Jan van den Brom of Agiboo describes the situation there as the ‘perfect storm’ in which it has almost too many new customers and implementation going on at the moment. In fact, he has been unusually difficult to reach in recent weeks! “Since everything has to be done remotely (sales activity, implementation, training and support), ensuring that customers get that special attention is more difficult now,” he adds. ”The market in south America and Asia is exploding,” he said. “Europe and north America are at around 2018/19 levels as well.” One reason for this boom is that he sees firms in Asia and south America seeking to build more professionalism and get to an international standard of operation. Interestingly, we pointed to a Government directive in China urging adoption of software of international standard last year. Much of this is being driven by stakeholders who desire to see better controls and perhaps comes with the carrot and stick approach.
“Sugar is booming again,” Jan tells us. “Cocoa is also showing good demand for software but Coffee less so and even things like Grains are very active.” In fact, Jan tells us that Agiboo signed four new sugar customers in just the last two weeks saying that “In south America we see lots of small sugar mills and factories and consolidation occurring. Back in the 10970’s and 80’s, it was the same in the Netherlands and of those sugar factories, only 1 now remains.” It isn’t about cost either, he argues. “Both Asia and south America are less cost conscious than they were and prices for software are close to European prices. They are increasingly happy to pay market price for good quality software.”
Another trend that he sees is customers taking software demonstrations and implementations much more seriously and professionally than in the past, particularly as complexity of the business increases. Cloud, he says, is accepted as standard, but it has brought with it a move to ecosystems where customers look to buy in functional components as opposed to a monolithic solution and he credits Agiboo’s micro services architecture as part of the reason why it is doing well attracting new customers. He also sees the world of sales changing rapidly. “People seem to know what they want and come straight to the vendor much more often. This means we see less competition for many deals than we used to.” Indeed, the competitive landscape is changing as well, he says identifying a small number of newer type vendor platforms along with Commodity Management vendors as a patchy set of competitors.
With 40 customers and 30ish staff, Agiboo is growing rapidly. He points to the four new sugar customers, a new Cocoa trading customer in Germany, a new coffee company customer in the USA and new customers in non-quoted commodities and the CPG sector. “We see a big demand also for expertise in commodities and Agiboo can provide this. Indeed, we have expanded in this area by adding videos to our knowledge center online,” he said. “We are also still of a size where we are approachable for customers and prospects, and they like that.”
For some time, ComTech has pointed to the changing shape of the market with a smaller top and middle tier and a much larger bottom tier of smaller and niche businesses. Agiboo is doing very well serving the smaller end of the market which is growing rapidly and is adopting software solutions to satisfy stakeholders and manage the business better. This market is often looking for discrete solutions than can be up and running quickly and that offer in-depth functionality for specific commodities. That is not to say Agiboo doesn’t gain larger customers too, but it points to increasing market share by smaller newer vendors at the expense of the larger, more established vendors. Another trend we have often highlighted in recent years.