With a background in the world of finance and investing – not tech – Ben Carpel might seem an unlikely CEO for the all-in-one business dashboard company Cyfe. Talking to him though, it’s clear that his entrepreneurial tendencies are a great fit for the software company where he took the reigns in 2015.
He’s been known to call Cyfe founder Deven Patel a “genius” in regards to his development work on the original app, and he immediately saw the potential of what Patel was trying to accomplish.
Fast forward to 2017, and Cyfe continues to grow, which Carpel attributes to his team’s use of its own product. Cyfe’s corporate culture embraces an attitude of focusing on what matters. Carpel is clear that they don’t care about the number of hours his employees work, or even their geographic location. Instead they focus on how the team is moving toward its goals, and how those goals are impacting the company’s overall growth.
Carpel offers his take on how having easy access to the right data can influence strategic growth in unprecedented ways.
Your product has been featured prominently on HBO’s Silicon Valley comedy. How did that come about?
Ben Carpel: Yes! We were thrilled to see our dashboard being used by the guys at the fictional startup Pied Piper, and it was a recurring role, appearing in multiple episodes and being a nice part of the story arc of seasons two and three.
While the exposure was terrific, it tells us that what we provide is a very real part of the work going on, not just in Silicon Valley, but at startups, SMBs and enterprises everywhere.
We loved how this was integrated into the storyline, too. Their investors had a custom screen showing the number of product downloads, ticking up in real time, tracking what was obviously a huge milestone for the company as they moved toward their goal of 500,000.
Sure, it was a fictional story, and kudos to Mike Judge and his writing staff for such a fun show, but it demonstrates the power that real-time data, compiled from the metrics that really matter to your company, can have on an entire organization.
So I get the idea of what Cyfe provides. But aside from tracking tons of data, what does this kind of dashboard really offer to users?
Ben Carpel: It starts with time saving and efficiency, letting you easily and clearly see real-time data on the most important metrics to your organization. This makes it easier to use your data to make informed strategic decisions about your marketing, sales, social media, SEO, business health, cash flow… It basically puts all your business data in one place, and lets you customize exactly how you want to view it.
In the larger picture, it takes all of that data and makes it easy to share and visualize across teams, a real asset as more business leaders are embracing the principles of transparent leadership.
You say this kind of dashboard saves people lots of time. Any stats on how much? How many hours are spent by founders or their teams tracking all of this data?
Ben Carpel: Our loyal user base tells us all the time that we save them several hours per person per week, and much more than that in many cases. Our internal data shows the same.
The automation of our tracking, of organizing metrics, of report preparation, ends up saving you many days, if not many weeks of your year. So you can either relax more, or use that time for more productive endeavors to grow your business.
Tell me more about how dashboards can help with team engagement. How does this work?
Ben Carpel: It’s basically the gamification of employee motivation, and our customers are incredibly creative in how they’re using it. Some of the most popular use cases we’ve seen involve the positive reinforcement associated with sales dashboards or service dashboards mounted on office walls. We’ve even received some great photos from customers showing this in action.
For example, with sales dashboards you can show the positive progress to a goal, highlighting top leaders and encouraging everybody to perform; it keeps all employees motivated and engaged, not just the sales team. In the case of customer service, it’s very similar, a dashboard that shows the top leaders, shows progress and high performance for the organization’s support and service department, with metrics like response time, customer feedback, etc.
So what does the future of Cyfe look like? What features, whether automated or insightful tech advances, is Cyfe considering making part of the dashboard offering? Are you looking into implementing chatbots or AI?
Ben Carpel: That’s a perfect example. These are the sorts of features that we contemplate each and every day.
Right now, all of our major feature releases have to do with saving the user time, giving them more efficiency, or making their roles and responsibilities easier. We always aim to design and develop our new features so they support an easy-to-understand user experience.