By Team SOS
The business world is an ever-changing landscape. With newer technologies ushering in new frontiers and pushing the envelope, it is imperative to be on the top of your business with excellent technology management partners.
The cloud technology has already made inroads into the business world and has changed its dynamics by lowering the cost of technology from capital intensive-based purchases to subscription-based monthly technology partners, which become very much manageable and affordable for businesses.
Clients or customers are pivotal to business and hence it is vital for businesses to have technology that capture all the touchpoints of the customer lifecycle and utilize it in its day-to-day functioning.
Salesforce is the innovative company behind world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. With an array of cloud-based tools, Salesforce gives businesses the power to close deals like never before, increase productivity, keep the pipeline filled with solid leads and score more wins.
ABSYZ is a Silver Cloud Alliance Partner of Salesforce — world’s No 1 CRM. ABSYZ is a company that delivers Salesforce solutions relevant to the present market conditions. Their broad gamut of services includes consulting, implementation, audit, support, staff augmentation and training services.
In a conversation with Stars of Startups, founders of ABSYZ Software Consulting talk about how they perfectly fit the requisite of a‘must-have technology partner for all “technology needs” of businesses irrespective of the industry and size. Excerpts:
‘ABSYZ’ is an interesting name — how did that happen?
While initially deciding names for the company, the set boundaries were like availability of “.com” domain, less than eight letters, to sound futuristic etc. Playing with a lot of names, suddenly ABSYZ came up, which is basically AB – to – YZ of Salesforce. “Ab” is also Sanskrit word for ’now’, which showed our vision of being in the “current” or working on latest technologies like cloud, IoT etc.
Why Salesforce? Talk about your relationship with Salesforce.
When you talk about technology — social, mobile, analytics and cloud or SMAC technologies are some of the current top ones. Salesforce is world’s #1 cloud platform for enterprises and has complete SMAC in one place and was #1 Forbes most innovative company, for three consecutive years, from 2012-2014. Besides, both ABSYZ founders are Salesforce experts with more than over seven years of experience in this technology. That helped them to quickly scale and build a team and be one of the fastest Salesforce partners in emerging markets to get a Silver Cloud Alliance Partnership tag.
How does cloud technology impact the business of an enterprise?
Cloud technologies are the future of business and enterprise, with key factors being cost and scale. Cloud-based enterprise applications are way cheaper than traditional on premise heavyweights like SAP, Oracle etc. and the best part is that customers pay as subscription per user. This means even a small startup can use a good CRM or ERP solution at a fraction of cost compared to olden days and still get the same features as the big companies. The cost will increase only as the company grows. Cloud computing also makes upgrades seamless and implementation time is in days or weeks compared to years with traditional software.
Explain the functionality of the CRM software for a startup?
On-premise CRMs hosted on your private network are generally bulky and targeted for large enterprise. From a startup point of view, it is overkill and even a meagre cost of $1000 for couple of servers is not justified, especially if you have only 2-3 users. On-premise CRM’s offer good security but in a digital age where mobility, easy access to information, open APIs and user experience defines adoption rate of any software, on premise systems fail miserably. On the other hand, cloud based CRMs like Salesforce are easy to setup and economical option compared to traditional CRMs. The subscription based model ensures that a small SME gets the same functionalities and features as a large enterprise and scalability is never an issue. Thus for small business, CRM on cloud is the way to go.
Startups generally use CRMs for their lead management, opportunity and pipeline management, contracts, invoicing, reporting etc. Any process which is managed in Excel spreadsheet is risky and putting that application on a platform like Salesforce ensures scalability and security.
What are the differentiators of Salesforce vis-a-vis other CRM?
Salesforce is a leader in the magic quadrant by Gartner. It is a highly reliable CRM with new features like Salesforce1 for mobile, Wave Analytics for analytics and Thunder cloud for IoT. Salesforce is a tough competitor to beat in this landscape. The key differentiator for Salesforce is the innovation it brings to the table and the broad gamut of functionalities it offers.
Is there any integration of social media and other digital platform with the CRM software?
Yes, Salesforce supports open APIs and both REST and SOAP protocols. This essentially means, as developers, we can connect Salesforce platform to send and receive data from pretty much any other system or application which supports open APIs.
What is the extension of customization on your products?
Salesforce as a platform allows extensive customisation and that is the main bread and butter for partners like us. As a platform, we can code pretty much any process or application in this platform within few weeks or months and not years. The lightning platform allows us to build mobile ready applications which can be used in any mobile device immediately. APEX is the backend coding language and we can program complex algorithms and processes using it.
What kind of development work ABSYZ does for Salesforce?
ABSYZ is a pure play Salesforce company as of now. This essentially means we work on everything under the sun related to Salesforce including consulting, implementation, custom development, integration, testing, audit, managed services etc. Customers purchase Salesforce license and we help them customise the software as per their requirements.
Salesforce also has an AppExchange (similar to iStore or Playstore) and we can build enterprise level applications there. ABSYZ currently has one free product, “PROMETER” in app exchange but we are also simultaneously working on some other ideas as well.
Do you see ABSYZ coming out with more product innovation?
Yes, definitely. What people see as the biggest disadvantage in service industry — “the bench strength” is our biggest advantage. We use our bench effectively on continuous learning, development and above all work on product ideas. Thus at any given time we have developers having fun with new product innovations.
How would you associate ‘tech innovation’ to your solutions to clients?
Salesforce is a flexible platform and scope for innovation is enormous. In fact, “passion and courage to experiment” is one of our core values. Having said that, we still try to follow best practices and not indulge in too much customization and deviate from requirements. Not adding unnecessary complexity to solutions and keeping things simple is in itself an innovation.
Support is the key for long term relationship with clients. Can you share instances of this statement?
