CapitalGeek

Brian Reale, CEO and Founder of ProcessMaker and Automation Geek

Episode Summary

On this episode of Capital GEEK with geek out with Brian Reale, CEO and Founder at ProcessMaker and Intelligent Process Automation Geek.

Episode Notes

Brian Reale is the CEO & Co-founder of ProcessMaker, a leading workflow and business process management software company. Brian is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience managing high tech companies. Prior to founding ProcessMaker in 2000, Brian was the General Manager of Unete Telecomunicaciones, a long distance voice and data carrier in South America that he founded in 1997 and sold to a publicly traded US Telecom company in 2000. Brian also co-founded Spotless LLC, an entertainment technology company and the developer of the Spotlesslight live digital lighting technology. Brian graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1993 and was a Fulbright scholar in linguistics in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador in 1994.

Episode Transcription

Josh Stephens  0:03  

Hello everyone and welcome from here in the capital city of Austin, Texas. This is capital geek, a podcast dedicated to the founders and operators that create the products we love and turn them into fabulous companies with meaningful exits. Whether you're raising your first round of capital or racing toward an IPO. This is where we deep dive on the lessons learned from Season industry veterans, geeks of all types, the experts leading product and engineering teams operations and finance or sales and marketing. And we'll both learn from their mistakes and celebrate their successes. Walk around in your roadmap for you to accelerate your own journey towards success. My name is Josh Stephens, CTO at elsewhere partners and I am the capital G

 

Brian, welcome to the show.

 

Brian Reale  1:11  

Thanks, Josh. Great. Great to be here.

 

Josh Stephens  1:14  

Awesome, Michael, and thank you for coming on to help me co-host I appreciate it.

 

Michael Massad  1:18  

Happy to be here as well excited for today's conversation.

 

Josh Stephens  1:21  

Yeah. Well, I think we should probably start by saying congratulations, Brian on the Tony Award.

 

Brian Reale  1:28  

Yeah, thanks a lot. We're, we're really, really excited about that. And, you know, for us that was a that's kind of a thing you look you look forward to when you're just starting out and then you're kind of amazed when you finally win one and get there.

 

Josh Stephens  1:41  

I read up on a little bit this morning. And I didn't realize that the Cody awards were, you know, pure rewards. You know, you're recognized by your peers, in your case with processmaker. What does that mean? Like who are the peers that voted for you and made processmaker when

 

Brian Reale  1:59  

you It's a series of demos of question and answer sessions. There were a number of them over the course of several months. And there's a variety of people. I don't necessarily know the specific companies. They were from all sorts of different enterprise software companies. And it was, you know, it's pretty long process. I was surprised how long it was.

 

Josh Stephens  2:22  

That's awesome. I, I don't think any of the products or companies I've been involved with, have ever want to code you or maybe solar lens in the early days. But yeah, I was reading their website this morning, and it's pretty cool and impressive as congratulations.

 

Unknown Speaker  2:37  

Yeah. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

 

Josh Stephens  2:39  

Maybe To get started, you could just give us a quick introduction to what processmaker does.

 

Brian Reale  2:44  

Yeah, absolutely. So processmaker is an enterprise business process management and workflow software company. That's a bit long-winded and we I like to throw in both terms because it's an industry that like so many in technology today suffers from sort of an overload of of labels, and but they're both important for different reasons. So some people identify more with workflow software. Some people identify, identify more with business process management software, BPM software. But we basically like to say that what we do is we take enterprise business processes, so relatively complex business processes. And these are processes that involve both systems and humans. And that's an important distinction. And we make sure that somebody can basically fill out usually it's some sort of a form that's going to pull data from a variety of existing enterprise systems, which may have very good interfaces or very bad interfaces, we're going to present that information in the right way to the right people. So they can make decisions usually approve or reject decisions about that information. So a great example of of the type of workflow we would automate would be A credit application request for a bank or an account opening a commercial account opening request for a bank, or for a manufacturing company, it might be a purchase request, which might sound like something you would do in your er p, but for a variety of reasons. It might be a lot more complex than the CRP can handle in terms of approvals and different types of information. And so our type of solution might be better. And so those are kind of two, kind of two standard use cases for this type of workflow or workflow, automation software.

 

Josh Stephens  4:35  

You know, business business process management has been around for a really long time. But what you guys are doing is pretty new and unique. And what's what's interesting to me is the momentum that processmaker has been picking up the last few years. Why do you think that is? what's what's special about the way that you've approached solving this problem?

