Last week, I spoke with Christophe Primault, CEO of GetApp, about GetApp’s new CloudWork platform, which provides a growing catalog of pre-built connectors to integrate cloud-based business and social media apps. Listen to the podcast or read the summary below.      


Laurie: Good morning, Christophe. Could you start by describing what GetApp is and what it does?

Christophe: Okay. GetApp helps small businesses be successful with cloud business applications. We started a couple of years ago by building a marketplace where small businesses can discover business applications that are suited for their needs.

Laurie:  Great. I know you got started around 2010, a couple of years ago. About how many apps are available in the app marketplace now?

Christophe: Today we have close to 5000 different applications available, and they are split in about 300 different business categories.

Laurie:  Now, I know that GetApp is a little different type of marketplace than say Google Apps marketplace or Salesforce AppExchange. Can you just describe a little bit about what makes it different?

Christophe: Sure. So what we are trying to do is be independent and inclusive and let small businesses see everything that is available in the market. We are not tied to any particular vendor or systems. We access apps that are integrated with Google Apps or Salesforce or any application, but by coming to GetApp you will be able to see all the applications in each category that can be of interest to you.

Laurie: Okay. So kind of like the Switzerland of small business app marketplaces?

Christophe: Yes. Exactly. It’s like a Swiss Army knife for small businesses looking for business applications.

Laurie: And about how many visitors do you have coming to GetApp these days?

Christophe: This has been ramping up month after month, and today we have close to 150,000 visitors coming to the marketplace every month. Overall 95% of these are small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Laurie: Great. And how do you define an SMB? What size company?

Christophe: We are mostly targeting the low-end of SMBs. It’s companies with between 0 to 100 employees, but we do have also larger companies that are coming to GetApp to find applications for their own departments.

Laurie: I understand that you have a new offering from GetApp called CloudWork. Can you tell us what it is?

Christophe: Absolutely. CloudWork is a new solution that we launched one month ago, and it is a continuation of GetApp. While GetApp is the first step for small businesses looking for business applications to discover what they need, CloudWork really comes in when you start using more than one application in your organization. Let’s say you are using four or five, and you have developed silos of data in each of your applications and you realize that these apps don’t talk to each other. You want to integrate these applications together to increase productivity, so this is what CloudWork is doing. It’s an easy to use platform and you don’t need any technical knowledge to get apps to talk to each other.

Laurie:  Okay. Yes, I think most of us that are small businesses, we can relate to that. We start by using one application to fit a certain need, and then as we need another we add another. Before you know it we have a few different cloud apps, but they don’t necessarily talk to each other. So we’re trying to manually coordinate what’s going on. What was the genesis for deciding that you needed to do this?

Christophe: Yes, that clearly came from our users. We found applications on GetApp or anywhere else, and now we run integral applications, but they don’t talk to each other so we developed processes attached that are repetitive, that are not bringing a lot of value to the organization that could be automated. So, we decided, maybe this is something interesting to do. And then we asked ourselves, as an SMB using over 20 different cloud apps, is it a problem we have?  How could we address this problem and how much value will it bring to us? We realized that we could save a lot of time and be much more productive in doing more value-added tasks in the organization if we had the ability to automate many of the internal processes and tasks. This is how we decided to build the CloudWork platform to do that.

Laurie: So, how would it work for me? Can you walk me through it? Once I go on the CloudWork site, what would I need to do? How much work would it take on my part?

Christophe: I am going to take a very precise use case to tell you how you can use CloudWork. For example, cloud-based CRM is one of the most common applications for an SMB. So, assuming you are using let’s say Zoho CRM, you will come to CloudWork, you will sign up for an account and you will authorize CloudWork to talk to Zoho. You will do that with just a couple of clicks, and then we will show you a list of applications that can integrate with Zoho with the objective of capturing your client’s profile in Zoho all the customers, all the interactions your company had with your customer.

So let’s take an example. You start with Zoho CRM and then you decide that any e-mail that comes in via Gmail to your organization should be logged under your customer profile on Zoho CRM. So you integrate Zoho with Gmail. If you want to see which invoices and payment status of invoices, then you will integrate with Freshbooks. If you want to see when your client has received an e-mail campaign then you will integrate Zoho with MailChimp. If you want to have all your data in Zoho to be backed up on an online storage platform, then you will integrate with Dropbox, and so on.

So, in this specific case,  in just a few clicks you are adding different applications and building a unified view of all your company’s interactions, which of the apps you are using in your company under your customer profile in Zoho. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to set up. No code is needed. You don’t need to have any particular knowledge, and with just a few clicks you can set up your account and then the tasks run in the background.

Laurie: So, at the end of the day you’re saving a lot of time because you don’t have to be manually trying to connect these things. And you’re gaining productivity and cutting down on manual kinds of errors so your information is more accurate.

Christophe: Yes, you’ve covered what are the main objectives of CloudWork. Increasing productivity of your sales people or your customer support people, avoiding making errors when you’re cutting, pasting, or exporting files from one application to another, making sure also that you always back up data outside each of the applications that you’re using. So productivity, saving time, more security are the main benefits of CloudWork.

Laurie: If someone wants to try CloudWork, how can they try it? Is there a free trial?

Christophe: Yes, absolutely. It’s very easy. You go You get started. There is a free trial. In fact, the product is currently free for all to use. There will always be a free version of the product. Most companies they will be able to use CloudWork for free. For very heavy users that will be automating a lot of tasks during the month it will be a paid version, but today it is free. We integrate with 15 very popular applications, and we are adding new different applications every week.

Laurie:  So with GetApp, you addressed that discovery challenge, how do I find applications that I might need to run my business. I know people will also find there is a lot of guidance in terms of reviews, and evaluations, and discussions that small businesses can look at to get information about the apps as well as just getting the apps. So, you’ve addressed that discovery, with CloudWork you’re addressing a lot of the integration issues, what’s next? What’s the longer term vision for GetApp and CloudWork?

Christophe: You’re absolutely right. We are not going to stop there. Our plan is to be what we call a cloud operation center for small businesses. Really the idea is you start with GetApp where you discover applications. You also get a lot of education material on how to get started with cloud applications, what are the pros and cons, which ones you should keep for your business, and then as you start to be a heavier user of applications you will have integration needs. This is one of the first services we offer in CloudWork, but in the future you will be able to access different applications with a single password as an example, or you will be able to have a better view of who is using which kind of application in your organization. So, basically we are going to add additional services to CloudWork so it becomes a single place in your organization where you can manage all your cloud services.

Laurie: That sounds fantastic. For small businesses, if you have not been to the site, I would advise you to check it out because there are a lot of great applications and advice on there. Thank you so much for your time today, Christophe, and for talking to me and sharing this information with us.

Christophe: Thanks a lot Laurie. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and sharing with your listeners the benefits they can get out of GetApp and CloudWork. Thanks a lot.