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Bootstrapping from Ukraine: BPMOnline CEO Katherine Kostereva (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Aug 26th 2016

Sramana Mitra: When it came to a head-to-head with Microsoft, how did you win?

Katherine Kostereva: I win against Microsoft now in America as well. First, what is the differentiator. The differentiator of BPMOnline is that it is built on BPM platform. Even mid-size companies who value Business Process Management as the core of CRM application see this value. I would say that any strong company will value this engine below CRM functionality. They, obviously, prefer BPMOnline.

We provide the agility to our customers to change processes in CRM faster than any CRM solution. Why we’re winning deals from Microsoft and Salesforce today is because of our BPM engine. Let’s put it into two parts. To be successful, we need great technologies and need great sales and marketing. Talking about technologies, BPMOnline has been especially strong for a long period of time. I first showed our product in 2011 to Paul Greenberg. People call him the “Godfather of CRM”. He had a competition among CRM vendors from different regions not including big brand names. We won this competition.

He couldn’t believe that technologies like that are not known in the American market. The whole story about BPMOnline is that, from the technological point of view, the product had been exceptionally strong many years ago. From the marketing and sales point of view, we did a huge mistake. I want to share this mistake with you. We started the global expansion to the American, Australian, and Asia-Pacific market just two years ago. Technologically, we were ready to do this step much earlier. That was my, let’s call it, entrepreneurial mistake.

When we get the opportunity and we compete against Microsoft and Salesforce, we win the deals. If you have a look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant of Forester, you will see that BPMOnline has the highest overall score. We have only two competitors on the global market who have beaten BPMOnline. Those are Microsoft and Salesforce. Those are two vendors who are higher than BPMOnline in CRM in Forester.

Sramana Mitra: You’ve basically differentiation from a product point of view by building your CRM system on top of a BPM engine. A company that wants to do BPM and CRM on the same platform chooses you over Microsoft and Salesforce.

Katherine Kostereva: Absolutely. From the other side, the interface of the product is very light. People will just fall in love with it when they see the product. Of course, it’s very subjective. Interfaces have always been subjective. It’s subject to somebody’s tastes. Still, we do invest in our UI and UX. We have three products: marketing, sales, and service. These are all on a single platform. This is something different.

For example, Microsoft have been acquiring products from other vendors and integrating one with each other. In our case, we built marketing, sales, and service on a single platform. The product is one platform with different modules. The administration system, BPM part of the product, and mobile apps are all one application. If the customer needs just the services part, they can buy just services. If they buy all three, they will not get all three products integrated. They will get three products on one platform. That’s the other huge differentiator on the market right now.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping from Ukraine: BPMOnline CEO Katherine Kostereva
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