CEO INTERVIEW - CusJo
New Success Stories – Asia
CEO Interviews - exclusive for HR Digital Today with market leading HR Tech pioneers - Cusjo
Founder – Manoj Sharma, Cusjo
In a recent HR event, one of the panelist was lamented why HR departments continue to be belittled despite what was being said about strategic HR over the past decade.
She cited an example of a board meeting where the Head of Finance come in with dollars and numbers, the Head of Sales would arrive with sales metrics and forecasts, etc… And the Head of HR would probably only be holding an attendance sheet.
HR is important but getting the right data to back it is tough. Who is your best employee? How do we use that as a benchmark to hire more people like him/her? Capturing those data is tough. Making sense of them is even harder.
Enter CusJo that is providing companies with vital real-time data to help them make better decisions not just on talent engagement, but also on customer experience and market research.
We speak with the founder Manoj Sharma to find out more:
1. Please share with us briefly what you do.
I'm Manoj Sharma, the Founder and CEO of CusJo.com. We've build one of the world’s most advanced primary research intelligence platforms. Organisations use it to get real-time intelligence on their 3 most important success factors - talent engagement, customer experience and market research - on 1 platform.
2. What were you doing before this?
I started off working for the Walt Disney Co., had a successful .com exit and have spent the decade before CusJo as a management consultant and strategist with a focus on organisation and professional development.
3. In one sentence, how would you describe what your product does?
CusJo enhances human intelligence using AI.
4. How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea first came to me when I was working as a management consultant. I was doing great work, clients were very appreciative and everything was fine. But when I wanted to get a better sense of how my work was improving their talent, customer or market growth and I started asking them for post initiative data, everything changed. I realised they were not measuring key metrics and thus could not provide me with the data, to help me help them make further improvements. So, I started looking for technology solutions I could recommend to them to purchase, to help make improvements and prove ROI. When I couldn't find a technology solution that worked the way both they and I needed it to, I was compelled to build it.
5. How does it work?
CusJo has the ability to make sense of any primary research intelligence in real-time. We've launched more than 111 professional methodologies worth in excess of USD 2m, and have 3 distinct suites for Talent Optimisation, Customer Experience and Market Research Analytics. Now, all an organisation needs to do is as simple as choosing a template that they need to start collating intelligence on. This could be talent pulse, employee engagement, customer experience, business innovation or even QnA for town halls and MICE sessions template. Then they can publish it in less than 10 seconds and start getting the instantaneous intelligence they truthfully needed to start collating 3 years ago, to give themselves a significant advantage over their competition.
6. What are the key benefits that your product brings?
For starters, you don't need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months on consultants to develop professional methodologies and frameworks for talent engagement, customer experience and market research, as we've got 111 on the platform to get you started immediately. We allow for full customisation of themes; it's a small but important thing to ensure our customer's brands are well represented and in compliance with their corporate guidelines. Staff can autonomously, as and when required, publish vanity URLs, QR Codes, embed them within apps and send them out over social media with seconds. We graphically represent all quantitative and qualitative intelligence as it comes in, so there is no time wasted on exporting data and represent it in excel, powerpoint or other external data visualisation software to make sense of things. There are also built in collaboration tools so different people can share their perspectives on what's happening. For our enterprise clients we even hierarchically benchmark their entire organisation and give various user access to their own data so HR, Customer Service and Marketing do not become choke points and prevent real-time innovation and recovery.
Ironically, while we're disrupting the consultancy model and vast areas of white collar intelligence work, we're still adding value to consultants, in their area of greatest weakness; the lack of quality technology. Consultants and consultancies too can use our platform to either build their own methodologies to monetise their expertise at a higher price-point, or help their clients built their methodologies on our platform. This allows them to then focus their attention on adding value on top of CusJo, and not get caught up in doing menial time-consuming work that our platform does infinitely better, faster and at a cheaper rate.
We often get asked why did we do this the way we did it. And it's because we realised some years ago that business will eventually need to be done as close to the speed of thought as possible, and any lag in workflow is a compromise on an organisation's profitability. This may prove to be the biggest benefit we bring to our clients as they grow with us.
7. Who are your closest competitors?
There are endless competitors in some way, shape or form, but it's genuinely hard to identify a direct one because of the breadth and depth of work we do, as well as the clear convenience we bring. Organisations will need to make a choice to work with multiple technology partners for their talent, customer and market intelligence needs and manage all those endless relationships or to work with CusJo and manage one relationship, while enjoying the time and cost savings it brings. I would imagine the choice should be clear.
8. Who is your first customer and how did that happen?
Our first customer was one of the largest insurance companies in Asia. They has asked me to do some customer experience auditing work for them in addition to a strategic initiative I was delivering for them. I offered to build them a quick technology prototype to put my expert audit on. The COO, CEO and Chairman liked the way it worked and the insights it provided so much, we ended up building a full scale enterprise grade version for them.
9. What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
They were using external consultants periodically and internal staff regularly and they both were using a paper-based system with limited technology that was loosely integrated with the organisation's CRM and Talent Management system. It required days of manual work on a monthly basis to generate a report just to get a sense of what was going on. They switched due to the customer-centricity of our methodology, how extensively it could be used, and the real-time capabilities of our platform to generate reports which they could then act on immediately. They also recognised the potential of our platform to scale as they grew internationally and knew our focus towards continuously innovating our product would give them an edge over their competition.
10. How do you price your product?
Very flexibly. We have a price point for everyone from the most demanding enterprise clients, to innovative professionals and if someone wants to experiment with a startup version they can get started for free at CusJo.com
11. What’s your business focus for this year?
Thus far, we've done a lot of the great work we do, on the stealth, behind the scenes and without raising a cent of capital. 2018 has to be the year to onboard more customers, so they can derive value from the gains we bring in reduced costs, higher professionalism, pervasive systemisation of real-time intelligence gathering and innovating towards higher profitability, performance and fulfilment levels.
12. What’s one productivity tip/app/tool you can't live without?
I suspect the most common apps that I use would be WhatsApp and Email and by that virtue, they would be things I can't live without. It's a bit boring of an answer, but it's the truth.
13. Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?
Born: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... (I was born a few years before Star Wars was released.)
Marital status: Married without children. So, I can contribute to as many people as possible and not at the expense of a biological few.
School: They taught me to go forth with Wisdom & Courage and that The Best Is Yet To Be. I'm presently flirting with the idea that Life Is All About Standards while remaining anchored To Continue To Contribute To Society, To The Best Of My Abilities.
First job: I worked for the Mouse.
Favorite book: The biography of the man who put the following words in his first logo. "Newton.... a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought... alone."
Favorite Music: Almost anything from The Bard, Zimmy, The Voice Of A Generation or whatever you would like to call him. The man who also had the self-awareness and cheek to write, "I’m a poet, and I know it. Hope I don’t blow it." He might be the greatest of the greats and we're very fortunate to still have him with us.
Last holiday: My heart comes alive the most anywhere between Kapalua and Hana. You should check it out too.