Blue Hill Research Subscription Billing Highlights, January 2017

Blue Hill Research Subscription Billing Highlights

Note: To support questions from enterprise buyers and private investors that are looking at Subscription Billing and the larger world of Demand-Driven Monetization, Blue Hill is starting a review of key announcements and analysis focused on subscription billing including, but not limited to: Amdocs, APTTUS, Aria, Avangate, Cerillion, Chargebee, Chargify, CheddarGetter, Cleverbridge, Comverse, Ericsson, FinancialForce, FuseBill, GoTransverse, Intacct, Kenandy, Logisense, Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle, Recurly, Salesforce, SAP, Softrax, Spreedly, and Zuora.

Blue Hill’s view of subscription billing and Strategy Monetization is that
– Strategy Monetization is the practice of translating business strategy into revenue.
– Subscription Billing is an important bridge towards a client-driven, on-demand utilization economy.
– “Assets” are now liabilities when they are underutilized or unrelated to monetization.
– Permanent ownership is increasingly being replaced by on-demand usage across all aspects of society.
– The most important true assets are customer relationships.


Former Salesforce executive to steer FinancialForce through next phase of aggressive growth

On January 6, FinancialForce announced the appointment of Tod Nielsen as Chief Executive Officer and President. Prior to joining FinancialForce, Nielsen served as Executive Vice President of Platform at Salesforce, Chief Executive Officer of Heroku (acquired by Salesforce in 2011), and as both Chief Operating Officer and Co-President of the Applications Platform Group at VMware. Nielsen has previously held executive roles at Microsoft and Oracle as well.

At VMware, Nielsen helped to drive a 9-fold increase in the company’s market cap to over $50 billion. Nielsen was also responsible for redefining Heroku’s enterprise strategy prior to its acquisition by Salesforce. FinancialForce is built on the Salesforce Platform and grew more than 40% in 2016, approaching $100 million in annual revenue.

In addition, FinancialForce continues to broaden and strengthen its API network and the application development side of its business. Blue Hill observes that Nielsen’s background in IT likely hints that FinancialForce will prioritize technological innovation as an avenue for growth going forward. As an example of this development, Blue Hill recently noted FinancialForce’s advances in billing and revenue for subscription businesses.

At this point in FinancialForce’s growth, Blue Hill notes, it makes sense to bring on a seasoned cloud executive who understands the business strategy of multi-billion-dollar platform products and who has experience leading and growing cloud technology businesses. Blue Hill expects that with this hire, FinancialForce will increase the extensibility, openness, and developer community associated with its platform.


Kenandy Names Donna Armstrong Executive Vice President of Partners and Services

On January 10, Kenandy announced it has hired Donna Armstrong as Executive Vice President of Partners and Services. Armstrong will primarily help Kenandy to scale its operations and expand its partner ecosystem by managing professional services, support, strategy, and partner development, while working closely with Kenandy CEO, Chuck Berger.

Armstrong joins the firm with over 30 years of experience in software sales, business consulting, and channel development, most recently serving as Vice President of Sales for Sage X3, Vice President of Business Development at Rootstock, and General Manager of Microsoft’s small and midmarket group, leading partner ecosystem development.

Kenandy currently has a large partner ecosystem across implementation partners, referral partners, and technology partners, and is actively growing out this channel. Kenandy’s solution is built on the Salesforce platform and thus its go-to-market messaging is largely centered around this partnership. Blue Hill notes that Armstrong’s background in channel development and software sales will likely be helpful in further expanding Kenandy’s partner network going forward.


Monica Langley Joins Salesforce as EVP, Global Strategic Affairs

On January 12, Salesforce announced that Monica Langley will join the company as Executive Vice President, Global Strategic Affairs. Langley will guide corporate strategy as Salesforce approaches $10 billion in annual revenue, and works toward its stated goal of becoming a $20 billion company.

Prior to joining Salesforce, Langley worked at The Wall Street Journal for 27 years, beginning her career in corporate law and government relations and working as an adjunct journalism and law professor while at The Wall Street Journal. Langley is also the author of the 2003 bestseller, Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World…and Then Nearly Lost It All.

Blue Hill notes that Langley is an interesting and somewhat unexpected hire for Salesforce as the company continues to prioritize its technical innovations such as new Einstein AI developments and expanded API support. Bringing on an Executive Vice President with a strategic, rather than technical background hints that Salesforce is working to determine a long-term vision for the company in addition to investing in incremental technology improvements for its platform.

Salesforce Announces Grand Opening of New Seattle Area Engineering & Innovation Hub, Plans to Double Local Workforce to 500

On January 18, Salesforce announced the opening of its new Bellevue, WA office, which will house one of the company’s largest Engineering & Innovation Hubs. Salesforce plans to double its workforce in Bellevue to nearly 500 employees. The new Engineering Hub is aimed at accelerating Salesforce’s time to market for new technology solutions by providing collaborative, creative spaces to Salesforce engineers working on continuing innovations in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and IoT.

Blue Hill recently covered the introduction of Salesforce’s Einstein AI layer, in which we noted that Einstein can relieve data science bottlenecks and lead to better, data-driven decision-making by making AI accessible to sales and marketing departments in an organization. As Salesforce continues to invest in bringing AI solutions to market, the new creative spaces at its Engineering & Innovation Hub in Bellevue, WA will enable Salesforce engineers to collaborate on new technology innovations for the Salesforce platform. Salesforce’s doubling of its workforce in Bellevue further underscores the company’s commitment to continue investing in AI, machine learning, and IoT, and its prioritization of bringing these solutions to market quickly.

These are the key subscription billing and strategic monetization announcements Blue Hill saw in January 2017. If you have any new tips to provide or would like to schedule a briefing, please contact us at

About Hyoun Park

Hyoun Park is the Chief Research Officer of Blue Hill Research where he oversees day-to-day research operations, delivery and methodology focused on vendor and technology selection. In addition, Park covers analytics and enterprise mobility technologies as a noted advisor, social influencer, and practitioner. Park has been named as a top 10 Big Data, analytics, and mobility influencer including quotes in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and a wide variety of industry media sources. Over the past 20 years, Park has been on the cutting edge of web, social, cloud, and mobile technologies in both startup and enterprise roles. Park holds a Masters of Business Administration from Boston University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies from Amherst College.
Posted on February 1, 2017 by Hyoun Park

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