InWolk is a newly formed Australian software and services company that impacts the way companies adopt new technology to streamline their business and improve their customer/client engagement and collaboration experiences. The company’s InWolk Business Suite helps customers unleash more advanced marketing, sales and information management processes through a modular, SaaS-based solution tailored for the needs of vertical markets.
InWolk was formed as a result of like-minded partners trying to make a difference in the way companies adopt new technology to streamline their business and improve their customer/client engagement and collaboration experiences. Bhushan Madduri and Imran Buch collectively has over 25 years experience in customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, and wanted to build a business that would deliver better end-to-end business processes to help companies in vertical markets improve operations.
The founders were experienced in consulting with clients in business verticals and saw the need for flexible software and best practice consulting services that would allow companies in niche markets to gain a competitive advantage. Simply deploying traditional CRM or ERP applications into a niche market is not as effective as turning to software tailored for that market, and the founders saw advances in software development tools and cloud delivery options coming together to enable a new generation of software and services that would allow business process optimization for these companies in niche markets.
“Executives in vertical markets may be wondering how someone who does not work in their business domain can develop much expertise in it,” said Bhushan Madduri, Co-Founder and Director of Consulting and Services for InWolk. “This is the first line of introspection Imran and I did years back and we realized that to be a trusted advisor, we need to work in many of these markets to understand these businesses. And that is what we did over a number of years. We can now proudly say that we understand some business verticals on par with people working in them.”
Madduri and Buch formed InWolk to develop a software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM and ERP solution for business verticals. With close to 25 years of IT consulting experience between them in the niche areas of retail, association management, not for profits, sports, automotive, education, professional development, medical and legal, they sought to develop marketable solutions based on software and services that address real-world issues and needs. “The single defining characteristic of our service in these specialized vertical markets is not just being beyond the competition in offering services but also delivering solutions within a reasonable budget,” said Madduri.
The founders had expertise in serving the unique needs of these business verticals, and originally envisioned developing a business suite using the Force.com developer tools from Salesforce.com. Both had backgrounds in Salesforce consulting and knew the platform well, but as they started to develop their application they realized the Force.com pricing would not scale to meet their long-term requirements. ”We were about 20% into the software development process when we really saw the cost impacts of the vendor-locks imposed by Salesforce,” said Buch and Madduri. “We wanted to build a SaaS ERP application that offered the flexibility to tailor it to the needs of multiple vertical markets, and Salesforce had too many restrictions so we needed to evaluate an alternative cloud platform for developing our SaaS application.”
InWolk considered alternatives to Force.com and selected Progress Rollbase, a cloud application development platform that at the time was just being acquired by Progress Software. Since InWolk had clearly defined the functionality of its application, no time was lost in making the migration. “We worked closely with Progress Australia, and we had a clear roadmap for our application,” said Madduri. “We did all the development on our product internally because we wanted to develop our Rollbase competency ourselves.”
InWolk executives built business relationships via the Progress Partner community throughout Australia. “Progress has been very approachable and available, something I’ve not seen with other software companies,” said Madduri. “Progress has also been really proactive in linking us with other partners so we can share information and experiences, which helped us develop our product introduction and refine our business planning.”
The software development process has been efficient, and InWolk was able to quickly develop the core functionality of its SaaS solution. The company developed its first release in less than four months, and is about to deploy it to its first two customers. One is a non-profit looking to upgrade its CRM capabilities and potentially expand to manage more if its operations with the InWolk solution, and the other is a company that manufactures and imports tools.
Madduri explained, “These customers will be using our CRM module initially and will be evaluating our finance module as well as the use of our business suite for mass marketing, reporting and web integration so their dealer network can interact with their systems online. Once we complete the initial implementations we’ll add integration of an enterprise-level planning tool and concentrate on building additional modules as we hit the market hard for the first time with our own mass marketing campaign.”
Progress has provided strong technical support to assist with the swift rollout, and Progress Partner Marketing has provided InWolk with inroads into the Progress Partner community. Because the vertical markets InWolk serves are price sensitive, Buch and Madduri credits their company’s shift to Rollbase for product development as a major strategic business advantage. “Progress Rollbase enables unlimited object creations and allows you to offer unlimited portal access, while Salesforce imposed incremental costs that would not scale with the needs of our target markets. Rollbase is a scalable cloud platform that allows rapid creation of SaaS business applications that we can tailor to meet the needs of each of the markets that we address.”
Because Progress Rollbase can be deployed as a private cloud application platform, InWolk is planning to offer the InWolk Business Suite as both a SaaS and on-premises solution in the future. In a very short period of time, InWolk developed the first release of its business suite targeted to vertical markets. “Within just months, we developed and brought to market a SaaS solution that has unique value in the marketplace, Madduri stated. “Our business suite helps customers unleash better end-to-end business process lifecycles, and our technology consulting help clients leverage our state-of-the-art technology platform to adapt to evolving business requirements.”