterprises in their digitization journey to enable employees to collaborate with confidence. Prior to co-founding AvePoint, TJ’s career focus was on designing and implementing fix-income trading systems, global equity program trading platforms, credit risk modeling, and conducting research in Data Mining. A recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in New Jersey in 2010, TJ received both B.S. and Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University, and a Master of Philosophy and PhD in Data Mining from Department of Information Systems, Operations Management, and Statistics, Stern School of Business, New York University.

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