thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Outlaw Spirit – Lessons from The Zoho Analyst Day 2021

Outlaw Spirit – Lessons from The Zoho Analyst Day 2021

The 2021 Zoho analyst day certainly was different. Different not only because it was not an offline but an online event but in the way it was prepared and conducted. Apparently, the team around Sandra Lo has taken up quite some lessons that other events had to learn, too. This is kind of the advantage one has not being the first one in a season. But this was only one part of it. The second part is that the whole event was run using Zoho software, in particular Zoho Backstage and Zoho Meeting. Overall, there have been some 150 attendees with what I assume, very different levels of knowledge about Zoho. The event In contrast to most other analyst events, this one required actual preparation, as product and roadmap topics have been sent out beforehand for self-study – and were kind of “required reading”. Going through all videos at least once was an exercise that lasted more than five hours. The event itself was split into two days of two and a half hours each, covering topics from corporate responsibility via status up to roadmap topics. Day one started with a corporate presentation, the past 25 years and a view into the next 25 years, based upon CEO Sridhar Vembu’s vision and the partly interrelated themes that he sees (and builds his company around): De-Layering the tech stack, which means that within the tech stack from chip level to business solutions that a company operates, less vendors will be neededExtreme financial bubbles that we have seen and will continue to seeThe emergence of self-reliant regional economies and the regionalization...
Salesforce in Acquistion Talks with Slack – Good News or not?

Salesforce in Acquistion Talks with Slack – Good News or not?

The News Today various media outlets broke the news that Salesforce is in advanced talks with Slack Technologies about a possible acquisition. The news had two effects: Slack stock went up nearly 40 per cent during trading hours while Salesforce stock loses out by 5 percent, which basically says that Salesforce investors are not so convinced about this acquisition being a good thing, whereas Slack investors clearly are. Slack and Salesforce share an integration, which is listed on appexchange since 2019. There have been speculations on Slack being a good target for Salesforce that date back till August 2016, basically ever since the integration between Salesforce and Slack got announced. The Bigger Picture There are several aspects to this news. Salesforce already has Chatter, a tool that often gets negative feedback. The company also owns Quip, which is essentially a solution for the collaborative creation of documents and spreadsheets. And Salesforce has created work.com, as a solution to increase business resiliency and to improve collaborative work. On a larger scale, and accelerated by the Covid crisis, the need for fast and efficient communication and collaboration of distributed work forces and their customers, using various means of communication is there. Actually, it has been there for quite some time, as the emergence of solutions from Slack to Teams, Zoom, etc. proves. E-mail is still very important, but only a part of this communication, which includes near instant chat, voice and video communications as well as collaborative work on documents – inside and outside an organization. Another part is, that this communication needs to be tied to business processes and enable...
Fastcall drives cooperation of Salesforce users with Intercall and solves Covid challenge

Fastcall drives cooperation of Salesforce users with Intercall and solves Covid challenge

The News Fastcall, a renowned developer of CTI solutions that are exclusively dedicated to Salesforce, recently announced the release of its Intercall solution. Intercall helps teams to communicate and interact internally from within Salesforce. The app allows phone and video communication. Using Intercall, an employee can call coworkers via their Salesforce user profile instead of using a particular phone number, making it unnecessary to know the current location of the coworker or to perform repeat calls due to unavailability. It is a first-of-its-kind Salesforce app and offers video and screen sharing within an integrated Salesforce phone application by leveraging Salesforce and Twilio. Intercall is the latest addition to Fastcall’s suite of applications and is designed to enhance work-from-home productivity for Salesforce users. Phone applications found in the Salesforce AppExchange today, including Fastcall’s namesake application, enable companies to increase productivity by empowering sales and service team members to communicate quickly and effectively with clients and prospects via phone. Intercall allows companies to streamline their internal telephone and video conversations whether within or between departments, therefore complementing Fastcall’s capabilities. Main benefits of Intercall include: Screen sharing and video conferencing in virtual meetings while working within Salesforce instead of an external application. Intercall also creates Salesforce activities for every Intercall call.Replacement of phone directories that are more often than not outdated while enabling a centralized phone directory with data that is already in Salesforce.Calling coworkers via multiple endpoints at the same time with ringing the softphone, mobile phone, and desk phone all at the same time, Intercall prevents wasting time by dialing multiple numbers until you connect to a teammate and the...
Freshworks officially cool now in the club of platform vendors

