One of the holy grails of software is that it should be so easy to use that no one should require help to use it. The dream is fair, but a distant one.
Design thinking, focus on UI and improvements in UI technologies have indeed made software more intuitive. That said, most software still requires help.
If you have ever used any ERP software, video editing, most CRM software, you will invariably find yourself in the middle of a jungle not knowing where to go. For any substantive task, you will need help.
“Most organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to onboard users, train users, and to support them on an ongoing basis.”
For ages, there has been one dominant model of help provided by software developers, which is a help tab or an equivalent, where there are gazillions of hyperlinks organized by topics and an ability to search within these hyperlinks.
Each of the hyperlinks would open an article, and if it is well written, it will have screenshots that will inform the user on how to do the task they want to do. You can take a print out or open the article in a different window, go back to the application and try out what you really wanted to do.
Technology has come a long way, but we still find that due to software complexity, it is very hard to get users to adopt. Most organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to onboard users, train users, and to support them on an ongoing basis.
Despite all this, users still prefer that if their next door colleague knows how to do something, he/she can walk them through the “transaction” or the “task” they want to do within the software without reading any help article.
How Whatfix Solution Addresses This Issue
Whatfix is a platform that allows organizations to create intuitive “how to” walkthroughs for software applications used within the company.
They are available to the user “at the point of action” i.e. depending on which screen the user is on, the system can personalize what the most common questions users have and can prompt the user with the relevant “how-to’s are”.
“It increases user adoption, & reduces support and training costs.”
As opposed to going through mandatory “10 pieces of training in a year on the use of software”, users can now be “trained on demand” on the use of software relevant to them.
Equally important – product managers can get valuable data on where exactly users are facing issues, where do they need the help of walkthroughs and what therefore they need to do differently to make the application more intuitive. The software helps increase user adoption and reduces support and training costs.
The Whatfix Team
At Stellaris, “we invest in people, not ideas”…and Whatfix is no different a story. I first met with the Whatfix team at an event in April 2014. I was going through 50 back to back SaaS pitches and did not take too much notice.
Whatfix was just trying to get off the ground. Several months later, one of my colleagues insisted that I should meet with the team focusing on user adoption/ support, and summarily dismissed the idea as I thought that there could be nothing new in this space.
At his insistence, I met the team, and subsequently led the first investment back in 2014 when I was part of Helion. I have been very fortunate to work with Khadim and Vara, the two co-founders, since then.
They are quiet operators, experiment and learn rapidly, and have been exemplary in their cash efficiency since the inception. It has been a pleasure to see the founders grow during the last 2.5 years of active association.
So why did we invest:
1. There is ~$500B of new software sold/ custom built every year – barring exceptions, most of them need help, it is, therefore, a massive market. Help/ Support market for this software is waiting to be disrupted, little of note has changed in the last three decades
2. There is a real value for companies – increased adoption, lower training costs, lower support costs, and faster/ accurate feedback to product managers
3. Whatfix is one of the best and most intuitive SaaS products to come out of India
4. Ability of the team to sell remotely – we were pleasantly surprised how rapidly the Whatfix team has broken the barrier of deal values that can be accomplished through a combination of digital marketing and remote sales
5. Traction with some of the largest software OEMs in the world and some of the best-known names as customers
6. …and above all, a team that is thoughtful, cash efficient, has its ears to the ground with a vision to reach the stars!
I look forward to many such SaaS start-ups from India in the future!