Service organizations today are juggling multiple challenges, from retaining talent to managing revenues, and the statistics say that’s become a big problem.
Most major performance metrics decreased in 2022, according to a recent maturity benchmark report. So what’s to be done? With an eye on solutions, industry analyst Lisa Martin sat down with Scott Brown (pictured), president and chief executive officer of FinancialForce.com Inc., who had a big update out of the gate.
“FinancialForce has a new name, and it’s Certinia,” Brown said, noting that what the company does today was a driving force behind the name change.
Brown discussed what led to the name change and the relevance of the services-as-a-business platform in the marketplace during an exclusive conservation on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. (* Disclosure below.)
Eying new priorities
Many may have known FinancialForce as a cloud enterprise resource planning company. Over the years, the company has invested heavily in developing a platform in professional services automation, according to Brown. Recently, the company ventured into three additional markets — services configure, price, quote; financial planning and analysis; and the customer success market.
“The company that we were when we founded and came up with FinancialForce, today, less than one-third of our revenue is in financials,” Brown said. “We’re really a platform today for services businesses. Certinia is really the beginning of both rebranding for who we are today, but also opening the aperture for the company we want to be in the future.”
Amid the current hype surrounding generative artificial intelligence, running a services business can be challenging, whether it involves a large company such as the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., which has services businesses within it, or in a company that is all services. It used to be that more people on the technical side of a business would seek Certinia’s services. Today, there seems to be a shift to those requests coming from the business and service makers in an organization, according to Brown.
“If you look at companies that are out there like HPE, Siemens, etc., you think, ‘Oh, they provide software, they provide servers, they provide all these different products,’” Brown said. “But how do they get them in the hands of their customers and make them successful? It’s services, right?”
Services as a business explained
Today, services are a major part of the global economy, generating more than two-thirds of global gross domestic product. That’s a massive change from what the global economy would have looked like 200 years ago when products would have taken up the vast majority of GDP, not services, according to Brown.
“The world has changed, but yet along the way, very few people have paid attention to what is this 70% need. What capabilities do they need to deliver that?” he said. “That’s what service–as-a-business is all about.”
In the past, Brown has written about seeing a SaaB platform as being grounded in an innovative customer experience. That customer experience has changed exponentially in the past few years. So how can businesses adapt?
Avalara Inc. is a good example of this, according to Brown. Anytime Avalara signs a new customer, it immediately creates a project to implement its technology, then immediately sets the milestones by which the customer is going live with its technology and software.
“That’s automation, right? It used to take three, four, five days for them to get the project set up and then inconsistent processes associated with the milestones in delivering those projects,” he said. “Then the revenue recognition, the billing, the planning for the next project. All those things, before, were manual. Today, at Avalara, the minute they get a new customer, they’re off and running and all the processes are tied together.”
What about the current challenges in the marketplace, and how does Certinia see a route ahead for those challenges? The world is moving to projects and companies need to be prepared, according to Brown.
“If you don’t have great project management at the core of what you do, it doesn’t matter how good your resource management is, you’re not going to be able to deliver that great customer experience,” he said.
Here’s theCUBE’s interviews with Scott Brown:
(* Disclosure: FinancialForce.com Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither FinancialForce nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)
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