by Jennifer Riggins
Published on 4 July 2014
There are a couple of trends in cloud-based business software: mobility, integrations, customization, and ease of use. All these are happening with one goal in mind: to make technological business solutions accessible to the masses. You no longer need a doctorate in a specific software niche to improve processes and productivity - pretty much anyone can use business apps for this. But this is a rather newer ideal. That's why it's interesting that way back in 2003, Kevin Sequeira joined Tenrox (now a part of Upland Software), a company that makes professional services automation software for the greater professional services market. Today, we learn from Kevin, the General Manager & Director of Product management of how it happened.
How did you get started in this industry?
Many years ago as a young software engineer, I saw the need and understood the value of professional services automation software (PSA.) Products available at that time did not meet the needs of the users, by failing to match how they actually provided services and interacted with their customers. I saw the opportunity and decided I wanted to work towards developing a product that would actually fulfill the workflow needs of the providers of professional services. Tenrox has evolved to become that software product for the professional services market.
The Tenrox workflow-driven cloud solution is designed to meet the challenges of managing globally dispersed services organizations and project workforces. It automates project initiation, resource management, time and expense, and reporting and analytics to enable customers to improve the management of billable projects from pipeline to close. Tenrox offers configurable cost and billing rules, including chargeback or invoicing, with certified integrations to all major CRM and accounting systems.
Share your story with us. What have been your challenges and triumphs?
My greatest success is being part of the team at Tenrox that actually developed what is now considered the industry standards for professional services automation software.
The greatest satisfaction was correctly predicting the market expectations for a product like Tenrox and helping make it the best designed software for all PSA users involved with professional services. At first, all users - executives, project managers, financial professionals… and any other members of professional services teams - struggled against accurately tracking projects, expenses, resources, along with all the associated forecasting, customer invoicing, and timely reporting. Tenrox changed how things were done by matching the workflow of the users and creating a business software application that's well integrated and easy to use.
My biggest challenge is to stay ahead of the competition and market trends, in order to drive Tenrox's leadership in the PSA space. We have to be constantly evolving and reinventing ourselves to keep ahead of our customers' needs and ahead of an ever changing market to continue being the best for the professional service automation (PSA). We focus a great deal of our time collecting and prioritizing requirements from customers, analyzing market trends, understanding the direction our integration partners are taking and staying ahead of the competition.
What problem does your Software as a Service (SaaS) solve?
Many things. Among them is the ability for us to have a configurable solution that supports your business and enables organizations to accurately forecast cost & revenue and then easily manage projects & people, track actuals and then easily report on this information.
What makes your SaaS solution stand out from the competition?
In addition to over a decade of experience, Tenrox offers a powerful application for the professional services market that has a modular approach with many integrations to other industry standard applications. Customer can get started off by selecting the modules that make the most sense for them, easily integrate Ternox into their existing systems to protect and leverage previous software investments and grow their usage of Tenrox as they develop experience and need additional functionality.
What do you think is your customers' favorite part of your solution?
Our workflow capability is very advanced. It's invaluable to customers as it enables fast analysis of all their different projects so they can easily visualize/share the impacts on the organization and customers in terms of billing, budget, time and resources. Our customers actually see how it has a positive impact on their bottom line.
What's your favorite thing about your job?
I work with a great team of people at Upland and the Tenrox application is just one of the many terrific best-of-breed, cloud-based, software products we offer. I'm lucky to do the job I have always been passionate about in a cutting edge company.
Is there any advice you'd like to offer to others?
Try new things. Don't be afraid of failure because if you don't try new things, you will never have great accomplishments.
Which other tech company do you most admire and why?
Salesforce.com is an incredible company. They are constantly reinventing themselves and providing leadership in terms of meeting the needs and challenges of their changing customer base. Not only have they expanded the usage and value of CRM [customer relationship management software], but they have also helped establish the SaaS [software as a service] marketplace.
What's one key trend you see emerging in your industry?
One of the biggest trends has been to cloud-based PSA solutions. Luckily, Tenrox helped lead this transition, so we are ahead of our competition. What we are currently seeing is a growth in the need for mobile access, integrations to back-office applications - such as CRM, finance, and human resources - and Tenrox is paving the way by working closely with our customers to address these needs.
Our customers are trying to work off-site with their clients and use mobile support for everything from time and expense reporting. This is critical for real-time invoicing and financial analysis, resource planning, billable backlog and other need-to-know information that provides accurate and consistent data for informed decision making.