thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The year 2021 comes to an end. More than three years have gone by since the last look at the Clash of Titans, an analysis of how the then big 4.5: Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Adobe – along with some other players, are shaping the greater CRM and CX arena. A lot has changed since Thomas Wieberneit published his 2018 series that consisted of 4 articles: Platform PlayMicrosoft and SAP weigh inThe War Cry: Oracle and SalesforceThe IaaS Platform Providers It is obvious that the commoditization of the business application continues, and the vendors’ focus on the underlying platform has even increased since 2018. CRM, and enterprise software in general, has always been a platform play although this has not always been recognized and sometimes even negated. Two obvious reasons for it being a platform play is that the creation of positive customer and user experiences needs a consistent technical platform, or we end up with engagements that are fragmented across interactions. This results in inconsistent and poor experiences. The second reason is that it needs a technological platform to enable and grow a thriving ecosystem. Vinnie Mirchandani in January 2020 stated that Enterprise Software Platforms have so far underperformed. Mirchandani looked at Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. He basically argues, without providing too many details, that the major enterprise software vendors’ platforms are all lacking ambitious goals and do not aim high enough. One of his major points is that none of these vendors has put enough emphasis in empowering, nurturing and growing their respective partner ecosystems to take advantage of the software platforms by augmenting the applications delivered by the platform vendor...
You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

These days every significant software vendor and some others, too, is positioning itself as a CX- and/or a platform player. By now, it is well known, what it means to be a platform player, and this is also not the main topic of this post. Just as much: In order to be a significant CX player, one quite simply needs to be a platform player.  Also, regardless of whether one has a platform or not, if everyone is a CX and a platform player, then obviously this is nothing that differentiates one vendor from the other anymore. Customers meanwhile nearly expect a set of solutions by one vendor being built upon one platform – or at least to appear like they are built on one platform. This basically means that “platform” as a thing to emphasize on has reached its zenith. And then, there is an additional problem associated with the platform game. A platform market is a kind of a winner takes it all market. Following the analysis and argumentation of Ray Wang in his new book Everybody Wants to Rule the World, in a platform market there will be only two major players. All other players are becoming insignificant or will vanish. While this sounds somewhat dystopian the point that I want to make is that there will not be a great many successful and strong players in a platform market. To use a metaphor, at one point in time a few vendors will have created enough gravity to become the entity that customers are attracted to. It is also visible that the first vendors have understood this and are acting...
How to walk a Fresh way towards CX and EX

How to walk a Fresh way towards CX and EX

The News On November 11, 2021 Freshworks held its annual Freshworks Refresh event. This year, the event had a hybrid format with around 250 customers, partners and analysts participating on site while around 17k people have registered for online participation. There was a social pre-event and an after-event for entertainment and networking purposes.  The event itself was themed around “delight made easy”. Naturally, it had different agendas for customers and partners on one side and analysts on the other side. The morning was dedicated to a 4-hour sequence of keynote sessions for everyone. The event was kicked off with a keynote by Neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and author David Eagleman, who spoke about the “Science of Delight”. The closing keynote was delivered by Amy Purdy, who shared her inspiring story of how she used creativity, a positive outlook and a never-give-up attitude to turn her life from nearly dying, finding herself with a double lower leg amputation and failing organs into becoming a 3 times Paralympic medalist. Between these two speakers, who set the scene, Freshworks offered product and customer information. Freshworks CEO Girish Mathrubootham gave a product update that linked into Eagleman’s message and a distributed customer panel spoke about their experiences with Freshworks, how they implemented Freshworks solutions and how these help the respective businesses. Rounding this off, Freshworks awarded several prizes to customers who offer exceptional EX or CX and showcased the winners of an internal hackathon. The latter is relevant because these winning solutions made it into or will make it into Freshworks products. The afternoon was filled with customer related information in the customer and partner track and product and strategy sessions for the analysts. The...
Zoho One – The Operating System for Business

Zoho One – The Operating System for Business

Zoho is a privately-owned technology company that was founded in 1996 as Adventnet, Inc. and has quietly evolved into an ambitious global player that serves the SMB and enterprise markets with cloud applications. The company offers a suite of more than 50 business, collaboration and productivity applications. These include applications for CRM, project management, finance, human resource management, analytics and support.  The company is headquartered in Chennai, India. It has eleven offices in India, five in the United States and has offices in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Egypt, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands. Offices in France and Germany are in preparation. Zoho has more than 10,000employees as of mid-2021. It is present in 180 countries with more than 70 million users. Zoho is led by its co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu. Being a privately held company, Zoho is not obliged to, and does not publish revenue or profit numbers. However, the company indicates a track record of profitable growth that is well in the double digits. The company manages its growth organically, i.e. without acquisitions. All applications are built by Zoho, using one single hard- and software stack. They are deployed and delivered via Zoho owned data centers in the United States, Europe, India, China and Australia. Following this unique approach, the company has built a solid platform with a unified data model that allows it to grow and deliver software at high speed. Core values of Zoho include corporate self-determination, privacy as a principle and a commitment to delivering high value. Zoho One Zoho aspires to deliver the operating system of a business with the goal of driving customers’ margins by unifying business operations on one single technology platform. The most important part...
The Platform CAN Do the Work. Let it!

The Platform CAN Do the Work. Let it!

On June 15, 2021, the CRMKonvos crew had the chance to chat with Andreas Schuster, Customer Success Director for SugarCRM in Europe, about the company’s evolving vision and goals. He did not disappoint. Schuster has filled a variety of roles over the years, both in the software industry and outside of it, and has developed an appreciation of what well-administered CRM can do for a business and its customers. “I have been able to get to know CRM in the industry and in sales, and I keep getting to know it again and again,” Schuster said. “I never get bored watching companies actually supporting their sales management with software, but also just the way they work together with the customer and with the customer. And it is always exciting.” One important thing that Schuster believes, though, is that CRM is more than technology; it is behavior and culture which technology can enable to be better. “CRM is not so much a technical tool; it really is an approach,” Schuster said. “It’s a strategic sales approach, and there’s a lot that goes into it now, but it’s still the same.” The technology is an important starting point though, especially with larger and more complex businesses. Schuster added: “I keep coming back to this: the software that’s used has to work great, it has to be intuitive, it has to look good. But taking this CRM approach is first of all a strategic thing in a company. You have to want it. You have to prepare for it. And you also have to set an example for your company from the...