New Helpshift CEO – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

New Helpshift CEO – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

The News On September 7, 2017 Helpshift announced the appointment of a new CEO in a blog post. Salesforce veteran Linda Crawford, with a tenure in the CRM arena that stretches back to 1996, took over the role, being the successor of co-founder Abinash Tripathy. Before, she held various positions at Salesforce, Rivermine, and Siebel. Most recently she held the position of a Chief Customer Officer at Optimizely. This track record certainly qualifies her to have a go at growing an interesting company to the next level. Helpshift itself is the company that created the mobile in app support market back in 2011 and, so far, has a keen focus on this area under the leadership of Abinash. Investors include Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and Salesforce. Both, Microsoft and Salesforce, have been lead investors of the Series B financing round in June 2016. The Bigger Picture The customer service center market is extremely crowded and contested. Helpshift itself has a strong product and a good customer base, originating from the gaming industry but also running the customer service technology behind Microsoft Outlook Mobile. The company is targeting bigger accounts and is already amongst the ranks of Salesforce partners, having a deep integration. However, the overall market is turning into a platform play, which will be dominated by two or three business platforms for bigger companies, and maybe a handful more that cover SMBs. The platform companies are also providing strong business applications, including customer service, even in-app service. And then there are companies that build multi channel customer service solutions on these platforms, too. Are they as good as Helpshift?...
Freshworks acquires Zarget – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

Freshworks acquires Zarget – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

The News Freshworks on 29/08/2017 announced that it acquired Zarget, a conversion rate optimization software startup. With this being the ninth acquisition in about two years Freshworks is continuing to augment its development by adding missing functionality from outside while adding talent to the teams. Zarget’s software is helping marketers measuring and understanding how users interact with their websites, which is important information when it comes to assessing reasons for users not becoming customers. For Freshworks this acquisition also marks a first step to close the functional gap that marketing still is for them. With Freshworks founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham having been an angel investor into Zarget this is also a natural choice. An interesting piece of information comes as a quote by Girish: “ At Freshworks, our ambition is to emerge as the de facto cloud-based business software platform for businesses of all sizes”. The Bigger Picture There are a couple of interesting facets to this acquisition. Freshworks, by virtue of its rebranding from Freshdesk, has made a bold statement that they are not striving to cover customer service only. This, of course, was clear earlier when looking at their range of products and solutions but this naming implies an ambition. I have commented on this this earlier. While they are still concentrating on the wider CRM area with bot acquisitions, a recent release of Freshteam, a CRM for recruiters, there is a tendency to divert into different areas. This time it is about starting to close a fundamental gap in Freshworks’ CRM offerings: So far there has virtually been no marketing functionality. Looking specifically at marketing...
Salesforce Aims At Making Life Easier For Agents

Salesforce Aims At Making Life Easier For Agents

On July 27, 2017 Salesforce announced the availability of an update to their customer service platform Service Cloud. According to Keith Pearce, VP Marketing, Service Cloud, differentiation in customer service is no more a topic within industries, but across industries. Today, customer service in companies competes against the impression gained in another industry, telco vs. banking, vs airline, vs. … you get the picture. Consequently, winning organizations are concentrating on three areas: platform productivity mobile However, this focus can potentially slow down these organizations because they normally come with trade-offs, like scalability vs. speed of deployment, ease of use vs. complete information, or mobility for customers vs. mobility for agents. Salesforce wants to address these trade-offs with this release by making the solution very easy to set up, easier to customize and enhance, easier to use and finally by offering a new mobile app for agents and supervisors. There is a scripted set up that lets admins deploy a usable application in a short time; Salesforce speaks of less than one day. A component library helps in easily adding relevant functionality via drag and drop in a simple application builder. Of course there are additional components and applications available via the AppExchange market place. Agents shall be made more productive by a clean Kanban-style UI, a tool called Community360 that helps in surfacing community content that a user reviewed before logging an incident, a federated search that is capable of searching across open search compatible providers, and the ability for agents to script tasks. Lastly, there is a new mobile app for agents and supervisors. Here is the complete...
Freshworks acquires Bot Startup Joe Hukum – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

Freshworks acquires Bot Startup Joe Hukum – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

