The IN Crowd: High Tech Grows in Indiana


The IN Crowd: High Tech Grows in Indiana

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 11, 2014

Silicon Valley is the undisputed high tech hub of the world, but it’s certainly not where all of the action is. The Indianapolis area also has a vibrant and growing tech scene.

Indeed, Forbes in November 2013 ranked Indianapolis among the top 10 metro areas for technology job growth. Computer-related employment from 2009 to 2012 in the Indianapolis-Carmel Metropolitan Statistical Area grew 7.3 percent while job growth of all occupations in the same area increased 2 percent, according to BLS. (That’s compared to a decline of all occupations nationally of 0.3 percent for the same period of time.) And of those computer-related occupations, reports the TechPoint Tech Employer Survey, software applications developers were the most in demand.

The number of jobs at and value of tech companies in the state have experienced some of that growth in light of the fact that several of Indiana’s tech firms have been acquired by industry market leaders, which have opted to keep those operations in Indiana. Since 2007, a dozen tech companies in Central Indiana have either been acquired or have gone public, generating $4.5 billion in market value and creating more than 3,700 jobs in the state.


ExactTarget is among the Indiana companies that have been purchased by much larger entities. In July of 2013, – the leader in the quickly growing CRM market and a pioneer of the new IT business model known as software-as-a-service – acquired the cloud-based marketing platform provider for $2.5 billion.

Marketing automation involves managing the pipeline to revenue – starting with attracting the right kind of traffic, engaging that traffic, and then converting it to sales, notes Lori Wizdo (News - Alert), principal analyst at Forrester Research, while CRM addresses the back end of the process. The combination of ExactTarget and fits in with what is becoming an industry-wide trend to unify all the different pieces of the customer experience so businesses can better understand their customers, offer them assistance as needed and via the communication media they prefer, and reach out to customers and prospects with timely and targeted messages.

As tech has evolved and the world of marketing has changed and expanded, the smartphone has become the dashboard of our lives, notes Amanda Leet, vice president of marketing at what is now called ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. So it’s important for companies to understand that, and to know that customers are out there having experiences with their brands whether or not they are present in a particular channel. If businesses are not already listening to and engaging with customers and prospects across all the channels in which those individuals exist, and along the entire customer journey, they are missing out, adds Leet. That’s because every customer touch point is an opportunity to create a customer for life.   

ExactTarget was in business for 13 years prior to the acquisition, says Leet, but its purchase by – which Forbes recently named the tech industry’s most innovative company – really helped put Indianapolis on the high tech map. (News - Alert) is headquartered in San Francisco and has global offices in some of the largest cities around the world, but the company elected to keep ExactTarget’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. Indiana’s expanding talent pool, and the community’s collaborative environment and passion to succeed contributed to that decision, says Leet.

In return for the many benefits the community provides, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud gives back through its 1-1-1 Model of integrated corporate philanthropy. That effort includes donating 1 percent of the company’s equity, 1 percent of employees' time, and 1 percent of its product to help local Indiana non-profits achieve their missions. The company has paid out more than $300,000 in matching grant dollars to nearly 400 local organizations, and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud employees have completed more than 20,000 volunteer hours, with 165 local organizations having benefitted.

Interactive Intelligence

Another high-profile company on the Indianapolis tech scene is Interactive Intelligence. In fact, the company was named Tech Company of the Year by TechPoint, which in May honored 21 Indiana tech companies and innovators.

A fast-growing global company that trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol ININ, Interactive Intelligence develops cloud and on-premises unified IP business communications solutions that help contact centers and enterprises of all sizes improve their customers’ experience. That includes Interactive’s latest cloud services for communications, collaboration and customer engagement delivered from its next-generation PureCloud platform.

