Learning from Tech Companies that Grew in Q4 2008

Despite all the gloomy economic news, there are a handful of companies that grew revenue in Q4 2008. Consumers and businesses are spending money, albeit a little more selectively. Below are a few notable tech companies that got more of their fair share of revenue in Q4 2008 (the third quarter in our ongoing worldwide economic recession):

Q4 2008 Growth
Callidus Software

First off, I want to congratulate these companies for their strategies, operating plans and teamwork that resulted in positive outcomes despite uncertain conditions. In addition to revenue growth, many of these companies created new products and avoided mass layoffs in the past period.

Here are a few statements from the corporate executives (emphasis is mine):

Sybase chairman, CEO, and president John Chen: Sybase’s success “…is the result of judiciously investing in our Unwired Enterprise strategy, together with our ongoing efforts to streamline operations and prudently manage company assets. …I am optimistic in our continued ability to execute well.”

Informatica chairman and CEO Sohaib Abbasi: “Our results…demonstrate the operational discipline of the Informatica team to navigate the economic turmoil. We are well prepared to pursue our strategy and continue to focus on operating income in the quarters to come.”

Callidus Software president and CEO Leslie Stretch: “We entered 2008 with just over 20% of total revenues being of a recurring nature, and we exited the year with almost 40% of total revenues coming from the recurring category. I am also proud of the effort we made to streamline the business and bring operating expenses in line with our profitability goals.

ShoreTel chief executive officer John W. Combs: “ShoreTel continues to build momentum with strong sequential international revenue growth and continued focus on developing innovative solutions that help our customers cut costs without compromising performance.”

VMWare president and chief executive officer Paul Maritz: “We are making solid progress on our three key initiatives to build on our virtualization leadership in the datacenter, the cloud and on the desktop. We are executing on our product roadmap, strengthening our ecosystem of partners, and bolstering our management team – both globally and operationally. VMware is well-prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

What can we learn from these businesses? A lot. No, I don’t expect these companies to disclose details of any draconian tactics they employed to hit their numbers. But all of the executives are signaling the sources of future success. Some of those signals include my favorite themes: strategic focus, execution excellence and optimism.