Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 255. Today we’ll be talking to Owen from SweetProcess about the use case or business case for why his customers choose SweetProcess.
SweetProcess gives businesses the systemization they need to scale and grow their business.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William.
Show length: 24 minutes
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Owen McGab Enaohwo
Owen is responsible for making sure that you enjoy using SweetProcess to systematize the operations of your rapidly growing company. If you are not WOWed, it’s Owen’s fault!Follow
Announcer: 00:02 Welcome to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case Podcast. A show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: 00:27 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Owen on from Sweet Process, and we’re learning all about Sweet Process. The wise prospects and customers, why they purchase and choose to go with Sweet Process. So Owen, would you do us a favor, introduce both yourself and Sweet Process.
Owen: 00:47 William, thanks for having me on the show. And Sweet Process is a software that basically makes it, I’ll put it this way. If the listener is in a situation where they own the company, or they manage some employees and they keep having employees asking them the same questions over and over again, how do I do this? How do I do that? And you’re wishing to yourself like, man, I’m tired of asking this question and you wish there was one single place your employees could go through where at any time they have any specific question on how a specific task is done. They’ll be able to go to Sweet Process, just type in a specific keyword for it and voila, they will find to step by step procedure or checklist showing how to do the work.
01:25 So that’s what Sweet Process does is that it enables you to have that single source of through where employees can go to find instructions on their work. And then the creation of the documents, the procedures, we make it easy. And on top of that continuous improvement of the document, we make it so that everybody, all parties can be involved. The owners of the company, the managers, and even employees on the ground. So that’s what Sweet Process does primarily.
William Tincup: 01:46 I love that. So some examples of things that you’ve seen in town acquisition recruiting or in HR, can you think of any off the top of your head?
Owen: 01:58 So you would typically have, most larger companies, they will have a recruitment process. And basically that will be all the steps it takes to bring onboard a new employee to the company. You would think it would just be one simple procedure. But not really the case because you might have a recruitment process and then maybe the first procedure in there might be all the steps it takes to prove to HR that this new person is needed because they’re not just going to hire anybody just because you want to hire people. So there’ll be a bunch of steps you have to follow in that procedure to prove to HR.
02:27 The next one, once the job is approved by HR, the series of steps you follow to place the ads on all the approved job boards using the style and cadence the company likes in terms of how you should put things out there. And then once the interview start coming up and another procedure to determine another procedure on how to conduct these interviews all the way down to once you started highlighting or shortlisting some candidates, the procedures for are going through background checks soon and so forth. You finally hired, brought on somebody, the procedure for onboarding and training them. So you can see how that’s having this recruitment process with everything documented in form of procedures inside of the process is very important to have.
William Tincup: 03:10 Love it. Is there a library? So if someone hasn’t created or we’ll do onboarding is a great example, and a lot of people doing remote onboarding now, and they haven’t built a process and blank screen, right? Everybody’s terrified of a blank screen or a blank document. Do you now, or do you foresee having a kind of master templates that people can start with?
Owen: 03:36 On our blog, we have a bunch of different templates people can download and be able to get access to. And as a matter of fact, at the end of this webinar, I will, I say webinar end of the podcast, I will share with the listeners how they can get access to about 52 standard printing procedure templates that they can, so they don’t start from scratch.
William Tincup: 03:54 Oh, I love that. So one of the things that we know about a sustainable business is recurring revenue, check. Referenceable clients, check. And what you’re tackling at Sweet Process, which is repeatable processes. And you’re tackling in a big way. So you let’s go to the origin story. How did you make the decision to create Sweet Process?
Owen: 04:18 So I like that question, because it gets me to talk about how Sweet Process got started. So before I started Sweet Process, which was in the fourth quarter of 2013. Before we got started, I used to have basically an outsourcing firm where I would provide entrepreneurs here in the US, basically small to medium size business owners with outsource staff. So basically people that would do their back office support for them and order back office operations for them. But this way I have a team in the Philippines. So basically people had read for our work week, the world is flat and books like that, that opened them to the mindset that, hey, it’s not just the big companies that can actually use this outsourcing of work because a lot of times back in the day, people thought it was only the big companies like the telecoms and all that, that will have hundreds or thousands of people working for them, answering phone calls and so on and so forth abroad.
05:12 But these books opened people, small business owners to the mindset that they too can do it by sharing their stories and all that in those books. So we had a lot of small business owners reaching out to us. And when after reading this book, they will come with us, come to us with this preconceived notion that, hey, they could just hire somebody and hit the ground running and that person could just come in and start doing the work, not realizing that this is a whole different time zone. And on top of that is a whole different culture. And even more importantly, they would need to have procedures in place for those recurring tasks that they want to deliver to somebody to actually do for them. And so there was a form of training I had to do to basically educate them that we need to do this.
