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SamayLa: 'Samay' = Time; 'La' = Get

For moments, people, experiences, things.

Are you juggling with 2500 emails per day? Time to change!

samayla 46How do you manage work across multiple countries and office locations? Or across multiple locations within one country? E-mails and calls or messages via smart phones are now the ‘traditional’ method. Multiple e-mail chains will quickly grow in size. To take the EU as an example. If you had personnel or an office in each country and are working on something across all, that could generate a huge amount of e-mails, every day.

Imagine 10 people in each country send emails regularly with comments or attachments that are sent back and forth with edits, that would be 270 people sending emails, on, say three on each topic a day. Three topics around one issue and that means 2430 emails a day.

So, just under 2500 emails a day, in addition to all the messages you will have on other issues. I am sure right now you have plenty of unread emails, maybe thousands of them. Most will likely be unimportant and can be safely ignored, but not all.

This is where Samayla can revolutionise your work day. You can start by creating a task, such as the rollout of a new accountancy software and the need to integrate it in each office and in each country. You can assign people to this task, and in the comment area detail the overall plan. Sub-tasks are then created for each country and any specific updates for or from that country can be detailed within that task, other countries will not see them. You can also assign an overseer in each country, who will see the country updates and can monitor the project more closely.

Major issues arriving on one country can be shared across the network in the main task window. An email with 270 email addresses is not needed. And all messages from each country are kept with that countries sub-task.

We have now cut out all or mat of those 2500 emails a day. How much time will that save, and not only your own time, but all those other people that have been copied.

Without those e-mails, how do you keep track of all the task you have set and the progress across these? Within Samayla you can create reports to see where you are in any given task.

Overall, reduce email traffic (saving time and data charges). Track progress and keep all info relating to each country in sub-tasks, while info for all can be distributed easily at the main task level.

For more information and to see how Samayla can work with your business, please visit our website or send me a message.  samayla pic

– Authored by Jonathan Wharton
Business Development Manager, SamayLa UK           
jonathan@samayla.com

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A Home Away From Home

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What started as a dream in September of 2012 is on it’s way. Our first ‘office’ was a single seat in a co-working place which happened in February of 2016. The next stop was a cabin in a business centre in Cyber Hub in the month of October of 2016. After being there for 6 months, we finally moved to a new office in April of 2017. We started operating, while the office got ready, out of a co-working place for about a week, post which, even though the work on a few fitments in the office was pending, we moved in.

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It was designed to be a 14 people office but the team had grown bigger and we had to remove the reception to make for sitting space. We now have 17 people sitting in a cozy place with 2 verandah’s which open to the views of a large Banyan Tree which has been there for over 100 years (at least)!

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We had an office Puja to officially inaugurate the place after 1 month of working out of it.  pic5

It’s in an area officially designated as village by the Delhi Government and therefore, the city laws do not apply. There are a bunch of upcoming designers who have opened their stores around the area and a few cafe’s and restaurants which have some great ratings on the review websites. Shahpur Jat is next to the Asiad Games village and Siri Fort Sports complex & auditorium. The auditorium is a hub of cultural activities and  of course, Shahpur Jat also has in residence, Damo Shaolin Kung Fu school and a lot of upcoming designers in and around the Jungee lane.

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We also had our second session with Damo Shaolin Kung Fu School which was focussed on maintaining mental and physical health through Qi Gong practices and meditations.

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Of course, the saplings we planted, as part of our environment policy, have grown. The Jamun one is racing ahead in terms of height and has already touched 8 feet. The Mango sapling seems to be believing in a more stable growth and is around 5 feet – but is giving shade to more area as it grows. Different strategies these two species have acquired as a part of evolution and well, it’s fun to understand life lessons by watching them grow.

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On the official updates about new features, clients and launches – we will update in a couple of weeks.