 

Brian Reale  4:57  

So I mean, it's interesting that you mentioned it's been around for a while because it has. And if you go to the real kind of academic esoteric, sort of BPM conferences and meetups, I'm like one of the youngest guys there, right, and I'm not that young anymore. And so you know, you look around the room, there's generally a lot of gray hair in the room. And, and so BBM has often been criticized for that, right? It's this kind of, it's been around for such a long time, it always seemed to have trouble kind of breaking out on its own. But interestingly, it kind of comes in waves and has, it's now on a big upswing, and it's become really popular again. And a lot of times, that's due to just the change of a label. And so actually another label I forgot to put in there as low code. So it's also we're a low code platform. And so I would use those for a low code, BPM workflow software and workflow automation, relatively interchangeably, and because they each capture an important nuance of what we do, and so I think loco, that label has sort of helped a lot. A lot of other companies have Come on come in with different styles of low code, which has helped kind of suddenly this industry seems to have appeared out of nowhere, although it's been around for a long time. And then I think it's just gotten better this time around. So, you know, I heard somebody say that technologies, you kind of need to swap them out every 10 years. So we've just sort of rebuilt our technology after being in the market, 10 years. And now you can do things that you really couldn't do 10 years ago, and I'm sure 10 years ago, that was true things you couldn't do 20 years ago. But now it's getting really exciting because the interfaces are all there. There's just the whole mobile revolution has happened, obviously, in the last kind of 10 years with mobile applications. And and so now, it's kind of hit a critical mass. And so I think that's where there's a lot of that's creating more of the excitement.

 

Josh Stephens  6:48  

I want to come back to your comment about having recently rebuilt the platform. But what I noticed is that similar to startups, you know, one of the things that I think makes a software startup So successful early on, is that oftentimes, the person who's building the product is also the person who deeply understands the problem they're trying to solve. And they're building a product to solve a problem that they themselves have. And that first person perspective, when you can actually code the solution or build the tool that you need to use to accomplish a job is much more complicated when you add, you know, Product Management between the customer who has a problem and the engineering team and you have this long, elongated process. Traditional BPM or BPA to me was was sort of liked the way a bad startup would work where you know, you, the people who have a need to automate processes, they hire some consultants, and they interview them and they have ideas around how it should work. And they hire developers and they build the BPA or BPM solution. And then that gets pushed back to the people who actually try to solve problem And it doesn't even solve the problem that they first envisioned. But what I noticed about process maker is it allows the person who's having the problem who, who owns the process, they want to automate, who's doing it manually today, to go ahead and automate it themselves with your low code interface. And that solves that problem of translating those requirements to someone who doesn't understand, you know, what it's like to sit in the seat and actually do the job day to day. That was that was what the sex appeal was for me when I saw the demo.

 

Brian Reale  8:32  

Yeah, I mean, I think in general, that's the premise of low code is that our user is now a business analyst and the sort of kind of dark room or black box that a developer works in and magically appears with a solution, which maybe then frustrates the business stakeholder and they sort of have to say, Well, you know, why did it take you so long and why doesn't it what I thought it was going to be? You know, now the business analyst really feels empowered. So when a business analyst initially looks at profit, maker. You know, after that first kind of demo, there's usually this massive aha moment like, wow, I can I can do all these things that I always wanted to be able to do. And I just need to get my hands on this, the solution. And I think in general, that's, that's the the low code promise. Sometimes that that or oftentimes that low code promise is a little more elusive than then then vendors will admit on the first go around. And so we don't say that it's 100%, a business analyst solution, because we're trying to solve complex problems if you're trying to solve really simple problems. And there's a whole nother set of workflow tools that are in kind of a different market and loko tools solving really simple process problems, then yeah, you can go to complete low code, it's sort of like the forums tools, you know, they're all pretty much all low code, but they don't do that much. Then you're, you're solving a real enterprise problem you do need. You are going to need development, help, you're going to need systems admin help to understand your other systems and how you're going to connect those, you know, but we like to isolate that function at least let the business process analyst do the the process and then be intimately involved in the conversation. So that's kind of where we're trying to get to. So we do think there's still a role for the other, the other parts of the organization developers, system administrators, subject matter experts and business analysts. It's really about finding a language that allows them to speak the same language, because if I just give something to a developer, I don't speak his language if I'm not a developer, so now I'm kind of out of the loop.

 

Michael Massad  10:35  

And when you guys are discussing the value of processmaker, with an organization who does it typically most resonate because it sounds like from a management perspective, there's a big cost savings value prop, right and as Josh mentioned, instead of hiring all these external consultants, like just let the analyst himself or herself, organize that within that one interface or Is it the end user that has resonated most with who's saying, gosh, on a daily basis, I have to go track down 10 different sources of information from eight different team members. Like where does that value really hit? And and how have you found those conversations to unfold.