Our first client still works with us and in over the past four years, has easily done more than $100,000 business with us. Around 60-70% of our business is repeat, and that pretty much sums up the value of support to our business.
Please Introduce Team ABSYZ.
Key management person are:
Anshul Jain, Co-founder & CEO: With over 12 years of experience and five Salesforce certifications, Anshul is among the most passionate Salesforce consultants out there. Anshul is an alumna of T .A. Pai Management Institute and has been part of companies like Hexagon Metrology, Infosys and so on. When he is not playing the multi-faceted role of CEO and Consultant, Anshul spends his time responding to queries in Salesforce community, making him one of the Top 15 community experts of all time.
Balesh Lakshminarayanan, Co-founder & CTO: With over 12 years experience in IT, Consulting and Telecoms, Balesh has been a part of many transformational projects for clients across the world. His solutions are focused on long term usability and strong impact on the bottom-line, which explains his natural flair for strategy and planning. Balesh has prior experience in companies like Infosys and Alcatel-Lucent. Balesh is also an alumnus of T. A. Pai Management Institute and did his engineering from School of Engineering, Cochin University. He also holds six Salesforce certifications.
Share some interesting ‘field innovations’ of team ABSYZ pertaining to
- Customer delivery
We have a unique 6D delivery model for our projects Discover, Design, Develop, Deploy, Delta and Delight
- Problem solving
We follow a new technique to solve any problem which is generally not used in IT sector. When clients come to us with a problem we don’t directly jump to provide solution for it. First we spend some time learning their business processes by different means which also includes going to the client’s office, manufacturing unit etc. Then we analyse what exactly the problem is. Learning business processes helps a lot to connect with clients and understand their problems. From this practice we are able to comprehend better augmentations we can provide from IT POV to smoothen their business process.
- Service innovation
Everybody wants to be in his comfort zone.We allow our customers to push boundaries to the limitations of Salesforce. We provide them platform to think as broad as they can. We don’t restrict them to the level of our knowledge. This is a win-win situation for both of us. Customer gets what they want and we acquire more knowledge. This is a new way to provide services.
WHAT THE FOUNDERS SAY:
Balesh Lakshminarayanan, answered some questions on behalf of the founders:
How did both of you come together – especially both Salesforce experts?
One of the funny stories which we often talk about is how we decided to start ABSYZ. I was based out of Geneva and Anshul came to Switzerland for his honeymoon. It was one of those casual chats in a small restaurant in Lucern which kindled the fire in us. Before we knew it, we were working on names, websites, and within a year we quit our jobs and came in full time. I still vividly remember us working on strategies in a single room of 2BHK in Begumpet (Hyderabad). We used to deliberate 10 times to spend $40 per month for a LinkedIn account. From that stage to managing a $500,000 revenue company was definitely a roller-coaster ride and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support both of us got from our families and the faith shown by our team in us. One person, in particular, is very important for the success of ABSYZ – Shubham Khilauria, who was our first employee and joined us from Deloitte. Taking the leap of faith is not easy and we are glad that he took that decision a year ago. Currently he heads our delivery team.
How does engaging with Salesforce community help in building opportunities to engage with customers?
As a Silver Cloud Alliance Partner, we work very closely with Salesforce. Our sales team is in constant touch with Salesforce account executives and we work together on many sales. Our delivery team is in constant touch with Salesforce R&D and Salesforce academy. Certifications are also a key area where we invest heavily.
Founders, Salesforce experts — a strong growth story — comment.
Both Anshul and me (Balesh) — we have spent a good 10 years in the industry acquiring core competencies. And MBA along the way ensured management and financial prudence. Couple this with the fact that both are below 35 and that makes us rightly balanced for risk-taking and this is the reason for the strong growth story of ABSYZ.
Salesforce has helped to build a strong entrepreneur ecosystem. Can you explain?
Definitely! As first generation entrepreneurs, to start a Salesforce boutique, all it took was a laptop and internet connection. With everything on cloud, including the developer IDEs and tools, it was much easier to get things started. Following it up was of course difficult and we saw a steady rise in operational expenses as employees increased but as a company, we save a lot on IT infrastructure which would not have been possible with old legacy technologies which were highly capital intensive.
What is the future of ABSYZ?
2015-16 saw at least three big Salesforce partners including Bluewolf, CloudSherpas and RedKite getting acquired by IBM, Accenture and Liquidhub respectively. For every dollar sale of Salesforce license, there are four dollars to be made in services. This is a $40 billion market considering Salesforce is looking at being the fastest company to reach $10 billion in sales. And with a focus on upcoming technologies like Lightning platform and Thunder platform for IOT, future looks upbeat.
What are your immediate plans?
Immediate plans for ABSYZ is to continue the growth and expand as quickly as possible. Once we stabilize, probably at around 125-150 employee mark, we might start considering venturing onto other platforms. Till then we want to continue as a pure Salesforce partner with this exceptional team comparable to global standards. Luckily for us, attrition has been below 5% and that really helps.
ABSYZ is a cockroach and a survivor. We are here for the marathon and don’t want to be the sprinting unicorns at least for now.
ABSYZ is a bootstrapped company started by Salesforce experts Anshul Jain and Balesh Lakshminarayanan. They have built the business and are scaling up through internal accruals. There is a clear product innovation roadmap and a measured plan to leverage their experience and connect within the SalesForce ecosystem.
Their belief that they still have a lot to learn makes their growth more measured, at the same time fundamentally stable. Unlike startups that focus on product building and scaling up fast, the growth plan of ABSYZ is to leverage the robust frameworks that evolve from their knowledge ecosystem. We believe that ABSYZ has got it right — growing at the same time, doing business by first principles.