Need to integrate a few apps to solve a business problem? There is recipe for that

Workato takes a community approach to app integration that makes sharing data so easy even non-technical users can do it

to someone that has already bought the product.  It’s the basic closing of the marketing loop.

But we have apps that are popular for everything from employee onboarding to accounting, finance, marketing, sales and field service.  If you can think of an app scenario that needs integration, we can probably address it.

Another scenario that is emerging is use of chat products like Slack and Hipchat. Workato created a chatbot called Workbot that lives inside products like Slack and collects information for you.  So if you’re using Slack for support, for example, when a customer trouble ticket comes in and you need more information about the problem or the customer or both, and that content is in other apps like Salesforce, instead of users having to hop across multiple apps this Workbot goes and gets the context.  You can also get charts and graphs from these apps in Slack and, more importantly, take action right from Slack. We see this as one of the fastest growing use cases for Workato.

There are some Platform-as-a-Service tools emerging that you can use to do this kind of integration work.  How do you stack up against something like that?

Bigger companies like Salesforce and ServiceNow have their own platforms.  They’re not just apps.  They have a developer platform that you can use to extend Salesforce.  But there are two types of people in companies: people that can code and people that can’t.  For people that can code, they can use developer tools because the apps have APIs. 

We abstract all those APIs and take the technology out of the integration, but if you’re a hardcore developer, you can directly code integration.  But there are a few issues with that.  One is when you code these integrations they are fixed, meaning you’re hard coding a scenario.  When you’re scripting it on Workato you can tweak and change a line of logic to make the recipes a little spicier or whatever.  You can just tweak things a bit. 

And another thing is the people that are typically buying these apps are not developers.  They are business people.  They are the head of marketing or HR or admins for these apps. These PaaS platforms are not relevant for the 90% audience we’re talking about.

Are you strictly targeting shops that don’t have coding resources?

I wouldn’t say strictly.  We have a lot of consulting companies who have developers in-house that use Workato because of the productivity aspect.  We have some power features that are very popular for developers because they can do the same thing ten times faster. 

So who do you compete with?

There are two types of players.  People that have solved this problem deeply and thoroughly at a level of functionality that makes it secure, eliminates duplicates and is robust.  These are companies like Tibco, IBM, Oracle, MuleSoft, Informatica, etc. Their products tend to be expensive and you need to get services from companies like Accenture to use them.

Then there’s another set of players that come from a consumer background, “If this then that” (IFTTT)-like tools that make it easy for consumers to do things like, say, link an Instagram feed to a Dropbox folder. Gartner and Forrester call those citizen integrator tools. We are the one product that spans the spectrum of citizen and enterprise integration. 

But the biggest competition is people doing stuff manually or simply suffering with the consequences of not doing it.

How do you charge for it?  Is it a subscription?

It is a subscription based model, and the subscriptions are primarily based on the type of apps you use. We have targeted integrations that start at $49 per month, but if you’re using small business apps you pay $99 a month and you can connect any other apps, you can run any number of transactions or integrations through them.  We don’t limit you. 

For midmarket apps like Marketo, a marketing automation tool, the logic tends to be more complex so support requirements tend to be higher, so we have a Pro plan which is $500 a month.  And then we have Enterprise.  If you are using Marketo Enterprise Edition or Salesforce Unlimited or using on-prem apps like Oracle or SAP, those start at $2,000 a month. 

This cost is an order of magnitude lower than the MuleSofts and the IBMs, the traditional big companies.  When you have highly complex, high touch products, they have to be expensive. 

Our business model is based on high volume and the cost is based on the type of company you are and the type of apps you use.  We also have special pricing for nonprofits. 

If I’m a customer and I find a recipe that’s going to help me, do I download code or am I just spinning something up in the cloud and having you return what I need to that other program?

What you do is you go to and say – “Hey, I’m looking for Eventbrite and MailChimp since I’m doing an event and I need to connect those two.”  There’s a search bar.  You type those and we’ll show you the list of recipes for Eventbrite and MailChimp. There’s a summary that we use that have little cards. 

With the card-level view you can look at 10 cards at a time and, when something looks right, you click on that, get a detailed description of exactly what it does, and if that’s what you want you click “Get This Recipe,” which copies that into your account. Once you get the recipe you spin it up to connect to your Eventbrite account and your MailChimp account and then we have a test button so you can look through a couple of loads of data from MailChimp to Eventbrite to see if it looks right.  If it does, you simply hit start and it’s done.  From that point until you stop it, it will keep syncing all the time.

We have gone through extensive third-party security and privacy certifications around this.  We created this to be as secure as the enterprise apps integrations we’ve done before.

How many customers do you have?

We passed 13,000 in June.

How do you judge your success?  Is it the number of processes you’re handling in a given month, the number of customers, revenue, or a combination of all those?

There’s this thing we call FTA, first time activation.  How many people have achieved activation and are running recipes?  That’s the number one metric I look for.  We have these dashboards and that’s the one I look at every day and I can click through and see how they’re doing. 

The second metric is really the number of transactions.  A single recipe can have on average about 10 steps and each step takes between 2-3 minutes of people’s time.  For me, the number of transactions that we are doing is directly representative of how much time we are saving for people.  And third is the revenue.

Workato is my fourth startup.  One of the reasons for doing Workato is this is a really big problem and can make a real difference in taking some of the worst parts of people’s jobs out of their hands. 

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