 

Brian Reale  11:18  

So they usually unfold in a couple different ways. And this is what makes it somewhat of a more complex sale. So if we're talking about a low code platform where you're going to develop lots of workflows, then we basically need to identify lots of problems. And most organizations, if they're a certain size, have lots of problems and lots of needs. But some are better than others at organizing those and understanding the need to put them on a platform. That's our ideal customer. So our best customers are are currently automating hundreds of processes on processmaker and running millions of cases a year. So we have a number of banks running millions of cases and doing several hundred processes on processmaker So now it's a they're using that they're using it every day to address problems as the business need comes in. And they have this sort of shared service desk mentality, where they're now solving their own internal problems using are we using processmaker? So that's scenario one. We can't always get to that scenario. So scenario two is, we hear about a certain business need comes in through a line of business manager saying, Hey, I have this problem. And it looks like I can solve it with processmaker. Or maybe processmaker has already solved it in sort of a template or a point solution. And so in that case, we might enter through one application and then help them expand the usage, help cross sell, help other departments get involved and see that they can do a lot more with with the solution.

 

Josh Stephens  12:46  

To me, it seems as though you're not only automating business processes, but in many ways you're sort of automating the idea of software development. Because even though you can't Do all of the coding through a low code interface, that business process analyst can create enough, you know, through the UI to translate the concept of what they're trying to do. And then a software developer can fill in the pieces and write components that are missing or integrations. And, you know, my favorite part about watching the demo, Brian, was that it was absolutely painstakingly obvious that you really love this product. I mean, your passion for what you guys have built, and just your emotion came through on that demo in such a vibrant way. I remember thinking, wow, this guy has finally gotten something that he's super happy with. How big of a decision was it to stop or while the business is operating to rebuild the platform? I mean, that's a tough call.

 

Brian Reale  13:54  

Yeah, now, that was a really difficult call. And there were a couple things that converged. To make that that happens. So from an economic perspective, you sort of never want to have to stare down that decision. It just seems overwhelming. And we had hit a juncture where so you know, we started the the organization what we started organization in 2000. But in 2000, we kind of had one idea that failed, they had another idea that failed. And then we sort of backed into we were solving a problem and came up with processmaker. And it was launched in 2008. And, in our development there, the product we built an open source product carried us quite a long ways. And our the original CTO was with me the whole time. He ended up leaving. And so we brought on a new CTO and as you Josh I'm sure can relate to you know, there's a there tends to be a ctls tend to be pretty opinionated people and they tend to like To build their own things. So, you know, it wasn't just a whimsical decision, hey, let's just build a whole new product. But we recognized we needed to kind of rebuild, we were looking at all the different avenues. And so it just sort of started to happen. I think it would have happened either way, but it was easier, having sort of a team that had sort of transitioned, that we decided, hey, we're gonna, we're gonna kind of rebuild this.

 

Josh Stephens  15:28  

What I noticed when you were speaking just now was that you founded the company, during the.com bust, then you reoriented the company toward BPM in 2008 during the financial process. And now you're launching this new version and, you know, announcing the winning of the Tony Award during another recession and you know, the pandemic and civil unrest. And what's interesting is that I have noticed often In times, during these times of economic reset, is when innovation fires up. And founders grab the opportunity to, to make a difference. And, you know, it's fascinating to me that the same story to be told a soldier wins. You know, we launched it, the first web based product in oh eight, and then we IPO during the crisis. And every time that happened, it forced the business to evolve. And when I think about BPM and tell me if I'm wrong, this is your space. But I would imagine, during the recessionary period or economic slowdown, people would be asking themselves, how do I make my business more efficient. And certainly, it's more efficient to automate these business processes, so that you can run more processes efficiently with less people running around trying to get signatures and fill out forms and do it the old way than then during time have economic growth where there's so much money coming in, you don't stop and think about how to do it better faster.

 

