Salesforce Acquisition: Nobody Rings a Bell at the Top

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Yesterday rumors broke out that Salesforce is entertaining buyout offers and has hired investment bankers to consider “strategic options”. My first thought? What a great time to sell! My second thought: please don’t jinx it – not when someone is coming up on a $50-$60 billion payday at 10x forward sales. The P/E of course is incalculable since there is no E.

Nobody rings a bell at the top of the market. But we gotta admit – Marc Benioff is the best salesman in software the cloud, ever. Now, I am trying hard not to think of ​Steve Case and AOL and Time-Warner, because this time it ​will be different, of course.

In the past few weeks, BlackRock’s chief Larry Fink released a letter addressed to the CEOs of S&P 500 companies talking about the need for a long-term view. That may not be a good idea, because it is no fun to think about write-downs and kitchen-sink quarters. Only spoilsports talk about a hangover when the party is in full swing.


Consolidation is coming to the cloud; we at Zoho recognized that a long time ago. Our entire strategy has been dictated by our desire to stay independent (as I have explained before), even as consolidation alters the landscape around us.  Even CRM, a very significant industry just by itself, doesn’t make much sense as a stand-alone product. The proof is that Salesforce (hint: their stock ticker is still CRM) has been on an acquisition rampage over the past few years trying to complement its product portfolio and show growth by acquiring revenue.

But even with the more than $3 Billion spent on acquisitions in the past 3 years, and even with their market cap of $40 billion $50 billion dollars, Salesforce finds itself the target of a takeover.

Why do we expect consolidation? Simple – there are too many companies not making money. Why don’t they make money?​ Again, simple – they spend way too much on sales and marketing. Let’s consider a hypothetical combination of Box and Zendesk – both “Post-IPO Non-profits”  as we call them – you could cut the combined sales and marketing spend by half, and that may just be enough for them to turn a profit. That is the classic case for consolidation; a case that looks ​compelling on a spreadsheet – you know, the tool that Box actually doesn’t know how to build.

If only company cultures were modeled as cells in a spreadsheet, where people stay in their neat little boxes and hairy code-bases magically combine to produce beautiful children.

Take the case of Salesforce acquisitions for the past 3 years – here is the extensive list. How many of them have been integrated even at a single sign-on level, let alone at a product level? In fact, to solve that problem, Salesforce recently acquired a single sign-on company.

Winner’s Curse

​When you escape the jinx, there is still the curse – the winner’s curse. Most acquisitions fail and silently get written down or written off entirely – see for example, Zimbra’s acquisition by Yahoo. Salesforce has written down a bunch in the last few years, after overpaying by hundreds of millions of dollars – at least, the money didn’t come out of their profit!

Jinxes and curses? No, we don’t want these to befall our customers. Since consolidation is coming, if you are a customer of cloud companies, it’s time to get used to being traded around.

Except, of course, if you are a Zoho customer. With us, you will not underwrite any acquisition premiums or bloated sales and marketing costs. You will get a broad suite of deeply integrated products that helps you run your business on the cloud. Private and bootstrapped since our founding – we don’t answer to anyone but you. We never will. We aren’t going anywhere.


What You Need to Be a Successful Digital Nomad

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A bright sunny day and clear blue sea greet me as I sit down to write my blog. Sipping a blue mojito, my head is swirling with endless thoughts and ideas waiting to materialize on paper. Caught up in the moment, I suddenly feel a tap on my shoulders. I turn around to find my boss staring at me. What in the world is he doing here?

I blink…

Like when the clock struck 12 and Cinderella’s carriage turned back to a pumpkin, the bright sun turned into a yellow overhead light, the clear blue sea into my laptop screen saver, and the blue mojito into a pen I was chewing. And my boss, well..he was still my boss. Back to reality! I was of course daydreaming about working from my favorite location.

Do you often lapse into such dreams — when writing a code, or designing web pages? If yes, then you, my friend, are looking to be a Digital Nomad! You share the dream with a thousand others to build a location independent career, so you can live and work wherever you want to.

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New Features in Zoho Vault: Tighter Security, Easy Porting, Flexible Management

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For quite a while, we have been continually striving to improve our users’ experience with Zoho Vault, based on all the constructive feedback and feature requests from our customers. That said, we are back again with a couple of new useful updates to Zoho Vault:

Zoho Vault New Features

Tighten security with IP Restrictions
Administrators can now increase security levels in Zoho Vault by imposing restrictions based on the IPs from which their users access Vault. These restrictions can be imposed in two ways:

  • Whitelisting – specifying ​the IPs, only from which the users will be allowed to access Zoho Vault.
  • Blacklisting – specifying the IPs from which access to Zoho Vault will be denied.

When allow/deny IP restrictions are added, it takes effect globally for all users, including admins. But, exceptions can be added by choosing to selectively add/remove restrictions for specific users from Fine-grained Controls section under the Admin tab.

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How a social media company you’ve never heard of is primed to revolutionize customer service

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Future of Customer Service

Hear that steely twang bouncing around?

No, you didn’t stumble into a bluegrass convention, or a Steve Martin concert (yes that same Steve Martin is also an accomplished musician), or onto the set of ​Deliverance. Rest assured, this Banjo you hear is an entirely different instrument.

Meet Banjo, the social media company primed to revolutionize how organizations view and interact with social media—including how they’ll serve their customers in the future.

While reading this in-depth profile of social media company Banjo and it’s founder Damien Patton, my curiosity flung me​ to pondering the future of customer service. The article, from the April issue of Inc. magazine, introduces Banjo’s “event-detection engine” which, as the author writes, “imposes order on the vast chaotic cloud of social media and unlocks its power in ways we haven’t yet seen.”

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Introducing Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch

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Apple Watch. Enough has been said already. 

With the Apple Watch coming out later this week, we are excited to launch three new apps. Apps that complement your phone apps just like your phone apps complement your web apps. More importantly, apps that work harmoniously with their phone and web counterparts, enabling unique use cases for each form factor.

These are our three apps for Apple Watch:

Zoho Expense

Doing expenses is a pain. If there are tools available to ease the pain, we embrace them. The Zoho Expense app for Apple Watch is one such tool. 

Mileage tracking and entry is an important part of expense management. Manually tracking and calculating mileage, though, is something we can live without. With the Zoho Expense app, you can automatically track and record your trip mileage right from your watch. 

At the start of your trip, simply tap the “Start Tracking”  button within the app, and tap the stop button when after you reach your destination. The mileage is then automatically calculated – with help from the GPS on the iPhone – and the entry is recorded in the Zoho Expense mobile app, which of course is seamlessly synced to the cloud.  A unique use case optimized for a unique device.

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9 Quick and Easy Tips Every Zoho Docs User Should Know: Part 4

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We love beautifully crafted presentations. We all talk about the presentation that left us in awe, but what’s less discussed is the effort that goes into creating one. Remember the moment when you just couldn’t find the right tool to edit an object? Or realized that a feature you assumed never existed, actually exists, tucked away in one corner of the presentation software? If only we had sufficient tips and tricks up our sleeves!! This week, we give you some really handy tips to create and deliver smart presentations using Zoho Show, our online presentation software.


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