Podcast - The Xait Factor episode 10 is out!

Podcast - The Xait Factor episode 10 is out!

Trine Lise Gjelstad
27. Aug 2021 | 19 min read

Podcast - The Xait Factor episode 10 is out!

David Valdez and Eirik Gudmundsen discuss the recent acquisition of Privia by Xait. The move allows Xait to ramp up in the government contracting market while providing Privia customers new innovations and capabilities to boost sales enablement. Privia was established in 2005 and is located in Virginia, USA. The company has 5 employees, who will be joining the Xait team. Find out more in this important interview.

 

Listen to the podcast directly here: The Xait Factor or listen on Spotify
Host, Kevin Craine Brought to you by Xait.

About The Xait Factor

Welcome to The Xait Factor! This is the show that explores the future of collaboration, today...and how coauthoring and team collaboration are essential skills for every 21st century enterprise.

 

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Below is a direct transcription of the episode, errors might occur and we encourage you to listen to the episode for the full Xait Factor experience.

Kevin Craine
Welcome to The Xait Factor. This is the show that explores the future of collaboration today. And how co authoring and team collaboration are essential skills for every 21st century enterprise. To succeed today requires the ability to turn the remote workplace into a strength with tools and techniques that provide a distinct competitive advantage. And here's one key component to your success, The Xait Factor.

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to The Xait Factor. I'm Kevin Craine, coming to you for Xait. And today we're joined by David Valdez, and Eirik Gudmundsen. David is the Chief Financial Officer at Privia, a worldwide provider of capture and proposal management specific solutions to the government contractor market. And Eirik is the CEO of Xait makers of XaitPorter and innovative co authoring and sales enablement software platform. And today, we're here to discuss the recent acquisition of Privia by Xait, what are the business advantages and synergies? And what does it mean for both companies and their customers moving forward?

So Gentlemen, welcome to the show. Now, Eirik, back in June, Xait acquired Privia, as I mentioned, a proposal management solution provider for the government market. This is Xait's second acquisition in the past seven months. Can you tell us a little bit more about this partnership? Why did it make sense for Xait to bring Privia on board?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Thanks, Kevin. Yeah, so this is the second acquisition in seven months, it's also our second acquisition during the pandemic. So it's great to see that we're able to continue kind of growing also inorganically during such a period. Xait, as a company have established a strategy to help sales organizations win more business. And we want to do that by providing them with best in class software within the sales enablement space. Over the years, we've had success , with our proposal software XaitPorter, as you mentioned. And we've had success both in US and in Europe, especially within oil and gas, life science, as well as industrial products and services. Privia, on the other hand, they've had success in the US government contractors market. And what we really identified early on when we met and discussed with premier was that the type of challenges and pain points that they saw in their market, were exactly the same type of pain points that we've seen in our markets that we serve. And it therefore it made a lot of sense to us to partner up with them, and then see how we together can help our customers solve these challenges.

Kevin Craine
Well, David, how does this feel for you? I mean, how will the synergy of both Privia and XaitPorter benefit your customers and users?

David Valdez
So our customers and users will benefit from the increase in product development. As we migrate customers to Xait, we plan to develop key features, keep Privia features into the Xait platform. We also see Xait having security first with their ISO 27001 certification. So that's important to our customers. They also strive to have certifications that are required by the US government. So we have to stay ahead of that.

Kevin Craine
So the synergy between the two, it sounds like a rich synergy. What should customers expect, with the transition in terms of some of the new features and some of the new advantages, David?

David Valdez
So initially, not much, the Privia customers will continue to receive the same or better level of service they're accustomed to. And in the next 12 months, we will begin migrating customers to the Xait platform.

Kevin Craine
All right, very good. And then the future moving forward at least short term 2021,2022. Eirik, where do you see the partnership going? In terms of new market region, new customer advantage?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Yeah, so certainly we believe, as I mentioned in the beginning, we believe that serving the government contractors market is is a great fit with the XaitPorter platform. We basically solve many of the same challenges that we've already solved for our customers in other industries. And I really think there is a lot more potential for customers in the government contractors market, to take advantage of co-authoring and technologies that help I can help them create these proposals faster and more efficiently. So, you know, there's going to be some synergies in terms of technologies. But even more, so I think there'll be lots of synergies where where government contracts with customers will get kind of the benefit of the experience we've had from our industry. And then, with the pieces that we bring in from previous to XaitPorter, our existing customers and the industries we serve will then have benefit from from what previous done over the years.

