Mar 25, 2021

South African sales tech app Skynamo secures $30 million

FiveElmsCapital
investment
softwaredevelopment
Skynamo
Kate Birch
3 min
South African sales tech provider Skynamo secures Series A funding from leading software investor to accelerate adoption of its field sales app globally
South African sales tech provider Skynamo secures Series A funding from leading software investor to accelerate adoption of its field sales app globally...

Leading US software investor, Five Elms Capital, is investing US$30 million in Skynamo, a South African field sales app and management platform provider that's on a mission to help manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors eliminate sales admin, strengthen customer relationships, and sell more. 

Skynamo, whose field sales mobile app and cloud-based management platform is used by more than 6500 users at 650 companies, will use this investment to accelerate adoption of its platform, while scaling up operations to improve service to its rapidly growing customer base in the US, UK and Southern Africa. 

Why investment in Skynamo?

A leading US investor in fast-growing B2B software businesses that users love, Five Elms Capital has backed Skynamo because “we are convinced it has the perfect combination of strong value proposition and a relentless culture of delighting both customers and employees to become the leader in field sales technology”, says Fred Coulson, Managing Partner of Five Elms. 

The field sales industry is in a state of disruption, with both businesses and field sales professionals needing to adopt new technologies if they are to survive the digital shift. And that's where Skynamo comes in, helping field sales teams become more knowledgeable by providing quick and accurate answers while onsite with customers. 

This investment follows Five Elms Capital’s recent investments in remote video tech firm OpenReel (US$19 million), practice management software developer Karbon (US$10 million) and Colombian customer monitoring startup Playvox (US$25 million). 

How exactly does Skyname facilitate business?

Skynamo increases sales rep productivity and effectiveness by digitising paper-based processes, automating administrative tasks, and enabling easy access to customer and product information in the field. GPS technology provides managers with a real-time view of sales activity and sales rep effectiveness in the field, so they can coach their reps remotely. Field sales teams using Skynamo typically double – and in some cases triple – the number of customers they visit per week and increase revenue by up to 20% in the first year.

Skynamo integrates with ERP and accounting software such as Sage, Acumatica, SAP, Xero and Quickbooks to provide field sales reps with the latest product and customer information and order history while on the road or onsite at a customer. Skynamo’s integration capability streamlines the ordering process and improves order accuracy, order fulfilment and time to invoice for field sales teams on the road.

Unlike other CRM and sales automation applications, Skynamo is a mobile-first application designed to provide a better end-user experience for mobile users. Mobile-first design ensures data entry is easier – improving the volume and quality of data collected in the field. Offline capability enables users to continue working on their mobile devices even without internet access.

“Field sales reps have been left out in the cold by the technology industry for far too long,” says Sam Clarke, CEO of Skynamo. “By putting all time-saving functionality and accurate information in the palm of their hands via our mobile app, Skynamo transforms sales teams from order-takers to value-adding consultants to their customers.”

Five Elms Capital upping investment ante

Focused on investing in fast-growing B2B software businesses that users, Five Elms provides capital and resources to help companies accelerate growth and further cement their role as industry leaders. To date, with US$700-plus million assets under management and a global team of 50+ professionals, Five Elms has invested in more than 40 software platforms globally Hubbs, an event management solutions provider; Userlane, a provider of digital adoption solutions; and SingleOps, a provider of field services solutions for the green industry. 

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.

Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.

Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.

When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”

And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.

Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work

By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.

“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”

These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.

Repetitive tasks that can be automated

Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”

These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.

“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”

Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.

Five business areas that can be automated

Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.

  1. Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
  5. Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.

“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”

 

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