Feel free to reach out to us at easy@samayla.com
—
Team SamayLa

What to look for while evaluating collaboration tools

Once upon a time we used letters to communicate. Times changed and technology had an impact. We started with Emails and continue to use them as our primary communication platform, whilst embracing overflowing anxiety inducing inboxes. Our need for speed accelerated and then came Instant Messaging, enabling realtime communication hand in hand with noisy chat marathons.

Now, when emails and chats are just not enough, here comes a new animal – COLLABORATION PLATFORMS-  that often used (and abused) buzzword. The last few years have seen the rise of many tools. Numerous softwares with varied benefits. Promising? Yes. Effective? Depends.

So how to ensure that this experience does not turn sour? And what should you do before putting your stamp on a tool! Lets look at it closely- Take Control

Collaboration is defined as a set of people working together for a common goal.

Collaboration software is an application allowing collaboration by bringing people and work in a single workspace providing add-ons for a seamless experience.

Collaboration software umbrella is wide. Different tools take different forms- some focus on communication, some on an operation while others provide a bit of both. Choices are difficult to make- just like waffles or crepes! With a plethora of choices available, it is important to consider some points before making a choice:

Explore: Curiosity enhances learning. So don’t be afraid of breaking the inertia. All companies boast of a forward looking mission statement but will be wary of change! Companies benefit from exploration and so will you. Be open to new technologies and give them a chance – they are there to solve real world problems. It’s true you need a compelling reason to pick up a tool but without exploration you might suffer in silence or just pick a wrong one.

See the real thing: See a working solution, don’t count on sales pitches and marketing articles. Insist on one and watch a live demo.

Experience: Try before committing. Use it, Make your team use it. Pick up a free trial and make a conscious effort to incorporate it in daily work. Just like our supermarket taster tests. Remember, we can never know the power of a tool till we experience it first hand.

Need analysis: What is your goal? For management group, it might be to oversee team contributions; for a business development team, the goal might be efficient target management; and for a product development team the focus could be smooth roll out. The possibilities are endless, where people are involved and each have their own responsibilities to achieve a common result. ‘Experience’ will aid need analysis and help you in accumulating requirements and case studies to understand right fitment.

Consider diversity: Pick a tool which offers host of capabilities to support need of multiple departments for overall adoption. Going for different tools for different departments for a similar purpose eventually burdens integration and create silos in a company which may hurt the overall performance.

Some of the features to look for:

Task Management: A collaboration tool should not only address team work but also task management. It is not just about bringing people together, true value is by creating task based focus which emails and IMs lack. Tool should offer creation and splitting of tasks which will not only help in breaking down project but also mapping your processes.Team work

User Assignment: Any chat tool would let you invite people and start a chat group. Assigning right people to right task is key to an efficient system. E.g. Assigning project board at task level and respective team members at each sub task level.

Due date set up and tracking capabilities: All assignees should be on same page where approaching deadlines are concerned. At the same time provision for reminders and notifications play an important role to be at it.

Repetitive processes: More than often departments have standard workflows for certain processes say employee on-boarding. Research if tool has provision to create, save and share templates to manage recurrent jobs to save time and standardise processes.

Integrations: A collaboration app cannot do everything. But it can surely provide you integrations with utility applications which you use day in day out to get work done. Say your company uses cloud storage like Google drive and Dropbox and while you having an active discussion on a task, you support it by attachments from these apps for a complete picture! No separate emails or touch-points.

Searchable: As your workload grows on the tool, you will find it more and more crucial for work to be easily located. Make sure tool provide you with great sorting, filtering and priority setting capabilities. Picture this- in one click you can see list of all tasks assigned to a particular employee!

Consider multi platform, multi device support: More work- more people- multiple platforms- multiple devices. Make sure to find out compatibility and scalability of the tool with different devices and platforms- Macs or PCs; for mobile support whether it’s iOS or Android.

Ask for training: A solution is a win when its well adopted. Its well adopted when users feel empowered. Exploit solution’s strength by involving the makers. Beware of companies which just sell you solution without right handholding- and a web tutorial is not a training!

