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The Corporate Fitness Tracker | Bradley Killinger from Sapience

A company may be well organized, productive, and efficient—and yet, just how it delivers results may remain mysterious, even to those closely involved. How do the kinks get resolved? Where does the information flow? When are employers at their best, and when are they falling short—and why are they falling short?

These are the questions Bradley Killinger wished to answer with his startup, Sapience. He calls it “the Fitbit for the knowledge worker.” With an emphasis on ethics and privacy, Sapience monitors thousands of data points on employee workstations and uses AI and machine learning to generate transparent reports, giving management deep insights into where improvements are needed.

On this edition of UpTech Report, Bradley talks about his inspiration for Sapience and how he’s developed the product in a way that benefits the entire organization.

More information: https://sapienceanalytics.com/


Bradley is responsible for the execution of global strategy. He has a passion for helping customers succeed and is driving our aggressive global expansion efforts. Prior to joining Sapience, he served in several key global leadership roles at major technology companies such as IBM, Oracle and Unisys.

Sapience Analytics is a software technology company offering solutions that empower enterprises to make faster and better workplace and resource utilization decisions. Sapiencesolutions, in use by Fortune 1000 companies worldwide, provide an unprecedented level of operational visibility around enterprise resource investments in people, processes, and technology.

Today, Sapience is used by more than 90 companies in 18 countries worldwide, with over 1 trillion work hours analyzed to date. Sapience is fundamentally changing the way companies operate, enabling businesses to build a better version of their organization every day for ultimate agility and competitive advantage.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Bradley Killinger 0:00
I’d say where we are today versus one year ago, is, you know, I really talk about our solution now about how work gets done. And that’s really the Sapiens vision and mission going forward.

Alexander Ferguson 0:16
Welcome, everyone to UpTech Report. This is our apply tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video@teraleap.io. Today, I’m very excited to have our guests Bradley Killinger, who’s based in Dallas, Texas, CEO of Sapience Analytics. Welcome, Brad. Good to have you on.

Bradley Killinger 0:33
Hey, thank you, Alexander, for having me on pleasure. And hello to every anybody watching.

Alexander Ferguson 0:38
Yeah, absolutely. Now, your your platform, looking at your sites is provides operational visibility around enterprise resources, investments in people processes and technology. So for those out there, and maybe your executive and engineering, or the technology operations function in your organization, this could be a platform that you want to look into. Now, Brian, on your site, you stay create organizational transparency, this whole concept of transparency, especially in today’s digital world, where we’re all working remote helped me understand what was the problem that that, you know, Sapiens analytics first set out to solve?

Bradley Killinger 1:16
Yeah, so thank you. And you’re the the basic, or I would say, version one of Sapiens. And the first problem we set out to solve was to help companies really understand the effort patterns, or AI, how work got done in an organization. And we felt like that, if you could help organizations, figure out how that work got done, that you would have a very clear roadmap in terms of how do you improve? And we felt from the very inception of what we do, and as we get into this conversation, we’ll cover more, you know, that one of the most important elements of that for us was figuring out how do you do this, and you do this in a way that protects the privacy of the workers. And by the way, you know, provides optimal visibility or complete transparency from the user of the system, all the way up to the CEO of the company. And so, you know, I, you know, just as at the beginning or starting point, you know, one of our original design points is we wanted to be the Fitbit for the knowledge worker,

Alexander Ferguson 2:21
and like, that is the knowledge worker here, okay.