Brian Reale  17:08  

Yeah. You know, interestingly, because processmaker was founded as an open source solution. So it was during the 2008, crisis to open source tends to do better in recessionary times. And I think, you know, arguably now sort of freemium offers also are more important during recessionary times. And I know that that Michael, you guys have explored that with as pricing strategies with a number of your companies. And and so it's interesting I, you know, I, I'm looking back on those those two moments the.com. Bust and and then the 2008 recession, and what we were doing seem to be kind of independent of those, but you're right, there's a perfect overlap. And what I do remember is how it did affect us as we we're unable to raise money in 2000. So we were out raising money we'd raised very little. And then we just kind of said, Hey, this is then then the bus happened, we thought that we can't rate we're not gonna be able to raise anymore. And so then we just kind of went into survival mode and which ended up giving a half making us take a long time to get to that next step, because we were just kind of going contract by contract. But it was while we were going contract to contract that we came up with the idea and it was because we were forced to contract a contract. I had gotten a contract with a ministry of telecommunications in Latin America. And we were asked to solve a transparency problem. And it was financed by the World Bank. And they said, you know, this is where we've got money to finance a project to help promote transparency in entities where, you know, transparency is needed. And so we thought we we created a transparency platform. We even called it something like that initially. After we built it, we kind of looked around and realized this is sort of like workflow software, maybe we're making workflow software. And wow, this is really needed because all the other stuff out there is really hard to use. So what the crisis did do the initial crisis was make us get really, really scrappy, really hungry, because we certainly were, I mean, there were times where we were, you know, there, I think there was a six month period where I didn't take any salary in that period. And that was really tough. And there were I think there was at least a nine 190 day period where we couldn't pay employees. And, and then and then in 2008, that kind of led up and we realized that we weren't getting quite the traction we wanted, let's let's we're not, we have nothing to lose at this point. Let's Let's go down the open source route. And so we started doing a lot of research on that and decided that was a viable option for us. And so we kind of made that decision at that point.

 

Josh Stephens  19:53  

Yeah, you know, open source and, you know, any lower cost alternative in many cases does well, solar winds. At the time, our slogan was 80% of the features or 20% of the price. Right. But you know that what really happened is that a lot of the large players hpca, IBM in the space, were having trouble competing. And, you know, we were blessed with several sets of fortunate incidents. And the number one thing was that we sort of were able to ride on the importance of network connectivity and performance as relates to business success. And not to age myself that much. But you know, when I got into the business, a 14, four kilobit per second modem was screaming fast. And I can remember the first solar winds office we put in a T one, which for those of you out there that don't know is 1.54 megabits per second. And it was so fast that if we need to download something, we would go to the work to do it. We'd all share because it I mean, it was big and fast. We loved it. But now we all have it. gigabit per second at home, right? And then this evolution of the available mass availability of bandwidth has forced us to change how we do business. And as businesses adopted things like SAS and cloud computing, they had to have reliable and performant networks, which was helpful for them. Yeah, I really liked you know, what would in the old days would have been a wizard interface. Today, it's low code. But I've worked with several companies, we haven't investment that share with elsewhere at potential. And they do a low code interface for network automation. And it's in use by several very large cell phone companies and telecommunications providers and other types of very, very large infrastructure companies. But it seems like this is sort of the future right is to is to meld. The ability to drag and drop and visualize what you're the problem you're trying to solve and then augment it with code level. What changes were necessary?

 

Brian Reale  22:03  

Yeah, I mean, you know, low code is the idea of anybody can build software that's the Holy Holy Grail. And a lot of low code providers. That is the the kind of main pitch, I do find the pitch can divide into, it's both about low code, but then you also have this this other kind of problem that's being solved, which is orchestration. And so the BPM low code style brings in as much orchestration as it does kind of interface design, you have another kind of line of DNA coming into into low code, which is really about building credit interfaces. And so that one tends not to focus so much on orchestration as it does just Hey, we can now build elegant, beautiful interfaces, however you want them and then you have just the whole mobile interface development and all those toolkits as well. So they're all it's all kind of converging in into into one which is, you know, anybody should be able to build software. And obviously that has gotten better and better, again, for complex problems, and we've kind of moved more and more towards the more and more complex problems, like we like to say that we look for the big low NPS score er, peas. And we know that there's opportunities for us in and around those because they tend to create lots of problems around them and and you need a more agile solution to solve those. But but no doubt that that, you know, allowing the business analyst allowing the citizen developer to develop that's what that's really what is driving the low code revolution. I know

 

Josh Stephens  23:37  

it was uncomfortable and unpleasant to go through those those hard times, you know, with not taking a paycheck and missing payroll. But you know, had you gotten a bunch of venture capital in 99 or 2000, before that bust, or even in oh seven and burn through it. And now you have all that on your cap table and you're still trying to come up with the right solution. You would have been in a way worse situation than you are now. And what I find fascinating is that the strength and stamina and vigor and scrappiness that you mentioned that you attain during those hard times when you're trying to figure things out, that's what carries you through and it celebrates the business so that now that things are going well, you remember those practices, you remember those times? And, and those are typically the founders that that go far. And so, you know, I'm, I'm enthralled by the product and the company and to see, you know, sort of what's coming next. And so what's coming next?

