Back in 2009, as businesses navigated the repercussions of Wall Street’s collapse, Razzak Jallow found himself standing at a departure gate with a boarding pass that read simply “SaaS.”
To be clear, Jallow had just nabbed a spot on Adobe Inc.’s Creative Suite finance team, and the journey on which he and his colleagues were about to embark was the software company’s migration from a perpetual, boxed software model to one based on SaaS subscriptions.Read More
While Adobe was not alone, and the path to SaaS was crowded with many software firms, few were faced with exiting a legacy model that operated at the scale and robustness of Adobe’s, in which 27 products were clustered under the banner of the developer’s “master collection.”
“This meant that 27 R&D teams had to ship their product on the same exact day,” recalls Jallow, whose comment seems to expose both the madness as well as the unmatched rigor behind Adobe’s legacy model.
Still, cracks were visible inside the perpetual world.
“We were selling fewer units every single quarter, and meanwhile we were spending more and more on go-to-market initiatives to try to get customers to upgrade,” continues Jallow, who notes that the migration to a subscription business model got into high gear only once Adobe management uniformly agreed that “it was time to do what was right for the customer.”
According to Jallow, the customer-centric message began to gain momentum inside the Creative Suite business unit where he had been spending his days modeling revenue predictions to better serve the investment community.
Still, a finance leadership challenge remained. At the time, Jallow remembers, Adobe’s then-CFO, Mark Garrett, stated: “Our current investors may not like it because they trade us on quarterly revenues and EBITDA – but I’m going to go find us new investors.”
Garrett’s resolve to find new investors rather than muddy Adobe’s customer-focus message further buttressed the company’s stance.
Says Jallow: “Observing a CFO who saw beyond his own world and understood the products and customers and how the different teams worked together was just really impactful for me. Moments like that just don’t come around very often.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about FloQast …what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Jallow: I was so excited to find FloQast. I couldn’t believe that it was real. In some ways, it is your standard B2B SaaS software. We focus on working on an accounting operations platform. What this means is that we generally sell to the close. Every single company in the world that has an accounting team goes through some kind of monthly or quarterly close. This is often a very hectic and chaotic process. A lot of times, people are coordinating just by stand-up meetings, by emails, by Slacks. They might have some Excel checklists on what they’re doing. Not only was this not a very good solution before, but also, especially as more teams went remote, this ad hoc stand-up communication style got less and less scalable. I personally believe that the finance tech stack is far behind the go-to-market tech stack.Read More
Go-to-market teams have many, many solutions to help them across workflows and lots of automations to help them be as efficient as possible. The G&A finance tech stacks are still catching up. FloQast is a unique solution that comes in and works with your existing processes, works with your file servers or your Excel. It’s not a 1-year implementation. It’s a very quick implementation that allows people to get back to what they really want to be doing—the more intellectual value-add activities, the more operational and strategic activities—rather than the actions involved in manually trying to figure out what’s going on in the close and what everyone’s status is.
I would say that the biggest thing for us is that on top of an absolutely fantastic core offering—our close product—we now have over a year under our belt with our second major solution in FloQast ops. We also recently announced our latest product, which addresses SOX compliance for controls. These are really providing a comprehensive solution across three common problem areas for our customers. The biggest challenge for us a year from now will be making sure that we can reach as many customers as we can.
From a finance perspective, this will mean figuring out how to stand up sales and marketing offices in new geographies to reach more customers. How do we continue to be the best in class with all of our new products as we have been with our core products? How do we enable the company to continue to go fast? We’ve gotten a lot bigger over the past couple of years, going from fewer than 200 employees to nearly 600 in the blink of an eye. We now also need to understand how to continue to provide the right tools and training for every person so that they can do their best work. jb
“Operate as a business leader first. Make sure to engage in as many areas of the business as you can in order to keep learning and understanding the business unit beyond financials. Focus on being a strategic, value-added business partner.” –Razzak Jallow, CFO, FloQast
FloQast | www.floqast.com | Los Angeles, CA