Archive for the ‘Enterprise’ Category

Clickable Aims for SMB Market

November 20, 2007

Clickable is getting a fair amount of press lately. The company is a kind of analytics tool and dashboard for ad network and SEM campaign management. I met with CEO David Kidder in New York a couple of months ago and was very impressed with the “actionable” nature of the platform. In other words, it didn’t just tell you how your ads were performing it gave you recommendations to improve performance, often with a “one-click” or one button option to implement the recommendation.

The company is aiming for advertisers that spend from $5 to $50K per month on online advertising. That basically means small and (mostly) medium-sized businesses.

I’m not a technical person and only have partial visibility on the analytics space, but it’s worth taking a close look at their product, which allows you to include an ad network in a single tabbed display.

I was impressed.

Google Apps Enterprise Push

September 10, 2007

The Guardian reports on CapGemini jumping on the Google Apps bandwagon (at the behest of Google of course):

Google has linked up with IT consultancy and outsourcing specialist CapGemini to target corporate customers with its range of desktop applications, in the search engine’s most direct move against the dominance of Microsoft.

CapGemini, which already runs the desktops of more than a million corporate workers, will provide its customers with “Google Apps” such as email, calendar, spreadsheets and word processing.

CapGemini is one of Microsoft’s partners for its new Vista operating system and will continue to use products from Microsoft and Lotus Notes owner IBM, but adding Google is a vote of confidence in the company’s applications. CapGemini is already installing Google Apps in its first major corporate customer.

There’s not a ton to say here except that Google continues to push into the enterprise — although this will be seen in some quarters as a vote of confidence for the software. I go back to earlier comments by Eric Schmidt (in his recent Wired Interview) about Google’s interest in the enterprise:

Wired: I’ll phrase the question differently. Google gets its revenue essentially from one source — online ads. One could argue that it’s not diversified enough.

Schmidt: The criticism is valid. We do get the vast majority of our revenue from advertising, which is a business that a lot of other people would like to be in. But there are some new revenue models on the horizon. The most interesting is probably Google Apps, where we’re already beginning to get some significant enterprise deals.

Google Apps don’t replace Microsoft Office, but they supplement Office and provide some valuable collaborative features and, of course, online access from any computer. Google Apps is one reason that Microsoft is pushing services like Windows Live Services and moving “into the cloud.”

There’s something of an irony here as Microsoft builds more Web-based consumer services to counter Google and Google aims for the Fortune 500 to diversify its business.

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Here’s more from Read/Write Web and my write up (similar but with some additional detail) from SEL.

What if Google Bought Earthlink?

August 6, 2007

The image “https://i2.wp.com/w.eimg.net/i/nav/earthlink_logo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Some time ago it occurred to me that Google might buy an ISP. It made sense to me then as a potential channel to small businesses. But now it makes even more sense from a variety of perspectives.

Let’s step back for a minute. Google has recently been pushing to open up Internet access and build direct ISP-like relationships with consumers:

All these efforts can be seen as Google’s attempt to ensure its relationship with consumers isn’t disrupted and/or that it becomes even more ubiquitous.

So what if Google were to buy Earthlink? Its market cap is a modest $800 million and change, it has strong cash flow and a range of valuable capabilities and assets (like 50% of MVNO Helio). However, its new growth initiatives (e.g., VoIP and muni Wifi) have not met expectations to date.

What would Earthlink bring at a relatively modest price:

  • A big pool of consumers and small business customers (think alternative sales channel)
  • A wireless carrier in Helio
  • A telco business (VoIP), which Google is heading toward becoming anyway (think more services to enterprises)
  • A ISP business with national reach (and that would offer precise location information for ad targeting)
  • Infrastructure to build out muni Wifi if that takes off

Some of the costs of these initiatives Google could subsidize with its other revenues and it wouldn’t be under the same pressure as Earthlink is as a stand-alone company. But it could also be a profitable business unit that would help Google achieve some of its objectives on a now wide range of fronts.

Google-Salesforce Partnership

June 5, 2007

An extension of their existing AdWords relationship, Google and Salesforce.com are offering a more tightly integrated application or suite of applications to enterprise users and advertisers:

Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords provides an integrated and effective solution that gives companies of all sizes all the tools they need to acquire new customers and grow their business. By encapsulating every element of the customer lifecycle – advertising, creating leads, closing business and retaining customers – in one solution, Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords enables any company to jump start their business by creating an online marketing and sales presence.

Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords enables users to:

  • Advertise Online – With Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, companies can immediately connect to Google AdWords, and create an ad that is displayed with the relevant search results on Google.com or across the Google AdSense™ content network of partner websites. Users can create an ad in as quickly as five minutes and with as little as $5.
  • Attract Prospects – When people search the Web for the products and services that your company sells, your ad appears with the relevant search results. When they click on your ad, visitors are taken to your website.
  • Capture Leads – Once you have potential customers on your website, you can entice visitors to fill out a name capture form on your site with an offer for a Webinar or white paper. The information collected on the form flows directly into Salesforce as a new lead.
  • Acquire Customers – As soon as a lead is added into Salesforce, it is distributed to the sales team. Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords enables businesses to effectively manage and share leads, track opportunities through the sales cycle and close deals faster. Sales teams can manage all customer interactions in Salesforce and turn qualified leads into new customers.
  • Analyze Growth – Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords features dashboards that gives companies a bird’s eye view into lead generation, sales metrics, and company growth. Dashboards and reports are quick and easy to access with real-time information and allow companies to make decisions quickly and alter advertising strategies appropriately.
  • Mash-up Other Business Applications – Through the power of Salesforce.com’s AppExchange directory, customers have the opportunity to mash-up any of 600 business applications including technologies for mapping and productivity.

But for Salesforce’s $5+ billion market cap, it would be an almost certain near-term acquisition candidate for Google, which is building more and more products for the enterprise.

WSJ: Coming Google Alliance with Salesforce

May 21, 2007

According to the WSJ (sub req’d):

The companies are still hashing out details of a potential partnership, expected to be announced in the next few weeks. But one outcome, these people said, could be a Web-based offering that integrates some of Google’s online services such as email and instant-messaging with those of Salesforce.com, whose “customer-relationship management” tools help salespeople track their accounts. Details about how such a service might be sold are still in flux, they added.

By teaming up, Google and Salesforce.com could be better equipped to contend with Microsoft, a mutual rival. Google has long competed with Microsoft in areas such as search and email. More recently, Google began offering online word-processing, spreadsheet and calendar services for consumers and businesses — Web-based applications known as Google Apps — that offer an alternative to Microsoft’s productivity software.

Google and Salesforce already have a partnership (similar to Google’s with Intuit) in which AdWords can be bought, managed and tracked via Salesforce.

Recently, Google has emphasized Apps as a source of potential revenue beyond its traditional advertising model.

FAST Launches ‘FASTMedia’ for Publishers

April 30, 2007

Norwegian enterprise search provider FAST is launching a paid-search platform that publishers (newspapers) can use to auction and serve their own ads and maintain all the ad revenue. The message to the market is: no need to work with Google or Yahoo! and share revenues.

FAST was joint developer, with Sensis, of a paid-search platform (Platefood), which the company subsequently fully acquired for a little more than $10 million in Q4 last year. That capability is part of this offering.

While Europe may be something of a “green field,” the US (newspaper) market is almost totally closed to this product unless it’s compatible with existing channel/monetization deals. FAST does have relationships with the Washington Post and a few other publishers but I see little chance for broad adoption among US newspapers. Google supplies ads and revenue (AdSense); FAST does not. But even more importantly, Yahoo! has sewn up exclusive relationships with hundreds (260 and counting) of newspapers now. Quigo, which this product competes with, also has numerous newspaper relationships.

Another issue is cost. Although good, FAST’s products/solutions are often expensive. That’s not going to be attractive to most US newspaper publishers. There may be other, non-newspaper publishers, who’ve got sufficient traffic and a sales force to make this product work. But in the US, FASTMedia is likely to find very few homes.

Google Acquires Video Conf. Company

April 20, 2007

Here’s the Google Blog post and here’s the company: Marratech.

Two thoughts: this plays into my “threat to WebEx” suggestion earlier and may become part of the enterprise version of the Docs & Spreadsheets suite.

Google Presentations a Threat to WebEx?

April 19, 2007

The image “https://i0.wp.com/docs.google.com/images/docsslogo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.When I heard the news of Google Presentations my first thought was not: It’s more competition for MSFT as part of the Docs & Spreadsheets suite. The thing that popped into my head was that it’s potential competition for WebEx, which was recently acquired by Cisco.

Even though there are many online sharing/conferencing options the market is still ripe for a full-blown competitor to the bloated and difficult to use WebEx. In my experience it doesn’t work 50% of the time I’m on calls with people trying to use it.

Big News of the Day: WebEx Acquisition

March 16, 2007

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This is not something I’m especially qualified to discuss. But I will say that twice in two days with two separate companies that were seeking to brief me this week WebEx was malfunctioning. I’ve often had that problem with the system; it’s cumbersome and doesn’t work about 50% of the time.

Maybe Cisco will fix it.

Okay, now I’ll say something more analyst like. Here’s what’s interesting about the acquisition: it’s part of Cisco’s effort to put together a portfolio of tools and applications (e.g., Tribe, Five Across) that enable “SMB collaboration.” From the press release:

“As collaboration in the workplace becomes increasingly important, companies are looking for rich communications tools to help them work more effectively and efficiently,” said Charles H. Giancarlo, Chief Development Officer at Cisco. “The combination of Cisco and WebEx will deliver compelling solutions accelerating this next wave of business communications.

Cisco believes the network is a platform for all forms of communications and collaboration, and WebEx’s technology and services portfolio complement Cisco’s leadership in the Unified Communications and collaboration market, while providing Cisco with a new and unique business model to expand its presence in the fast-growing SMB market,” Giancarlo continued.