Questra Corp., founded in 2003, markets the Questra IDM Application Suite as a new way to help manufacturers remotely manage their products. The technology serves as a "last-mile connection for companies between their internal business processes and how their products are actually working out at customer locations," says CEO Emil Wang.
The concept of an always-on relationship with the customer challenges manufacturers' traditional "out of sight, out of mind" thinking, says Glen Allmendinger, president of Harbor Research. "This is really foreign, uncharted turf." Not all companies are gun-shy, however. A growing number of medical device manufacturers are Questra customers. Most have service teams that respond to product failures, Allmendinger says. "Do you really need that many guys driving a truck up to a hospital every day?"
"Break-fix is the obvious, easy place to start," Wang says. The epiphany comes when Questra's customers think, " 'Wait a minute, I have a lot of information [from the product] that has got to be valuable to my end customer — how can I package that up and sell it?' "
Technology has opened the market door for Questra: The microprocessors embedded in a growing universe of products can monitor their performance and communicate that information to the manufacturer.
Allmendinger likes Questra's prospects, assuming the company can wait for manufacturers to embrace a new way of thinking about customer relations. Partnerships with back-end systems vendors represent a key strategy. Questra is well-positioned there, having already attracted the attention — and investment — of SAP's venture arm.
- YEAR FOUNDED: 2003
- PRODUCT NAME AND CATEGORY: Questra IDM Application Suite/intelligent device management
- INDUSTRY SEGMENTS SERVED: Medical devices, production imaging, power systems, life sciences, packaging, control systems
- KEY PROBLEM SOLVED: Lets manufacturers remotely monitor their equipment in the field so they can fix impending or existing problems or create new revenue streams through novel services
- DIFFERENTIATION: In addition to M2M hardware and network capabilities, Questra delivers applications that can be used for monitoring, usage tracking, diagnostics, and alerts. The software also integrates with ERP, CRM, service management, and other legacy applications.
- TOP CUSTOMERS: Cooper Bussmann, GE Healthcare, Samsung
- FUNDING: Venture capital-backed, including Trident Capital, Menlo Ventures, and SAP Venture Fund