Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Aruna Ravichandran

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Getting Bought by Salesforce is Bad News for Thinkfuse Users

Thoughts on Salesforce’s acquisition of Thinkfuse – and what it means for small business and SaaS

Last week we received an email from Thinkfuse, a cloud app that delivers “simple status reports.”

To make a long story short, they told us (and their many customers) that they were purchased by Salesforce and were shutting down operations.

Here’s a screenshot of the email:

Getting bought by Salesforce is big news for Thinkfuse. They probably made a splash load of cash for themselves and their investors. They’re now involved with a product serving millions of subscribers, instead of a few thousand. They’re moving up the totem pole.

Unfortunately, the deal is less good news for Thinkfuse users. We don’t use Thinkfuse internally, but we thought highly of the product, and knew several clients who used it. It is (was) a great piece of software: simple, focused, functional. To lose the service abruptly, with Mailchimp as the only proffered alternative, feels a bit… well… hard to take. As one customer put it:

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Oh crap

We’re the first to proselytize the benefits of the software as a service (SaaS) model.  It frees up businesses from large capital expenditures, incentivizes vendors to keep updating their software, and enables users to leave when they’d like. Unfortunately, as the Thinkfuse deal shows, it also enables vendors to dump users when convenient. That sucks. A lot.

For some users this isn’t a big deal, but for those who’ve spent the time and effort to make the software a part of their workflow, it’s catastrophic.  It’s not just the migration, it’s the retraining and the rethinking how it all works within the company.  If Thinkfuse was a CRM, an accounting system, or (gasp) an ERP or inventory management system, it’d be that much more serious. Losing such mission-critical software on such short notice could (potentially) mean significant revenue loss and change management issues. That’s a serious liability.

Lessons learned

Now, before we get too deep into slingin’ FUD around, let’s be clear: we’re cloud consultants, we love SaaS, and we’ve never had a client suffer any issues relating to a vendor’s acquisition. What’s more, the likelihood of someone like Salesforce or Netsuite acquiring a CRM or ERP and shutting it down completely (ala Thinkfuse) is pretty low – they’d want the customers as much as the talent. Salesforce’s acquisition of Assistly last year is a case in point.

Still, the Thinkfuse deal offers a few lessons for would-be software users. Here are some things to consider when evaluating software for long-term or mission critical use:

How young a company is it? In business years, Thinkfuse was an infant. They were founded in August 2010 and went through the Seattle-based Techstars incubator. Young companies = young products = unpredictable futures. Take a hard look at who they are, what their vision is and what they’re trying to achieve

Do they owe investors? Thinkfuse raised $532k. For a team of 5, that’s a lot of pressure – I’d sell the company too if a sizeable offer came around. Compare that situation with Norada, the makers of Solve360, who never accepted outside funding and remain self funded. Their future is far more their own.

The amount of money a company raises won’t tell you if they’ll be purchased or closed down, but it does shed light on the pressures the founders face. Be wary of highly funded small teams.

Are they playing for enterprise? Getting bought out is wayyyy easier if the software serves enterprise-class customers – that’s the market in which Oracle, Salesforce and others are interested. In retrospect, receiving regular status reports isn’t exactly a core small business process: Thinkfuse was always targeting enterprise.

Enterprise focused apps may be playing for acquisition (and their features are probably not aligned with you anyways…). Be warned.

Conclusions

From an entrepreneurial perspective, Thinkfuse has done well for themselves. From a small business perspective, their acquisition and subsequent closing down raises legitimate concerns for SaaS customers. A careful evaluation of software before you buy is well advised, especially for mission critical solutions.

VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intellige...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Though cloud is the future of enterprise computing, a smooth transition of legacy applications and systems is critical for seamless business operations. IT professionals are eager to start leveraging the cost, scale and other benefits of cloud, but with massive investments already in place in existing infrastructure and a number of compliance and resource hurdles, it can be challenging to move to a cloud-based infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-security...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant th...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, will go over the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, applicatio...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
Microsoft Azure Container Services can be used for container deployment in a variety of ways including support for Orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos. However, the abstraction for app development that support application self-healing, scaling and so on may not be at the right level. Helm and Draft makes this a lot easier. In this primarily demo-driven session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, a Cloud Solutions Architect/Evangelist at Microsoft, wi...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...