What opportunity does Freshworks see in Australia?
“Australia is a key market for Freshworks and has been for some time. Perth-based Atwell College was our very first customer and 12 years on, our relationship has only strengthened. At present in Australia, we have over 3,000 customers, including the likes of Booktopia, Officemax, Harvey Norman, Honda, University of Sydney and Salmat.
“Our extensive customer base shows how local businesses love using Freshworks to delight their customers and employees. We see huge potential for our ITSM line of products and are increasingly seeing ANZ customers opt for our customer engagement (CX) and employee experience (EX) product lines as well. We are ingrained in the Australian market, especially when you consider our partnership with Australia’s most entertaining and popular sport, the NRL, which uses Freshservice across all 17 clubs and 1,200 staff.
“With global revenue exceeding AUD$517.5m and 49% year-on-year growth, our growth of Australian customers is largely driven by their knowledge that they are joining the winning team. Australia, like our other markets, is about laying the right foundations from the beginning, and as the companies grow, Freshworks grows with them, allowing us to provide them with the right tools to scale properly.”
What would you say most businesses get wrong when it comes to enterprise software?
“The majority of offerings in the ITSM market are complicated, expensive, siloed, and a struggle to use without months of heavy investment in consultancy or implementation. The fundamental issue is that they are built for selling the sizzle, to impress and lure the decision-makers of a company rather than the end user.
“Freshworks empowers employees, and empowered employees drive better business outcomes. We build software that’s purpose-built for the people using it. We make it fast, easy and affordable for businesses to realise value.
“We have adopted the mindset that the traditional one-size-fits-all technology solution cannot provide what businesses require in today’s ever-evolving market. The best path forward is to offer highly personalised vertical solutions, in which the customer is collaborating during the process, essentially co-creating a solution together. For example, the NRL moved to Freshworks because its original provider didn’t allow for its software to develop and change as its internal needs changed.
“What Freshworks guarantees is the opportunity to test the use case upfront and fast, before committing to join, and then slowly rolling out the suite of services as they see fit.
“Using this approach negates the issue of traditional software tools in the ITSM market, ensuring customers access functionality and necessity in their software systems.”
What is your vision for Freshworks in Australia?
“Our vision for Australia is ingrained within a growth mindset. At its core, this means moving forward in conjunction with businesses that need the right tools to scale. By co-creating solutions, Freshworks will continue to grow with the market. Our software can bridge the silos that traditionally exist between IT, customer support, sales and marketing. We want to provide Australian businesses with a cohesive experience.
“Shortly after our IPO in 2021, Gartner listed us as the only visionary in the Australian CRM market, and the only challenger for IT service management. We continue to live up to this mantle, diversifying our portfolio to include software for those working in sales, marketing and HR, and continuing to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue globally. Through initial steps such as Australian data residency and our partnership with AWS, we have ensured data privacy. Our distributed architecture makes it easier for businesses to connect and collect data (with less latency), making the use of Freshworks seamless.
“It is not about drastically altering our offering, but ensuring we continue to grow, evolve and expand with the market, to provide the best possible solutions that excel in delighting our customers.
“Freshworks continues to grow, and we are seeking to hire customer-obsessed talent in the market.”
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for Freshworks in Australia?
“Freshworks operates in an industry where the goalposts are always moving, and keeping up with the rate of progress and development isn’t a guarantee. Internally, the biggest challenge comes from a change management perspective and getting the business aligned with continually moving and meeting the market.
“Externally, the real challenge is how do we keep meeting the needs of customers? Organisations are typically slow-moving, by no fault of their own, so how do we engage with them and continue to ensure they have the necessary tools to operate efficiently and effectively? The challenge exists in ensuring that we, and our customers, are open to being agile and ready to make quick decisions, followed by rapidly implementing changes. Freshworks is one of the best-kept secrets in the ANZ market. This is not from a lack of demand, but because we choose to focus on what is important to our customers, not billboards.
“When you consider the impacts of the pandemic, we have adapted to the challenges it presented. For example, customers no longer want to be locked in, as they were previously, with a focus on short-term investments.
“At Freshworks, we are confident in our offering. To overcome this challenge, we pivoted to allow shorter contract times, to prove the value to our customers, with the confidence that long-term commitment will follow.”