Spiceworks, the Texas-based social business platform for IT professionals, is launching a new European headquarters in London, to expand its presence in the region and meet demand from technology brands.
By the beginning of 2012, Spiceworks intends to have six full-time employees in the UK, focused on serving European-based advertisers. The company has already partnered with more than 60 technology brands to run marketing campaigns in various countries in the region.
“Spiceworks has become the best place in Europe for technology brands to connect with IT pros at small and medium enterprises,” said Scott Abel, co-founder and CEO of Spiceworks. “Our online traffic in the UK alone is expanding by 70 percent year-over-year.”
The Spiceworks social business network combines free network management, network monitoring and help desk software with a Facebook-like community of IT professionals. Members can use the application to discuss issues, share advice and information on particular technologies and services, and even get quotes from vendors for new products.
Meanwhile, IT vendors can set up profile pages, converse with members of the community and deliver targeted advertising on the network. Spiceworks claims that $300 billion worth of technology products and services are transacted on the network each year.
Since launching in 2006, Spiceworks has mainly targeted the SMB market, but Abel said that around nine percent of usage is now by enterprises with more than 1,000 employees. He said that this was a big growth area for the company, adding: “The bigger the installation, the more they use Spiceworks.”
As most of the applications are offered for free, the company monetises its platform through a combination of advertising, platform fees for large vendors and commerce within Spiceworks. This is the first year that the company has broken even, and it is forecasting positive revenues for 2012.
Looking ahead, the company's focus will shift from simply presenting data to providing the information that users need to solve problems. This could range from collaborative help desks – allowing users to share their help desk tickets to collaborate on problems – to creating a 'social knowledge base', where members can post their own FAQs and 'how-to' guides for use by other members of the community.
“Today, Spiceworks has become this very rich data environment where, if you know what you're looking for, it's probably in there; but about 75 percent of the IT pros we've met ended up in the job accidentally,” said Abel. “That means they don't know, early in their career, what's the right way to solve a problem. We can help because we have the knowledge of 1.5million IT pros to go on, and so we can stream that content into the app.”
Spiceworks is also keen to expand its cloud offerings and mobile portfolio. The company already offers applications for Android smartphone and Apple's iPhone, and is now looking at apps for the iPod, Android tablets and Windows Phone.
The company’s first European conference, SpiceWorld London 2012, will take place on 24-25 May 2012. The conference is designed to connect IT professionals from small and medium enterprises with leading technology brands in the UK.