A Conversation with VT MAK
One of the great things about ITEC is it is an ideal opportunity – roughly half a year on from the last ITEC – to take the pulse of the industry. We are a variegated community of many facets, cultures and viewpoints. Although a shudderingly high percentage of exhibitors at this year’s ITEC in Stuttgart come from just four countries (US, UK, Germany and France), we are nonetheless a global community and an ambition for MONCh this week is to gain views from as many nationalities as possible – though not all the content will necessarily appear in these ‘pages’ immediately!
Early on the first day an opportunity arose to quiz Ben Lubetsky, Vice President of Sales & Business Development for VT MAK and a 30-year veteran of the industry. Interestingly, the company is exhibiting with Antycip Simulation, which represents VT MAK’s suite of products in most of Europe, and using ITEC to judge the dynamics of the European and international market. Is it moving forward, shrinking or stagnating? “If you want a controversial perspective, then the market is not growing,” Mr. Lubetsky told MONCh this morning. He justifies this by pointing to the number of players addressing a relatively static market: in addition to new kids on the block, the existing ‘usual suspects’ continue to vie for market share, even those who profess to have left the industry. “If you look at product lines and marketing stances real close, you’ll see that very few have left this space completely,” Mr. Lubetsky comments with a wry smile.
That said, the company’s own growth in recent years has been driven by both strategy and focus. “We have been pretty successful in supporting US companies’ international programmes,” he asserts, adding that this has been a significant contributor to growth in the recent past. Primarily a software solutions provider, VT MAK’s main customers are the OEMs and major integrators – the companies at the pinnacle of the defence supply chain. “Talking to these guys over the last few years about direction has been interesting. Business was booking – then it stopped booming and the two most frequent answers to the question ‘where are you going next?’ were ‘A focus on international – especially the Middle East and Asia,’ and ‘a focus on adjacent markets to defence.’”
That’s good news for Mr. Lubetsky and his team, apparently. “We heard where the market was going and resolved to try to integrate our way out, taking share from others as we did so.” He feels the company has been pretty successful in this and, for example, new innovative product solutions, such as the VR Engage multirole virtual simulator launched late last year, are already gaining traction, with an indication of real opportunities emerging in Europe and Asia. “The key issue here is to innovate – if you’re not innovating, go home!” he told MONCh.
Mr. Lubetsky has a lot more to say – particularly about the way in which private cloud and virtualisation solutions are likely to dominate the short term future. “All the Tier 1 companies are pushing us in this direction,” he confessed. But that is a story for another day.
Watch this space.