Kevin Craine
For our audience members that may be technically focused, Eirik, what what are some of the technical differences and synergies? I know, there are some differences structurally between Xait and Privia? Xait is a database driven solution? Whereas Privia is file based? Can you explain a bit of the differences and advantages technically in two approaches?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Sure. We always get asked, you know, what are the differences, and the first thing that comes to mind is the similarities. So, of course, and that might be less technical, but it's quite important, because at the core, we are very similar. We've been around for the same amount of time around 20 years. And we have that experience in proposal writing, so to say, and we know how to help customers be more efficient in creating these proposals and make sure that these proposals have the highest quality. And you mentioned content based and really what Xait does slightly differently on the technical side is we break the document into content pieces. And those are stored on a database. So we often call that database driven. I'd like to call it content driven. Basically, we focus on pieces of content that needs to be written in order to get the best proposal at the end of the day. And that can be done in parallel, people can write and review and approve each content in parallel. And then you can assemble that into the proposal at the very end. This is something that's very difficult to achieve with a file based approach. And this is really a game changer for many of our customers when they first move to that approach. And this is also the difference, we really believe our Privia customer base and market will really benefit.

Kevin Craine
So it is the workflow aspects and the approval capabilities that are standing out as benefits for Privia customers. David, is that about right? What excites you most about making the move to XaitPorter?

David Valdez
Well, Privia customers are very excited about co-authoring and co-authoring will be able to improve writing efficiency. So currently Privia users take turns editing a document, with Xait the user will be able to do the writing in their sections simultaneously. So Xait offers co-authoring in a controlled environment. And proposal managers liked the idea of co-authoring, but need the ability to control who can make the edits and ability to approve those edits.

Kevin Craine
Gentlemen, do you think that that is essentially the secret sauce or competitive advantage moving forward in 2021, 2022 and beyond?

Eirik Gudmundsen
We certainly believe the content based approach is unique, and one key ingredient for success, that's for sure. And also remember, once you've created lots of content pieces, you actually have a large content database. And you can reuse that content for future proposals. And obviously, if you've done this over many years, you'll basically be more and more efficient in writing your proposal because you take the best of what you've already done in you know, throughout the years of content writing, and then you add the new pieces that's gonna kind of win you the deal.

Kevin Craine
And it really enables a remote workforce in a much bigger way now too which also seems to me to be a certainly an advantage, especially today as organizations are reworking potentially rethinking how they work together as teams.

David Valdez
Yes, I agree. So many of the team members of the contributors are working sometimes in different time zones, at different hours of the day, in different locations and being able to co-author is key because in previous sometimes we have users that lock a file to make edits, that no longer will be a problem because everybody can go in and make the edits when it's convenient for them. There are times when you're set to a specific date to deliver the writing. So with Xait, you can set those reminder but allow everybody to work at the same time, rather than taking turns.

Kevin Craine
We are speaking with David Valdez, Chief Financial Officer at Privia. And Eirik Gudmundsen, CEO of Xait, we're talking about the recent acquisition of Privia by Xait some of the synergies benefits what the future holds. David, as you're talking, and I think you mentioned earlier, the security aspects of all of this, it seems to me that we're just seeing perhaps the tip of the iceberg of cybersecurity challenges worldwide today. When it comes to these types of critical, high value documents, certainly we need to have a primary concern about security. XaitPorter and Privia have adressed this, can you tell us a little bit more?

David Valdez
So we we started, we started with deforce compliance and this compliance, and it's evolved most recently in 2021, with CMMC certification, so both for bionic sight are working together to to work on the CMMC certification that's going to be required by all of our government contractors in the next five years. So it's something that we understand and our customers already reaching out to us, as of now, making sure that we're working toward that maturity level of cybersecurity.

Kevin Craine
Eirik, where do you see the future headed for both Privia and Xait working together? What are you excited about most as you look to the future?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Well, as we're now getting out of the pandemic, I certainly look forward to actually meet David face to face. Good first step, but tyeah I think the pandemic has kind of helped shift focus a little, and the workplace has certainly become much more virtual since since it started. And I think for both our solutions, we're already catering for that virtual workplace. But I think now, even more than before, we're in kind of in the right spot to have our customers explore that further. And you know, we're currently in the process of also leveraging new technologies in order to create solutions that will help our customer even more going forward. And we're about to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies on our content database, which can help customers, for instance quickly understand the RFPs coming in, what's being asked from this RFP? And how can we, as a company best respond to that, and then having a guided approach when you receive the RFP in, and then helping them kind of create a proposal that is fit for purpose as efficiently as possible. So certainly, applying these modern technologies, is really one area that we are sure will be more explored going forward. And we have already started investing also in some of that.

