Intelligent CXO Issue 6 | Page 34



Tell us a bit more about your business and how it started
In the mid-00s , Co-Founder , Duncan Casemore , and I were both working with businesses who were implementing HR technology software . At this time , there was a trend of customers that had bought software solutions for core HR and payroll administration purposes and were extending them to provide ‘ worker facing ’ tools . We were deploying modules like employee and manager access , online appraisals , recruitment , e-learning and so on .
Trouble was , systems back then had been designed for administration , not engagement and the response from employees was pretty damning ; adoption was low , complaints were high . This was around the time that Apple was changing how we all thought about user experience ( UX ) in the consumer world . In the enterprise world , SaaS companies like Workday and SuccessFactors were causing us to re-evaluate how important UX could be as a differentiator in the world of enterprise software .
We were working with large businesses who were spending millions of pounds and dollars buying heavy duty enterprise software that was meant to last for at least seven years . A lot of these systems were fairly new and while they offered fantastic administration support , they were already out of date when it came to the end-user experience . HR leaders were starting to demand Apple-style ease of use but found it difficult to justify throwing away years of investment in their current tech .
Duncan and I saw a gap in the market to address this need and Applaud was born in late 2008 .
How has the business grown since it started and how did you ensure growth ?
We just started slow – working in the day and then coming home , putting the kids to bed and cranking out code on our laptops . We worked like that for about two years – putting in a lot of hours and getting very little money in return , learning as we went about how to effectively market and sell our products .
Applaud provides a workforce experience layer that makes digital HR simple . The company works with employee-focused organisations across the globe , from The National Trust to Fly Dubai and Estée Lauder . Ivan Harding , CEO and Co-Founder of Applaud , tells Intelligent CXO about how the company started and his vision and goal for the business .
A key event was when we decided to open an offshore development centre in India ; that allowed us to scale much faster on a very tight , bootstrapped budget . We have a fantastic team out there .
In 2017 , we moved to a subscription-based model where clients pay us for our software on an annual basis . That was really important as it gave us more assurances of on-going revenue . It also makes you double down on making sure your customers are happy ; not a bad discipline to have !

Making digital HR accessible and simple

34 www . intelligentcxo . com