Kognoz was born out of the idea that a company first and foremost objective is to add value to the company's stakeholders: its customers, its communities, and its employees.
We started back in 2004 as a development factory with emphasis on cloud-based systems, although back then we used the term "distributed computing" because the notion of the cloud was not that wispread at the time. A few years later, in 2008, we stumbled upon Salesforce, and started to help companies integrate Salesforce with other cloud systems, as well as to develop bespoke solutions on the Salesforce platform for customers around of world.
Along the way we heard customers regularly talk about their longing to process their invoices right in Salesforce, the very platform they use to capture their sales, and manage the relationship with their own customers. And for many companies this made a lot of sense, as it would provide a complete view of the customer in one place for all the organization to share, and would allow these organiations to leverage their investment in Salesforce.
The first and one question we had at the time was why the existing solutions were not a good fit for many companies. As it turned out, most billing apps for Salesforce worked along similar lines, and still do. Normally, they provide an edit screen for users to enter their invoices manually in a first step, and, in the best-case scenario, the screen is prepopulated with the sales data but still in edit mode. This information is in turn used to generate an invoice document, in another step, and is then sent to the customers in yet another step. This is inefficient and does not scale even at small invoice volumes. It is also error prone as the invoice information is edited manualy. And to exacerbate things further, there is usually little room to control what data is included in the invoices, as well as the look-and-feel of the invoice documents, because these are always prescribed by the billing app, except for adding your company logo.
It was a clear opportunity to do better. The way we looked at it was that the invoices of companies using Salesforce would invariably include information that is captured in Salesforce during the sales process such as sales data, customer's details, contracts, and any custom information specific to the company business. Consequently, all the information needed to generate the invoices is already in Salesforce at the time of invoicing, and there should be no need for manual edits. In addition, companies already know what information they want to include in their invoices, and what look-and-feel they want in each case. So, if organization could define upfront their invoices design and select what data in their sales records should be displayed, they will have complete control over what invoice each customer receives. In turn, these invoice pre-definitions could be used to automate much of the invoice generation so processing a single invoice or 100s of invoices at a time could be down to 1-click while the company's billing preferences are automatically enforced. Moreover, when invoicing in batch mode, the entire company routine billing could be done in minutes. The challenge was that this should hold for any company regardless of what they sell, and of the specific billing process they want to follow. As we digested the ideas it was clear that we will not build a new billing app. The goal that was starting to emerge was to develop a billing platform that companies using Salesforce can use to customize their invoicing to their very needs
In order to achieve our goals we invented a new approach to invoicing, and used it as the basis to build a new billing platform. After a couple of years of development and countless man hours poured into it, the first version of Invoices for Salesforce was made generally available in the Appexchange in January 2012. Since then, we have continued to enhance the platform, and kept adding new features, guided at every step by the same principle that set us off on day one: add value to our customers, our employees and to the communities we live.