Workbooks was one of last year's CRM Idol finalists, so we were keen on seeing how they have evolved since then. Last year, one quote stuck with us: “A company is culture and metrics” - so let's see what they have done to enable their customers!
They were founded in 2007, and have their Headquarters in Reading UK. The company has 25 employees and over 600 customers, and so far they have raised $8M to fund growth. They have a strong management John Cheney(CEO), Jenny Robb (CEO), James Kay (CTO), Penny O’Rourke (Head of Service Delivery) and Ian Moyse (Head of Sales). In the past this team founded Blackspider Technologies and sold it for $40M after 4 years.
Workbooks allows SMEs to consolidate data in a single platform for Sales and Marketing, Customer Support, Finance and Admin. Workbooks positions specifically on easy integration with existing data. They see Salesforce (SFDC) as their main competitor but consider them to be focused on departmental usage rather than something more encompassing. Similar integration is feasible within the SFDC platform but not easy to do so, and is more expensive as compared to Workbooks.com. We'd say however that their soft spot is in providing fairly comprehensive functionality for SMEs, for 50 to 500 seats.
The UI is browser-based and makes it look like it is a classic Windows Desktop so as to make it easier for users to get to grips with the interface. We actually had to take a second look to see that it was running in a browser!
There are three editions of their Cloud-based product : CRM, Business and Free (for two users). Further to the product, they also provide a range of implementation services such as Data Migration, Implementation, Change Management, and Training, and they have what they call a “Guaranteed Success Program”. They have direct integrations and 40+ connectors such as into Google Apps, Sage and QuickBooks. In the UK they have a UK Master Reseller who also does integrations.
Their platform is organized as follows. As you can see, there is a shared base, to which the CRM and Business specific applications can be joined.
As compared to where they were last year, automation has been enhanced significantly. For example, their Automation Engine scans due dates and generates corresponding invoices. Last year they talked about bi-directional Outlook integration to share emails, tasks and calendaring with Workbooks, and they've held true to their word – and it runs on this Automation Engine.
Workbooks is now moving to channel partners in the US and ASIA PAC - traditional CRM resellers, web development & marketing agencies and who they think will mainly sell WB as a replacement system for Goldmine & Act accounts.
In terms of mobile access to Workbooks, they have developed a simplified web application in HTML 5 so that it can run on multiple operating systems, and they are making the source code available to partners to let them customize according to customer needs.
Workbooks came well-prepared to the competition, managed their timing and messaging perfectly and were able to answer all the judges' questions to our satisfaction. We liked their "broader" view of CRM as so many back office processes affect the customer relationship.
Reviewed by CRM Idol 2012 Primary Judges