 

Brian Reale  24:42  

Yeah, I mean, you know, we're, we're, we worked really hard on getting this new version up and out the door. And we kind of needed to get it to a place where we had caught up with what we had had in the in the market. So there's one thing about changing All of the underlying technology and making the engineering kind of what we what we now need it to be, which is a true microservices architecture, where it's very easy to isolate the different roles of the person that wants to just use a low code interface or the person that wants to go a little deeper, and do a little more with the solution. And I feel like we've now gotten there. And so now really, for us, it's about building out more and more of the use cases, and going deeper into different industries. So the industries that we really started with, well, we really, we really started looking across our and I'll never forget, you know, it was when we were were out looking for money, we always seem to be looking for money at the wrong time. So again, we kind of had to, it wasn't that we didn't, we didn't try to raise money we did. We're just never very successful, but we were with one VC VC firm up in Connecticut. And so this would have been probably, I don't know 2005 2006 and And I'll never forget it cuz I was really, really, really nervous. It was like our first meeting, and had forgotten to go to the bathroom before the meeting. So during the meeting, I really had to pee really bad the whole during the whole meeting, but you know, I thought this guy is the most important guy I've ever met, you know, can't can't leave this meeting. And he just kept talking. But one thing he did say that was really, really interesting. He said, Look, you have to pick a pick a solution, you can't just make a platform. So you'll never, you'll never win as a platform, they'll always be a better platform, then you can build. And then he started brainstorming, he said, Well, you know, you might want to look at manufacturing plants and the way they deal with high value parts. And if you have to take a high value part out of an operating manufacturer, high tech manufacturing line, you know, that part needs to get in and out and maybe go back to whoever made it to get the RMA, and get it back as fast as you can because you're losing money all day long. And we thought, yeah, that sounds great. You know, we that sounds like a great idea. But how do you go and do that if you don't have funding, you can't just kind of Go and find an expert in that field. And and then just sort of launch it, you don't have the expertise to go sell it, you don't know the channels. And so it's easier actually to develop a horizontal technology because you're not really forced to think about the application. So with that said, you know, kind of fast forward 10 years, we looked across the, the, the implementations we had, and we did notice some trends were doing really well and in a couple different verticals. We're doing well in higher education. We're doing well in banking, and manufacturing, and OEM. We looked at manufacturing and we thought the use case there is a little bit difficult to kind of identify and figure out because they're all kind of different. Higher Ed had a very similar story, a good knock on effect and banking had the same so we basically said, Look, we're gonna go deeper in higher ed and banking, and OEM because we'd built such a strong platform to be embedded in others. So essentially now we're really trying to drive deeper into into those those initial two, two and a half verticals and continue to grow the traction there with the idea being that we've got a lot of runway until we can, you know, have to think about kind of a next big vertical. In the meantime, will we sell to of course any inbound demand we get, but we've kind of started turning the ship on our outbound to focus on those verticals.

 

Michael Massad  28:25  

And so what does that process look like internally it sounds like for the past couple years dollars have been prioritized towards product and now all of a sudden that the products in great shape let's go spend those on go to market and so is that something where you just put on your go to market hat all of a sudden and now you're making the calls there or are you seeking advisory help on how to prioritize where to spend and how on lead generation like how do you go from wearing the product hat to the go to market hat you know, on a daily basis weekly?

 

Brian Reale  28:58  

It's definitely been a Challenging transition. But we because we it sort of happened a bit naturally that we started getting some good traction. For example, in higher ed, we had, we started learning. So we developed a lot of that in house. And the same with banking really, we kind of turned around and said, Oh, we got kind of 30 banks using our platform now. So how do we now kind of change the geographic market and start developing the the materials to go to market so we went and brought on some team members that had a little bit, a little more depth of experience. In each of those verticals. We've now started bringing on sales teams, to our members to our sales team. And we've never done this before where that person we looked specifically in that vertical and hired somebody who had worked for a company that sold into that vertical. That was one of the things we've noticed. We've done that as yielded a. It's a little hard to say because of the pandemic but we really like where that's headed. I mean, it's amazing. Somebody who's worked for three years in that vertical, you bring them on and you're sort of immediately Have a lot more confidence selling. And that was I think that was one of my biggest learnings. And with that kind of transition,

 

Michael Massad  30:08  

when it comes to fundraising us VCs probably incorrectly more more so than correctly very often. We'll think of things in categories, as you mentioned, whether it's workflow automation, or BPM. You know, we've heard internally a lot about RPA, right, robotic process automation. So, I think it'd be helpful to kind of set RPA against processmaker. What does processmaker maybe do better than or different than some of the big RPA success stories we've heard in recent months and years and and what are the difference between those two food groups?

 

Brian Reale  30:46  

So, you know, RPA is another one where, interestingly enough, it's been around for a long time. You know, I heard one of the Gartner analysts recently call it digital duct tape. I've also heard it scripts on steroids. Royds I like it

 

Josh Stephens  31:01  

a lot more now that it's called duct tape that I can relate to that.

