Arabian Reseller speaks to Arihant Jain, the Director for Business Development at Freshworks, about the company, the products and solutions it offers and their plans for the MEA region
Tell us about Freshworks and its participation at the IDC CIO Summit in the Middle East.
So my name is Arihant and I help run Freshworks for the Middle East and Africa region. We recently participated in the IDC CIO Summit, which was held in Dubai, UAE. The idea behind out participation was to have a two pronged approach.
One was to increase the awareness of our brand and the sort of products we offer in the Middle East and Africa region. The other was to target our core audience of CIOs, who attended the event from relevant organisations. We wanted to have meaningful conversations with the attendees of the event with the lead generation objective in mind.
Tell us about the products you showcased at the event.
At the IDC CIO Middle East Summit, we showcased our flagship product called Freshservice. This is an IT Service Management (ITSM) tool. The tool helps manage internal help desks such as IT support, travel, legal, HR, and so on. The other product we focused upon was Freshdesk, which is a customer support product.
Tell us about your presence in the MEA region. Which markets do you currently focus upon?
In the MEA region, our three key markets are United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Our experience of participation at the CIO Summit has been a very interesting mix. Surprisingly, large number of government entities approached our booth at the event. This is something we haven’t dealt with so far, because we were surprised that most government ministries and entities were open to the idea of cloud solutions. Other companies we had dialogues with were large corporates of different industry verticals, such as engineering, healthcare, and so on.
When you speak to customers what do you think are the key pain points they face?
I think the key pain points they face are usually around the visibility and traceability of service requests. So say for example, you work in a corporate environment, and you dropped off your laptop to the IT support team to fix. So even after say four days you still haven’t heard back from them and you are not sure what happened at the end of it. This is because such requests and services are not recorded for records-keeping and that is where the challenge is.
What according to you is missing then, to make it right?
Well, the employee needs to be made happy by the employer. And a lot of the employee experience is around the support the employer gives them. So, if them managing the IT, travel, accounts, or HR is a painful process, then it doesn’t work. So what we ask our customers to do, is to think about considering their employees as the customers of their support department. To treat them in the same way as they treat their external customers and manage the customer experience, record their overall satisfaction, and so on.
What are the USPs of your products?
The biggest USP is the user experience. Being a Google-backed company, having an outstanding user experience is key. Secondly, the kind of support and relationships we provide to our customers is very important. Especially in this region, we feel having such good relationships is key. And finally, all our products and solutions offer value for money.
Globally our primary focus has always been the SMB sector and that continues to be the same for this region. We are also focusing on the mid-market segment – companies with about 500 to 5000 employee count. Enterprise sector is something we dont go after.
What key milestones do you want to achieve this year?
Increase revenues! (laughs). But jokes apart, one is to establish the right channel partner network in the region for our product portfolio. This is immediate and needs to be done in the next 3-4 months timeframe. Another is to increase our brand awareness. We have some great customers in this region such as Souq.com, Sharaf DG, Musafir.com, Tajawal, and so on. But people need to know about our products and customers to understand the value proposition we bring to the table.