Bradley Killinger 2:24
Specifically is is is no manager sees data that’s different than what the employee sees. So so you’re operating on the same playbook. And, and you’re just as though you’re the Fitbit, you know, this helped me in my life to understand, you know, my exercise or lack thereof, sometimes step counts, and sleep patterns, and different actionable ways that I can improve my overall health and well being, the same concept was applied into what we were trying to do, which was, you know, number one, let’s understand what the date is, how you know, how our employees working, what are the obstacles to them being successful in what they’re trying to accomplish? And that you would be able to have total transparency to now start having managers where you get away from gut feel, and office politics and stuff like that, and really start driving that conversation into a really data driven fact base, you know,

Alexander Ferguson 3:16
you can, you can actually, yes, see the data. So on the root of it, effectively, you have an application that runs on the end, employees, device that tracks what they’re doing, and then all that data translates up so that the managers can see and look at it, and the conversation, which we’ll dig into, shortly, around, okay, what is that data and the pros and cons? But the the effort out of that the reason for tracking that is to help, like, how does that help the the the manager and the leader of an organization?

Bradley Killinger 3:50
Well, I’ll give you, you know, a great example. So one of our large banking clients, you know, spends a considerable amount of money on trying to find very specific development skills, and they couldn’t understand it took them six months to recruit, and a big signing bonus recruiting fees. And they would bring these batches of these specific skill sets into their company. And they didn’t understand why they were all leaving after seven months. And you looked at the effort data, and what they found is they’d spent, you know, all this money to get a specialized skill to do a job for him. And the first thing they did is, you know, ask them to spend seven and a half hours out of, you know, of their day doing internal conferences, or internal conference calls and, you know, more bureaucratic stuff. And, you know, and I think often companies and again, some of this is kind of, from the pre pandemic time, you didn’t understand some of the burdens that were being placed the administration, how do you think through you know, I’ve never worked for a company and now what’s been almost 25 years were beginning of every year the management team, this is the year that We’re going to just be focused on customers to share, we’re just going to be focused on producing the code. And then it’s like after you know, that meeting, everything goes back to normal the next day. And so by understanding where people are, how do you bucket that together in time. So if I have developers Joe’s a great example, we drink our own champagne at our company, and I look at it all the time. So, you know, I look at our sales teams, and I say, look, I want them spending maximum amount of time and your communication, in email in collaboration, you know, because then I know, they’re having interactions, I probably look at my developers and go, depending where they are in their sprint cycles, maybe there’s that, you know, there’s times but you don’t want to see sustained you know, too much the same time where they’re not developing products, you’re, you know, you can take that kind of, you know, by role, etc. And so that’s been a big interest area for what we’re doing

Alexander Ferguson 5:53
is a beat of how your team is feeling and doing so to help with retention. That’s a fascinating concept. But let’s, let’s go to then talk about some of the more debatable topic. Okay. Is this really sparring? And like, Where is? Where is the line? And how can you make sure that everyone feels comfortable with all this data that’s being tracked?

Bradley Killinger 6:17
Yeah. So so we we pride ourselves, I think different than there is spyware out there in different companies. That was always from kind of day one, our original design point is, how do you build a system that isn’t tracking any personal information we’re not interested? So So immediately, we spent a lot of time when we set up the system to work with the companies and we, we developed the list of Hey, what what are the applications, URLs, things that you consider would be you know, work, whether that’s, you know, calendar meetings, it’s, you know, working in, in, you know, Salesforce or it’s going to, you know, your Heck, if you’re in marketing, I mean, you might go to facebook.com, so that’s, that’s okay. So, you know, so we,

Alexander Ferguson 7:02
it is customized per organization, so to make

Bradley Killinger 7:05
per team, so so we know what things go into this work bucket. And then by the way, we further segregate that, to look at the time to say, okay, so if you’re on, you know, I’m making this up, but Google is, you know, their research and Facebook would be this, and Microsoft’s team would be communications, and so, so so that we can easily, you know, automatically bucket that information, so you can start to see, you know, how that spectra work, if you go out to, you know, your bank.com, and you’re out doing a banking transaction, or you’re out, you know, you’re helping, it automatically just comes up as personal time is private time. And, and by the way, that record, the minute we take it, it evaporates. So so it’s never reported, we’re not interested, we recognize it, you know, employees and, and, you know, we all live in the same universe that, you know, sometimes we forget to pay bills, or sometimes we just have to have a communication or we need to go out to a website, or whatever it is, we’re just not interested now, you know, ultimately, as a manager, you should see that data, if you have an employee that you think is going to work eight hours a day, and spending six hours a day and, you know, unaccounted time across the system, you probably ought to call and see what’s going on. But, you know, we don’t see that. And I think the the second part we don’t see is is, is, you know, minus the initial, you know, I’d say emotional reaction that says, you know, is this monitoring which it absolutely, that’s not what we’re doing at all, we have an extraordinarily high customer sat rating amongst our end users, because what they find out is similar to my analogy to Fitbit, which again, was was one of our big design points, is is actually

Alexander Ferguson 8:55
help the end user get Yeah, inside and, you know,

Bradley Killinger 8:59
90 plus percent of the end users think they’re just like, I mean, they want to do a good job, they want to do the right things, they love seeing that data and they love being able to say like, Hmm, I didn’t realize that you know, maybe I was spending too much time on tasks that a you know, what I’m not being measured on or that aren’t producing the outcome. So you know, after that initial shock and awe, they love being able to have that data at their fingertips and understand the ways they can self improve and the types of quality conversations that has with your management and about real steps that you can take in order to get more closely aligned. And so our assumption philosophy as a company has always been I you know, I have no interest in knowing any any of your personnel. I care about how work gets done. We care about how people do that successfully and, and that’s a bond we take very seriously. What I

Alexander Ferguson 9:54
find interesting is that there are other tools out there to toggle other things allow you to track time and you can enter what you’re working on. But that’s all often very manual effort. So there are tools, except what’s the difference here, what I see is, it’s all automated, but it’s set up ahead of time, so that your algorithms will be able to just detect, okay, you’re in this application. So we’ll track is this type of data. So it’s very lightweight on the end user, they get to see the statistics and data, how it affects them, but then the managers and leaders can see how all the teams are performing that I capture that correctly,

Bradley Killinger 10:27
that’s 100% correct. And, and, so so so you know, we take a snapshot every 15 seconds, and that 15 seconds is his report in 100%. Automated, and, and even inside of our system, you know, we have a way, so the only automated part for us is at the end of the week, or the end of the day, you’ll see your own data. And you know, let’s say that it just says, Hey, it was on account, nothing on your calendar, you weren’t working anything and you said, Oh, you know, I, I walked down and I was talking with Sally for 45 minutes, that’s great, that’s a valid work activity, you actually have the data to override the says, I mean, to be able to, you know, put in there and say, you know, hey, this was an impromptu meeting, done, communicate. And so there’s, there’s very little in most, in most cases, 100% automated, and again, what we’re trying to get after is is, you know, is the trend in the organization and, and, so so so let me just take one other step is that, you know, most of my description was kind of version one for us. And so, we now have a version two of our product, which we, you know, proudly launched on April 1. So, it all the fanfare of the pandemic, kind of, you know, cut the winds a little bit, but but at the same token, you know, over, you know, from our version one of our platform, you know, we have done some other really interesting things. And so, you know, number one for us is we’ve, we’ve embedded a lot of AI and machine learning into the system. And so we had a number of our big enterprise clients were saying, well, you’re collecting all this trending data, you’ll How could you help me wrap my head around to staffing, which has a really big impact, whether you have a variable, you know, staffing component to your organization, or even thinking about time off and, and, you know, vacation, you know, planting and all that kind of stuff. And so, you know, we’re predicting with really high accuracy across those algorithms, which is really fascinating. And the second part we did is we built an entire integrations platform now on the back end, where we can ingest in so you know, the simple example I’ll give is your Salesforce. So now I can take that data and start truly correlating effort to output. And so you know, a set of reporting, which will show this type of effort, you know, resulted in this type of output. And it and we think this is extremely transformational. And so, it’s, it’s been an interesting time in the pandemic is, I think, you know, you’ll combine all of this with this new way of working that’s emerging. And we really believe that, you know, look, version one was of the product was around this automated effort collection, you know, now we’re running full steam into the marketplace, which I think is going to enable a lot of companies to make some awfully big decisions around, hey, what’s my future state of working? You know, am I willing to really entertain an ongoing you’ll flextime policy do I even need to make certain, you know, functions, groups, organizations even come back to offices? Or do offices become less relevant and you can put all that energy into, you know, culture and team building stuff like that? So so so we’re really zeroing in now I, I’d say where we are today versus one year ago, is, you know, I really talk about our solution now about how work gets done. And that’s really the Sapiens vision and mission going forward here.

Alexander Ferguson 14:02
I think the topic of remote work is obviously been a hot topic for this past year in some and probably won’t go away. Meaning, I don’t think people really know what exactly the future looks like. But knowing that, most likely what I always see is is a mixture of some sort. And so how do you properly manage it and and work with your team? And I feel like this type of solution is is going into that space where when people don’t work a straight eight hour day? Exactly. How can you still make sure that people are performing well and accurate and doing the tasks that need to be done, both to help them and the organization and I appreciate that you brought up the story earlier around employee retention, and like an And burnout, because that’s also a big issue and you’re working from home, you could even be working too much. It can you speak to what you’ve seen. And any advice also for leaders who have now all their team remote, and they’re going to the future where most likely will be some sort of mixture? How do you prevent burnout and and ensure that you keep your employees happy.

Bradley Killinger 15:24
So we could probably have a whole nother podcast on this subject. So one of the really interesting things that we saw was, at the beginning of the pandemic, people were scared. I mean, I don’t know how else to, you didn’t know what was coming out the other end everybody sent home, were we on the verge of global economic catastrophe was their job going to go away. And we immediately saw in our first 30 day period, actually was our first 60 days, we saw almost, you know, over two hours a day of the exact same resources of our customers were working, you know, it some cases 2.7 hours a day more. And we went, Wow, that’s quite interesting. Well, this trend continue. So I’d report to you today that they’re still seeing almost over an hour of more. And so there’s no question that people have gone home, they’ve taken almost no vacation, they’ve worked very hard. I think that people at the beginning, were saying, I’m just going to get busy and do something because they didn’t want to potentially be at risk. And so you know, the dynamic is, and and, and, you know, literally about two hours ago, I you know, so we drink our own champagne here on our own deployment, I am very worried, I mean, I have a number of people that are averaging 145% utilization for six straight weeks. And it’s to the point that I’m ordering people to go and like, just take three days, like, do something else. And one of our top performers today, I had this exact conversation, he promised me, he was going to go to a mountain next week, and I said, I don’t care what you do with don’t log on to the computer. And I think one of the issues is is it companies that aren’t enabled with this sort of digital data, are believing that, you know, a manager who now maybe hasn’t physically seen an employee for a year, you know, maybe ask them check in on zoom, they don’t really understand the dynamic that’s happening, they don’t really know. And on top of that, you know, we’re seeing a secondary part where the barriers it used to be, you could go into the office, you leave at six, that time was meant, you know, after that it was you know, your family or friends or whatever you were doing. And and we’re seeing ramp it were the hours of employees being bothered, there is no, there’s no more

Alexander Ferguson 18:01
fence row, and it’s just blending together. And, and people

Bradley Killinger 18:05
feel like, hey, me, Oh, my, you know, someone’s calling it 10. At night, I better answer in the 11. And you have to, like, at some point, we, you know, people are gonna have to understand, you know, this type of data and understand how to action now, how do you prevent burnout, you know, every company is going to have their own strategy, we’re not in the business of, you know, telling them the actions they need to take, I can tell you what we do as a company. But I can tell you that the data that we provide, will clearly point you to people, you know, what we say is, you know, because employees are not going to be effective for you long term, if you’re running them too hot, if they don’t have, they need, you know, your computer needs to get turned off some time so to human say. And and and, and, and that’s what we’ve seen is a lack of companies that are you know, having that data in, you’re trying to rely on a on a gut feel from behind a zoom meeting is not a great strategy. It really is.

Alexander Ferguson 19:05
Yeah, we talked about this, prior to our call, but this concept of a gut feel and and I just love the visual analogy here of like a manufacturing floor manager could get that gut feel they could just look and see how the people were doing where they tire where there’s any issues, but in a knowledge workforce where everyone’s remote, it’s hard to get that sense, and you need technology to to help there. I mean, how do you how do you use technology to allow you to have a gut feel again, is it can we get the gut feel back?

Bradley Killinger 19:38
I think there’s always going to be an element of gut feel that, you know, if you’re a leader of people, that there’s a certain personal connection that we all make and you’ve got under you know, hopefully you have people in leadership positions that understand when you know when to have empathy when someone you know, needs things, a data just can’t show you. But certainly I can’t imagine that companies are going to stay competitive, are not going to be harvesting their own internal data, to be able to understand how to be better how to do the work better, how to make these really important decisions. And, and look, this new way of working. This is for real. I mean, the other part we’ve seen is is the throughput of organizations is staying at a really high level. We know from our own common sense, and I know from my data, even if you don’t use my product, that you think of all the the obstacles, like we’ve been thrown out, I mean, I’ve got young kids, they were sent home all sudden, you know, my wife who works you’re like, wow, what do we do with them, and, you know, I’ve got to, like, you know, somehow pretend to do teach them and this and that, like, we have all been thrown a lot of obstacles, but yet, we’re seeing work effort still high, we’re seeing throughput extremely high. And so it’s, I think it’s going to be hard to go back and make an argument that the traditional eight to five or nine to five type thought process that dominated every you know, my entire professional career, is that really needed, how do you tell him play that, you know, what you, you a, you can’t work at home and be, you know, you can’t have more decision around the hours of your day, as long as you’re able to give, you know, give the effort and produce the output. And so that’s where I, you know, when I, we talked about creating organizational transparency, I think that a solution like ours is so powerful, and that’s where there is so much value, you know, because you’re an employee, you want to do a great job, you want people to understand you’re doing a great job. But this means there’s a transformation that, you know, some of the things maybe you have become accustomed to, you know, being able to work out a little bit, maybe being able to say, Hey, I’m going to, I’m going to take one to two o’clock and meditate or whatever it is, you can do that in the context and, and have the proof point in the data that you’re getting your job done. That’s, that’s a, that’s a powerful tool. And I think that’s a trade off that your employees are going to say, this is a good thing, because you can start maybe living life a little more the way you want. And by the way, I think for employers, I talk a lot with C level executives about this is think of how this changes your ability to access talent around the world, or me do forget around the world around, you know, to be around the country, or, you know, the old concept was, you know, hey, I, I built this giant facility that was here and I basically within 25 miles, this thing dictates the level of skill. Now, you can go find talent anywhere, because if you have this type of binding technology that, you know, that has both sides, very comfortable This is that this is a big win for everyone. So so you’ll see if you dig deeper, you know, we talk a lot about you know, you’ll work work from home work from the office work from anywhere. I mean, and I think that has inherent advantages, both both ways. So

Alexander Ferguson 23:09
yeah, it is the the future of both working and for employers to find their people, it can be anywhere. Certainly back again, to save hands just for a moment, when What year did it get started?

Bradley Killinger 23:22
So safenet started originally, in 2009. And I, I wasn’t part of that it was a small little startup in Puna. India. Yeah. And so the company was originally founded, to try to help the big BPO centers over there to understand effort and work patterns that and as simple as that. So, you know, the company was in 2016, I had my first opportunity, it was a it was very small, started by some very smart, you know, fantastic individuals. And at that time was we, you know, said, Hey, your proposition, let’s potentially buy this company. And so, really, for us, 2017 the business was relocated, I chose Dallas as our place for corporate headquarters. It was kind of the restart of, you know, so to Dotto in the company. And, and, and from there, you know, we’ve been, you know, just doing very well,

Alexander Ferguson 24:26
but that’s awesome. I bet How big is the team now in Texas?

Bradley Killinger 24:30
So in the US, I think we have a little less, or call it about 50 people, and we’ve got so so kind of the way we are we’ve kept our you know, our origins over and in puni. So I think we’ve got, you know, 6060 or 70. That’s where we do all of our r&d development work. The US is is generally kind of our sales, marketing some of our product design product management itself. We’ve, you know, and over that time now, I mean, we have customers in 18 countries around the world. So we have globalized and and grown a fair amount. So it’s been an exciting journey.

Alexander Ferguson 25:12
for those wanting to kind of get started, look at this, what’s the typical kind of onboarding process look like? How long does that take?

Bradley Killinger 25:20
That’s what’s really cool. So we can get set up inside of a major global enterprise. And under a month, in a midsize enterprise less than two weeks from from the time we show up to them starting to get, you know, real life reports come into them. So it’s a it’s a, it’s a heavy, you know, kind of neither one of our design points was was easy to set up and integrate and really start to get value out of it.

Alexander Ferguson 25:50
Your business model? Is it a yearly subscription based on number of employees? How does that work,

Bradley Killinger 25:56
so we charge on a per seat per year basis. So

Alexander Ferguson 26:01
pretty straightforward, which is helpful then when you want to implement it. And as far as

Bradley Killinger 26:06
on a size wise, just as a plug, we, we have probably our smallest customer has, you know, a couple 100 seats, and our largest just went above 90,000 90,000 Yeah, so we we have a very diverse and and and, you know, kind of client base said that so we’re very happy we can scale and, but yet still provide excellent service, regardless of size.

Alexander Ferguson 26:35
Last last question for that is, is what can you share of the roadmap where you guys are headed, what’s coming up for you.

Bradley Killinger 26:42
So you know, for us right now, we tend to, you know, I know, for the next year, we’re very focused on this integration story. So currently, we have office 365, and Salesforce, our goal by the end of the year is we want to have, you know, over 20 integrations built out inside our system. So we, we know that that’s, you know, just of enormous value to our customers and prospective customers. Our second big area that we’re focused on is, is bringing this technology to the revenue side of the house. So we have deployed, you know, our own champagne right now around building out a pretty complete Salesforce management system, which is the idea of getting that effort to output so how can you marry your Top Producing revenue generators, and we feel like that’s going to be a big home run is as you know, a lot of companies come out of maybe the pandemic and are really going to start thinking about, hey, how do we expand revenue and, and we think we can be extremely valuable on that front. And then we’re going to be, you know, only, you know, I’ll say tripling down as we continue to, to, to develop and deploy our different algorithms. Because we think that, you know, predictive and prescriptive analytics are, are going to be extraordinarily important. And so you know, that ability not just to tell them that, hey, there might be an issue or a fire happening right now, to be able to help companies really start thinking about how they, you know, get in front of that fire and and, and so as we start to do that, that’s a, you know, we think will pay some pretty big dividends for us. So those are the three things I know for the next year that our developers are kind of laser focus. It’ll be on keeping our our product fresh and in it and moving rockin and rollin. Yeah,

Alexander Ferguson 28:38
I love it. And definitely I get the the point on integrations. I mean, the more ways that your data can be accessed and shared and utilized the better. I’m sure that that will be well, thank you so much for, for sharing your insights on on what you guys are doing. For those out there that want to learn more, you can head over to Sapienceanalytics.com. Yeah, yes. And and you’ll be able to request a demo and kind of see how it works. Is that is that a good first step for folks to take?

Bradley Killinger 29:03
Absolutely, please feel free to call us we were always looking to expand the family. So thank you so much, Alexander. I really appreciate your time. Absolutely. It

Alexander Ferguson 29:11
was good to have you on. Thanks, everyone for joining us on this episode of UpTech Report. We’ll see you guys next time. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.

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