 

Brian Reale  31:06  

Yeah, exactly. It's why you needed every, you know, kind of needed to do a lot of different things. But his point, interestingly, this was one of the summit's I went to recently where the the actual argument was, Hey, this is not getting rid of legacy technical debt that you have in your organization. So it can only go so far. And in fact, it doesn't solve the overarching problem, which is a problem that resides in the in the field of business process management. So that business process now that's confusing because RPA is solving business processes, just like a lot of other categories, including CRM, GRP, document management, so it gets kind of confusing, but I do think that is kind of the crux of the of the disc of how to define the difference. So, BPM is more of this overarching process problem tends to be longer running. That's one key way to recognize what smells are served by RPA. And what's well served by BPM. And interestingly, I think RPA tends to be more in direct competition with the integration platforms as a service. So iPads, the kind of Dell boomi, snap logic, even tray or even as AP are on the low end. And people always say, oh, you're like, you know, you're like Xavier was a No, no, it's really actually quite a different type of solution. We will integrate with those platforms, the integration platforms as a service. So we have a way you can create a connector in in processmaker. We have a number of pre built connectors, but we're not going to produce 1500 connectors. So when you need 1500 connectors, you go and you buy an integration platform, and you connect processmaker to it. And then your long running process can call a connector and connect whatever it needs to connect to. If whatever you're connecting to does not have a declared A nice declarative interface, a strong API, then RPA is extremely useful. And we've already got at least a half a dozen projects where either we or our customers, we being our professional services team, or our customers have used RPA together with processmaker. And in those scenarios, what they're doing is overcoming the lack of an interface on the other side. So one was a insurance claims process where the core insurance provider has no interface. They just provide a web portal where the agent can log in and do get some numbers get a claim number back. And so there we know they created a bot or I think we created a bot with them using one of our partners. We partnered with both UiPath and automation anywhere, so they created a bot. It then kind of logs in does what it's supposed to do grabs the number, passes it back to our data model and then our process goes along its merry way. And that all happens in a couple seconds. Our processes executing over probably A few days. So that's long running versus, versus short running with RPA.

 

Josh Stephens  34:05  

You know, oftentimes when I think about business process automation or BPM, I sort of envisioned someone with a clipboard in a form, going from department to department and trying to fill out different pieces and, you know, having different forms of approval and things like that. But in today's modern day and age, those are all different apps. Right? It's that you've, you've got this heterogeneous, disconnected collection of applications that run different parts of your business. And they don't talk to each other without something like process major. And when you were talking about the 1500 integrations, and, you know, why'd you use a Zapier or something instead of routing those like it? It gave me a little minor panic attack. I'm thinking wow, I remember those days of being inside those really large You know, fortune 100 Enterprises or telecom companies, and how ultra complex those ecosystems are. I mean, it's it's a whole different animal than what most of us deal with on a daily basis in, you know, a start up or a, you know, a company say under 100 million dollars a year, or a company that say less than 10 years old. And so it's fascinating to me to think about the fact that a tool like process maker allows you or empowers the company to choose best in class solutions for each individual problem they have and still have an integrated process that flows between them. Am I understanding that correctly?

 

Brian Reale  35:46  

Yeah. Well, you said one, one a couple things really interesting there. One, you said, you know, a startup or less than 10 years old and that that's kind of also that's an important point. So our market what market are we looking at, we say you need to have at least a few hundred, ideally 1000 One or more users, and you know, we're looking generally in that above 50 million up to a billion. So and we're going to edge up beyond that we're not going to go any, any below that. And if and if a salesperson in our organization comes and says I've got an opportunity, it's 50 users, it's a $20 million company, you know, I'm gonna immediately frown probably, you know, put up a few hard arguments to make a really rethink why they're spending their time on that opportunity. Because, you know, we, that is just not the use case for this type of software. So this type of software is all about accountability. And accountability comes into play in large, complex organizations. It's where you want to know, you know, who did what, when and how long it took them. And you do need that, right? I mean, and that those things pop up all the time. I mean, you just, you know, look at the news, you know, these days are around George Floyd, right. I mean, obviously there's a lot of things at work there. terms of racism pandemic in this country. But underneath, there's also a process and systemic problem people talk about the systemic problem. But one of the first things My mind goes to is a process problem, meaning, you know, you read that there were 17 violations before this one at the officer has. So that should have been picked up, we have the ability to, to not allow that to be a subjective decision, like somebody, you know, let somebody continue or not let somebody continue. You need to have a process in place that says, hey, by the third violation, this is the process it has to go through. And then you've got auditors galore signing off on that. And then you know, it's always going to be implemented the same way. Because nobody would possibly possibly agree that you know, 17 violations should get through a system and be able to continue. So I think at all in larger organizations, you needed to detect defects in the way things are happening and the only way you can do that is through control and processes. And those end up becoming complex and custom. So you also said 10 year old organization. So in larger, longer living organizations, you have older systems, you've had acquisitions, you've had weird growth stories that mean you have people coming and going and different systems still on the ground. And now you need to integrate those into singular processes. So you end up with these very custom scenarios. And that's where you really this kind of software are kind of software shines.

