WalkMe, the most obvious tool in the world, releases research and makes an acquisition

When I first heard about WalkMe, the idea struck me as so mind-numbingly obvious that I've been a big fan ever since.

age and tech workers
Credit: Thinkstock

It might come as a shock to the early-adopter Silicon Valley set, but for those in the real world (i.e., the vast majority of the population who aren't Silicon Valley early adopters), using new technology platforms isn't the core focus. They have jobs to do and busy days and there is a significant barrier in starting to use a brand new technology tool.

Now imagine if you are an executive at a company that employs hundreds or thousands of these "everyday people." You're faced with a huge aggregate learning curve every time you want to change technology.

So imagine if there was a platform that made it easy for any technology provider to do what the much-derided, admittedly tacky, but actually useful Microsoft Clippy did back in the day. That is, sit in the background but appear at appropriate times and give contextual advice about an action that the user is trying to take. Imagine if you could be like a digital assistant to ease the process between try and succeed.

That is what WalkMe is all about. The company, in true Silicon Valley parlance, calls itself a "digital adoption platform." But the second part of its strapline says it all -- it simplifies user experience and drives action.

Software vendors, or managers in charge of software usage within an organization, set up WalkMe in a few different ways. First, they can walk through the user action they're looking to streamline and document all the steps that end users need to take. These steps are then displayed to the individual users as and when they need them. Second, WalkMe provides a search-like help service where end users can not only search for a particular topic, but then see a detailed walk-through of how that action occurs.

It's kind of hard to explain, but entirely logical when you see it in action, and even more so when you hear the results that both software vendors and SaaS companies are seeing with using WalkMe.

To this end I was interested to catch up with Rafi Sweary, co-founder of WalkMe, and also hear about a comparative study that WalkMe undertook to assess the efficacy of its platform. In the study, WalkMe looked at the usage of Salesforce before and after the implementation of WalkMe. 1,254 employees were observed and two main aspects of usage efficiency were measured:

  1. Total time spent using the system (the study assumed a certain number of daily processes needed to be completed by the user, regardless of WalkMe's solution)
  2. Percentage of time dedicated to dealing with errors 

The results indicate two things for me. First, that even in this day and age of having a hyper-focus on user experience, SaaS tools are still hard to use, and second, that WalkMe really delivers results. So onto those headline findings.

WalkMe reduced user time spent in the system by 90% compared to time spent pre-implementation.

WalkMe's data analysis tool was installed at least one week before WalkMe's Salesforce solution was implemented. WalkMe measured the change in experience for end users who had been exposed to at least one of WalkMe's active solutions.

For each of the end users participating in the study, a significant change was observed from the first week in which WalkMe's solution was implemented. The changes were also significant over the longer term; for all clients in the study, time invested by users in the system shrank to 3%-27% (average 6.64%) of time invested prior to the WalkMe implementation.

For example: Prior to the change, one customer's group of users was spending an average of 60 hours and 50 minutes editing existing data and filling out new forms. After the change, the same user group dedicated an average of only 4 hours and 2 minutes to the same tasks.

Time spent responding to errors dropped from about 7% to less than 2% -- an improvement of over 70%. 

During this phase of the study, WalkMe examined 10 Salesforce clients that showed reliable and consistent data over a 10-week period. The results showed that WalkMe's influence in this case was particularly dramatic and affected all users in the system; the percentage of time dedicated to correcting errors fell from 7% prior to implementing WalkMe to 3% at two weeks post-implementation, and further decreased to 2% as time went on.

MyPOV

WalkMe works. Conceptually I always figured it would, but this empirical data really reinforces the fact that it is a smart investment to help all your end users actually use the software you're foisting upon them. There's a reason I was so excited by WalkMe way back in the day.

WalkMe makes another acquisition

Earlier this year WalkMe acquired mobile startup Abbi.io, a native mobile A.I. solution that utilized machine learning to boost in-app engagement and retention. This was a natural fit for WalkMe, and it should come as no surprise that the Abbi.io technology was integrated into WalkMe's platform soon after.

The company is backing up that acquisition and announcing today that it has acquired visual analytics startup Jaco to further give customers insights into the behavior of their users. Jaco's solution records and analyzes users' activity as they navigate through any web-based product in real time. Regardless of the platform or framework being used, Jaco enables customers to replay every user session as a video.

Jaco's technology will be integrated into WalkMe. With the combined solution, customers gain another way of analyzing end user actions and interactions with software. This helps with process design, IT support and training functions.

Jaco was founded in 2015, and has raised $1.15 million from Silicon Valley funds Hillsven Capital and UpWest Labs. As an early-stage and minimally funded startup, this is unlikely to have been a huge deal in terms of the price, but it is certainly a positive addition to WalkMe.

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