From the brink of bankruptcy in the 2000s to the company’s highest second quarter revenue in 2016, Ottawa-based Intouch Insight Ltd. has seen some major changes. This year has been no exception. With a new brand, the data software and service company is heading into 2017 with a focused optimism for its future.
However, in its third quarter ending Sept. 30, the company announced a net loss of $34,101 compared to its net earnings of $159,954 from the same quarter in 2015. Contrasting to earning its highest second quarter revenue of $3.5 million in its previous quarter, Intouch’s third quarter revenue was $3.1 million compared to $2.3 million in 2015. The company was pushed into a loss due to a receivable loss from the bankruptcy of one of its clients.
“For the last couple years—and frankly—for the next year we are not focused on where the business is today. We are focused on where the business needs to be,” says Cameron Watt, president and CEO.
A part of that focus was rebranding the company’s image and product line. It changed its name from In-touch Survey Systems, launched a new website and streamlined its products into two lines, Intouch for Operation and Intouch for Events, which provide specific data collection tools for businesses and events.
The rebrand, in part, was meant to bring brands from previous acquisitions together. Intouch was managing six brands including its own and the brands from the five companies it previously acquired. Watt says they became unruly. The rebrand solved the situation while also taking into account the changing nature of the company’s products.
“It was a bit of, ‘well let’s clean up the past, but let’s not just clean up the past, let’s engineer for the future.’ And we did them both simultaneously,” said Watt.
Intouch Insight develops managed mobile technology and services to aid companies with data collection and analysis, as well as business and event management. It provides both services for data collection and downloadable software so the companies can do it themselves. Intouch is currently headed by Watt who has been in the position since 2013.
The company went public in 2002 with founder, Peter Andrews. For much of the 2000s the company edged on bankruptcy, but managed to survive the 2008 recession and become stable again with former CEO, Michael Gaffney. Although it was stable, Watt says it was not “tooled for the future.” Watt says he is now concentrating on creating a sustainable company.
A lot of development and marketing has gone into Intouch Check, the company’s first software-as-a-service product. These products can be downloaded with recurring licence fees which generates a source of recurring revenue for the company, and ultimately, a source of growth.
The search for recurring revenue
Recurring revenue is something James Bowen, a University of Ottawa business professor, says is crucial for businesses. He says selling a product that guarantees revenue for an allotted amount of time allows companies to multiply its revenue because the more clients it has, the more monthly revenue it receives. This then allows it to put more money back into the company to improve it.
“It’s like walking up stairs. It incrementally jumps the revenue to a new level,” said Bowen.
Intouch’s ability to receive recurring revenues from its software-as-a-service products in addition to the services it already offers is a unique feature, according to Watt.
“We have a larger breath and ability than most competitors in any of the individual things that we do. It’s the extent that we can tie those together and do the cross-selling.”
Streamlining the breadth of its brands will continue to be a strategy in the coming year. Watt says Intouch has created room in its brand for future product ideas and will be investing in product development to eliminate its legacy technologies and bring all its product lines together on a common set of technology.
New technologies and new services
Despite not breaking even in its third quarter, the company is optimistic for the future. Former CEO and current executive chairman, Michael Gaffney says he is very positive about the direction the company is headed in.
“We are a leader in the capture and processing data for companies, and we will continue to develop technologies to improve the services we provide to these companies,” said Gaffney.
As for Watt, he says the goal for right now is to run the best business he can, to get the best return for shareholders, but he is optimistic about future of the company.
“Do I want to be farther ahead than I am right now? Of course, I do,” said Watt. “But does it change my optimism for the future? No.”