Evernote Business chief: 'This is not a zero-sum game'

Summary:Old habits die hard -- even in the tech industry, which is constantly measured by the pace of innovation. The head of Evernote Business explains how the cloud is curbing those habits for good.


SAN FRANCISCO---After its new buzzphrase the "Internet of Customers," boasting about an overwhelming pool of industry partnerships is arguably the top theme at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce expo this week.

One example is Evernote, which has been rapidly ramping up its business services for more than a year .

Starting out as a note-taking and memory-sharing app, Evernote has grown to produce a business arm now utilized by more than 9,500 companies.

I had a chance to sit down for a moment amid the hubbub at San Francisco's packed Moscone Center this week with John McGeachie, chief of the Evernote Business unit to talk about the deal and how it plays into the software market at-large.

"I think were passed the cloud as the disruptive thing," McGeachie reflected. "Salesforce blazed the trail for the last 10 years. People now are comfortable with and rely on the cloud."

When asked about which industries have been gravitating toward the platform most, McGeachie responded Evernote serves everyone from venture capital to real estate.

"Evernote Business is a mirror for Evernote," said McGeachie. "It's used across every walk of life in which people are communicating electronically."

There's also already a solid foundation between Evernote and Salesforce. Back in September, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff even made an appearance at Evernote's annual developer summit, EC3, to introduce Evernote for Salesforce.com, targeted at sales teams for hosting shared resources.

McGeachie recalled that it was Salesforce.com that approached Evernote about concocting an integration, and the Evernote team thought it would be "a useful overlap."

In a nutshell, customers of both Evernote and Salesforce can link up accounts across both platforms. When working in Salesforce on different accounts, leads, and custom objects, users can pull up related notes from Evernote libraries. McGeachie provided the example of an industry study about top 10 design firms. Users can attach and share their own notes as well as search content shared by colleagues on Evernote.

McGeachie reiterated that it's all in the context of Salesforce's Sales, Service, and Marketing Clouds and linked to customer information.

"They're obviously comfortable with using Evernote for structured and unstructured information, but now they have the best of both worlds with structured information from Salesforce," McGeachie observed. 

"Business users are consumers also," reminded McGeachie, arguing that at Evernote, "We think of all of those people as people -- not as objects or money sitting on the table."

At this point, Evernote doesn't have any studies or data ready to share about financial rewards and return-on-investment figures about this integration. But McGeachie assured that customer feedback has been positive. 

Another catalyst for industry integrations like this is that the cloud has become a de facto attribute of information technology today.

"I think were passed the cloud as the disruptive thing," McGeachie reflected. "Salesforce blazed the trail for the last 10 years. People now are comfortable with and rely on the cloud."

The vice president of sales at Evernote suggested that the biggest disruption playing out now in IT is the app marketplace and how this playing field is being leveled by consumers. 

Quite simply, he posited that "a tsunami is sweeping over the state of enterprise software," explaining that consumers choose what tools make the most sense for them and that carries into the enterprise world.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Social Enterprise, Developer


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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