05:49 And what we used to do back in the day was we would go on Skype after they’ve hired our services to go on Skype and have someone on my team. Okay, this is a specific task that you do on a recurring basis. Let’s walk through that task, discuss it with my manager, and then he would record the conversations and then we’ll take those conversations and go behind the scenes and try to create a procedure step by step checklist of the task. But one of the issues we are running into was that the tools back then, to document procedures, were either they were enterprise level tools and were hard to use or we’re just hacking together a bunch of different tools just to get that thing done. And in back of my mind, a way to build this stuff. And so I got invited on another podcast by you might know it is Mixagy and hosted by Andrew Warner.
06:38 I was brought on there to talk about basically how to document procedures and how to streamline operations of the company. And my co-founder all the way from Australia. His name is Jarvis listened to the podcast and then reached out to me and was like, he’s trying to build this software that’s in line with what I was talking about, the framework I taught the listeners. And I said, “Okay, let’s have a conversation.” And when we’re done having the conversation, I was like, dude, instead of just seeking answers from me and getting my advice so that you can go ahead and build on your own, why don’t we just go ahead and build this software together?
07:11 It was exciting. And we went ahead to and started to build the company that was when Sweet Process was founded. But this is a key important part of the story was that I said, “Dude, I know as a developer, you’re interested to just jump ahead and start building the features now, but instead of doing that, so I avoid the situation I was facing with using these complex enterprise level tools. Let’s first of all, spend some time, identify some would be potential customers and try to drilling deep into the problem of documenting procedures. The problem of giving employees, all the instructions that they need, what are the challenges they’re facing? Let’s have interviews with these prospective customers. And then based on the interviews, we can determine what our software at core needs to have so that we can apply all our learnings into the software and then build it from there.”
08:00 And so that’s what we did. So we interviewed 30 plus potential customers with the aim of, “Hey we’re gonna build this software. We know people have this kind of challenges but tell us more out your own experience with it so we can incorporate the learnings into building software.” We did that. And after that we reviewed all the answers they gave us, came up with some ideas of what we needed to do for ours, and then we went ahead to build the software and that was the fourth quarter of 2013.
William Tincup: 08:25 Oh, that’s awesome. So what are we primarily displacing in the sense? This is kind of a question I ask everybody, but in this instance, is it Google docs? Is it intranet? That’s kind of an old term, but what are we or the status quo? They’re not doing it.
Owen: 08:47 So it could be that they’re not doing it in a station where they have everything in their head. And if someone leaves, then that’s a big nightmare, or it could be that they are doing it and they’re documenting it on piece of paper, or it could be that they’re using Word or Excel and storing it in some company internet that is even hard to find or even catalog what they have, or they could be using software, but the software is not cutting it. Or it could be some enterprise level tool that is not maybe some software they’re using that just had the ability to document, but that was not really what the tool was meant for. And so they’re using the tool that wasn’t meant a software that wasn’t meant for that specifically. So there are different flavors of the issue, but the bottom line is usually they want that single one place that people can come and find instructions on how to do their work.
William Tincup: 09:34 I love that. So I hate oh and I despise software categories just as a concept. But a lot of budgets are built in Excel so there’s rows and columns, et cetera. What do you perceive and what do you believe Sweet Process or what are your customers tell you that Sweet Process is?
Owen: 09:53 So if you want to know the specific category we fit on there, we are a business process management software. In the sense that we think of maybe a project management type of software, the idea is you have a project you want to work on, put in all the tasks in there, and then once the project is done, that’s done.
10:11 But with a business process management, you are with the idea and the concept that every task that you are going to document needs to be a task that’s happening on a recurring basis, that you’re going to do it over and over again. Otherwise you wouldn’t even document a procedure of it in the first place, right? So that’s where the difference is. You’re documenting task that you’re going to do on a recurring basis. And it’s a core to how your company does what it does for your customers.
William Tincup: 10:38 It’s funny, because I didn’t have it that descriptive, which it makes sense that it is that descriptive. But I had you in my mind as we were talking as collaboration software, that because as a way of getting people to look at something and collaborate and use it, et cetera. But your definition is much better, so much, much better. So I would assume it’s permission based as well. So multilayer depending on the role and function of the company and things like that?
Owen: 11:10 So based on the role, people get access to the software and based on your role and everything is what determines based on if the specific team that you put the documents into that how we can get access to the documents. And so if you’re not part of a specific team, you can see that as well. And even if you’re the admin, then if the admin, you can see everything and stuff like that.
William Tincup: 11:30 And SaaS model?
Owen: 11:32 Yes. SaaS model, basic glass software, a service where you’re selling this software on the subscription. Yes.
