Pune Startup Mantra: This personal Gyde makes your company’s software easy to use

Gyde – a Pune-based startup – has created a software assistance platform and is on a mission to democratise software guidance and reduce the go-to-market time for companies
Prasanna Vaidya (left) and Shubham Deshmukh, co-founders of Gyde, a Pune-based startup – has created a software assistance platform and is on a mission to democratise software guidance and reduce the go-to-market time for companies. (Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Prasanna Vaidya (left) and Shubham Deshmukh, co-founders of Gyde, a Pune-based startup – has created a software assistance platform and is on a mission to democratise software guidance and reduce the go-to-market time for companies. (Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Published on Oct 09, 2021 04:19 PM IST
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By Salil Urunkar

A less-talked about change in work behaviour during the “work-from-home” phase of our existence, is that of, “call IT”, while using or installing an application or software.

You can still call IT but the process is now a business opportunity with AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) now primed to solve your issues.

Cure the “paper-clip feature in Office applications, which provides, based on most user feedback, the kind of help that is needed.

Identifying this need for handholding end-users, Gyde – a Pune-based startup – has created a software assistance platform and is on a mission to democratise software guidance and reduce the go-to-market time for companies.

Founded by Prasanna Vaidya and Shubham Deshmukh in January 2018, Gyde uses a set of AI-based tools for educating software application users to drive actions for better on-boarding, adoption, engagement and customer success.

In the beginning…

After completing his BE Mechanical from Mumbai University in 2006, Vaidya changed course and started working in software development. After a short stint in USA, he returned to India with good exposure to artificial Intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). His co-founder Deshmukh, is a computer engineering graduate from Pune and worked on a team led by Vaidya in the USA.

The duo shared ideas and brainstormed about creating a B2C application which would be used by millions.

After a lot of pivots, pilots and failed attempts, since 2015, Vaidya and Deshmukh finally realised that they both were from an engineering background and did not have the marketing nous for a B2C product.

Says Deshmukh, “We had created a platform for creating chatbots at a hackathon, which we eventually won. We started pitching this platform to customers from the fintech segment and travelled to Mumbai. Slowly, we understood and learnt the B2B sales process. We realised that this is something we can pursue. Then we pivoted into Gyde. I handle product development and customer onboarding, while Vaidya handles sales.”

What is Gyde?

Explaining the concept of Gyde, Vaidya says, “In any big enterprise, a single person uses around 50 applications. During lockdown and work-from-home, our colleagues were not around to seek help. The learning curve is so steep that if we don’t understand a certain step in 15 minutes, we will raise ticket, or email someone and finally end up reducing the use of that application. That’s why adoption decreases. Gyde helps users to use such applications by providing step-wise help. That’s why we call it as a software assistance platform.”

“During and post-Covid, the pace of buying, replacing and deploying applications like CRM, HRMS, Content Management Systems in businesses has also increased. Enterprises invest a lot of money in new applications, replace old with new ones and they always want more and more people to use those applications to get a good return on investment,” he adds.

Identifying the space

Recalling the pivot moment, Deshmukh said, “We also wanted to do something niche in chatbots, something different than a marketing or support chatbot. Some customers of our chatbot platform were application owners. We noticed that most of questions asked to the bot were about how to use the application… the questions were ‘how-to’… That’s when we realised that there are many such applications and the opportunity is huge. After eight months of a pilot, we got Bajaj Allianz as our first customer.”

Do big companies not offer their help or support services?

“The problem is that most applications are customised for the user (company). They have a basic documentation about features, but the documentation for the process implemented by the company has to be made by the company itself. One can approach the forums or help pages and ask questions, but there’s no guarantee of getting an answer within time,” Deshmukh claims.

Digital adoption

Enterprises conduct classroom trainings, prepare user manuals and share it with their employees or end-users to increase adoption of any application. For that they have a dedicated learning and-development team. However, there are lot of inconsistencies in this process and it is difficult to manage content as softwares or applications keep changing. The problem is multiplied if the end-user is a field operative. Another aspect is behavioural changes on the end-consumer side.

