You’ve been #hustling for the past year at your startup. Your team has doubled and doubled again. What was...
I am unsure that an IT department can create the perfect enterprise app because they probably don’t suffer from the same pain that the “business” people suffer from. All the customer development and wireframes in the world does not replace the pure understanding of the pain…Can you imagine what would happen if enterprise employees were able to solve their own problems by building their own enterprise applications without any code?
This changes the entire game. Getting IT out of the business applications business is a huge mindset change, but doing it could lead us to much better systems that are oriented to what users actually need.
It is still an Apple world however when it comes to enterprises, where Apple tablets command over a 90% share. Now that is something I would have never expected, but the more restrictive nature of Apple’s ecosystem and iOS have made the iPad a more desirable choice for companies. This will surely change over time, but that is a pretty impressive display of mindshare in the enterprise.
It is a user driven rebellion that began with BYOD and expanded to BYOA (Bring Your Own App). Salespeople are now routinely using apps like Evernote and Box to store, retrieve, modify, and share sensitive corporate data, data that companies have no knowledge or control over. If companies plan to bring back users and their data, they will need to design apps with the end user in mind on the devices they would rather use.
The revolution is on and mobile first apps will upend the traditionally staid world of enterprise business software. Even the web-based SaaS companies will not be safe from this movement.
Enter the Chief Marketing Technologist via Direct Marketing News
Calculating marketing ROI in the past has usually been a back of the napkin type of analysis. With the advent of the web and mobile world, the data available to marketers is such that they do not have the option of technical ignorance. The new CMO will be as much a marketer as a technologist, and they will be much more active and savvy with the tools for deep data and ROI analysis. Expect to see more and more of a shift of enterprise business technologies purchased and managed by the business rather than by IT departments.
It is about time we deliver software that works for users instead of software that works users. This is especially true of sales technologies like CRM that historically have had low user engagement. Many findings have pegged active user adoption at less than 50%, and in many cases it is much worse. We can change this and give users the experience they deserve. It’s time we give users the power to remix the enterprise.
Some thoughts on the mobile enterprise and how apps are impacting companies. At a fundamental level, the mobile disruption is not in the device itself, but in the way it changes the very nature of work. But in order to get there, we need to rethink how we build apps designed for the way users work.
He absolutely nails it. It has little to do with the type of device, but rather a focus on user-centric design and enhancing user productivity. Instead of talking about mobile and technology, we would be better served speaking about mobility and solving business challenges.
You may have noticed that the blogging has been rather light the past few weeks. It is not that I am ignoring you, but it has been a whirlwind since I first announced my big news. I took the leap and landed at a startup. However, I have been less vocal about what I am doing exactly and where I am hanging my hat for the foreseeable future. It was not to be mysterious. I simply needed some more time to clearly think through my reasoning, and I have not exactly had many free moments to dwell in thought. Alas, that is startup life.
The decision to join Enhatch was not one made without much consideration. Having been away from the operational side for a few years, I came to enjoy the freedom of owning my time. Many talk about about the mental hardships or the financial difficulties of startups, but time is the sacrifice of most personal concern. While I had often envisioned getting back in the game and many opportunities presented themselves along the way, nothing ever quite fit. When I probed, doubts about the team or the product-market fit or the potential always sprang up. But it was always doubts about the team that were hardest to shake. Still tasting the sting of my last startup failure, I am acutely aware of how important the team is to the success of any venture. I was not about to waste anymore time.
It is funny then how the best decisions seem like the worst options at the start. It was serendipity when a friend introduced me to an entrepreneur in the “CRM” space. I have plenty of experience in CRM and have written on the topic of CRM at length, so I have a healthy skepticism about any purported innovations. I listened politely to his pitch and as the conversation turned to the topic of food, he mentioned an investor that does dumplings tours and wears a moped helmet on Twitter. At that point, I stop him and reply,
"Uh, Peter, that is me, you are talking about me. I am the guy in the helmet."
Serendipity has played a huge role in my life. When I threw off my skeptics hat, I usually came away rewarded. To be frank, I really did not think what Peter was pitching seemed all that promising. Even though I was not quite there in terms of buying into Peter’s vision that evening, I did get the sense of someone that understood the startup hustle and had been around the block. So I agreed to meet up with him the in the next couple of weeks. One meeting eventually turned into an ongoing discussion over the next few months to discuss various topics around sales and marketing and fund raising. He was selling me on the company and its prospects all the while I was buying the big idea.
The problem with CRM products and other purported sales tools is that most sales people do not want to use them. From a salesperson’s perspective, they are productivity time sucks and management tools used to bludgeon reps into submission. The other problem is that marketers typically have no idea what sales people really need, so they keep producing mountains of content that goes unused. Mobile technologies provide the means to bridge the gap, but the tools to date either required a ton of custom (and expensive) development or restricted users with rigid tools and workflows.
The big idea is that the enterprise can have its cake and eat it too. This is important for sales and marketing teams because things are changing constantly and time to market is critical. The one-size-fits-all tools are not dynamic enough and the customized approach is simply not responsive enough. That is where Enhatch has taken the middle ground, enabling anyone to build and deploy a soup to nuts mobile app without writing a lick of code. The platform abstracts the complexity of mobile development and management, thus giving sales and marketing teams the flexibility to craft solutions tailored for their teams without involving reams of consultants or programmers. If you extend this same concept to HR, the supply chain, vertical solutions, and other areas of the enterprise, you have a $300 billion market opportunity. That is a big idea.
It is more than just the big idea however that made me jump. I have heard plenty of big ideas, but usually the teams were simply not up to the task or vision. As I spent more time with Peter, I got to see how he works and his unquenchable energy. I joined him in San Francisco at the Dreamforce hackathon where he stayed up 48 hours straight to build a mobile sales rep dashboard that hooked into Salesforce. He has this indefatigable enthusiasm and optimism that are the hallmarks of a true hustler. Part of it is the confidence of having built and sold two companies in the medical device industry, but also a humility to understand that it takes a team to build a great company. He has managed to do just that with his fellow co-founders Mike who he has worked with for several years and Ed who started as an intern the previous summer and quickly took over the CTO role managing a team of four. It is a foundation of talented and committed folks built to create the next great enterprise tech company, this time riding on the mobile wave that will disrupt the existing enterprise tech ecosystem and legacy providers.
What I saw with Enhatch was the perfect union of product, market, and team in an area of technology that I am passionate about. It was not an opportunity where I could simply take a backseat as an investor and be satisfied. I am both honored and humbled that Peter and the team saw in me someone that could help them grow. So after hashing out the details and the role, I agreed late last year to take the leap and to come on board as Chief Revenue Officer for Enhatch, focused on all of our sales & marketing activities.
We are still very early in the game at Enhatch. We have some stellar early customers, but now we need to expand that base and growth our revenue. Our product has come a long way in just six months and we are shipping better product at faster clips, but we have plenty more on the horizon as we expand our CRM functionality and dive into different vertical industry solutions. We have plenty of competition, but we feel confident in our positioning and the ever growing market. We have a stellar team, but know that we will need to step on the gas this year on hiring given our aggressive goals. Given all that there is to do and how dizzying it all seems, I could not be more pumped for what is in store for 2014. And I promise I will get back to my regular blogging schedule and the dispensing of all sorts of fun startup wisdom.