Zendesk expands into CRM with Base acquisition

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Zendesk has mostly confined itself to customer service scenarios, but it seems that’s not enough anymore. If you want to truly know the customer behind the interaction, you need a customer system of record to go with the customer service component. To fill that need, Zendesk  announced it was acquiring Base, a startup that has raised over $50 million.

The companies did not share the purchase price, but Zendesk did report that the acquisition should not have a significant impact on revenue.

While Base  might not be as well known as Salesforce, Microsoft or Oracle in the CRM game, it has created a sophisticated sales force automation platform, complete with its own artificial intelligence underpinnings. CEO Uzi Shmilovici claimed his company’s AI could compete with its more well-heeled competitors when it was released in 2016 to provide salespeople with meaningful prescriptive advice on how to be more successful.

Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane  certainly sees the value of adding a company like Base to his platform. “We want to do for sales what Zendesk has already done for customer service: give salespeople tools built around them and the customers they serve,” he said in a statement.

If the core of customer data includes customer service, CRM and marketing, Base gives Zendesk one more of those missing components, says Brent Leary, owner at CRM Essentials, a firm that keeps close watch on this market. – Read more

How to Invest in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

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Back in 2000, if you were filing your taxes with Intuit’s TurboTax, you would buy its software on a compact disc, download the software onto your computer, and input your data into the program. With changes to the tax code every year, you had to cycle through the process annually.

The advent of cloud computing has changed all of that. These days, you can use TurboTax software without downloading anything, updates to the company’s systems are made in real time, and all of your data is stored for you on Intuit’s servers.

This is an example of software-as-a-service — or SaaS. The model has transformed the relationship between a customer and a company’s software: where once owning the software on site was key, it is now the ability to access the software that truly matters. As more companies, both new entrants and existing software providers, gravitate toward the SaaS model, it’s also becoming an increasingly popular area of focus for investors.

Below, we’ll dive into SaaS and discuss why it’s so advantageous — to companies, to their customers, and to their investors. We’ll also tackle the unique metrics that will help you measure the strength of an SaaS company’s business and discuss the risks any potential investors ought to be aware of.

What is software-as-a-service or SaaS?

Perhaps the best way to start is to define software. Put simply, it is any program that can be run on a computer. That online calculator, the Word document you’re working on, and the weather app you check daily are all examples of software. In order for those to work, someone had to create the computer code to make them function.

If that still seems fuzzy, think of it this way: software is usually juxtaposed against hardware. Hardware is the physical computer or smartphone that you own. You can hold hardware in your hands. Software includes all the programs or apps that you use on a device — no physical product to speak of.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have taken advantage of cloud computing in order to provide access to software and stored data from any device with an Internet connection. Cloud computing, which makes SaaS possible, is the practice of using offsite servers to house and handle large computing tasks and making all of the relevant information available on demand via the internet.  – Read more

Software-As-A-Service Market Boom: A Blessing in Disguise for Salesforce

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If the history of customer relationship management (CRM) had to be revisited, Salesforce would definitely be a chapter which one cannot afford to miss. The contribution of the organization and most importantly, its CRM product amplifying the abilities of back offices in enterprises across the globe deserves a special mention. The platform can be seamlessly integrated with existing processes and can elevate their capabilities. The introduction of the product was a huge respite for payroll team members for the convenience it ushered in their routine activities. The software platform is touted as the best in the world and embraced by many organizations worldwide for their customer relationship management activities. Several media reports have stated that the CRM platform has been largely embraced by organizations looking to get rid of the inefficiencies of the age-old pen-and-paper system. The recent times have seen an increase in the adoption of Salesforce due to the rising awareness of the advantages of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. Salesforce continues to be the go-to name among organizations transitioning from a legacy environment to the cloud. In the current climate of digitization and data explosion, which has been occurring at an exponential rate, adoption of cloud infrastructure has become inevitable for most businesses. Thus, SaaS has become a term that has got techies worldwide raving today.

A report published by research giant Gartner stated that SaaS is the largest segment of the cloud market today and industry veterans and experts predict that sales are expected to rise by 22 percent to around $73.6 Billion later this year. In the past couple of years, Microsoft had a large role to play in the rapid growth of the SaaS market, with its suite of collaboration, CRM and enterprise application software contributing to this significant change. Adobe, SAP, IBM, and Cisco are other organizations that are largely responsible for this change, or rather the large fluctuation in numbers. The rising popularity of the cloud model and the SaaS approach has undoubtedly been a catalyst in enhancing the growth of Salesforce and increasing the number of users of its CRM tool. – Read more