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Sisense hauls in $80M investment as data analytics business matures

Sisense, a company that helps customers understand and visualize their data across multiple sources, announced an $80 million Series E investment today led by Insight Venture Partners. They also announced that Zack Urlocker, former COO at Duo Security and Zendesk, has joined the organization’s board of directors. The company has attracted a prestigious list of past investors, who also participated in the round, including Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ Venture Capital, Genesis Partners and Opus Capital. Today’s investment brings the total raised to close to $200 million. CEO Amir Orad says investors like their mission of simplifying complex data with analytics and business intelligence and delivering it in whatever way makes sense. That could be on screens throughout the company, desktop or smartphone, or via Amazon Alexa. “We found a way to make accessing data extremely simple, mashing it together in a logical way and embedding it in every logical place,” he explained. It appears to be resonating. The company has over 1000 customers including Expedia, Oppenheimer and Phillips to name but a few. Orad says they are actually the analytics engine behind Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, which is the the main investor relations system used by CFOs. He was not in the mood to discuss the company’s valuation, an exercise he called “an ego boost he doesn’t relate to.” He says that he would prefer to be measured by how efficiently he uses the money investors give him or by customer satisfaction scores. Nor would he deal with IPO speculation. All he would say on that front was, “When you focus on the value you bring, positive things happen.” In spite of that, he was clearly excited about having Urlocker join the board. He says the two spent six months getting to know each other and he sees a guy who has brought several companies to successful exit joining his team, and perhaps someone who can help him bring his company across the finish line, however that ultimately happens. Just last month, Cisco bought Urlocker’s former company, Duo Security for $2.35 billion. For now Sisense, which launched in 2010, has…

BlueVine Exec Shares 3 Tips To Success As a Business Owner

Do a Google search for  “advice for small business.” You’ll probably be overwhelmed by the number of results. Small business owners can find hundreds, if not thousands, of articles how to succeed in the business world. This is another one. Based on my experiences working for big and small corporations, including BlueVine, a startup that is working directly with small business owners, I’d urge you to do these three things: 1. Hire for weakness No, not their weaknesses – yours. If you’ve got the imagination and courage to start a company, you obviously have skills to make it thrive and succeed. But are there skills that you don’t have? If you’re honest with yourself, you’re probably not equally strong across the board. You may be great on vision, but short on execution. That’s actually why many founders end up hiring “operational CEOs.” You may be a great salesperson, or you may be more effective and happier coding in the background. Some small business advice sites will tell you to address weaknesses by acquiring new skills. You’d be encouraged to take coding classes, for example. This may be good advice for some entrepreneurs. If you’re a small business owner, you really do need to know a little bit about everything, enough to at least ask informed questions and know when someone’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes. But with most areas where subject matter is specialized, you’re better off hiring someone whose expertise complements yours. 2. Prioritize the client experience This is an important tip that many other blog posts would highlight. In many cases, providing an amazing end-to-end client experience is the key to success for any small business. That’s certainly been our experience at BlueVine as we try to become a truly trusted ally of small and medium-sized businesses. We’ve done that by making sure that all the teams that work with customers — from business development and marketing to sales, account management and support — are aligned and moving forward based on a common approach. With these departments all in sync, we’ve launched new products, increased…

Buying Software for Your Small Business? Read These 3 Tips Before Taking the Plunge

Do you find that your team projects and collaborations often feel like a game of Jenga, just one botched deadline or failed communication away from toppling over? Finding the proper tools to promote team productivity is an ongoing quest for countless small businesses – that’s why we’re here to set the stage for your success. For SMBs, organization is key. By a show of hands, how many people have an endless stream of tabs open in their browser window right now, packed like sardines? We rely on software for nearly every aspect of getting our work done, but all too often, these productivity tools can actually end up fragmenting our time. The future of work lies in streamlining our digital processes. By gathering as many programs, tools, and capabilities as possible in one place, we begin to eliminate the need for toggling between a dozen windows and programs at a time. In light of SignEasy’s recent collaboration with Microsoft Teams – which transforms the popular e-signature software into a fully-integrated app for Microsoft’s latest chat platform – we wanted to explore the many ways in which integrations mark a fundamental shift in the way SMBs are able to do business. Here are the top three things your small business should consider when shopping for company software, so you can join the productivity revolution with confidence. 1. The one-stop shop The quickest way to banish your growing collection of tabs is to have all the programs and functionalities you need under one roof. Add-on apps and extensions are quickly becoming a popular choice for businesses who want to use one central program or browser – one that they would be using on a daily basis already – as a hub for tons of other productivity tools. Take the nearly 50% of web surfers that use Google Chrome as an example. Thanks to Chrome extensions, people that favor this platform can turn their browser into a to-do list, a task manager, a productivity tracker, and much more, simply by installing a few integrated add-ons. Similarly, Microsoft Teams users can use the SignEasy…

