TenFold's core software was developed in C and C++. Additional languages used now are Java and HTML. All applications are PC-based, but are deployed and certified on each customer's hardware and software platforms. Development may be on Sun servers, Windows NT machines, Sequent systems, or any of several UNIX platforms, from HP, Sun, or IBM. Applications all run on the Internet, and are browser- and database independent. Thus, applications may run in Netscape or Internet Explorer, and may interface with MS-SQL Server, Sybase, or ORACLE.

Customer engagements can run from four to six weeks for Fast Start projects, designing interfaces and parallel tests, to eight to ten months, for large-scale complex application development projects. Teams are typically composed of six to twelve people from TenFold and four to six from the client. Each project has four stages: requirements, prepare, deploy, and support. In the requirements phase, team members write an executive overview, concepts manual, and test strategy; train customers on the software; and design the database. In the prepararation stage, team members develop and test intermediate versions of the application, integrate test scenarios, including a volume test, and finish the application. In the deployment stage, team members build interfaces, develop user and system administration procedures, perform data mapping and conversion, tune for performance, run parallel tests, and go live in production. In the support stage, team members optimize performance, provide customer support, deploy to additional sites, and plan enhancements.

Recent projects in the financial services industry have included development of a 200-user portfolio modeling and order generation system for Banc One, and development of an e-business global lending marketplace for Chase Manhattan. In the healthcare industry, projects include development of a contract performance and reimbursement monitoring system for HealthSouth and a web-based cardiovascular outcomes management application for Mercy Health Services. In the Energy sector, TenFold recently developed a suite of applications to create a web-based energy futures trading site for Southern Energy, in Atlanta.

TenFold implements projects in six vertical industries, Insurance (headquartered in Dallas), Investment Management (San Francisco), Healthcare (Dallas), Energy (Atlanta), Banking (Salt Lake City), and Communications (New Jersey).

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Offices are in major metropolitan areas, and may be in suburban office parks or downtown, like the financial districts of San Francisco or New York. Staff members work in private cubicles. Hours vary by site, but a 50-hour workweek, with spurts at product release time, is common. Overtime is paid, and there are incentive bonuses. Travel averages 20 to 40 percent of a staff member's time.

The company offers full medical, dental, vision, and life insurance plans. They observe seven holidays and offer two weeks of vacation. According to Mella, the sick leave policy is very straight forward, "If you are sick you don't come to work." All employees get stock options.

Break rooms are stocked with food and drinks, and the company has game rooms with foosball and dart boards. There are formal holiday parties and bi-annual outings, which may include family picnics or trips to an amusement park, or baseball games. The company sponsors sports teams, such as soccer and volleyball. Dress is business casual. There have never been any layoffs.

TenFold's core values focus on speed, integrity, customers, commitment, employees, long-term strategy, and precision execution. It is a formula for bringing in fixed-cost projects and keeping their promise to customers - no excuses.

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Jeff Walker, founder of Walker Interactive, spent three years with a small, core team of ex-ORACLE developers in an attempt to solve one of the industry's biggest problems, building complex, large-scale applications while sticking to a budget and an agreed-on schedule. He funded this research and development effort on services contracts. By 1996, he was ready to hire Gary Kennedy, former President of ORACLE, who helped grow it from a $1M company to a $1B company, to lead TenFold as its CEO, and start presenting the software to customers. In 1996, revenues were $3M; in 1997, $14M; in 1998, $40M; in 1999, $93M.

The heart of TenFold's software is its Universal Application. It contains components which include the Librarian (graphical user interface), Dictionary (application definition), Sets (data structures), PowerImport (import data), PowerExport (export data), PowerAccounting (log transactions), PowerWorkflow (define business processes), and PowerScoring (define business rules). LogicExpress optimizes code for specific hardware environments and ApplicationsExpress holds application-specific parameters.

But Walker did not just invent an application shell with functions that are repeated in every large-scale application ever developed built into the core of his software. He also developed a scalable, repeatable business model. What has been missing in the industry's attempt to get its arms around software development is an understanding that not only do applications have common functions, but industries have common processes. Before this, a software developer like Shared Medical Systems or HBOC, or a services provider like Andersen Consulting or EDS, simply had to dedicate personnel to understanding an industry, or assign smart people who were quick learners as generalists, across industries. Enterprise Resource Planning software providers, like SAP, are just starting to incorporate industry knowledge to their general-purpose software. Walker took a different approach. He does not fight the fact that domain knowledge is essential in any application development effort. Instead, he carves out industry knowledge as a piece of application development that is as critical to success as SQL calls. And, like SQL calls, is largely common.

