June 20, 2018

Q&A with Womply: on the Role of Data in Modern SaaS Development and the Womply Commerce Graph (SourceForge) »

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By Zenica Joy 

 

A report from the IBM Marketing Cloud revealed that a full 90% of the world’s data has been generated for the last two years. And yet, according to Richard Joyce, the Senior Analyst at Forrester, less than 0.5% of all data is ever used and analyzed.

Although most of today’s enterprises desire a data-driven business, that fact remains that many organizations still struggle to draw useful insights from data, especially when the data is fragmented, complex, and/or difficult to access. Hence, for businesses wanting to thrive in this data-centric world, it’s best to seek out the right software solution that can help them access, gather, analyze, and generate unique and tailored insights from data. Womply, the leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, offers the right approach and the best tools to provide unmatched access to data, and turn this into tailored and actionable insights in order to help organizations gain a competitive advantage.

SourceForge recently spoke with Toby Scammell, the founder of Womply, to discuss data acquisition and the importance of data in modern SaaS development. Scammell also shared how small companies can take advantage of the Womply Commerce Graph to improve customer engagement and business operations.

Q: Can you please give us a brief overview of your company (ie. year founded, headquarters, size, etc)? 

A: Womply’s mission is to help small businesses thrive in a digital world. I founded Womply in 2011 after seeing how underserved American mom-and-pop shops were by software-as-a-service providers. We’ve quickly become one of the fastest-growing software companies in the country, with about 250 employees in San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Lehi, Utah.

Q: What types of industries do you serve and who are some of Womply’s current customers?

A: We’re squarely focused on Main Street, not the enterprise. We have more than 100,000 small businesses paying for our software across all 50 states and more than 400 industry categories. Really, any consumer-facing small business is a candidate for Womply’s software, including restaurants, auto shops, boutique retailers, salons, bed-and-breakfasts, and more.

Q: Let’s talk about the role of data in modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) development. How do you think data is changing or affecting the software development process?

A: We’re seeing a big shift in terms of user expectations. It used to be that SaaS platforms were basically frameworks that required users to input data. Increasingly, users expect data to be pre-loaded in the software, or at least include automated processes for data acquisition. Soon, a generic or manual software experience will feel antiquated as users increasingly expect data to come as part of the overall software experience.

Q: As a provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, what are other applications of data that SaaS companies should consider to optimize their performance and ensure business growth

A: Software companies that have valuable data assets should find ways to use them to drive internal operational excellence, as well. At Womply, we use data not only to power our software but also our business systems.

We have industry-leading sales efficiency because our data powers our lead-generation and lead-routing systems, and our customer demo is customized to the business instead of generic. We also use data to optimize our customer success program, employee engagement initiatives, corporate marketing, and more. We even use our data to tell great stories, resulting in great content like our Small Business Almanac and nearly daily press coverage.

Q: What makes Womply a stand out from other SaaS providers in the market?

A: A few things. First off, we’ve done the very hard work of acquiring massive amounts of data that add value to our software and gives our engineering and product teams a major advantage. In many ways, SaaS development has become commoditized with copy-and-paste code and me-too features everywhere. Our data helps us differentiate.

Second, our software stands out because of our product philosophy. Small business owners are busy and don’t have time to geek out on esoteric software features. That means engagement is a poor metric because it often indicates that we’re creating more work. We actively try to automate tasks to give small business owners more time in their day, and we’re always working on new ways to merchandise the value of the work we do for our customers.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about Womply Commerce Graph? What are some of its key features and capabilities?

A: The Womply Commerce Graph is our secret weapon. It is the underlying data asset powering all of our software, which enables us to know more about businesses and their customers. As a structured data asset, the Womply Commerce Graph gives us a better view of the interactions between American consumers and small businesses than anyone else.

Thanks to our relationships with a variety of partners including large financial institutions and card processors, our database sees more economic activity every day than Stripe, Square, eBay, or Amazon. We’ve appended that transaction data with biographical, location, and contact information. The result is 10 million small business profiles and 200 million consumer profiles that we put to work for America’s small businesses.

Q: How do you use proprietary data sources like the Womply Commerce Graph to add customer value?

A: We organize our software solutions into three main categories: reputation management, customer management, and business management. In every case, the Womply Commerce Graph adds value by reducing “time to value” for our customers and delivering a totally custom experience.

For example, every time a customer transacts with a Womply business, our software automatically builds or updates a customer profile. Over time, we build a complete customer directory, including contact information, without the business owner lifting a finger. From there, our software automatically engages customers over email and mobile so they visit more and share their experiences online.

Q: In terms of security, how are you handling data privacy concerns with the Womply Commerce Graph?

A: Data is the most valuable asset in the world, and there will always be challenges associated with protecting valuable assets. We take privacy and security extremely seriously and have aggressive controls in place both on the technical and behavioral sides.

As one example, we’re PCI DSS Level One compliant, which is the highest bar for payment data security and requires rigorous adherence from both a systems and process standpoint. It’s worth noting that large retailers and e-commerce companies have been working with similar data for years. We’re simply putting it to work for small businesses that have been at a disadvantage for too long.

Q: Looking ahead, what challenges do you see to data acquisition solutions? How is Womply striving to meet these challenges?

A: How you acquire data varies by data type and what capabilities your company has. At Womply, we started years ago with partnerships that created a strong alignment of interests between us, our partners, and our small business customers. We also collect data directly from small businesses and even from their customers. Data is a tremendous advantage because it allows us to deliver better experiences to our customers and our scale creates network effects.

It’s not without challenges. At our scale, we spend tens of millions of dollars ingesting, validating, appending, cleaning, and storing data—that’s before we put it to work for customers. So hiring great people and using the best tools is critical.

About Womply
Founded in 2011 by Toby Scammell, Womply is a trusted software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. As one of the fastest growing software solutions companies in America, Womply helps small businesses thrive in today’s digital world. Headquartered in San Francisco, Womply serves more than 100,000 small businesses across 400+ business verticals and specializes in big data, SaaS, online/offline commerce, payments, and more.

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