MapR isn’t just another Hadoop distro provider. “We sell enterprise software,” said John Schroeder, CEO and Chairman of the Board since founding the company in 2009.

Schroeder told CMSWire that MapR isn’t even “in the same business” as Hortonworks and Cloudera, MapR’s competitors through the eyes of many.

The distinction between MapR and the others matters for many reasons, but especially when it comes to determining the criteria for selecting a corporate leader. Open source aside (which Schroeder emphasized is key to opening doors as well as MapR’s product/technology strategy), MapR’s go-to-market looks more like Oracle’s than it does its perceived competitors.

That’s why the company is bringing in Matt Mills, a former executive vice president at Oracle.

Welcome, Mr. President

Mills today becomes MapR’s first President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Schroeder thinks he’s a perfect fit. Mills headed North American Sales at Oracle and was considered by some analysts, such as MKM Partners' Kevin Buttigieg, to be the company’s "top US salesperson.”

He was successful because he called on customers rather than by “running trade shows,“ Schroeder said.

If the aforementioned comment sounds like a dig at Cloudera and Hortonworks, it’s worth considering that MapR makes 80 percent to 90 percent of its revenue selling proprietary software. Hortonworks earns money by providing services around its 100 percent open source Hadoop Distro HDP, which is free for the taking. Cloudera’s model is similar to the Hortonworks model, though in addition to its distro, CDH, Cloudera sells tools around it.

Key to the Future?

MapR, according to Schroeder has more than 700 customers with enterprise licenses. He doesn’t believe his competitors have anywhere near as many.

Learning Opportunities

And now he’s counting on Mills to boost that number and “drive a path to profitability and even better cash efficiency”.

Mills will be responsible for MapR’s sales, services, field personnel and go-to-market strategy. Schroeder will retain charge of engineering, finance and product management, among other things.

“We have great aspirations,” said Schroeder, speaking for Mills and the rest of MapR’s management team.

Biding Time

Schroeder said MapR is on track for an IPO — CFO Dan Atler and General Counsel Damien Eastwood are laying solid groundwork. But he won’t pull the trigger until the time is right. Hortonworks, in his opinion, did so too early.

Mills doesn’t seem to be in any hurry whatsoever. He said he would spend the next few weeks just looking at the company’s approach, its products and its customers.

“I’m not walking into a situation where the room’s on fire,” he said. “I’m joining a team of high quality executives. I’m going to take time to understand where I can add value.”

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