 

Josh Stephens  38:27  

So Brian, in that example, when I think about the reporting and analytics that would need to occur to enable that. Is that a feature today? Is that something for the roadmap, you know, that exception reporting the analytics to let me know, when we're following process and not and how I might improve it? Yeah, is that today, or is that the future?

 

Brian Reale  38:50  

That was a core of our rebuild strategy? It's a great question. I love the question. And it was really around the SLA reporting and so we you know, I really lean in On this idea of service level agreements, SLA is to say, and so when we when I talk to a bank, I say and they say, Oh, no, we've got we've got plenty of software, we got process software, everything's digital here. I say, great, you know, how many loans yesterday Did you get out of your Paris office? And And how long did what's the average processing time when the applicant was between 30 and 35 years old? Was male versus female? And how did it compare to you to maybe a loan you got out of your New York office? So that's obviously a fictional question. But let's say that was a bank and they had those two offices and they're processing loans out of those two offices. If you can't answer that question, then you can't possibly be at that what I would add on the maturity scale of process where you need to be because obviously one of those offices is performing better than the other. And if one's performing better than the other, then we want the lowest performing office. To get to the level of a higher performing office, and the only way we can do that is we can compare SLA. And so we know that Yeah, well, when when those characteristics are present, it takes an average of two days in this office in average of three days in this other office. If I change one of the characteristics, what happens, and that's the only way you can then figure out your, your best scenario or your true happy path, as we like to say in BPM and emulate it across the organization.

 

Josh Stephens  40:25  

You know, Brian, you talk about business process automation and business process, management and intelligent versions of both of those. But you don't talk about business process analytics. And it seems to me that that's maybe a missing component of of your marketing because you obviously provide that value. And I don't hear that being talked about anywhere in the marketplace. But a lot of guys do BPM and BPA, but the analytics behind it really set you apart and That's something I've really hadn't considered it before you just, you know, explained it to me.

 

Brian Reale  41:06  

Yeah, I think you're actually probably probably right. You know, we started leaning in on a term that's been around for a while as well. Bam business activity monitoring. And you know, it came up on a couple RFPs years ago, and we would kind of look at it and say, Can we check the box? What is that? Let's go look it up, you know, what does that really mean? Is it reporting is it dashboards? What is it and in our newer product, we now have this, this asynchronous engine that can handle sort of as much as you want to throw at it, and it's able to monitor every case that's running through it so so the difference here is not only can I report on it, but in BAM I can be notified the moment it happens. So we use the another a slightly different example there and we say okay, you mister, you know, again, we use the banking example, Mr. banker, if you've said that, that if a high net worth individual comes in and wants this treasure Service, then we always want to handle their request within 24 hours. So I could get a report and figure that out kind of after the fact. But wouldn't it be nice if I got an alert an SMS alert saying, there's a high net worth individual that is within 80% of the threshold, you set for that initial response. Here's his name and phone number click to call him. And now you can have your customer success manager calling preemptively. So sort of Minority Report like to say, Hey, we're about to not meet our SLA. Or I could at least call somebody in the bank and say, are we going to miss this SLA or I could call the call the client. And that's this idea. Bam. And we actually have that in our new version of the products, we can spit that out directly into SMS into WhatsApp into slack. And again, kind of help create that high performance culture of, you know, make sure my best outcome my happy path is happening every time.

 

Michael Massad  42:56  

That's cool because you've just exploded on The value you can provide, right? Because when I was first thinking process, Nick, I was thinking cost savings. But now all of a sudden, you're up leveling the quality of service, you can provide the total active, you're you're, you're generating additional revenue, customer loyalty. That's nice to hear you walk through that use case there.

 

Brian Reale  43:21  

Yeah, it's one we really want to start messaging more around. And it's one in theory where, you know, a lot of our competitors don't have that element. So in theory, you could just layer that from us on to even a competitor's product. So we could then see how we, we can offer some additional components on somebody who says, Oh, you know, I've already got a BPM installed. Okay, well, you know, are you able to do this and what if we can help you do this?