Overcoming Disruption in a Family Run Business

Running a family business has it’s unique challenges. I sat down with Sarah Binder Mehta, President of PianoPiano, a third-generation piano sales/rental company. Sarah and I talked about growing a multi-generational business, overcoming industry disruption, and dealing with family dynamics. Sarah’s grandfather started the business in the 1930’s as a department store called Binder’s State Street. Sarah’s father worked in the store, managing the furniture department where pianos where being sold. Grandfather wanted to retire and closed Binder’s, leaving piano manufacturers with no presence in the south Jersey region. Sara and her Dad After being approached by a piano manufacturer, Sarah’s dad opened a Hammond piano store in 1959. By 1960 that store was the #1 Hammond distributor in the US. It wasn’t long before the Binders’ chain of piano stores became the #1 US distributor for almost all the major piano brand. The 1990’s brought disruption and corrections to the piano industry, forcing the Binder patriarch to close most of his 27 stores. A shift to rentals, instead of sales, has kept the company relevant and profitable. Sarah had this to say about the pressures of running a family business and honoring the legacy of her grandfather and father: “You hear all the stories about how second-generation businesses are more likely to fail. Of course that is a concern, but it’s also super rewarding. My dad has four daughters and I always say that this business is his fifth child. It’s rewarding that he trusts me to steward that.” While working with family can create freedoms not aways found in a traditional work setting, Sarah reminded me that, “When you are in a family business, you bring your family dynamics to work, every day.” While working with family has it’s unique set of challenges, a multi-generational business can benefit from the fresh and new outlook brought by younger members of the team. When Sarah introduced e-commerce her parents “they didn’t believe anyone would rent a piano online, but people do it, every day.” Since then, Sarah has digitized their records and introduced a robust CRM, allowing Piano Piano to…

How Retailers Use Business Intelligence to Turn Data into Dollars

What is Business Intelligence and Why is it Important for Retailers? Business intelligence, also called BI, or analytics, is an umbrella term referring to the numerous tools in place for… Read more » The post How Retailers Use Business Intelligence to Turn Data into Dollars appeared first on

Want A Smarter Business? SAP’s Business ByDesign 1808 Gets Upgraded to Help

In business, don’t you sometimes wish you could see around corners and know what’s coming before it gets to you? Growing companies are investing in the tools and technologies to leverage the massive amounts of historical data they have, to predict what’s happening in the future. Today SAP announced the launch of Business ByDesign 1808 to help growing businesses after faster and smarter. The information that companies gain through the built-in analytical capabilities can be combined with the advanced predictive capabilities, powered by ERP solutions such as SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC). Use case: Optimize delivery performance, avoid delays Traditionally, SAP customers would use the ‘On-time-in-full’ report, which provides information into which sales orders have been delayed either in partial or full quantity. We would drill-down, making use of the multi-dimensional analysis pattern and try to find the common factors. In the current release, customers can access the relevant data within SAC and run smart Insights to identify key drivers regarding any delays. For example, is it happening with specific customers, sales agents, or simply with orders placed on a particular day of the week? 

Wrapping up SuiteWorld 2018: NetSuite Announces Hint Water Growth and AI Technology Advances

At the most recent SuiteWorld held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oracle NetSuite made two major announcements that demonstrate the company’s commitment to helping small business achieve rapid growth and performing extensive research into implementing cutting edge AI technologies. With the introduction of new AI technology, NetSuite ensures customers can leverage a unified business platform to enhance the improvement of multiple operations located across the globe. Localized product support helps subsidiaries located in countries such as France, Brazil, and Germany perform consistent operational processes, while supporting global compliance. Executive Vice President for Oracle NetSuite, Jim McGeever, said during a conference call “With ever-changing regulations and evolving customer expectations, it is getting harder for businesses to drive growth both locally and internationally. With new native localizations and customer support, we are giving our customers a complete solution with language, currency, tax compliance and local support teams in six of the world’s biggest and fastest growing economies.” NetSuite Technologies Easy to Launch and Manage NetSuite has developed a technology platform that allows small businesses to implement high tech programs in less time, which increases business productivity and enhances customer service. By leveraging the experience acquired from initiating thousands of eCommerce platforms, SuiteSuccess gives small businesses the tool to match larger companies in terms of producing comprehensive business to consumer and business to business eCommerce KPIs, reports, and dashboards within 30 days of launch. Small business owners get to use drag and drop management tools that do not require extensive training to master. The tools quickly perform edits and organize content into a wide variety of categories. The self-management tools help business operators quickly modify the appearance of their eCommerce websites, without requiring the expertise of an accomplished web developer. Customers of NetSuite smart business applications have the capability to perform a large number of operations scheduled to deploy well into the future. NetSuite Helps Hint Grow into a Multi-Million Dollar Company Although not quite a rags to riches story, San Francisco-based Hint has a story that would make Horatio Alger proud. The creator of unsweetened, fruit flavored water has morphed from a small…

4 Business Intelligence Trends for 2018

Nowadays, big data is more important to businesses than ever. The main reason? Big data can provide invaluable insight to help businesses make data-driven decisions that lead to big growth. What’s more, companies both large and small can effectively leverage big data in order to become more successful. That’s why many companies are eager to implement business intelligence (BI) solutions to effectively make sense of data gathered. BI continues to evolve with every new trend and technological innovation. And there’s no sign of it standing still anytime soon. Check out the top four BI trends for 2018: Applying AI to BI Modern technology is focused on the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI). While tech experts continue experimenting with AI, many businesses have found a way to leverage this technology and power up their BI solutions. One reason businesses have started adopting AI adoption is its machine-learning capabilities. Simply put, businesses are able to gather and analyze data much more efficiently with the help of AI. Using AI in BI solutions might just revolutionize the customer experience in the near future. In addition, automated tasks and data flow in real-time will allow business to make more precise decisions, while improving their overall potential. AI is still in its relatively early stages of development, which means that AI algorithms are optimized for specific and narrow tasks. Even so, businesses can leverage AI’s potential—such as machine learning and natural language processing—to drive specific business goals. Breaking Down Silos Initial applications of BI solutions were typically handled by IT experts and data scientists to generate detailed reports using data gathered on monthly basis. Even when BI moved to web solutions and reports became more frequent, there was still an issue of data being placed in a silo. That is, information was sequestered and not widely distributed within companies. Today, data governance and self-service are an essential aspect of a modern BI workflow. With enough flexibility, a BI solution can be used by any member of the company, regardless of his or her background or technological savvy. Simply put, with the right workflow and tools in place, everyone ranging from data scientists to warehouse workers can leverage data to…

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