William Tincup: 11:39 Okay. So let’s do some buy side stuff, questions. So people listening to the show and otherwise, if they’ve never built, if they’ve never purchased business process management software, what are the questions that they should be asking of you, your prospects, and questions that prospects do ask you, what are those routinely that you get and questions you love as well?
Owen: 12:06 So questions before they buy the software. Is that what you’re asking?
William Tincup: 12:08 Yeah.
Owen: 12:09 Well, so you should be asking, first of all, how easy is the software to use? Cause here’s the thing. Documenting procedures is one of the most critical things that you could do for the business because first of all, you keep hearing how owners of a business are so bogged down with so many things to do. But how do you replace yourself is by making sure you have instructions in place so people can take over. That’s how you replace yourself.
12:32 And on top of that, your company becomes way more valuable, if from a purchase standpoint, if they’re trying to buy a company and they’re not buying a job, they’re buying a company that is basically a systematized company that is a system that they’re coming and taking a playbook that they can take from you. So procedures and these things are very important. But because it’s very important, it’s also time consuming to know where to start or how to build it. So people push it back and never do it. So that’s why it’s very important that the ease of use, not only for the owners of the company, but also the managers and even the employees on the ground who will be using the stuff that is critical, how easy it is to use.
William Tincup: 13:15 So you know you always deal with this in software. There’s people that get it and people that don’t. And I perceive the people that want to feel like the business is about them, somebody in a particular department, they’ve got a lot of institutional knowledge, it’s in their head like you said, and this is a way not to get fired. So if I keep it all in my head, then they can’t fire me.
13:44 So the question is, first of all, that’s just me being editorial, but what have you run across when, cause not everyone buys. I mean, it makes logical sense to me. I get it immediately and I can see the importance in HR and recruiting and really throughout the entire organization. But you’ve also run into people that just don’t get it. So tell us a little bit about that. What is that like?
Owen: 14:10 So if someone doesn’t get it, I’m not even going to waste my time with them. Cause again, you have to be selling your product or service to somebody who has that problem and it’s a painful problem that they want to solve. As opposed to someone who doesn’t think it’s a problem. You just going up against the wall on that one. There’s a point where maybe someone is not yet aware of the problem and then you educate them basically on the stage of the buyer awareness or whatever. And then you educate them on the pain of the problem and they are now exposed to, wow, this is actually something that, yeah, I didn’t know is that painful, but looking at it now with all this information that’s in front of me, this is really critical. I need to solve it. But then at this point they’ve now become aware that there is a need to solve the problem.
14:56 So that’s the way I approach it, is either they’re coming to us with a problem in hand and they need to solve it right now. Or we are at the very early stages of the engagement within where we are taking them through the defense stages of the awareness and buyer funnel. But then they eventually didn’t see the need for the thing. But if the person is such that they feel like, oh, I don’t want this document, this software because I don’t want become replaceable. And I want to hide my, yeah, they’re not the right fit for this.
William Tincup: 15:24 But at that point it’s an IQ test. It’s like, okay, we’re not going to change your mind, no need to actually do that. But okay. So we put those people alive. I love your strategy too. It’s like, if you don’t get it immediately, then it’s cool, no worries, world’s big enough for all of us. But I do also the audit kind of part where you’re like, well, let’s give you a couple examples. Okay. So do you have this process? Is it fully documented and up to date? So not only has it been documented, but is it up to date? Is it current? Cause in HR and recruiting, there’s thousands of micro processes, right? And you might have it documented, but it might be eight years old. So it’s like, okay, you have it technically you have it documented, but it’s so out of date that people don’t even use that process anymore.
Owen: 16:18 And that’s one of the learnings we found when we had this conversations with the 30 plus people we talked to earlier was they realized the need to have documents, but one of the things, okay, once we’ve documented it, how do we have this situation where there’s a continuous improvement of the document? And so that’s why we realize that, wait, a lot of times the input, the Eureka moment, the aha moment that happens, happens when the work is being done. Not necessarily when the document is being documented. It’s actually when the task is being done.
16:51 So we say, okay, we have to build our app in such a way where not only does it allow people to document this procedures, process and all that, but also allows people to actually get work done so that when in our app, you’ve documented procedure on how to do a specific task, you can actually assign a task to somebody so that they can get the work done and while they’re doing the work, the instructions on how to work, step one, step two, whatever is there for them. They’re carrying out the work and they’re checking off the steps. So the employees can never say, I don’t know how to do the work.