The Interactive Intelligence solutions are backed by more than 6,000 customer deployments worldwide, which has fueled the company’s revenue (to $318 million last year) and enabled it to create new jobs. The company added 170 jobs in Indiana in 2013. This year the company added another 231 Indiana-based jobs, which is driving its north-side Indianapolis headquarters expansion. That involves the opening next year of a new $12.5-million, 112,000-square-foot building at its headquarters campus, which already occupies nearly 300,000 square feet spanning four buildings.

The Indianapolis Business Journal this summer quoted Interactive Intelligence CEO Dr. Donald E. Brown, saying: “We continue to expand, particularly here in Indianapolis, which has necessitated another campus building at our northwest side world headquarters. We’re fortunate that Indiana has such a well-educated and talented labor pool from which to draw. As a software company, it’s these high-quality employees that have enabled us to grow into a successful, publicly-traded company capable of competing with competitors many times our size.”

While some competitors are indeed larger, Interactive Intelligence is now the state’s 14th largest public company, and it’s growing at a faster rate than competing companies within its industry, according to Mike Langellier, president and chief executive at TechPoint.

"Given the size of the company today, for them to grow revenue and grow their stock price, that's significant,” says Langellier. “We're not talking about a little company."

In addition to the jobs and other financial benefits Interactive Intelligence brings to Indiana, it also stimulates the local hospitality industry with its annual, global customer and partner event, INTERACTIONS. INTERACTIONS 2014 this summer drew more than 2,000 people to Indianapolis.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made an appearance at the event, telling the audience that the state of Indiana uses Interactive Intelligence software in its Family and Social Services Administration, Department of Revenue, and Department of Workforce Development.

The governor also talked about what the state of Indiana brings to the table for its citizens and the organizations that do business there. That includes a balanced budget with significant reserves, a Triple-A bond rating, growing funds for roads and schools, and what promises to be the lowest corporate tax rate in America.

Teradata (News - Alert)

Analytical data platforms and applications company Teradata is yet another successful business that calls the great state of Indiana its home.

Like ExactTarget, the Indiana-based part of Teradata was the subject of an acquisition. Aprimo, a 30-year-old company out of Indianapolis, was acquired by Teradata in early 2011. Dayton, Ohio-based Teradata remains in Indianapolis today.

Teradata, which has more than 3,000 customers worldwide and has seen solid growth, is a Gartner (News - Alert) Magic Quadrant leader in integrated marketing management, multichannel campaign management, and marketing resource management. TechPoint last year presented Teradata with a Mira award for its efforts in data-driven marketing.

The company prides itself on the customer experience it delivers, and it is helping other organizations address the customer experience as well.

Getting the customer experience right starts with having a vision of what the experience should look like, and then listening to the needs of the customer. Organizations then need to reshape that vision based on the voice of the market, and execute the vision across all channels, says Teradata CMO Lisa Arthur.

Teradata is drinking the Kool-Aid. It has created customer advisory councils to keep abreast of customer needs and opinions, it hosts an annual Partner Steering Committee event where it networks with customers, and it does customer satisfaction surveys each year.

The company also acts as a strategic advisor to its customers and provides education to them via various channels. For example, Teradata has published a book. Big Data Marketing, written by Arthur, guides organizations through the best practices for leveraging data to elevate marketing efforts and better engage with customers.

In a recent interview with CUSTOMER magazine, Arthur talked about what Teradata finds engaging about the business environment in Indianapolis. That includes what she calls the vibrant tech community, the passion and talent around technology, and the quality of life for Teradata employees. The area’s world-class universities, including Indiana University (News - Alert) and Purdue, and the Orr Fellowship, she adds, are also draws of the area.

The Orr Fellowship incents recent Indiana college graduates to stay in state by providing them challenging 2-year assignments with local businesses and organizations. Leadership training is also provided as part of the experience.

“It can be all tailored around their needs and what they need to learn and grow,” explains Arthur.

The company has hired on all of the Orr fellows it has hosted to date. That’s good news both for Teradata, for the graduates, and for the community at large.

“Indianapolis is a great place to live and work,” she says.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]
blog comments powered by Disqus