Home CompaniesB2B Workforce Solution, Deputy Targets Alpharetta for Americas HQ

Workforce Solution, Deputy Targets Alpharetta for Americas HQ

by Renay San Miguel

The very day Queensland Rail started using Deputy – a cloud-based product that automates workforce scheduling, communications, and engagement for hourly workers – a train broke down. “They leveraged the power of the (software’s) matching market, and they found an engineer in 30 seconds to go fix the train,” said Jason Walker, Deputy’s vice president for strategy/operations USA, on producing a half-minute solution for a typical three-hour problem. “They said, ‘we love you guys.'”

More global companies may add their voices to the Deputy evangelist chorus. The company, founded by two Australian entrepreneurs in Sydney in 2008, started in the U.S. market last year and has already seen 500 percent year-over-year customer growth. Deputy now has 18,000-plus customers – from small businesses to corporations – in a variety of industries in 73 countries.

The prospects of adding to that prompted Deputy to recently announce that its Alpharetta office would be the site of its corporate headquarters for North and South America, which will include sales, marketing, business development and customer support. The company has a Los Angeles office to help with west coast sales, and Sydney will remain its hub for research and development.

“For seven years we’ve significantly invested in engineering to build the best mousetrap on the planet,” Walker told Hypepotamus. “Now we need to tell people that we have it. We’re essentially picking up a product and bringing it to the United States, and we don’t have any of the risk associated with product development because it’s already been tested.”

Deputy’s software, which includes an app for iOS and Android, makes it easy for managers to schedule shift workers and find equally skilled, last-minute replacements, manage timesheets and check on attendance. Dreaded annual reviews transform into “performance journals,” where bosses can offer praise and also signal areas for the employee to work on. Deputy is also an analytics product, providing data on employee work habits as well as predictive analysis of customers so employers can know what their staffing needs are at certain times of the day. Deputy mobile app Other workplace-centric apps that integrate with Deputy include Intuit, Box, Dropbox, Xero, QuickBooks, ADP, Square and AirWatch. Atlanta customers include Hi-Rez Studios, Gigi’s Cupcakes and Honey Butter Boutiques. Deputy recently inked a strategic partnership with Apple that could help get Walker’s company introduced to potential customers.

In this Q-and-A, Walker talks about Deputy’s user interface, the features that help it appeal to those working in an on-demand economy (and those employing those workers), and the demographic shifts underway in the business world that provide opportunities for software companies enabling mobile workforces. walker-deputy-schedulingWhen other tech companies have said they’re moving corporate offices to Atlanta, they’ve cited the availability of skilled talent, the airport, and a better cost of living. Are those the reasons for Deputy?

Pretty much. There’s such fierce competition for talent in the Valley. It’s so cutthroat. We really consider Atlanta to be the Silicon Valley of the East. There’s such good access to good, quality people, cost of living and all that. For Atlanta, it’s the creative talent, the sales talent.

We’ve always done things a little bit differently at Deputy, like we haven’t taken VC money. We get five calls a week from VCs and we just turn them all down. We don’t need it when you’re growing at 517 percent in one year (laughs).

Are you bootstrapping?

One of the two co-founders, Steve Shelley, he put his initial seed money on the table to get the company started, but we really are self-funding at this point. (Deputy’s Premium product charges $3 per employee per month.)

You’re very new to this space in the U.S., and you’ve done zero marketing. There are other companies offering digital products for the workplace. Why would a company choose your product?

We realized about five years ago: What if put this technology in the cloud, and what if instead of giving customers all the bells and whistles and all the power of enterprise-class software, we simplified it down so that anybody could do it? What if we changed the interface in a way that employees could just get into it and go without any training whatsoever? It’s kind of like Turbo Tax; it just walks you through everything. So we did that, and an amazing thing happened: It just absolutely blew up.

It just allowed us to radically scale this company in such a way that it doesn’t require a significant amount of infrastructure, and it’s an infinitely scalable technology, not only for the businesses that operate on it, but for us as a company because it’s all Amazon Web Services. Deputy optimized scheduleWhat does your data tell you about the socio-economic and demographic shifts going on in the workplace? Are you seeing the “millennialization” of the workforce?

That’s absolutely what we’re seeing. People in the millennial age bracket are working two jobs at once, and you need a technology in that type of hourly environment that empowers you as a millennial to understand what’s happening in that whole balance of work and life. The expectations that people in that age bracket have of what’s possible in that technology are forcing tough conversations in business. Anybody that works in an environment where they still get a paper schedule are saying, “What are you talking about?”

This idea of empowerment – you have it on your phone, it looks and feels just like Facebook, it’s an engaging set of technologies. When we talk about it and show businesses, their minds are blown.

You may also like