Freshworks officially cool now in the club of platform vendors

A few days ago, together with a group of fellow analysts, I was invited to attend the 2020 Freshworks analyst days that covered a lot of ground from corporate vision through strategy and of course, some announcements for the Freshworks Refresh 2020 Global Virtual Conference. These announcements came shortly after the company appeared in the fourth Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2020 and after being ranked #16 in the 2020 Forbes Cloud 100 list. All this clearly shows some ambition – and success. As you may be aware by now, these announcements included Neo, the new Freshworks platform and the new Freshworks CRM product. These two topics created the most discussion points between the Freshworks executives and the analysts. Of course, these two announcements were supported by statements on the corporate vision, mission and current standing as well as product vision. Impressive customer testimonials were not missing, too. My Take This I need to divide into three sections, one about the event itself, one about strategy and one about the new products. Let me start with the analyst day itself. The Analyst Day Of course it was a fully virtual event, thanks to Covid-19. The “day” was split into two sessions of four hours each across two days. Each day was closed with a social gathering after the content sessions, where we could talk shop or just banter, having a drink. This was akin t the lobby talk that one has during breaks or after a day full of information. All sessions were live. There haven’t been any canned statements. Questions that were asked via the chat during the various...
SAP throws the CX Glove

SAP throws the CX Glove

It has been an intense 2 weeks. The CX or CRM or however you want to call it market got a serious makeover. After a long time without a tangible strategy, SAP announced a lot of things, starting with the intended acquisition of Emarsys, followed by an announcement about the release of a customer data platform as part of its SAPCXLIVE event, and then it also conducted its SAPCXLIVE online event in an impressive manner. I wouldn’t proclaim it ‘cineastic’, which is the current mot du jour, but still, it felt very much like a trade show, just virtual. And the week before, SAP president of CX Bob Stutz shook the players during an executive roundtable (very good discussion, intense 2:40 hrs) with representatives of the big 5 held by the CRMPlayaz Brent Leary and Paul Greenberg. He openly questioned the enterprise software vendors pricing policies by asking why the industry does not go for a utility bases billing approach – or should I say utilization based billing approach. Maybe it was just a challenge, as SAP applies usage based pricing with the indirect pricing model for its ERP software and intends to offer it for (at least parts of) its CX software. Pre event some pundits, e.g. Bob Evans of Cloudwars and myself, dared a look into the glass ball, interpreting the SAP world differently. What can be said is that any allegations of SAP withdrawing from the CX market, succumbing to the 800-pound gorilla that Salesforce is, should have been wiped out latest after the first few words of SAP CEO Christian Klein’s keynote of SAPCXLIVE. The...
SAP to acquire Emarsys in an aggressive move

SAP to acquire Emarsys in an aggressive move

The News On October 1st, 2020 SAP announced its intent to acquire Emarsys, a leader in the personalization area and omnichannel customer engagement management specialist. The transaction is expected to be completed in Q2/2020 and still subject to regulatory approval. The purchasing price is not disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Emarsys was funded with $55.3M US by Vector Capital in two funding rounds 2015 and 2016. Not being a financial analyst, I would expect a purchasing price of north of $ 500M US. Emarsys positions itself as a customer engagement platform that combines omni-channel automation, personalization, loyalty management and reporting/analytics. The company has more than 1,500 customers, makes about 2/3 of its revenues in the EMEA region and has a pretty strong partner network including technology and agency partners. Key commerce integrations include Adobe (Magento), Salesforce, Shopify and, of course SAP Commerce. On top of this, the platform brings prebuilt industry specific use cases and analytics into the fold. According to Christian Klein, CEO SAP, “once the transaction closes, SAP will enable brands to connect every part of their business to the customer, including experience data. We will deliver a portfolio for a ‘commerce anywhere’ strategy allowing for hyperpersonalized digital commerce experiences across all channels at any time”. Bob Stutz, president SAP Customer Experience, adds that “with Emarsys technology, SAP Customer Experience solutions can link commerce signals with the back office and activate the preferred channel of the customer with a relevant and consistently personalized message, allowing customers the freedom to choose their own engagement”. The bigger Picture The ability to segment in real time becomes more and more important,...