Set rules of collaboration: Collaboration tools can be overwhelming with notifications buzzing day in day out. Consider a tool which provides you a switch off time while inculcating the P’s and Q’s of usage within team.

We hope this article helps you in your search for collaboration tools. When you evaluate, consider SamayLa. SamayLa is successfully solving task management, product development, project tracking and multiple other collaboration needs for teams, departments and companies across many industries. SamayLa is all of the above and more!

Contact us | Free 30 Day Trial | www.samayla.com

E Commerce: Is it really as bad as it looks?

E commerce has been a discussion point since its inception. We have a bunch of small players, another handful which have shut down or are on the martyr’s road and the others which are still struggling. Of course, it’s been almost a decade since it started coming in the news and well, it’s now an industry. And as industry cycles go, questions are being asked about profitability. We need to dive into the basics to understand what’s really happening.

What is e commerce?

It’s essentially selling stuff online and delivering it to end user at a place of their convenience. Yes, it’s that simple at the surface. But every iceberg is small compared to what’s beneath. And beneath the surface, a lot goes on. For this analysis, we will stick to products only and exclude services as that’s a whole different and of course, growing ball game.ecommerce

 

The iceberg below the surface.

There is the online store which is the face of it. With products, contract negotiations, seller information, inventory, offers, banners, categories, kart, checkout, order tracking and suggested goods (read analytics!).

Then comes the whole seller side which includes KYC, product information, inventory, order tracking, cash flow, refunds, quality checks and a lot more.

The logistics is another machine with moving parts like packaging, transportation, order tracking, delivery, order cancellations, reverse logistics, quality and product scanning (if not accepted by the seller!), payments etc.

The customers are another angle with discounts, emi options, customer behaviour, marketing, feedback, call centre’s etc.

All this is to be supported by technology which makes intelligent decisions, manages processes better and learns.

As you can see, each of these is brach of a tree (or roots!) which goes on endlessly and all of this needs to function seamlessly to provide actual value and an experience which the customers love.

Scalability:

As you can see, for a small set up, the work is pretty simple and quality can be controlled as there are a few people to manage. It’s when the size increases, the problems stemming from the complexity start. It’s not as simple as it looks to focus on a 2 square km radius in a city and provide niche products. It get’s tougher when the delivery service area becomes a country or when the categories explode. And in an industry driven by GMV (Gross Merchandise Value), the focus on profitability is lost.

Why is GMV the core metric?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand a simple fact which is best illustrated by a simple story.

Once there was a businessman king who owned all businesses which existed in the world. Something like the legend of the Rothschild group. Now he owned few businesses directly and some of them were competing. Something akin to the illusion of choice – like Pepsi and Coke. Each of these businesses operated independently and therefore, differently, and the King allocated capital basis performance. This ensured competition and growth.

As Birbal, our intelligent Chief of the ministers, analysed the performance, he saw that all his product and services businesses were spending a lot of their capital on marketing and real estate – rents to shops, advertising space, ad’s on televisions and newspapers, discounts and offers to customers etc. etc. Each business had inventories stacked up and had excess space in warehouses.

He soon realised that almost 40% of the business cost was spent on such activities and it was all going to the people in the marketing business primarily. Birbal, being intelligent, thought  – what if we collect all the products on one platform, market that platform and deliver the products to the customers house. He did the maths and realised, that by combining all these activities of all the businesses of the King, the total expense would be around 10-15%. Which currently stood at 40% for each business.

So even if this new business never made money and was always operating at a loss, overall the king would be saving about 20-30% and giving marketing cost away for only 1 business. As all products existed on one platform, people and competition would automatically flock to it. And they could always fire the employees as their pay checks grew fatter as the profits would never be there***. If this new enterprise broke even, it would be an additional 10-15% for the King. And the King only wanted to know how many products were sold.

And if we look at the current scenario across the world, you will see only one metric by which the success of any e-commerce player is judged. Its GMV.

Is this true?

It could be. From a macro economic perspective, it makes perfect sense. The customers get the products home delivered, the King(s) benefit and real estate space is now only required for branding which is good as the population of this world is large. In India, you see big giants like TATA’s (in the news recently for other reasons!), investing in this space. A number of people would have read this behind the curtains logic as eventually, if the money runs out, it will be replaced by those who are selling products in the market.

Is there space for competition?

Not really, unless you are a niche player which focusses on products which require more effort to get on board and have a small market and even then, not in the long run. Not being in the top (first or second!), is essentially a small time game with decreasing probabilities of profits or rising in the long run. Mostly because, the moment the you grow big – either you will be acquired or the big sharks would enter the category. And the latter seems more probable, as the sellers are only selling on your platform as they are not getting attention from the bigges just yet!

Future: An opinion, which could be right or wrong. 

In the long run, economics takes over and many such Kings will come up which will push down the product prices, reduce the real estate costs and bring efficiencies in logistics. (Rise of firms like Delhivery). Which is good from an economic, environment and customer point of view. But this will be gradual and till then, the Business Kings, will reap extraordinary profits.

Varun Bhutani is the Founding Director and CEO of SamayLa, a communication system which creates time by bringing in efficiencies in enterprise communication.

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I am doing just fine. Why collaborate?

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Something does not sound right in the heading:

First, it’s mostly never ‘I’; it’s more than ever – ‘We’. When was the last time you finished that proposal all by yourself?

Second, ‘Just fine’ does not make anybody happy. A ‘just fine’ raise or ‘just fine’ sales figure (read ‘just not enough’)

Collaboration is synchronous communication within teams and organisation to achieve given task. So, Why collaborate? Because it matters all the more.

Good news is that some of us probably do try to collaborate, bad news is it’s scattered – in physical meetings, conference calls, emails, texts, instant messages. Too many touch points bring a soup we never ordered. Lets add more to this – we are geographically dispersed and even if not we still email our colleague across the hall. So, why does collaboration matter? For structured communication, to reduce bulk of these touch points and create time.

Even within the same organisation – HR, Marketing, Legal, Sales, Finance etc., each speak their own languages, use their own tools, all work independently and yet are dependant on each other to get tasks done. So, which tool can possibly be for all and yet be flexible for each to do their own?

Achieve this fit with SamayLa. It’s simple. It’s flexible. SamayLa organises people, work and content in a task based structure to achieve ultimate collaboration while reducing stress, email clutter and chaos.

Get SamayLa!
Give us your Headaches!
(Yes, it’s picked from Richard Branson’s autobiography)

Know more on
www.samayla.com

Sign up here. It’s FREE!

-Shivani Sharma
Head of Sales for UK & EU
SamayLa

We are hiring.

Traits that are essential include a can-do attitude with the ability to go the distance, learning at all steps, celebrating success and great team work.

Those who love what they do and those who understand that growth and performance are linked, need only apply!

Open positions (all based out of Gurgaon, India) – Total 10
Executive Secretary, Marketing, Business Analyst, Technology (Node.js), Finance Executive, Call Centre Experts (US/UK market)

Share CV’s with a cover letter either on SamayLa by assigning easy@samayla.com as a viewer or email us at easy@samayla.com.

Job Description(s):

  • Title: Executive Secretary
  • Number of positions: 1
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Travel: No
  • Job Description:
    • Review, update and manage schedule and managing the agenda and logistics of all weekly and monthly global meetings
    • Communicating with customers, prospects, partners and vendors on a daily basis
    • Keeping secret communications and documentation secret—and screen incoming calls and meetings
    • Organizing and managing travel arrangements
    • Helping plan conferences and events
    • Filing claims
    • Good comprehension, speaking & writing skills
    • Great communication skills with a knack of getting things done on priority
    • Timeliness, organisation skills
    • Basically managing all activities and acting as the nodal point for all communication for the CEO
—–
  • Title: Marketing Manager / Analyst
  • Number of positions: 2
  • Travel: Yes, could go upto 50%
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Job Description:
    • Data driven approach to marketing with an analytical approach
    • Understands the basics of digital marketing, SEO/SEM, mobile marketing, PR and BTL activities including events
    • Ability to negotiate with vendors and 3rd parties (domestic & international)
    • Ability to work with vendors and a spirit of getting-things-done
    • Good communication skills with a presentable nature
    • Quick learner, understands jugad
    • Great with technology (marketing tools) and a keen sense of design
    • Self motivated and a go-getter
—–
  • Title: Business Analyst
  • Number of positions: 1
  • Travel: No
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Job Description
    • Extremely data driven and understands metrics
    • Keen knowledge with an ability to bring out business insights from data
    • Presents data in a simple form
    • Working knowledge of any one of the BI tools
    • Market research skills
    • Has an ability to work on multiple projects with quick turn around times
    • Looks to assist the sales & marketing team with keen insights
    • Self starter
—–
  • Title: Technology Developers (node.js)
  • Number of positions: 2
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Travel: Mostly No (occasional to meet teams in other cities!)
  • Job Description:
    • Great skills with node.js
    • Ability to deliver bug free results under pressure with tight deadlines
    • Ability to understand existing code and deliver on requirements
    • A can do attitude and should pride himself / herself on the results they deliver
    • Ability to correctly estimate time and deliver
    • An inherent confidence to surmount challenges
    • Team spirit
    • Enjoys coding and loves to get the perfect product out
—–
  • Title: Finance Executive
  • Number of positions: 1
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Travel: Local, sometimes
  • Job Description:
    • Understands and loves numbers
    • Magician with spreadsheets
    • Understands the basics of accounting, financial reporting
    • Good with maths
    • Very exact and carries a microscope to find any discrepancies
    • Very harsh on any irregularities, if found
    • Understands the government processes and basics of taxation for salaries, payroll etc
    • Quick learner and has ability to understand regulations of international geographies
    • Can manage claims, payroll, accounting etc. and wants to learn to grow into filing returns etc.
    • Can work his way around government offices
—–
  • Title: Call Centre Experts
  • Number of positions: 3
  • Location: Gurgaon
  • Travel: No
  • Job Description:
    • US / UK calling experience
    • Good with technology and ability to quickly pick up product knowledge
    • Empathy and patience to help the customers to their satisfaction
    • Mixed process: chat / voice
    • Good command over English with an ability to understand accents
    • Good english writing skills
    • Flexibility to change shifts and put in extra shifts when required
    • Leadership potential to quickly train teams and move into a team lead role

Learning to say ‘YES’ to the right thing!

We are currently on-boarding a new organisation who is going to try the product for a small team of about 15 people. It is a potentially big lead for us with a potential user base of 5000 people. Now considering the above, in the entrepreneurial spirit, we should be all out to woo them. But they are asking our team to come down to their office and clarify doubts about certain features.

This got us thinking – they like the product; they started by requesting for 3 users and soon, we had registered upwards to 10 which then increased to 15. The team lead told us that they spent time – discussing & creating a work structure and liked the flexibility which the system offered. But they still had questions about the functionality. This irked us. It meant our tutorial video’s needed work. It’s a 5 minute video and feedback from some quarters is telling us that very few people have a 5 minute attention span. We are working on something intuitive to help first time users in on – boarding; the first step of which will be live tomorrow.

The bigger question: should we send our team to the office to give them a tutorial session. We certainly need to do something but, we believe, this is not a way forward. Going to a potential client’s office and helping them on-board will have implications. For the organisation, say all 5000 of them on-board, they will need to organise a session for on-boarding all of them. That is a number of man hours. There will be individual questions which will again slow the process down. There will be questions in the future for which, again there will be a session arranged. Is that efficient use of their time and our time?

And it’s not rocket science. Three simple steps:

  1. Create a task
  2. Create sub-tasks
  3. Assign responsibilities along with due dates.

BONUS: Say you have a bunch of sub-tasks which need to be assigned to a team. Just go to the parent task and PIN those users to a task. And voila, all sub tasks are now assigned to that user.

What we definitely need to do is ramp up the tutorial section or come up with intuitive ways for first time users for easy on-boarding. First step will happen by tomorrow – even before the requested session on Tuesday. So, we are saying ‘YES’ to the right thing.

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It’s different

We are asked this question multiple times, what’s different about SamayLa?

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It’s different at all levels:

  1. UX: It’s something so logical and intuitive, that even a small child can understand.
  2. UI: It’s simple – clean. Simplicity is a core focus in our product development. It takes multiple feedback’s from multiple user’s for us to introduce a new feature. In fact, we have about 10+ features which can be activated at a click of a button but which we are refraining from till our user’s ask.
  3. The MAGIC SAUCE: Ever since the age of Kings, we have been used to sending messages to people. This was replicated by the postal system and then by the email. Only the speed changed. But what we forget is that every message has an agenda behind it – it could be telling someone that we are thinking about them, or it could be related to a particular activity. In the case of organisations, since most of the communication is person specific (thanks to emails!), all of the knowledge is lost. In addition, that person is bombarded with requests which he has to run through. Now let’s flip this. Think in terms of tasks and teams who come together to achieve them. That is what we are trying to inculcate. This has many benefits:
    1. NO egos: It’s a team. Positions don’t matter. Work does. And by clubbing all communication on a task, everyone understands that.
    2. NO repetitive messages: It’s all their in one place under a particular task heading. One doesn’t have to repeat the same things over and over again.
    3. NO reminders: A due date is set, everyone knows it. And the system reminds you every time you login.
    4. NO loss of information: Say an employee left. The replacement would take time to on-board – be briefed by the team etc etc. As all of the information was in the emails that were shared with the employee who left. This ensures that all the information is stored in one place and all you need to do is add that person to the task and, voilà, she/he has all the work, organised logically in one place along with files etc.

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And we haven’t even gone to the philosophy, reasons for running this, the environment initiative, the revenue model, the upcoming features etc.

The First Saplings

So a few months back, one of our first customers from the private beta stage wanted to pay us for the value we were adding. Now this was a big thing coming from someone who had just started out in their own venture. We were still deciding on the pricing strategy. It reminded us what we needed to focus on and quoted a number. At the same time, even before the money hit the bank, we planted two saplings. Call it providence, the cost of the saplings came out to be exactly the same as the amount under question.

The saplings have now grown to around 5 feet and are flourishing in the monsoon rains.

The one on the right is expected to give some ripe mangoes and the one on the left is a Jamun or Jambul or Jamblang, as you may choose to call it.

They are being tended to by an expert gardener who waters them every alternate day, puts manure every month and is planning to add some natural pesticides like crushed Neem leaves etc. He has been directed to make it as organic as possible, considering the trees have been planted at the corner of a small children’s garden.

Trees, in some philosophy, have been considered to be like life. And like life, the deeper the roots, the taller the tree. In SamayLa’s context, we make task tree’s by dividing a task into smaller sub-tasks. Let’s take an example: Marketing. In simplistic terms, marketing activities are the ones where money goes out. They are supposed to support sales, which are activities which bring money in. This is a simplistic definition and does not do justice to an area which employs a sizeable chunk of the working economy.

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Like the roots, there is a whole lot of work that goes behind a simple sounding activity like Marketing. Be it be positioning, or branding, or content development and so on and so forth. Through SamayLa, we can break it down into smaller tasks and control each of them such that it ‘feeds’ the sales and we can eat fruits.

In either case, we are happy to have planted two saplings to start with.

We will keep you updated on the progress.

Team SamayLa

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