Freshworks launches SaaS products targeting startups

SaaS newcomer Freshworks, said to challenge Salesforce and ServiceNow, has launched a package targeting startups and new IT helpdesk technology, but is still struggling to get acquainted with the enterprise food chain in its exit year. to bag.

Despite a consumer-like user experience, relatively cheap prices, and a modern technology stack, the India-based app hacker lacks key features, such as the dashboard required by large companies.

Freshworks was founded by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy as a “user-centric cloud-based customer service software” in 2010, roughly a decade after Saleforce.com, which for better or worse led the market. It offers products in CRM, IT operations and service desk, and some aspects of human resources. Clients include the tire manufacturer Stonebridge, the publishing and educational company Pearson, and the National Physical Laboratory, the UK’s national measurement institute.

The Google-backed company was valued at $ 12.2 billion in its Nasdaq IPO in September after rising 21 percent more than the initial price. But after seemingly positive quarterly results, which beat market expectations and indicated year-on-year revenue growth of 46%, stocks fell.

The company announced new features and product approaches to the market this week.

Its Freshservice helpdesk tool now features on-call management designed to enable IT teams to immediately respond to critical incidents and aid collaboration between IT and DevOps teams. Automated alert grouping promises that machine learning will reduce alert noise to identify the most pressing IT operations problems.

Meanwhile, the new Freshstack package combines three start-up products: customer support, sales and go-to-market products, which he hopes will “give start-ups what they need to get up and running instantly with a CRM platform.” Also, these clients get $ 3,000 in credits on the SaaS platform.

It’s a bewildering move since, by their very nature, most startups don’t last long or employ many people.

But CEO Girish Mathrubootham said Register: “We have other clients. Yes, we see that many startups fail, but also those that grow are going to be the leaders of the future.

“Big companies already have legacy investments and they’re not going to throw them away overnight. Sometimes when you build the future, you have to go with what we call the tech evangelist, and startups are a great place. where they are making a new beginning, no pun intended. “

On a report From the Forrester group of analysts, Freshworks is among the competitors in the sales force automation market, far behind the “leaders” Saleforce.com, Microsoft and Oracle, and behind “high performance companies” such as SAP, Pegasystems and SugarCRM. Freshworks produces more than sales force software, but so do the other companies here: All three leaders have cloud platforms, and Microsoft and Oracle also have ERP and finance, for example.

Perhaps most importantly, leaders are also demanding a ton of features around dashboards and BI, which Freshworks lacks, according to the report.

“The product has basic reports and dashboards, limiting its use to optimize sales processes. Reference customers want greater operational maturity to support enterprise customers. It appeals to teams with simple requirements looking for a solution that easy to implement and use, “the report said.

However, the analyst firm added that reference clients “were enthusiastic about their consumer-level experiences.”

Mathrubootham defended the company’s approach compared to the big hitters in the market saying that, in addition to ease of use, the products were designed for quick start-up, with projects taking a few weeks, rather than months or years. , saving on consulting and licensing fees.

The company also exploits the common elements between the products it offers, building them from a common layer called Neo Platform, “which abstracts many of the services that are required for these products, such as email processing or chat processing and the single sign of multiple tenancy. -en, “he said.

Lastly, the products are designed to accelerate deployment by avoiding customization, which can bog down business projects.

“We stay out of agreements in which a large company wants to fully customize their system and a platform on which they can build whatever they want. We make it very clear. Most customers choose us because they realize 80 90 percent of what they want is actually common, “said the CEO.

Kate Leggett, Forrester Veep and Senior CRM and Customer Service Analyst, agreed that Freshworks products were quick and easy to buy, configure, learn, and use.

“All products are unified, with a unified view of data in all applications. They are secure, comply with data regulatory policies and are affordable, well below the cost of competitive solutions such as Microsoft and Salesforce,” he said .

Although Freshworks may appear to have a disparate product portfolio across CRM, ITSM, and HR, it does well to take full advantage of the “synergy between these products in terms of processes, data, experiences, channels of engagement,” Leggett said.

However, the key to its success was focused on the lower end of the deployment scale, where it competes with vendors such as Zoho, Hubspot, and a collection of freemium solutions.

“They will find the competitive space much more crowded if they move into the upper market. If they do, they will compete with Zendesk, SugarCRM and MSFT, Oracle, Salesforce at the enterprise level,” Leggett said.

“As they move into the higher market, they will have to mature their operational excellence, for example, their partner program, customer success, and after-sales account management, customer service, etc. functions to compete with the players. larger who have a more established after-sales account. Handling practices. “

The problem is, Freshworks’ claims of easy implementation and simplicity in architecture won’t be tested until you reach larger clients, which is exactly where you’ll find it most difficult to win deals. Better to wait for some of those startups to grow. ®

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