Terrence A. Austin

Position: Executive vice president of Manugistics Group Inc., a Rockville company that sells software systems that help companies better manage their supply chains.

Career Highlights: Most recently an associate partner with Andersen Consulting's electronics and high-technology sector of its global supply chain practice, Austin was a founding member of Management Training Software Inc.

Age: 36

Education: Earned a bachelor of science degree in operations research and industrial engineering from Cornell University.

In light of the beating Manugistics' stock price has taken in the market this past year, what factors have drawn you to this company? "Having been in the supply chain business for 15 years, when I really thought about it, more and more of the solutions my clients required depended upon the very products that Manugistics has and is developing. Not to mention that [CEO] Greg Owens and I have worked well together for almost seven years now. So, the growth potential in this market is just huge, but we need to take [our] products to the next level, and change the way we service customers a little bit."

How would you change the way Manugistics services its customers? "The software industry as a whole has traditionally treated the customer on a transactional basis, like going into a project with a hammer and looking for a nail. What our clients want and need are complete solutions, not simply package solutions. Also, in the past software companies have separated their sales processes from their services processes, so you end up dealing with one group when you're thinking about buying, another when you're implementing, and so on. Those need to be integrated to establish a lifetime relationship instead of a transactional one. Lastly, we need to be refocused on our clients' business results: One concept we're pushing for is that for every relationship we enter into with a customer, there has to be a well-defined benefit in each aspect of that relationship, to make sure the product and services fit well."