Facebook is making it easier for businesses to leverage its Messenger service on their own websites. Until now the customer chat plugin, that allows customers to talk directly with a business on the business’s own website using the Messenger service, required the website visitors to be logged into Facebook, limiting adoption. The updated plugin will now allow customers to talk to businesses without being logged in, Facebook says. Instead, a “continue as guest” option will be available. However, on the business’s side, they’ll still be able to use all their same tools to manage their conversations with these online users, whether logged in or not.
Yotpo, which provides a suite of tool to help direct-to-consumer and other e-commerce players build better relationships with customers, is today announcing that it has raised $75 million in funding. The company had its start as an app in Shopify’s App Store, providing tools to Shopify customers to help with customer engagement by way of user-generated content, and while it has outgrown that single relationship — it now has some 500 additional strategic partners, including Salesforce, Adobe, BigCommerce and others. Yotpo’s services today include SMS and visual marketing, loyalty and referral services and reviews and ratings, which are used by a range of e-commerce companies.
Rippling, the startup building a platform to manage all aspects of employee data, from payroll and benefits through to device management, has closed $145 million in funding. HR and employee management software are two major areas of IT that have faced a lot of fragmentation over the years, with many businesses opting for a cocktail of services covering disparate areas like employee onboarding, payroll, benefits, device management, app provisioning and permissions and more. That’s been even more the case among smaller organizations in the 2-1,000 employee range that Rippling targets. Rippling is approaching that bigger challenge as one that can be tackled by a single platform — the theory being that managing HR employee data is essentially part and parcel of good management of IT data permissions and device provision.
Microsoft will shut down Cortana on iOS, Android and Surface Headphones. The decision reflects Microsoft’s focus on business and enterprise technology over consumer offerings. Microsoft will focus on repurposing aspects of Cortana for its suite of productivity products Microsoft 365 rather than attempting to compete on consumer devices with leaders in the virtual assistant space, like Apple, Google, and Amazon. Cortana has fallen behind those competitors as Microsoft doubles down on enterprise technology.
Cisco announced that it has acquired Swedish startup Modcam and is making it part of its Meraki smart camera portfolio with the goal of incorporating Modcam computer vision technology into its portfolio. Today, while Meraki has smart cameras that include motion detection and machine learning capabilities, this is limited to single camera operation. What Modcam brings is the added ability to gather information and apply machine learning across multiple cameras, greatly enhancing the camera’s capabilities.
Atlassian today announced that it has acquired Mindville, a Jira-centric enterprise asset management provider. With this acquisition, Atlassian is getting into a new market, too, by adding asset management tools to its lineup of services. The company’s flagship product is Mindville Insights, which helps IT, HR, sales, legal and facilities to track assets across a company. It’s completely agnostic as to which assets you are tracking, though, given Atlassian’s user base, most companies will likely use it to track IT assets like servers and laptops. But in addition to physical assets, you also can use the service to automatically import cloud-based servers from AWS, Azure and GCP, for example, and the team has built connectors to services like Service Now and Snow Software, too. Mindville’s more than 1,700 customers include the likes of NASA, Spotify and Samsung.
Zoho has unveiled Zoho TeamInbox, a shared inbox tool for managing group emails and enhancing team collaboration and transparency. It makes group emails accessible to the entire team in one collaborative space. Direct your emails from group email addresses like treasurer@, marketing@ to a shared inbox in Zoho TeamInbox, and give access to your team. Teams can now receive, read, and reply to emails from this shared inbox, so you will always stay in the same page. Emails can be assigned to any member, commented on, replied to, and then be closed once the task is completed—all from a single platform.
In the monitoring world, typically when you spin up a new instance, you pay a fee to monitor it. If you are particularly active in any given month, that can result in a hefty bill at the end of the month. That leads to limiting what you choose to monitor, to control costs. New Relic wants to change that and is moving to a model where customers pay by the user instead, with a smaller, less costly data component. The company is also simplifying its product set with the goal of encouraging customers to instrument everything instead of deciding what to monitor and what to leave out to control cost.