Keeping the focus on how technology can aid businesses looking to slash costs can help tech users weather today’s uncertain economy — and keep the tech companies selling the new wares growing.
Ninos Sarkis, the newly-minted CFO for cloud-based e-commerce experience platform Bloomreach, believes his firm is “well-positioned” for the current cycle because it can quickly demonstrate the return on investment its products will provide to potential customers.
“This is hugely critical in decision-making as teams cut down on spending to shrink their cost base,” he said. “They’re more inclined to justify spend if they believe their investment will result in further growth and have a more immediate ROI.”
Championing financial discipline
Large-scale technology companies have struggled to adjust to the current economic environment, with firms such as Meta, Salesforce and Stripe laying off staff and reducing their real estate footprint. As CFOs confronted a slumping economy at the start of the year, part of their bid to reduce expenses included overhauling their technology budgets and zeroing in on the ROI pitch from potential vendors.
Arming Bloomreach with information that will enable the firm to win over customers is a top priority for Sarkis as he takes on the role of CFO. Among other strategic initiatives aimed at fostering growth, Sarkis will “work closely with the executive team to identify high ROI opportunities in go-to-market activities and product development,” he said via email.
Sarkis was named finance chief of the Mountain View, California-based company in May. He previously served as chief accounting officer for digital analytics software platform Amplitude. Before Amplitude, Sarkis logged a 20-year stint at PricewaterhouseCoopers, serving in a variety of roles including partner where he focused on the technology and clean tech sectors, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Over the years he had the chance to learn what a good strategy looks like from watching many companies at Bloomreach’s current stage of growth.
“From a strategic perspective, I’ve seen the various ways that similar B2B SaaS companies have grown both organically and inorganically,” he said.
Organically, there are “many levers to pull” when it comes to product development and go to market or GTM strategies, he said. In contrast, so-called inorganic growth from outside the firm can come from M&A such as Bloomreach’s acquisition of fellow marketing automation platform Exponea in 2021, he said.
Approaching both types of growth with a discerning financial eye is critical — Bloomreach is “keeping all of our possibilities” open as it looks to its future growth, and “like any company with over $150 million in ARR, an IPO or public listing is among those possibilities,” Sarkis said.
“Part of my job is preparing to not just be any public company but be a successful public company if or when the time comes,” Sarkis said, which includes “efficient and effective growth through financial discipline on what investments we make,” he said.
The generative AI age
Bloomreach is also keeping an eye on the fast-evolving AI landscape. Bloomreach, which has employed AI since its inception, has already incorporated generative AI capabilities into its products “to drive efficiency by way of content generation” for channels including email and SMS, Sarkis said.
The company has also fostered partnerships with leading voices in the space such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI, which operates ChatGPT.. The company is “are closely monitoring the evolving digital landscape” when it comes to generative AI, Sarkis said.