The new Conga Revenue Lifecycle Cloud fundamentally reworks Conga’s solution portfolio by rearchitecting all their applications into microservices, while the expanded partnership with Accenture turns what had been reactive joint sales to customers into common sales and engineering activity where the two companies will collaborate much more extensively than in the past.
Lifecycle management vendor Conga recently held their flagship Conga Connect event. They introduced as a working product something that was a teaser at last year’s show, the Conga Revenue Lifecycle Cloud. It’s not a new cloud, but a new and rearchitected way of integrating Conga’s point solutions, which reflects their new Conga 2.0 strategy. They announced a revamped partnership with Accenture which deepens their partnership around sales and marketing, and augurs positively for future such relationships with other SIs.
Grant Peterson, Conga’s Chief Product Officer, outlined the evolution of the Conga technology portfolio since he joined the company at the beginning of January 2021.
“I have been here a little over two years, and I started by doing an assessment of what our company is trying to accomplish,” Peterson told ChannelBuzz. “This was a year after Apttus and Conga merged. I wanted to see how our biggest customers saw us before we moved in any direction. These companies weren’t trying to solve point problems. They were trying to bring together customer experience and the administration of their revenue lifecycle. We found that almost all of them was doing this. Most didn’t see us as the solution for all that. Many were spending a lot on GSIs to try and attack the problem. I looked at our product suite and found that we had many of the capabilities they needed, but that we hadn’t represented them well as a solution to their bigger problem.
“That set us on a mission to do that,” Peterson emphasized. “It required that we integrate our products, take the best of breed aspects of each and build an integrated best of breed solution. We had most of it already, but we hadn’t integrated it properly, and we certainly hadn’t messaged it to our customers. It’s a more coherent way of thinking about our value. We can certainly just do the point solutions, but I think they are better together so we are talking it that way. What we are now calling Conga 2.0 doesn’t build point solutions, but addresses these bigger problems.”
Conga Revenue Lifecycle Cloud plays a key role in this.
“We have taken all our applications and rearchitected them into microservices using RestAPIs,” Peterson said. “We are relaunching all our Salesforce Apps on the same principle. It gives customers solving their revenue lifecycle problem a fully coherent data solution, which is open at the data layer and APIs.” The result, which Conga stresses is unique in the industry, is a single integrated solution that addresses all aspects of revenue predictability, including proposals and quoting, getting deals signed, contract execution, invoicing, and obligation management, fulfilling and renewing.
The application of AI and machine learning to the Conga Revenue Lifecycle Cloud delivers an intelligent system to allow for more predictability.
“This is really important,” Peterson indicated. “We are on a significant AI mission now, where we are now working on core intelligence that will show how changes in revenue in one area will affect revenue in another.”
Conga also announced a new strategic partnership with Accenture, which should properly be termed a complete restructuring and imagining of their existing relationship.
“We had a relationship with them before, but it has been substantially enhanced to the point where I would call it almost brand new, Peterson said. “The old partnership was much smaller in its objectives. We now have common revenue objectives, with common selling and engineering objectives. We sold before based on reactions to what our joint customers wanted. This reinvented relationship will be a driving force for growth.”
The new Accenture relationship becomes the strongest among Conga’s GSI partners.
“This is the strongest one now, although others have now taken strong interest as well,” Peterson said. “The formalization of the Accenture partnership is important and I think there will be more.”
Conga is also deepening their relationship with the big hyperscalers.
“Hyperscaler partners are new to us,” Peterson said. “AWS was our first, and that was created since I joined. Conga has always been a sell-through company with Composer and products for Salesforce. But we launched products on AWS Marketplace this Winter.”
“Our Salesforce relationship is cooperative and positive, since we are a large customer of theirs,” Peterson noted. “We do have a competing set of products, but we go more after high end customers in areas like manufacturing and life sciences, while they are more midmarket. We haven’t run into each other a ton on deals, but that may change in the future. We don’t partner with SAP or Oracle today, but I think the future will likely see us do that because we are platform agnostic.”
Peterson also summed up the significance of their Conga Connect event.
“The biggest story was the Revenue Lifeycle Cloud, and Accenture was huge,” he said. “I don’t know if it was formally announced, but Conga 2.0 creates a tapestry for a lot more technology partner Go-to-Market motions. It’s a shift to being a fast-moving company that can offer you a solution with choice of partners.”
Peterson also contrasted the state of the many demos he gave compared to last summer’s event.
“Last summer, when we presented what we were doing, we basically telegraphed Conga Revenue Lifecycle cloud,” he said. “This year, we were actually able to show it all, and we are starting early adopter availability now. Nothing was futures. It was all current technology. My hope for net year is to do the same demos, to be able to do them around customer success stories.”