And, he makes a deal with customers. In exchange for TenFold's right to retain the intellectual property gained in industry knowledge on each customer assignment, customers gain access to the common industry knowledge collected at other customers' sites, in the form of updated software releases, while preserving the competitive edge of their own proprietary processes and data. And, TenFold isn't going after the projects owned by industry leaders that are specialists in its target verticals, companies that have built up years of industry knowledge in their software. They are going after the new, web-centric, e-business applications that can take advantage of a common application shell that can be tuned for any kind of process, for which the industry leaders have no natural advantage. Yet, TenFold brings the advantage of industry knowledge over other web application developers, like Sapient.

Finally, TenFold goes one step further in its business model. It does not organize around products or customers. It organizes around industries. It takes this organizational structure so far that each industry segment has its own President, in anticipation of the day when it will be spun off in a separate IPO. You would expect forward thinking from a company that grew its revenues more than ten-fold the first three years it sold its product.

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TenFold has 150 core developers in the Development Group, split between offices in San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, and Salt Lake City. This group builds the Universal Application and requires experience in C, C++, SQL, and web development tools. On average, they have a Bachelor's or graduate degree and a range of experience levels. The Application Group is composed of business analysts. Mella describes candidates for these positions as professionals "with a consulting orientation. They should be analytical thinkers who write well and can speak with senior managers at some of the largest companies in the world." These positions do not require C programming skills, but rather the ability to elicit, understand, and describe business processes. Current staff members typically have a Bachelor's or Master's degree and one to ten years of experience. The third group of professionals at TenFold is domain experts. These are typically senior managers who have worked in the target industry for fifteen to twenty years, and may have a Master's or Ph.D degree. Mella summarizes, "We look for people who are brilliant, motivated, and nice."

TenFold has grown from 50 people in 1997 to 600 in first quarter 2000. In the past year, they hired 270 technical professionals, many of whom were for entry-level positions. Cal Tech, MIT, and Stanford are top target schools for entry-level candidates. They expect to hire 300 to 400 in the next year, most entry-level with Bachelor's or Master's degrees. Candidates are found through employee referrals (40 percent), college recruiting (40 percent), the Internet (10 percent), and employment agencies (10 percent). Turnover is lower than the industry average.

Although TenFold has no openings at this time, recent job openings for positions both at corporate headquarters and at regional offices, included Applications Developer, Applications Support Analyst, Software Engineer/Web Applications Developer, Database Architect, Senior Database Designer, Applications Specialist, FIX Protocol Certification Specialist, Senior Software Engineer, and Technical Support Engineer. The Applications Developer should have a Bachelor's or Master's degree with a high GPA, strong analytical skills, and preferably experience with database applications to analyze, design, test, and implement applications in one of the company's target vertical industries. The Support Analyst should have excellent troubleshooting skills and familiarity with UNIX and relational databases. The Software Engineer/Web Applications Developer will design, test, enhance, and demonstrate an Inter/intranet site for the first Internet insurance marketplace. Extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, DOMs, XML, XSL, and ADO are required. The FIX Protocol Certification Specialist will understand specifications for and be certified in the Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol and interpret traces in an equity trading workflow, debug networking problems and protocol failures. The Senior Software Engineer, Investment Management Group, will have two years of SQL or C++ experience; COM/DCOM experience is helpful. The Technical Support Engineer will support Sybase and Microsoft SQL and be able to troubleshoot over the phone or on in-house client projects, resolving bugs and workflow issues. May involve travel to the London office.

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Job Title





Applications Developer  BA/BS or MA/MS, high GPA Track record of success (academically and work-related) Business process analysis, technical ambition Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California; London
Applications Support Analyst  BA/BS or MA/MS, high GPA Track record of success (adademically and work-related) UNIX, relational DBMS, client relations abilities Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois
Software Engineer BA/BS or MA/MS, high GPA Academic success; knowledge of technical logic JavaScript, VBscript, XML, XSL Foster City, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California
Sr. Soft. Engineer BA/BS or MA/MS, high GPA 2+ years coding and/or database experience MS SQL Server, C++, COM/DCOM, Visual C++ Boston, Massachusetts; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California
Sr. Development Manager  BA/BS or MA/MS  8+ years development exp., managing development teams, successful technical and mgt. track record C++, MS SQL Server, Sybase Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; Bay Area, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Butler Group, "TenFold Corporation's Application Development Strategy," December, 1998
  • Gartner Group, "TenFold: RAD for Healthcare," February 7, 2000
  • Investor's Business Daily, "Software Firm Winning Clients with Money-Back Guarantee," July 20, 1999
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