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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Daniel Saks, Co-CEO of AppDirect (Part 3)

Posted on Saturday, Sep 16th 2017

Sramana Mitra: You have a lot of customers switching from Zoho to your platform?

Daniel Saks: We would work with Zoho as well. We have many brands in our ecosystem that include those entry-level providers. We think all SaaS brands are great but what we do see is as the complexity of what you need to solve evolves, people gravitate to special providers.

Even in AppDirect, we’ve grown from a couple of people in an apartment to over 700 people in the last several years. First we used an Excel sheet for our CRM. Then we used a basic CRM, but we’ve scaled past that. Then we gravitated to Salesforce. I think that it’s really about the complexity of the business and their specific need.

Sramana Mitra: We have used Zoho for a long time. It suffices for what we need. One of the reasons that we have liked being able to buy multiple silos from Zoho is being able to reconcile the data across their apps whether it’s CRM or marketing automation. The data having to be integrated across multiple best-of-breeds is another whole can of worms.

Daniel Saks: Exactly. That’s actually something that we help with. One of the things that we recognize is that adopting multiple services needs separate passwords and separate ways to manage the data. We, as a platform, have invested in both data visualization as well as cross-functional search. You can manage your users and security protocols in one unified place across these different tools.

Sramana Mitra: Can you give me a ballpark of how much software you are selling through your platform?

Daniel Saks: We reached over 30 million businesses around the world and have over four million paid business users on the platform. That’s grown exponentially over the last number of years, which shows the scale and volume of a platform like ours.

Sramana Mitra: I’m familiar with Zoho’s numbers as well. They’re doing $500 million in revenues right now which, for a bootstrapped company, is phenomenal. Given where you fit, where do you see open problems? Where are some white spaces that we could steer our entrepreneurs to look into?

Daniel Saks: With the emergence of the cloud and the proliferation of many different applications, a new type of cloud reseller is evolving that I believe will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in America alone in the coming several years. That cloud reseller is someone who can locally understand the business’ need and be able to craft and package a solution for that vertical. For example, let’s use that same hairdresser.

There’re probably hundreds of hairdressers who need to understand how to adopt software specific to them. There’s an opportunity for a reseller to come onboard and be able to package the solutions that are relevant and speak the language of the hair salon owners. If you think about it, there’re hundreds and thousands of different types of verticals that need software and that could adopt cloud.

Sramana Mitra: All right. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Daniel Saks, Co-CEO of AppDirect
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