 

Josh Stephens  43:45  

You know, one of the challenges of, of sort of exiting the startup phase, and really capitalizing on the scale up phase is scaling. What only you know how to do, you know, as the founder and and chief evangelist. And what's fascinating to me is that, I mean, your passion for this product is just contagious. And when you described the use case, where you talk to that bank, and you ask them for analytics on, on how things were performing, it's obvious that you're already leveraging that part of your feature set to drive revenue. That we think we should tell more people about it. But was you just sort of guessing you just sort of doubled my perspective on what these applications do. I've always thought about it like Michael, I've always thought about it as Okay, well automate that process and, you know, make it simpler and faster. But I hadn't really thought about the fact that even if it isn't automated, the analytics are where the juice is that I mean, that's what we're all after nowadays, right? And if you can combine those two things and get both the automation through a low code interface and the analog So that you know how to improve it. Or quite frankly, maybe in some cases, it may drive you to make different decisions as to which SaaS applications you're using as the periphery of the process. You know which GRP you're using or, or which CRM if you're seeing that in a large enterprise, where you have multiple platforms that the analytics are telling you, you get more ROI out of one versus the other, you can make a change. That's a game changer. I, I I'm even more enthralled with both the space and the product and I was an hour ago.

 

Brian Reale  45:33  

And that's, that's great to hear. And I think it's helping me kind of just hearing that response, realizing Okay, yeah, we do need to reorient a little more, if at that, I do think it's a sexier part of the messaging. It's the part I enjoy. Part of the challenge there is we have to, you know, a good percentage of our applications are in the back office, where some of that's not as important. The banking example obviously, we're tied more closely tied to the revenue the front office, it's higher value, higher education and Same way, it's about the student journey. And if if that's upset, you know, what does that mean for graduation rates and student mental health and student success? And there, I think that message becomes really powerful. And so maybe it's something we need to we need to drive into more.

 

Josh Stephens  46:14  

Well, and I think I think even in the back office in the modern era of the remote workforce, where everyone's distributed, you know, there's another company that we worked with one of our investments called active track, and they do user activity monitoring, let's focus specifically around workforce productivity. And I can imagine an integration between, you know, BPM tools and the analytics they provide, and the detail around user activity, because even in the back office, you know, if, if someone's not doing well, they're not engaged. They're having a hard time working from home or dealing with current events. Those are important things, you know, and what we're finding I think, is that now that we have a more integrated work, home life And now that we have a more integrated digital life, we've got to find ways to, to monitor and report on different characteristics of how we spend our time, and how they evolve over time. So to me, it seems like a, you know, a rich area to exploit going forward. And yeah, I just, I think it's super exciting. We're kind of running short on time here. So, Michael, do you have any last questions? Or Brian, any last comments you want to be sure to make?

 

Michael Massad  47:32  

I think just expanding on that last point, Josh, where processes are changing very quickly. And a question I get across other investors or portfolio companies is how has the work from home transition been like, are you guys more productive? Are you less productive and you just swag at it based on your own personal experience, but it just goes back to a solution like processmaker can really provide analytics around Hey, here are these processes we were doing before we were working from home. And here's what they look like now. And that's a really compelling story for a lot of these enterprises who are struggling at the board level to decide are we let our employees work from home or not? I mean, you've you've heard Twitter, say everybody's can work from home forever, Facebook, and you know, these decisions are not being made lightly. And you know, they've got to be pulling analytics from somewhere, and I can see how processmaker fits into that narrative.

 

Brian Reale  48:28  

Yeah, that's interesting. We could, again, certainly with our banking clients, where there's enough, we have plenty of volume. We could actually probably report on that today, although I was just thinking their volumes inevitably would have dropped because whatever it is, they were Yeah, the products they're selling would have dropped. We could certainly report on the averages across those products, and how long does it take you to get that case completed, whether it's a loan or an account opening, and that might be interesting to try and get ahold you know, talk to our clients and try to do some surveys from the data they have in processmaker would be really interesting to look at.

 

Josh Stephens  49:02  

Brian, I knew I would enjoy chatting with you today. I can't say that I knew I would find Business Process Automation this exciting, you know, a month ago. But you've you've converted me, you you've you've turned me from a novice. You know, I won't say I was against it, but it's certainly a novice into an evangelist. I think that this is fantastic. And, you know, what's what's what's odd to me is, you know, I started my career active duty military. And those areas are ripe for process automation. You know, I mean, they're talking about a large organization with a complex set of processes. It's pretty hard to beat that one.

 

Unknown Speaker  49:41  

Um, and where accountability is everything about accountability? Absolutely. I agree.

 

Josh Stephens  49:47  

Yeah. Well, this has been a whole lot of fun. Michael, thank you for coming on and co hosting. Brian, thanks so much for being here. And for everyone else out there. We'll catch you in the next episode. And thank you so much. That's it everyone and thank you for joining capital geek. Subscribe via Apple stitcher or any platform where you usually find fantastic podcast. Tune in again soon for another great episode of capital G.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai