Interview with Kaspars Upmanis – Founder and CEO of Time Management Software CakeHR
Why are you building time management software?
Kaspars: I used to run a digital agency with a remote team. When we started hiring more employees, vacation data management became a mess. I just needed a simple way to manage who’s going to be off & when so we decided to build a simple tool in-house. It was quite powerful so the next step was to release it public as a Software as a Service app.
Once it was public, the natural growth started & we were getting more & more feature requests. It became so successful that eventually I closed down the agency & re-focused whole team on building CakeHR.
How is CakeHR different from what already exists in the market?
Kaspars: We’re really easy to use! We love to keep things simple & that’s what employees are appreciating. We even have customers switching from competitors saying “you guys are much easier to use, I like that”. This is inspiring & pushes us to keep improving the product.
Who uses CakeHR? Could you share a few different use cases?
Kaspars: We have quite a broad customer range — starting from small agencies with 10 people up to international companies with 1000 employees. Because CakeHR is modular, we are able configure specific modules & features for customers, making system easy to use for smaller ones & at the same time extremely flexible for bigger companies.
Leave management — employees log into CakeHR either through website or via native mobile apps (iOS & Android), check their vacation balances & request a new time off, which then gets sent to their manager for approval (also on mobile).
Document storage — managers upload & store job contract, sick day forms & other paperwork related to employees.
Org chart — a popular module where admin can build an org-chart just by dragging & dropping employee “cards”. Once it’s ready, all employees in company can access it.
The biggest ongoing challenge has been keeping the system easy to use while we’re adding more & more features. It’s an ongoing task and is not going to stop anytime soon.
Have there been unique use cases for CakeHR for that you hadn’t thought of or expected?
Kaspars: While building the new “Performance” module for our time management software, we got a few “beta” testers on board.
One of them was a hotel & they started using it without informing us. Turns out they were using 360 report builder to send out simple surveys to visitors of their events. Something we hadn’t thought of but turned out it’s a big pain for our customers — they just needed a super simple way to quickly build a list of questions, send them out and view nice reports.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
Kaspars: One of the best early tactics which worked very well were integrations with Google Apps Marketplace & Chrome Web Store. We got into “featured” list, which was bringing a nice flow of traffic for free.
We love blogging. In our HR blog we write about various HR and work-life related stuff. But what we also do is we repurpose old articles into stunning SlideShare presentations. Check it out!
What have been some of the most interesting integrations you’ve added?
Kaspars: One of the latest was Slack integration with an actual bot. This allows employees to chat with CakeHR automated bot & request new time off all while they’re inside Slack.
This was an interesting project and bots are supposed to be the next big thing but we’re yet to see a wide adoption for it.
CakeHR eliminates the need for paperwork and spreadsheets through automating employee leave requests. Complete with a centralised database, employee onboarding tasks and much more, it is the perfect tool for SMEs to increase their HR and office management efficiency.
- Automate leave requests through employee self-service
- Real-time notifications, updates and sync to Email, Google, iCal & Outlook
- Dedicated iOS & Android apps — perfect when on-the-go
- Run powerful reports and export
With the CakeHR & Slack integration, know who is out of office ahead of the office being open with real-time updates through the day. Employees can create their leave requests directly through our CakeHR Slack Bot.
What are the top tools that you depend on to run the company and how do you use them?
Intercom — for everything related to customer communications
Recurly — our billing system — automates subscriptions & invoicing
ChartMogul — our analytics system — reports for anything related to money
G Suite — email, docs, sheet — everything in one place, shared with the team
Slack — daily comms within the team
GitHub — Issue tracking & code versioning
and of course — time management software CakeHR!
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