thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Zoholics 24 – exciting news from the Zohoverse

Zoholics 24 – exciting news from the Zohoverse

Zoho’s annual main customer event Zoholics took place in Austin, TX last week. The company presented updates to products and strategy and gave partners the opportunity to present themselves on a big show floor. In parallel to the event, Zoho published some interesting news about product enhancements in four areas, namely security and privacy, CRM for Everyone, collaboration, and platform tools. In addition, Zoho reaffirmed its AI strategy. Of course, CEO Sridhar Vembu set the scene in his usual humble, yet no-nonsense way. He detailed out, why Zoho is truly different. Zoho’s strategy of transnational localism with a clear focus on investing into employees is well known by now, and we see it working. Explaining the strategy with another twist, Vembu laid out five principles that will continue to be essential for every business software vendor to thrive: Investing in a full product portfolio with breadth and depth Offering attractive bundles that have deep value Investing into exceptional service and support Improving interoperability with more prebuilt integrations Getting close to the customer with a strong local partner ecosystem With 55 tightly integrated apps and growing, value-oriented bundles, and a thriving ecosystem, Zoho is certainly on a strong way following these principles. Another topic is the way applications get built by software developers. Vembu compares developers to artisans and postulates that software development will become ten times more efficient with the help of generative AI. The developer’s role will change to become far more one of a scientist, leaving the mundane tasks to the system. This way, the whole development cycle as such changes considerably, also enabling vendors to deliver...
SAP acquires WalkMe – a snap analysis

SAP acquires WalkMe – a snap analysis

The News On June 5, 2024, SAP announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WalkMe. Walkme is a leader in the digital adoption platform (DAP) market. DAPs are about the elimination of digital friction from workflows to turn the business application tech stack into a competitive advantage. You can read the complete announcement here. WalkMe’s solutions help organizations navigate constant technology change by providing users with advanced guidance and automation features that enable them to execute workflows seamlessly across any number of applications. This results in higher adoption of the underlying application and as such drives value realization. By combining WalkMe with SAP’s earlier acquisitions Signavio and LeanIX, SAP intends to complement its business transformation management portfolio to better help customers through their transformation journeys. According to the press release, WalkMe helps organizations boost enterprise productivity and lower risk by enabling consistent, effective and efficient use of software and the workflows it enables. Its DAP works on top of an organization’s application landscape, detects where people encounter friction and provides the tailored support and automation they need to complete the job to be done, right in the flow of work, across any application. Importantly, WalkMe will continue to fully support non-SAP applications. “Applications, processes, data and people are the four key elements of a successful business transformation,” said Christian Klein, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “By acquiring WalkMe, we are doubling down on the support we provide our end users, helping them to quickly adopt new solutions and features to get the maximum value out of their IT investments.” The acquisition...
Salesforce stock tanks after earnings report – a snap analysis

Salesforce stock tanks after earnings report – a snap analysis

The news On May 29, 2024, Salesforce reported its results for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2025. Highlights are a total quarterly revenue of $9.133bn US, resembling a year-over-year growth of 11 percent a current remaining performance obligation of $26.4bn US a remaining performance obligation of $53.9B US an operating margin of 18.7 percent. Diluted earnings per share of $1.56 The company reported a revenue guidance of $9.2bn – $9.25bn US for the next quarter and a full year guidance of $37.7bn – $38.0bn US, resembling growth rates of 7 – 8 percent and 8 – 9 percent, respectively. With these numbers, Salesforce ended up at the lower end of last quarter’s guidance on the revenue growth side while exceeding the earnings per share projection and slightly lowered the guidance for the fiscal year 2025. The result: The company’s share price dropped from $272 to bottom out at $212. The bigger picture Salesforce is the big gorilla in the CRM and CX industry. The company has surpassed SAP as the biggest business software vendor in the last 18 months. This is largely thanks to the extraordinary growth that Salesforce showed in the past years and secondly because of SAP’s still ongoing transition from an on-premises vendor to become a cloud vendor. All three, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP report a higher cloud application growth. But then, the big games in town are generative AI and infrastructure. All of these companies, including Salesforce, are investing heavily in their own artificial intelligence capabilities in a race to provide superior business applications. Plus, several other ones, including Google and, specialist vendors....
SugarCRM and sales-i reimagine sales intelligence in a sweet move