Kevin Craine
Now, Eirik, that's a bit of exciting news. Perhaps we're getting a little bit of a scoop here on the show today, but you're talking about using AI and machine learning technologies and capabilities. To help an organization evaluate a potential proposal tender, a potential deal, understand it more quickly, and understand whether it's a good fit or not, and then also consult someone on the best steps moving forward. Is that about, right?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Yeah, that's at least our vision. And, of course, we try to develop this step by step. We have developed algorithms and technologies. And we've started applying that now to, to these RFPs request for proposals or customer information. So that's the first. And we can see already from the testing we've done with our customers that it adds a lot of value. Sometimes customers go through these RFPs manually, hundreds a week or hundreds a month. And it's very, very time consuming. So we believe there's a lot, we can deliver a value there. And of course, the scoop is that we are releasing something very soon. And that's the first step of a longer vision.

Kevin Craine
Well I'll tell you, what excites me about it, Eirik, is that we often hear about these types of technologies applied to current processes to build efficiencies, reduce costs, and I like that what you folks are talking about here is using those technologies to gain more revenue or gain more market or be easier to buy from here or sell more efficiently and sort of on the different side of the equation that's not saving money, it's making money. And that excites me. Do you feel that that is the big opportunity, as we start digging into the sales enablement process moving forward?

Eirik Gudmundsen
Absolutely. Sometimes, we focus maybe too much on the efficiency of using our solution, you know, being 70% more efficient is a tagline we use. But of course, you will not win unless you deliver the right proposal. And the quality of the proposal is just as important. By leveraging the content and data you have, I think there's a bigger chance for customers to to write a high quality proposal that will actually help you win. And you could even use past wins as kind of a guiding point for future proposals so that you can let the machine learn from what you've won, previously. And when you write new proposals.

Kevin Craine
David, I'll ask you the same question. What do you see? Is the future working together? And why are you excited about this partnership?

David Valdez
Well, as I mentioned, I'm excited for our customers to be able to use Xait's co-authoring. I think those capabilities are what they've been asking for, they've asked that of Privia, but we we've had a different type of technology. So with Xait, we'll be able to give them what they need, and be able to control the writing process that they go through. Being able to also evaluate the the RFPs and RFI is very important to them. I mean, they're not looking at just efficiency, but also accuracy and making sure that they have the right resources to respond to the the RFP and then later the delivery of that bit; that response to that proposal.

Kevin Craine
You have been listening to The Xait Factor. We're here with David Valdez from Privia and Eirik Gudmundsen from Xait talking about the recent acquisition and partnership between Privia and Xait. And gentlemen, it's been great speaking with you today, we're almost out of time. But before I let you go a question to both of you. And David, perhaps I could start with you. What do you believe executives and business owners should be thinking about now and strategizing for today, in order to be prepared for the world in five years time?

David Valdez
Well, our customers, our US government contractors, and they should be working towards CMMC compliance with the requirement beginning in 2021. And there's a phased approached over the next five years. So they have to be working toward that certification, and making sure that their suppliers also meet that certification.

Kevin Craine
And Eirik, what do you believe that executives and business owners should be thinking about today in order to be prepared for the world in five years time?

Eirik Gudmundsen
I certainly think that automation will become more and more important in the next couple of years. And that automation will also be part of proposal creation and proposal delivery, for sure. And if you're gonna be ready for a change in your own business, I think you need to start looking at how you're organizing your content. And if you start organizing and structuring your content in an efficient way today, I think you'll be much closer than you think to a highly automated proposal process tomorrow.

Kevin Craine
That is Eirik Gudmundsen and David Valdez. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being our guest today on the show. factor. Thank you, Kevin. Thanks. This has been The Xait Factor brought to you by Xait Join us next time as we continue to explore the future of collaboration today, and how co authoring and team collaboration provide a distinct competitive advantage.

Trine Lise Gjelstad

Trine Lise Gjelstad

Trine Lise is the Digital Marketing Specialist of Xait. She is responsible for elevating Xait`s presence in all marketing surfaces. She has experience from a hybrid agency and a definitive passion for technology! Trine Lise is also a market manager for a popular food festival in Stavanger, and was nominated for a local culture award last year. Her goal is to always convey good stories and create engaging content. When not at work you will find her either front row at a concert or hiking in the mountains.

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