17:21 But back to the point of why that was important to marry the tax management with the documentation part together is that you can now have it such that when an employee comes across something where there’s this new innovation they come across, or maybe they feel like a specific step was not explained properly as they’re carrying the task or they come across something where they feel like maybe they need to eliminate some steps. They can pass that back into the same software, which is a Sweet Process. And then the manager of that document sees that feedback from the employee on the ground, who’s carrying out his task and sees he likes the feedback, or he likes the changes to the document that the employee made. He can go ahead and click a button and prove it. And in real time, that task they’re working on is updated with the new information. So that’s why we felt it was necessary for the task manager management to be married with the documentation as well.
William Tincup: 18:11 Oh, that’s beautiful. That is so elegant. Well done Owen. Let’s get into some customer success stories without names or brands or anything like that, but just something you’ve been doing this while and just, it’s always something where people use it and you’re like, wow, that’s cool. That’s super innovative. That’s really something I hadn’t thought about that, but that’s cool. Or even something most recent, just give us some success stories.
Owen: 18:38 So one of them that comes to mind, I know there’s a specific government agency that does child protective services. And to me that was like, wow, they’re using our software. But the idea is that for them to do their work, which is when you think of child protective services and people who need to be protected and stuff like that, they have to go through certain rules and policies and have things in place so that things are done properly for the protection of those children or whatever. So they had a situation where they didn’t have a good system in place and everything was everywhere and finding information was taking forever because now yes, they had this, what’s it called a drive, whatever. Like an online what’s it called online, online share. But then you’re trying to solve some critical problem, protecting the child or whatever, but finding the instruction is taking so long.
19:35 So you’re spending more time trying to find these instructions, but then they did some research and being the government agency. Yes, we put us through the ringer and everything, but eventually they chose Sweet Process. But the outcome is that now they don’t have to spend much time trying to find out the answers because everything’s right there at their fingertips of every employee and with the press of a button, looking for a specific keyword, the instruction comes right there in front of them. So what that enables them to do is be able to execute much faster, but on top of that, because they’re not spending time trying to figure out how something’s done and you can quickly find the answers. They found that their employees are now even helping to improve stuff because while they’re doing the work, they can come across this insight they can use to improve the underlying document.
20:21 So I just give you an example of a government. It runs the gamuts from the different types of companies that use Sweet Process. We have banks using Sweet Process. We have government agencies using it. We have doctors. I mean this problem of having your employees, having information at the fingertips, it runs the gamut across all types profit, and even non-profits.
William Tincup: 20:45 Oh, I love that. You know the continuous improvement part is really a trigger for me because it’s you get us back to some of the things we learned out of that movement, the TQM movement is like, everybody has a hand in quality and we’ve gotten a little bit away from that and gotten specialized. But this is kind of a hearkening back to that idea that Deming had of, quality isn’t one gal or one guy or one person, whatever, it’s everyone. Everyone has a hand in quality. And I love, first of all, I love the story, but I also love that the way you’ve built the software is like, okay, everyone can make this better. Everyone should make this better. So it’s beautiful. Last thing that I have is, it’s demo related and it’s when you show Sweet Process for the first time, what do you love? What do you love? You know once you get them over to this one place, it’s going to be a kind of aha moment.
Owen: 21:44 One of the things I love when I’m doing a demo, I don’t do demos as much. But when I do do the demos, one of the things I love is when I’m able to show them how they’re documenting a procedure with the instructions and how Sweet Process automatically shows them a flow chart without them having to spend time trying to draw anything. We’re showing them, because the reality is that, because this is a documentation, it can be linear step by step, but also at certain points, there can be decisions and it breaks out into different parts, right? So Sweet Process takes the instructions that they’re documenting on one end on the other side automatically is showing them the thing visually, because we want them to see how their entire thing plays. That whole visual thing. A lot of times that like, aha, whoa, I didn’t know I could see the visual of what I am doing. I love the expression they get when they see that.
William Tincup: 22:37 I love that. And you want, before we close, you wanted to offer the audience something.
Owen: 22:41 Great. Great. So I know that we’ve talked about ho Sweet Process that got started, but I want to leave you guys with 52 standard operating procedures so that in case you want to have a starting point where you can actually have these procedures in your hand, and then you can tweak them and improve upon them. You can go to SweetProcess.com/recruiting. Let me get the so it’s Sweet Process.com/recruitingnewsdaily.
William Tincup: 23:15 That’s perfect. Listen, I love what you built, Owen. I love, absolutely love it. And I’m so glad that you carved out time for us and the audience.
Owen: 23:24 So let me, sorry, let me do this correctly because I get the right thing is SweetProcess.com/recruitingdaily. So that is sweet, as in candy, Process as in Process.com/recruitingdaily.
William Tincup: 23:39 Perfect. Drops mic, walks off stage. Thanks again, Owen. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.
Owen: 23:48 Thank you very much for having me.
Speaker 1: 23:50 You’ve been listening to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up at recruitingdaily.com.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.