Great post on the KidoZen website about yesterday’s Google acquisition of mobile testing vendor Appurify http://www.kidozen.com/google-acquires-appurify-perspective/
Tag Archives: enterprise mobility
Last week I ran my first board meeting as CEO of a venture backed company. Among other things, that’s the reason why I haven’t been actively blogging in this space as the preparations for the board meeting took a considerable part of my time.
Even though I sit at the board of a few other companies and have a good experience participating in board meetings, I didn’t anticipate the intensity that takes running a board meeting as a startup CEO. In that sense, I think the experience broaden my perspective of the value that a board can play in an early stage startup and, hopefully, that will make me a better board member. In any case, I thought I’d summarize some of the lessons I learned while preparing for this board meeting.
I couldn’t stress this enough. As a CEO, it’s your duty to your board to be super-prepared for the board meeting. In my case, I found myself working the entire weekend putting together the board package and obsessing about every little detail. At the end, I ended putting together more than 200 pages of documentation but I think our board members got a very in-depth view of the KidoZen strategy and they were able o be very productive during the board meeting.
Deliver the Board Package a Few Days in Advance
If you have the opportunity, deliver the board package a few days in advance so that your board members have the time to review it. Even though this is a pain, understand that your board members don’t have your same level of understanding of your strategies and having the time to review of board package in advance will make them more productive during the meeting.
In my case, I didn’t have the opportunity to deliver the package with so many days in advance but, instead, we printed the entire 200 pages of documentations and delivered to each board member so it will make it easily for them to read when they were offline.
Focus on Making the Board Meeting Productive
Most board meeting are a complete waste of time. If you are not well prepared, you can find yourself getting stuck in unproductive discussions that won’t add any value to your company. Additionally, keep in mind that some of your board members can be really disruptive during the meeting. To mitigate that, you need to have a super detailed agenda and be extremely clear about your goals for the board meeting and relentlessly trying to control the agenda even if it means being strong with your board members.
Presenting an accurate picture of the state of the company is a super important part of the board package. In that sense, presenting detailed information about the financials and other key performance indicators is super important to help your board members get a good understanding of the state of the company and identify the areas on which they can be helpful.
Be Honest, Disclose your Challenges and Failures
No CEO likes talking about their failures and current challenges. However, it’s important to realize that your board members are co-owners of your company and it’s their job to help you and advice with those challenges. In my case, I have a included a “Challenges Slide” in every single section of the presentation such as business development or sales to highlight the areas on which we could use a lot of help.
Have Clear Goals and Resolutions that Need to Be Approved
Resolutions are an important part of the board meeting and one on which you can end up spending way too much time. I believe it’s a good practice to highlight the resolution that will require voting in advance so that your board members can be prepared to have an intelligent discussion about it.
Have your Legal Counsel Present During the Meeting
Not a standard practice, but I find it super helpful to have your legal counsel present in the meeting to draft the minutes and assist with any legal matters. Most top-tier firms will offer you a good rate for those services event more if thy are really invested in your company. In our case, our legal counsel assigned one of his associates to participate full time in the meeting and they were extremely helpful in several discussions.
I hope this helps, I will have a follow up post about the board package soon.
Today is one of the proudest days of my life. After almost a year of running a very successful and humbling private program we are super happy to announce the general availability of our KidoZen platform.
KidoZen is our attempt to DEMOCRATIZE and REVOLUTIONATIZE enterprise mobility providing a simple, secure and feature rich model to enable enterprise-ready backend and management capabilities to mobile apps. KidoZen is challenging the traditional mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) model that for years have contaminated the enterprise mobility ecosystem an incredible complex and costly solutions that resemble the mainframe models 40 years ago.
KidoZen mobile-first platform as a service focus on providing the foundation for the mobile-first enterprise by enabling cloud and on-premise backend to enterprise mobile apps and a sophisticated and secure management experience through an enterprise application store. By using KidoZen, enterprises can drastically improve the agility and time to market with their mobile applications by enabling backend capabilities in minutes rather than weeks.