SugarCRM and sales-i reimagine sales intelligence in a sweet move

The news Today, May 22 2024, SugarCRM and sales-i announced the acquisition of sales-i by SugarCRM. sales-i is leading provider of a revenue intelligence solution that helps businesses maximize their revenue and profitability. It targets at making sales professionals more efficient and effective by providing actionable insight into every customer, product and sale. The acquisition comes nearly a year after Sugar announced a partnership with sales-i to improve business-to-business (B2B) sales performance by delivering AI-powered revenue intelligence that leverages the data of a business’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and CRM. This combination provides businesses with actionable insights that improve sales, marketing, service and support, resulting in greater revenue and higher levels of retention. You can read the full announcement here. The combination of SugarCRM and sales-i combines the detailed transactional data residing in ERP systems with the rich sales data in SugarCRM. According to the release information, his shall create an intelligent data hub enabling customers to successfully execute impactful sales strategies to improv revenue, maximize profitability and increase customer satisfaction. In this combination, sales-i delivers the revenue intelligence, while SugarCRM delivers the CRM data; both of which are needed for a better sales enablement. Together, SugarCRM and sales-i intend to deliver the most innovative intelligent account management solution in the marketplace by utilizing leading edge sales enablement technologies provided by both companies and the rich revenue intelligence capabilities provided by sales-i. The bigger picture The market for CRM and CX solutions is crowded while only few vendors enjoy significant mindshare. And what is more, both terms, CRM and CX, get increasingly fuzzy as many vendors use them...
How Zendesk builds the future of AI-powered service

How Zendesk builds the future of AI-powered service

The News On April 15 to April 18, 2024, Zendesk held its annual Relate event, including a half day analyst track on April 15. The event was attended by around 1,600 customers, partners and analysts. It was about Zendesk’s strategy, which revolves around – no surprise here – AI to deliver better customer experiences. As part of this strategy, Zendesk also made clear how the past twelve month’s acquisitions of Klaus, Ultimate, and tymeshift get integrated into Zendesk’s customer service offerings, enriching and rounding them off. The company is betting big on AI, working on the assumption that interaction volumes between customers and companies are continuing to increase very fast. As a conclusion of this, service needs to become AI driven to accommodate this scale. Secondly, Zendesk sees AI as the technology underlying the necessary high degree of personalization. Together, this is estimated to increase the market size available to CX solutions that automate CX labor tremendously. At the event, Zendesk had three key announcements. They were AI agents to improve self service solutions, a copilot that helps agents solve incoming tickets faster and provides insight to further optimize the service and a workforce engagement solution that helps improve the productivity of digital and human agents as well as the quality of conversations. Behind all this lies the recognition that customer service is very much conversational. Customers and partners that I talked with had a keen interest in learning more about AI use cases. Many of them had started to use AI but estimated themselves still in early stages.  The bigger picture The customer service software market has become...
SAP is dead – long live SAP

SAP is dead – long live SAP

The News On January 23, 2024, SAP announced the results of its Q4 and fiscal year 2023, along with an update of the company’s 2025 ambition. The ambition includes a shift of focus on key strategic growth areas and a restructuring program. This program will cost around 2.2 billion dollar and affect about 8,000 employees. Notably, SAP does not look at lay-offs but a “voluntary leave program and internal re-skilling investments”. No details are known yet. One of the core investment areas going forward will be Business AI; in addition, the company will strive to capture organizational synergies, leverage AI-driven efficiencies and prepare the company for the expected growth. Looking at the numbers, SAP had a very successful year, meeting or exceeding the outlook metrics set and communicated for 2023.  SAP key financial results FY 2023; source SAP According to CEO Christian Klein, the “current cloud backlog increased by 27 percent to reach an all-time high” growth. This number and the cloud revenue are particularly driven by S/4HANA growth. In addition, SAP communicated a bold outlook with a CAGR of 25 percent plus through 2025 and beyond. Wall Street was excited. The Bigger Picture AI is the new cloud, currently the biggest thing since the invention of sliced bread. The industry is at the peak of an AI hype cycle. So far, we have seen a lot of low-hanging fruit being showcased while being promised an age of AI that “changes everything”.  According to the recently published results of the PWC annual global CEO surveyhttps://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/ceo-survey.html, around two thirds of CEOs believe that the use of generative AI will improve their company’s products...