A few days ago Freshworks announced the acquisition of startup Joe Hukum, making it its eighth acquisition. Joe Hukum builds a chatbot platform that enables companies to quickly build their own chatbots for sales-, service-, or marketing purposes. In contrast to the technologies built by Frilp (acquired October, 2015) and Chatimity (acquired October, 2016) that rely on NLP (Natural Language Processing, as opposed to Neuro-Linguistic Programming) technologies, these bots are built using a Decision Tree technology. In order to be able to provide more advanced speech recognition they can connect to services of the Stanford Natural Language Processing Group, wit.ai, or api.ai. The created bots can be connected to websites, apps, or Facebook. The press release got published on July 20, 2017, but you can read it right here, before moving on to My Take.   Freshworks acquires chatbot platform startup, Joe Hukum Company enhances capabilities to help businesses build and deploy bots     San Bruno,  July 2017 — Freshworks, the leading provider of cloud-based business software, today announced the acquisition of Joe Hukum, a platform that enables businesses to build their own chatbots based on logical workflows. This acquisition marks Freshworks’ eighth in just under two years, as it further bolsters capabilities to strengthen its business software suite. Freshworks had earlier acquired Chatimity and Frilp, key acquisitions that are enhancing neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) based Artificial Intelligence capabilities, while Joe Hukum’s decision tree based frameworks complete key capabilities to launch chatbot-powered solutions. Joe Hukum was founded in July 2015 by Arihant Jain, Ajeet Kushwaha, and Rahul Agarwal, who were the founding team behind two of India’s most prominent...
Nimble News from Microsoft Inspire

Nimble News from Microsoft Inspire

MS Inspire, the annual Microsoft partner event, has just ended, wrapping up a flurry of news and announcements from Microsoft and its channel partners. Most announcements were interesting; some more than others, especially when considering these items together. I’ve been following Nimble CRM and its founder Jon Ferrara for a while now, so I was particularly interested in hearing about the launch of its global reseller program and its social relationships insights add-in for Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook Desktop/Mobile. Nimble made its announcements within the context of Microsoft’s increasing its emphasis on partner success, as evinced by its One Commercial Partner initiative to bring together partner-focused teams from across the company and its new ISV Cloud Embed services offerings for partners. Why is this interesting? Microsoft’s lifeblood is its partner ecosystem.  In all likelihood, the company has the biggest, most robust partner channel around. Microsoft basically sets, and resets, the gold standard with their constantly evolving partner strategies. A case in point is Microsoft’s announcement to incentivize its partner-focused teams to sell   3rd party partner solutions with Microsoft first party solutions, Microsoft is making it even easier for MSP/CSV and ISV partners to leverage synergies and add value to customers, profits to partners and stickiness to Microsoft products. We also see Microsoft’s Azure co-sell program taking further steps with ISV Cloud Embed. This new program allows partners to embed Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Flow into their front- and back-office solutions. (I wouldn’t be surprised if LinkedIn were also integrated into this mix in the near future). If you think about it, this co-sell program...
Salesforce brings Einstein to Field Service – A big Move?

Salesforce brings Einstein to Field Service – A big Move?

On July 12, 2017 Salesforce announced its new, Einstein-enhanced version of Field Service. This release brings mainly three innovations to the already strong Service Cloud, which is the leading Customer Service solution according to Gartner Group. Here the complete wording of the press release, in case you did not want to follow the link but still are interested in it: Salesforce Delivers Einstein AI and Analytics For Field Service Lightning Built on the Service Cloud Platform, new innovations for Field Service Lightning arm the mobile workforce with image recognition technology, smart equipment management and deep analytics to bolster productivity and efficiency Companies including Atlantic Energy are harnessing the power of Field Service Lightning to deliver insight, onsite SAN FRANCISCO—July 12, 2017—Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the global leader in CRM, today introduced Einstein AI and Analytics for Field Service Lightning, empowering companies to deliver a smarter onsite customer experience that is built on the world’s #1 customer service platform. Field Service Lightning now brings together the insights and intelligence mobile workers need to increase productivity, boost onsite efficiency and drive revenue. The Salesforce Service Cloud has redefined customer service across every major technological shift—cloud, mobile, social, messaging and more. And last year with the introduction of Field Service Lightning, Salesforce extended the power of Service Cloud to create a full service platform for managers, dispatchers and mobile workers. However, as the multi-billion dollar field service market expands into new industries—including finance, healthcare, manufacturing and retail—there is even more demand to deliver onsite service. Field service technicians have to deal with complicated equipment, don’t always have the right parts and often lack...