Deshmukh and Vaidya agree that voice- assisted or voice-driven applications are increasingly being used.

Says Vaidya, “Localisation in regional languages is also a trend in all markets especially India. Millennials or younger populations don’t want to call support numbers and helplines. They try to figure it out and if they fail, they just abandon it. Hence, walkthrough videos in regional languages are now popular. The English- speaking population segment is now served and hence, next growth is going to come from regional-language speaking internet users. Interestingly, this learning or training penetration has not happened in digital applications. That is why this space is called ‘Digital Adoption.”

“Data quality also needs to be checked. Since users are filling lot of forms online, handholding them improves the quality of data gathered significantly. Gyde helps in providing byte-size and to-the-point help during this process and resolves the last-mile training or adoption issue. That’s how Gyde is envisioned,” he adds.

Lockdown experience

Recalling the first national lockdown period in 2020 after the Covid-pandemic breakout, Vaidya said, “Bajaj Allianz had become our first customer just before pandemic hit us. They were rolling out lots of applications for their audience and wanted to make these apps self-served. They wanted fewer enquiries to customer support regarding application usages. Classroom/in-person training sessions in Maharashtra and northern India were planned along with implementation of Gyde. However, due to lockdown their offline training plan had to be scrapped. Now they completely relied on Gyde. They downloaded videos, shared on WhatsApp groups and took exams based on Gyde content about understanding the application. We also provided multiple language voice-over support.”

All on board?

Deshmukh said, “Onboarding duration depends on the underlying application size. For an average application consisting of 100 processes which should be covered by Gyde, it would take about 15 days to a month. Our customers can tell us what content should be distributed via Gyde or they can take our platform and create their own content. It is a self-served platform. They don’t need coders or certified professionals for this purpose. We have chrome extensions, dashboards and the integration is also easy.”

Says Deshmukh, “Every page content - for managers, employees, consumers – is contextual and differs according to their role. We are now launching a new feature called product feedback. Users can give their feedback based on ratings or questions. As of now, mechanism of collecting feedback from end-users is not available, but we get response or feedback from trainers.”

“Be it enterprise software, SaaS software or mobile application, ‘Using Software Should Be Easy’ is our motto, mission and vision. We also track clicks optionally. Going forward using those clicks we want to identify behaviour of the users – who clicks where and how much time they take to complete the process. On the basis of those clicks we will auto-trigger the guide content to make that user go towards completion of that process. That will also act as a feedback mechanism for Gyde and the application users,” Deshmukh explained.

Where’s the money?

Shubham Deshmukh says, “We were kind of incubated in a company with whom our investor Ashish Achrekar had business relations. He used to visit the office and we had pitched the chatbot platform initially. Although that plan did not work, we stayed connected. Achrekar has seen how we have pivoted and how we finally had a stable product. He was investing in Canada-based startups actively then and was also looking to get into the Indian startup ecosystem. At the same time, we met Vaibhav Domkundwar of Better Capital. We had some brainstorming sessions and ideations with Vaibhav about how to establish Gyde as a brand.”

Future plans

Revealing their future plans, Vaidya says, “While working with enterprises we also realised that software product companies is also our customer segment. We have started generating some numbers like what is the customer acquisition cost, churn and lifetime value. Post-funding, customer acquisition will be our major focus. In the next two years we want to reach up to 100 customers including enterprises or product companies in various markets.

Says Vaidya, “We are focussing on developed markets, because all the big players and platforms like Salesforce have huge penetration in those markets unlike India. We have ready-to-use guides for platforms like SAP SuccessFactors, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Microsoft Dynamics, among others. If you are using these, you can get started from day one. You can simply install one extension and with 10 important walkthroughs and you can customise it based on your requirement.”

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Sunday, October 24, 2021