How is KidoZen different from other mBaaS players?
Contrasting with other mBaaS players, KidoZen is focus exclusively on enabling enterprise-ready mobile backend capabilities. A good part of our mBaaS platform focuses on providing integration with line of business systems through our mobile line of business APIs, we obsess about security, compliance and provide both on-premise and cloud deployment models.
How is KidoZen different from MEAPs?
KidoZen enables backend to enterprise mobile apps in a super simple manger leveraging the mobile development platforms or tools of their preference. A quick example: suppose that you are writing an Android app that needs to authenticate to Active Directory and get a list of items from a SharePoint Server behind the firewall. Using the KidoZen Android SDK developers will only need one line of code to authenticate to AD and another one to query the contents of a SharePoint list.
Try to do the same thing with your favorite MEAP ;)
Details about our private beta program?
It was huge, plain a simple. We were able to acquire some of the biggest brands in the world as customers (over 40 enterprises) and grow a fairly solid partner ecosystem that you are going to hear a lot about in the next few days. We are super grateful to our customers and partners for all the support and feedback provided throughout the last few months.
We have put a lot of effort on expanding KidoZen’s mobile line of business APIs to facilitate the implementation of mobile apps that integrate with corporate systems. For the next few weeks, you are going to see a lot of exciting announcements with some of our customers and partners.
In the last few weeks of 2012, I received a number of emails referring to a growing preference within the venture capital community for revenue focused enterprise software startups compared to market-share consumer startups. While the argument is way more complex than what can be expressed in the light of this blog post, there is certain true to the fact that the tight economic times and the poor performance of recent consumer-based software IPOs have impacted the consumer VC market.
However, despite this VC love, I think this year is going to be “interesting” to say the least for enterprise software startups. The uncertainty of the world economy, particularly the US markets, fiscal cliffs, the budgets cuts established in most IT departments as well as the large number of startups that raised angel funding and are now competing for a Series A are just some of the factors that, I believe, will make 2013 a challenging year for most enterprise software startups.
Like any other challenging time, this upcoming year offers a unique opportunity for the better companies to solidify their market presence as a lot of the weaker competitors won’t be able to survive some of the phenomenon listed above. Not to sound apocalyptic, but my advice to the enterprise software startup community is to operate as it we were expecting another economic downturn. We certainly already started doing that on our side. Here are a few of the aspects I consider relevant:
Focus on Revenue
If driving revenue wasn’t your immediate goal, now it should be. In 2013, focus on finding and nurturing the revenue producing engines of growth of your company. Discovering the different avenues by which enterprises can acquire your software will provide you with the necessary resources to keep growing during economically uncertain times while building a loyal and committed customer based.
Focus on Organic Growth
These are not the times to foment rapid growth in order to just capture market share. In my opinion, this year, enterprise software startups should focus on growing organically based on revenue and optimize for being extremely efficient operationally.
Target Relevant Markets
These are great times to be in the enterprise software business. With revolutionary technology movements happening in areas such as cloud computing, mobility, big data, gamification, etc the opportunities for building relevant enterprise software companies are tremendous. However, with the uncertainly of the economy, I believe enterprises will invest on the areas that are key to their growth and set everything else aside. In that sense, enterprise software startups that are targeting mission critical areas are likely to receive a lot of attention from customers while the others would have to wait for better times.
Go After the Big Guys Money
Tough economic times can affect the big enterprise software vendors more than any other startup. While the big enterprise guys struggle to convince companies to spend large sums in complex enterprise solutions, leaner, more efficient and technologically superior startups can find an opportunity to capture that customer based with more attractive solutions.
These are some of the key advice I have for enterprise software startups in 2013. I have a lot of ideas about this topic but I will save those for a later post.
What about you?
Any words of wisdom for enterprise software startups in this new year ?
