Where Are They Now—K2 revisited

Monday, April 28, 2008

Note: This article was originally posted on the Microsoft Startup Zone blog and appears here in its entirety, unchanged and unedited.

K2 Snags 1,500 Customers in 42 Countries—20 percent of the Fortune 100

K2 (a division of SourceCode Technology Holdings, Inc.) says it is changing the way people use software. In 1997, it set out to build a better workflow product, and make it applicable to just about any type of industry. Today, it is doing that and more by offering a platform for building process-driven applications that improve business efficiency for all kinds of organizations. It can be set up to automate and manage business processes—such as document approval or inventory tracking—or pull together business processes, people, services, information and systems into a single application that helps drive business. You can even use it like building blocks to assemble new applications. In this way, K2 eliminates the complexity of traditional software development. It’s easy to use, visual tools enable business people and technical people to collaborate and assemble process-driven applications. The company’s flagship product is K2 [blackpearl]—a business process management tool for the enterprise.

The Microsoft Connection?
According to Adriaan Van Wyk, CEO of K2, “We set out more than seven years ago to build software on the Microsoft platform that would help people be more productive working in process automated environments. As we saw Microsoft innovate with the introduction of Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server and Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) as a platform, and saw the enhancements in Office and the Office system, it created so many more opportunities for us as an organization, and allowed us to expand our vision of what we could do with customers. It extended beyond the Office System to include the Microsoft BizTalk Server to address the system-to-system and EAI space. If I look at the core platform itself, the .NET platform, Visual Studio, and new technologies like Silverlight, it certainly has changed the way we look at our own software and capabilities and the problems that we solve for our customers.” Having worked with the Emerging Business Team since 2004, Van Wyk says, “We’ve had a great working relationship with just about all aspects of Microsoft—from the field organization, to technical assistance to early engagements with product teams.” Specifically, the company has worked with the Connected System Division, Developer Evangelism, and the Office team. Explains Van Wyk, “This has given us the insight, and empowered us to innovate with them, and enabled us to attach to their innovation cycles. That has probably been one of the key success factors of the relationship and of our making the decision to back our entire business on the Microsoft platform—Microsoft has allowed us to work with them, and be successful with them.” The original Microsoft connection came when K2 was working with another Microsoft customer—it had only a handful of customers at that time. Once Microsoft saw the technology, Van Wyk says they were quick to help them achieve success. Recalls Van Wyk, “They wrote up our story and published it to their internal knowledge base where other divisions within Microsoft became aware of our solution, and invited us to engage with their customers as well.”
“If you look at where we were just five years ago, it is a phenomenal success story of how Microsoft empowered a company like ours to be part of their ecosystem and achieve success,” says Van Wyk.

Where are they now?
The company has grown from three customers and a few employees back in 2000 to 300 employees and 1,500 customers in 42 countries worldwide. Today, the company has about 20 percent of the Fortune 100 as customers including big-name companies such as BMW, Pfizer, Wells Fargo, Allianz, Accenture, and Microsoft. K2 is also profitable and growing about 50 percent year-over-year by revenue. As a Global ISV and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, K2 has won a number of Microsoft awards including the Information Worker Solutions Technology Partner of the Year in 2006. As it looks to the future, it continues to leverage Microsoft technologies, such as SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, together with the next-generation of server technologies such as Oslo. On its front office, it will be making investments in the Office System and in Silverlight, as well as the Unified Communications products. Says Van Wyk, “We plan to broaden our reach with customers and take most of our products and our offerings and offer them in a service-oriented way to allow a new generation of customers to get the benefits as well. There’s a lot of work happening between us and Microsoft to enable that. The whole software plus services (S+S) model is very key for us, and we’re going commercial with it in the next 12 months.”