It’s no secret that “the cloud” has arrived as a technology, but as if to underscore its prominence, Battery Ventures and Glassdoor today announced a best-of list that should help guide tech professionals looking for a good place to work.
The “50 Highest Rated Private Cloud Computing Companies to Work For” looks at privately held companies with at least 200 employees and includes known names like Asana, Dropbox, Prezi, Sendgrid, Okta, Demandbase and, yes, BloomReach. (See the full list.)
And while, OK, maybe we’re bragging a little bit, landing on the cloud-oriented list is about more than bragging rights. The growth of the cloud sector — and cloud companies providing all sorts of services, operational software, security tools and more — has been astounding in recent years.
But that’s nothing compared to where it is going, as a broad spectrum of companies shed legacy onsite software systems that require those companies to manage upkeep, upgrades and periodic replacements.
Battery General Partner Neeraj Agrawal, who specializes in cloud investing, estimated that enterprises are currently spending about 15 to 20 percent of their software budgets on cloud applications. Within the next decade, he said, that number would likely be closer to 75 percent.
“From my perspective, and I’ve been investing for 16 years, cloud computing is the single largest tech trend out there,” said Agrawal, who is also on the board of Glassdoor, a job and recruitment site that provides employee reviews of employers.
(Battery Ventures is an investor in BloomReach.)
Cloud company acquisitions are heating up
Not only is spending on cloud services on a steep climb, he said, but acquisitions of cloud companies are increasing dramatically. Agrawal said that in 2016 there have already been $50 billion worth of acquisitions involving cloud players.
Yes, some big deals factor into that 2016 figure (Microsoft buying LinkedIn), but the buying activity is still impressive if you look at the $15 billion in annual average activity over the past four years.
There are several reasons for the furious growth, Agrawal said, none of which are going away soon. Hosting software in the cloud allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement that cloud-company customers benefit from immediately, rather than enduring the unwieldy process of upgrading traditional software products housed on a company’s own servers, for instance.
Buying software as a service gives customers maximum flexibility and requires software vendors to be not only looking for the next sale, but looking constantly to keep existing customers happy so they will renew their contracts.
So what does all this have to do with whether a cloud company is a good place to work? You know the answer, don’t you? In order to be a successful, a company needs to hire the best people. And it needs to keep them.
Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor community expert, said the company has conducted surveys that show that technology professionals know they can command good pay and land a job at a company that appears to have good prospects. So, the number one thing that keeps tech professionals around and satisfied in their jobs, Glassdoor’s data shows, is an attractive company culture.
“Where the cloud companies and other standard startups really have to try to differentiate themselves, is their corporate culture,” Dobroski said.
No doubt, competition for the best talent is already brutal in Silicon Valley and the technology sector. As cloud computing grows dramatically, the competition for talent will grow with it.
“There is a war for talent,” Agrawal said, “whether it’s engineering or sales people or marketing or other functions. Ultimately, these individuals have many choices of companies to go to and picking one where employees are rating a company highly is something they think about.”
Now, no one is saying a job-hunter is going to make a life-changing decision based on a best-of list or even a Glassdoor rating. But Sondra Norris, BloomReach’s head of people, said that when job candidates are considering several offers, they are naturally going to find out all that they can about how those already at the companies feel about their workplaces.
“All things being equal, I think it comes down to how you felt when you went through the interview,” she said. “And then you’re going to check with people to find out what they know about what it’s like to work here and be here.”
It only helps, being on a list of workplaces well regarded by those who work where your preferred candidates are thinking of working.
Agrawal agreed that employee reviews matter.
The internet is involved in our decisions, big and small
“There is another kind of strong secular trend that is happening and that’s really toward transparency on the internet,” he said. “Whether it’s a rating review for an e-commerce purchase or a hotel review on TripAdvisor or a restaurant review on Yelp. Every considered decision we have, there is going to be content on the web to help you make that decision.”
And, Agrawal noted, prospective employees are not the only ones who turn to rankings, ratings and reviews as part of their due diligence.
“The other belief we have as investors, it’s pretty simple: Happy employees end up resulting in happy customers, which end up resulting in happy investors,” he said. “Before I make an investment, I read all the reviews. I can go to Glassdoor to see what it’s really like to work there. To me, it’s a really good signal of what’s happening.”
Battery and Glassdoor compiled the 50 highest-rated workplace list using Glassdoor ratings. The list is a rundown of the private 200-plus-employee cloud companies with the highest ratings on the site. There were a few other criteria: Glassdoor defined “cloud company” fairly broadly, though all the “few hundred” companies considered eligible for inclusion conduct cloud-based business. The companies were U.S. based and focused on business-to-business sales. A company needed to have at least 30 Glassdoor reviews for it’s rating to be considered.
And so, how did the top 50 stand apart from all the others? BloomReach’s Norris, who obviously hadn’t evaluated the entire field, said she had some thoughts about what separated them from the rest.
“We are trying to create, and have created, a place that is doing something enduring, something meaningful, that also has a sense of community and camaraderie,” she said. “It’s a place where people actually want to be at work.”
Given the trajectory of the cloud sector, building a place where people want to be is only going to become more crucial as time goes on.
Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.