Construction, Deconstruction, and a Brainwave
Deconstruction blocks lied around the premises of Skoodat, a startup founded by Ken McElrath. Skoodat developed enterprise applications for schools using the Salesforce platform. Needless to say, every client was different and so were their needs. The team ended up making changes to their applications over and over again. During their downtime, the team used to fiddle with these blocks. They built impressive structures only to disassemble them and make something new. Someone had a brainwave; instead of coding a unique solution for every client, they could develop individual software components. The clients would then use these components to build applications as per their need – just like constructing and deconstructing the blocks. This idea led to the foundation of Skuid, an organization that today serves 5.2 million customers across 32 countries.
The Market for Enterprise Applications
What are Enterprise Applications?
Enterprise applications are software to meet unique organizational requirements. They cover aspects like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and enable an organization to integrate its business functionalities, thus leading to higher productivity and efficiency. The market for enterprise apps is expected to grow to $213.43Bn by 2020.
The Challenge in the Market
The biggest challenge in cracking this market lies in adapting to diverse client needs. For a user experience (UX) management platform, this challenge becomes significant because client needs are a direct reflection of consumer needs. As Peter Morville – founder of Semantic Studios – points out, UX processes should be useful, desirable, credible, findable, usable, and valuable, all at the same time. For any service provider, this would mean reinventing the wheel again and again, understanding client needs correctly, reacting to requirements quickly, and creating a seamless integration between applications and data.
These challenges are what Skuid seems to have solved, and they have done so ingeniously.
Where Skuid fits in
Skuid’s developers make individual components that can be integrated to make bigger applications. These smaller components also allow changes to the application structure and at scale. Where Skuid (Scalable Kit for User Interface Design) also tries to differentiate itself is by making the integration process codeless and letting users design their own applications. The approach seems to be working – a Forrester report on Skuid says clients have an ROI of 365% with a one-month payback period and 73% faster development time.
The Skuid Story
McElrath – Man behind the Mission
Ken McElrath, the co-founder and president, is a design thinker, a professor, and an author apart from being a serial entrepreneur. He was a marketer with RetailersMarketXchange (RMX) before he started Cazaba, a creative technology services start-up. From there, he went on to start Skoodat and then Skuid. A devoted father, his children studied at the Covenant College in Chattanooga where he too had been a student. He often found himself shuttling between Phoenix and Chattanooga while at Skoodat. One day, he decided he had had enough and shifted base to Chattanooga where, later on, Skuid was headquartered.
Hopeful Investors, Happy Clients
Skuid’s journey began in 2013 when McElrath talked of his idea of a codeless UX management platform at a Salesforce conference. Positive feedback meant the Skuid app went live on the Salesforce platform in September. The company went for series A in February 2016 and raised $6.6M from K1 Investment Management. They went for Series B in March 2017 where they raised $25M from ICONIQ Capital. The company has seen a revenue splurge in the same period with a three-year growth of 794%. Its 2017 revenue stood at $14.1M. It counts HP, Chrysalis, and Rosetree Solutions among its clients.
Recognition and what the future holds
Skuid’s success has not gone unrecognized. They were named in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in 2018 and Inc. Magazine also named it one of the best workplaces of 2018. In 2017, Skuid featured in the top startup companies list published by LinkedIn. This is in addition to multiple SaaS awards and recognition.
While its potential is recognised by many and Skuid have shown they can achieve impressive numbers, it’s the future that holds a lot of promise. Their recent release, Spark, has the capability to accumulate data from multiple sources – MySQL, Redshift, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. This allows clients to bring together their data that may be sitting on different platforms and develop applications around them. Small innovations such as these have helped Skuid gather clients in a tough market and with competitors like Zoho, QuickBase, and Tableau Desktop. With its innovative technology and rapid growth, the business world will be on the lookout for how Skuid keeps delivering value to its clients.
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