Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World

Workday, a financial and human resources SaaS provider, has secured $75 million in Series E funding. In my humble opinion, this is a very good sign that investments in business software are going to get a boost in the next few years.

Look back 15 years ago and compare the progress in “consumer computing” to the progress in “business computing” – the differences are amazing.  Consumers moved from 14K modems to cable, from one inbox per office to unlimited mail accounts and storage, from backing up files on floppy disks to box.net, from from Rolodex to manage their personal lives to Facebook, from expensive and complex Photoshop to Picasa, from mail orders to Amazon and from paper atlas to Google maps. Our lives as consumers are almost 100% digitized now. Continue reading “Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World”

Workday Raises $75 Million- Good Sign for the Business Software World

Financing an ERP product does not equal financing a car

Microsoft offers zero percent financing on Dynamics ERP and CRM. Given the economy and the credit crunch, it must make a lot of sense, right? Not really. In ERP, licensing the product is far from being the most significant cost. Training, implementation, change management, additional hardware, additional software (like database), third party software components that goes with the new package (add ons are common addition to ERP implementations) make the money you spend with Microsoft the smallest part of your investment. Continue reading “Financing an ERP product does not equal financing a car”

Financing an ERP product does not equal financing a car

SaaS at the edge of the enterprise

SAP, Oracle and Microsoft solutions will not go away anytime soon. While the SaaS discussion is gaining ground in the last months, we still don’t see massive (or even minor) conversion of enterprises from mission critical systems like SAP to SaaS based applications. Netsuite for example, is reported to go after SAP customers in a competitive conversion offer. I doubt that they will get too many real R/3 customers that are fully deployed converting- the only success they may enjoy is from customers that never deployed SAP or subsidiaries of SAP shops that used something else (say MS-Dynamics) and now want a better solution. Continue reading “SaaS at the edge of the enterprise”

SaaS at the edge of the enterprise

In bad times, lower the risk for your customers

Just like everyone else, I am spending cycles thinking of the economy. Unlike many others, I don’t think the crisis is one size fits all and winners will emerge alongside the losers.

There is a lot of advice for entrepreneurs and much talk in the VC community but the talk is all focused on lowering costs and not on ways to impact the revenue side, which is as important to survive this downturn. Customers will not stop spending. It never happened and it will never happen. Customers will be simply looking to lower their risk at times like this. Who wants to invest 10M in a new ERP system, when things are uncertain? Continue reading “In bad times, lower the risk for your customers”

In bad times, lower the risk for your customers

Can the financial crisis help SaaS companies in the long term?

No doubt that the financial crisis will hurt everyone. With a frozen financial system the entire idea of US capitalism (borrow cash, put it to work, grow to be profitable, invest again…) is on hold. Eric Schonfeld concluded today that VCs and Startups will not be immune to the crisis and I can not agree with him more. The one thing to remember though, is that a financial Crisis, a war or other disasters impact some people/industries/countries more than others, so while no winners will emerge, some may lose less.

One of the sectors that may lose less is the little (but fast growing) SaaS (Software as a Service) industry. Here is why: Continue reading “Can the financial crisis help SaaS companies in the long term?”

Can the financial crisis help SaaS companies in the long term?

How to measure a good SaaS company

I had an enjoyable lunch meeting with a general partner in a leading Bay Area VC firm and during the discussion he wanted to compare notes on the way I evaluate a good SaaS company. I thought that my answer may be of general interest for employees or investors in the space- so here goes… Continue reading “How to measure a good SaaS company”

How to measure a good SaaS company

Going 100% SaaS

Yesterday I moderated a panel titled “Going 100% SaaS” during Office 2.0 conference.  There is a full video so if you have 40 min to spare you can see it all. It was also covered in Ben Kepes blog

The panelist were 3 SaaS vendors (Dan Druker from Intacct,  Rob Holl from Adaptive Planning and Jeff Schultz from Bill.com) and one near 100% SaaS customer, Doug Harr from Ingres. Although we didn’t get to talk much about the future of SaaS, several interesting takeaways came out of the event:

  • 100% SaaS is real- Companies like Ingres made strategic decision to become 100% SaaS and they move programmatically toward that. If it was not for Exchange and Office, Ingres would be 100% in the cloud) Continue reading “Going 100% SaaS”
Going 100% SaaS

“Tear down this wall”- the Lawson version

Tear down this wall” was the famous challenge from United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall.

The best thing to do when you have only one strategy for your company is to say there is only one strategy in the world. It makes you right automatically which is a great boost for anyone’s ego. When Marc Benioff came with the famous no-software tagline, he was trying to make a point. As the only SaaS game in town, in a market dominated by Siebel, playing the no-software card helped Salesforce.com differentiate itself and win, leaving all its competitors far behind. I understand the marketing wisdom behind “no software” but I don’t agree with this claim. It will be as reasonable for Toyota to declare the death of a non-hybrid cars.

But why do I even bring “no software” up? It is all because Lawson CEO predicted the death of SaaS and carefully explained that he has only one strategy too: YES software.  I don’t even want to get to the argument who is right: Benioff or Debes . Debes is entitled to have his own opinion even if I think he is terribly wrong. Nonetheless, most of the reasons he provided to support his point of view are either wrong or bluntly anti-customer. Continue reading ““Tear down this wall”- the Lawson version”

“Tear down this wall”- the Lawson version

IT can be a boring job (for some)

Office 2.0 is just around the corner and I am preparing for my session (going 100% SaaS) by interacting with my panelists and doing some thinking. My current thread is thinking about IT and its traditional role vs. its new role in the SaaS era.  There were ups and downs in the way IT viewed SaaS and now it seems that IT professionals divide into two camps: the ones that strongly embrace SaaS, and the ones that wait for it to go away.

In general, the ones that want it to go away like control, like hands on approach and rather do the tactical work as a way to keep their kingdom intact. If you work for a startup you may not believe me but in a big company your worth goes up with the number of people you manage and you don’t want to lose anyone you gained. Continue reading “IT can be a boring job (for some)”

IT can be a boring job (for some)

Office 2.0 and Burning Man?

I was invited by my friend Ismael Ghalimi to host a panel during Office 2.0 about my favorite topic, SaaS. The session is about going 100% SaaS and what it means. My panelists are Dan Druker from Intacct, Doug Harr from Ingres, Rob Hull from Adaptive Planning and Rene Lacerte from Bill.com. What’s great about this team is that they are all senior executives that pioneered SaaS either with their current company or in previous lives: Dan was part of Postini (later sold to Google), Rene co-founded PayCycle, one of the best kept SaaS success secrets in the valley, Rob co-founded Adaptive Planning in 2003, when no one believed SaaS will ever happen and Doug spent 5 years with Portal Software, that was acquired by Oracle. We would not be lacking perspective here…

In the next couple of weeks I will share my thoughts about the 100% SaaS goal as I progress in preparing for it. For now I wanted to go back to the title, and explain the interesting story behind Office 2.0 and its connection to the Burning Man festival. Continue reading “Office 2.0 and Burning Man?”

Office 2.0 and Burning Man?