The software-as-a-service business is hot right now, and it’s got a lot going for it. For one, it’s an integral part of the “cloud,” that ephemeral entity that is increasingly the chief repository of data and application.
Corporations can more easily share data between users, encourage clients to use your solutions, more efficiently roll out product updates – and, of course, save money by implementing solutions remotely, instead of having to send out personnel to take care of clients and remote office locations.
From all the hoopla surrounding the cloud, you would think it was discovered one day out of the blue a couple of years ago by Google and Amazon. Of course, you have to give those two giants their due. But the cloud, and SAAS, has many other important players – one of them being Israeli startup Clarizen (www.clarizen.com).
It may not be Amazon S3, but Clarizen has helped plant an Israeli flag up in the cloud – and the company is actually one of the more successful cloud companies out there.
“We are indeed a part of the cloud revolution, and we’ve built an important set of management applications for our clients,” says Avinoam Nowogrodski, cofounder and CEO of Clarizen. “We provide tools that let clients determine how to allocate resources, store data and documents, build a project-management process and integrate with almost every major software program or Web service – all without having to download anything, hosted on secure, redundant servers.”
Clarizen tries to solve one of the biggest maladies business face: a disease known as “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing-itis,” he says, where different individuals, groups and even whole divisions work at cross-purposes, repeat tasks and projects already the responsibility of someone else and, of course, waste gobs of money and time.
With a list of management tools, including project scheduling, collaborative planning, time tracking, task management and budget tracking, Clarizen ensures that projects run as smoothly as possible, Nowogrodski says.
Clarizen’s services are ideal for small and mid-size companies that cannot afford large management staffs, he says, adding: “Software, services and support for management systems cost a lot of money, and the expenses tend to grow with time. Our solutions are scalable and can fit any size business and grow as the business does. Companies pay a monthly fee and use the services they need. We do all the back-office work, keeping costs down for clients.”
Although most of Clarizen’s clients are smaller, Nowogrodski says, “we have a good number of larger companies that based their management systems on Clarizen as well. We have about 200 new companies joining us every day.”
Indeed, the roster of companies big and small companies that use Clarizen for some or all of their projects is quite impressive, and it includes NASA, Hertz, Lenovo, Fujitsu, UPS, GE Healthcare and NBC, to mention a few.
“Management” takes many forms, depending on the business, and Clarizen is flexible and extensive enough to enable businesses of all types to take advantage of its resources. There are modules to handle accounting, sales, time tracking, collaboration, road maps and much more. Customers can interface with the system in a number of ways: Web, iPhone and even just by e-mail, where users do not have to log into the Web interface at all, if they so wish.
“The main goal is to take control of work and projects,” Nowogrodski says. “Employees are empowered when they have the tools they need to succeed and when they understand where they and their tasks fit in the bigger picture.
“With Clarizen, every employee has a dashboard that highlights all tasks, issues, approvals, priorities and dependencies that affect their daily work. With a single interface to send e-mail and a single repository to share documents, notes and discussions, the team now has a collaboration platform that is critical for success.”
Established in Hod Hasharon in 2007 (on the basis of a previously
existing Israeli startup), Clarizen has gone on to become a real
phenomenon. The company has sales offices in California (development is
still done in Israel), and it has become of the most successful Israeli
startups in recent years.
Clarizen has won numerous awards, most recently a “Codie” (issued by the
Software and Information Industry Association for excellence in
software development within the software industry) in 2010. And it has
been a big hit with businesses throughout the world.
“What they like is its flexibility,” Nowogrodski says. Case in point: An
employee of a large multinational, who believed in doing things as
efficiently as possible, signed up for Clarizen’s free trial to make
sure that every aspect of her wedding was perfect. And it worked – so
much so that when the folks in her organization got wind of how she had
managed even the smallest details of the wedding, they signed the
company up for Clarizen!
“A wedding is a good example of how customers can use Clarizen, but of
course the principles apply to any business project as well,”
Nowogrodski says. “It’s a matter of setting milestones and ensuring that
they are complied with. Clarizen can do that – and lots more, as well.”