Oracle reported numbers yesterday and the results were better than expected. Earnings on a per-share basis were 64 cents, three cents above the consensus of 61 cents. Sales were $9.11 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $9.03 billion. The main driver for the outstanding performance was new software license sales, which rose by 17 percent to reach $2.4 billion. License updates grew 7 percent to $4.3 billion. Hardware revenue was $734 million.
And yet, it didn’t matter….
Somehow this remarkable performance couldn’t hide the fact that Oracle is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the modern enterprise software world. Other than current shareholders, Wall Street and the press I don’t think anybody was really interested or excited about Oracle’s earning report.
The enterprise software world is changing and changing fast and you have to wonder whether Oracle can continue buying their way out of irrelevance. In an enterprise software world driven by cloud, mobility, big data and social models, Oracle is still following the same rules that made it a dominant player in enterprise IT in the last three decades. The problem winds of the enterprise software world have shifted in a way that not even Oracle can afford to ignore.
When analyzing the pillars of the new enterprise IT world is hard to think about Oracle as an influential player in any of them.
As of today, Oracle has no presence or technology in the enterprise mobility space. Despite the increasing investments in the space by longtime rival SAP, Oracle keeps ignoring the enterprise mobility movements. At the moment, none of Oracle platforms have a well-established mobile presence and there is no clear roadmap for it.
Despite recent investments in the Oracle Cloud platform, Oracle can hardly be considered a strong player when comes to cloud platforms. In the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space, Oracle Cloud looses hands downs when compared to competitors like Amazon’s Web Services, RackSpace or Google Compute Engine. In the platform as a service context, technologies such as Heroku, CloudFoundry, Force.com, Windows Azure or OpenShift are miles ahead of Oracle Cloud in terms of capabilities, market presence, developer and partner communities.
This is the area where Oracle might have seen the most traction lately with products such as Oracle Fusion CRM Cloud Service and the recent acquisition of Taleo and RoghtNow. However, this space is heavily competitive with large vendors like Salesforce.com and SAP’s Success Factors or exciting new companies like WorkDay.
Exadata is a great technology but can’t really be considered an influential technology in the big data space. Startups like Cloudera, HorthinWorks, DataStax and many others gaining increasing traction with simple solutions, more agile distribution models and passionate developer communities which highly contrasts with the close and exclusive Exadata partner model.
So what can we conclude from all this?
Oracle earnings report was a great validation that the enterprise IT market remains strong but hardly a reason to be excited about Oracle technology roadmap. There are 2 words that come to mind when I think about Oracle these days in the new enterprise software world: Strong and Irrelevant.
I was having a conversation about enterprise mobility with an executive of a large enterprise participating in the private beta of our new enterprise mobility backend as a service platform (www.kidozen.com ). In a very concise and clear way, our customer was articulating their vision around enterprise mobility. In his opinion, they have established a very simple strategy to mobilize some of the business capabilities of their existing enterprise system into different mobile applications. He was very emphatic about the fact that enterprise mobile apps should expose almost atomic and independent business capabilities in their simplest representation and remove all the extra features that impede a good mobile experience. A very simple vision but yet so profound.
In my opinion, a vision like our customer was exposing could be the difference between a success and a failed enterprise mobility experience. By definition, mobile applications are about simplicity and most enterprises tend to ignore that simple fact and keep thinking about creating mobile representations of existing enterprise applications.
While conceptually might make sense, implementing a mobile version of existing enterprise line of business applications will, almost unequivocally, produce unusable mobile applications. Instead, enterprises should focus on exposing mobile representations of specific business capabilities in a very simple way that can maximize the productivity of the end users. This might entail sometimes breaking up a specific enterprise application in various mobile apps in order to protect the end user experience.
In a nutshell, to build mobile you need to think mobile.
When building enterprise mobile applications, stop thinking about your existing enterprise applications and focus on exposing atomic business capabilities via very simple to use mobile interfaces. The apps might look trivial functionality-wise but this approach will tremendously improve the user experience and effectivity of your enterprise mobile apps.