Whatfix is a leading Digital Adoption Platform that enables companies to deliver modern and easy onboarding, effective training, and better support to users through contextual content displayed at the time of need. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Whatfix CEO and co-founder Khadim Batti to learn more.
Khadim Batti’s Background
After graduating in electrical engineering from the University of Mumbai, Huawei Technologies hired Batti as a software engineer, and grew to lead Deep Packet Inspection & Business Intelligence Department.
“It was in this role that I met Vara Kumar, who had also joined as a software engineer and grew as a lead architect for my group, and who would go on to cofound Whatfix with me. I worked there for 6 years before departing for a year to work at a couple of other firms, eventually returning to Huawei in 2007 as Delivery Head for DPI and BI Solutions. The entrepreneur in me was waiting to build something of my own so in 2010, I cofounded the SaaS-based SEO platform SearchEnabler with Vara, which pivoted to eventually became Whatfix in 2014,” said Batti.
Formation Of Whatfix
How did the idea for Whatfix come together?
“Around 2010, Vara and I identified an opportunity – small businesses wanted to push sales online more effectively, but didn’t have the budget for the types of robust SEO engagements that larger companies can afford. So we decided to build a tool that would help them do that. And while the tool itself was fairly popular, we realized quickly that we’d need to make some changes to turn it into a sustainable business as these small businesses were not technologically sound enough to implement the changes that we were recommending,” Batti revealed. “Even though we would lose paid customers by doing so, we believed that making the tool simpler and more ‘DIY’ would pay dividends in the long run. So we added a button called ‘fix it,’ which showed customers the exact adjustments they’d need to make to their website or social copy to augment their SEO. This is where ‘Whatfix’ was born – we changed the name to Whatfix shortly after the button was implemented. It was a hit, but the churn was still too high. We knew we needed to transition to the enterprise market, and the Whatfix that exists today results from that transition.”
What has been your favorite memory working for Whatfix so far? “Our first event, Dreamforce, really sticks out as a favorite memory. It was a trial-by-fire in and of itself – we met 300 folks in 3 days, but we left with a new understanding of the true value of our product and a great deal of excitement for the future,” Batti explained. “Another favorite memory – looking back – is how some of our early salespeople struggled to sell at a $100/month price point, and some even gave up. But those that stuck around are now closing million-dollar deals.”
What are some of the challenges Batti faced in building the company? “Early on, we faced a lot of challenges. We struggled to identify a product-market fit for the Whatfix predecessor, SearchEnabler. We left our jobs at Huawei to pursue our own company full time, and were living off dwindling savings. Once we pushed the ‘Fix It’ button and doubled down on that self-service guidance, the vision was clear for Whatfix to take shape and we got our first term sheet shortly after,” Batti acknowledged. “However, even following our first funding round, we still faced a problem with churn. We were recording a churn rate over 15%, and we knew to reduce that and produce more sustainable income was to transition to the enterprise segment, which meant expanding the team and establishing a presence in the US. We had less than $1 million in the bank, and despite $130k ARR at the time, we knew that this would put a strain on our resources. We spent $30k to attend the Dreamforce conference that year, where we realized from conversations with prospects that we were undercharging for our product. These challenges were essential in building the Whatfix that exists today.”
What are Whatfix’s core products and features? Batti replied:
Whatfix is a multi-product company offering Digital Adoption and Product Analytics solutions that enables product and application owners to initiate a virtuous cycle of analyzing, creating, and engaging – analyze user actions and behavior create better product feature discovery and adoption content, and engage users to become more productive and self-sufficient at work.
Whatfix’s products integrate with products across mobile, desktop, and web platforms, and leverage the advanced AI capabilities to provide users with contextual information and guidance to accelerate their path-to-productivity and to enable them to achieve individual and organizational business outcomes like revenue win rate, cost reduction, risk compliance among others. Whatfix has a record of increasing employee productivity by 35%, reducing training time and costs by 60%, reducing employee case tickets by 50%, and increasing application data accuracy by 20%.
Whatfix’s vision focuses on making technology more intuitive, collaborative, and self-serviceable for software users and helping organizations achieve capabilities and productivity goals through the concept of userization. Its newer products focus on providing employees with futuristic productivity and collaboration experiences and providing business leaders with process and enterprise-level insights.
What Is Userization?
“Userization is the concept of making technology user-centric. At the core of every Whatfix innovation is the concept of userization – creating personalized, inclusive, and integrated software experiences – to extract real ROI from technology investments. Our focus on userization has been instrumental in the success of our customers,” Batti pointed out. “Staying true to this vision, Whatfix has launched its new product line – Product Analytics, which enables organizations to track, visualize, and analyze user engagement and behavior data with seamless no-code event tracking and data consistency. While previously, Product Analytics was built for software vendors, Whatfix extends this capability to software buyers and end users as well. You can learn more about userization in the paper written by The Everest Group or you can read my article on the Forbes Tech Council. Userization will continue to be at the heart of all our innovation, including Whatfix AI.”
Evolution Of Whatfix’s Technology
How has Whatfix’s technology evolved since launching?
“Whatfix, in its earliest iteration under the name SearchEnabler, was an SEO optimization tool. Obviously, we’ve grown far beyond that. Instead of simply enabling better SEO, Whatfix technology now streamlines business processes across the enterprise. Last year Whatfix launched a new product line called Product Analytics as a part of Whatfix’s larger focus on the concept of Data-Driven-DAP,” Batti noted. “Data-Driven-DAP is about leveraging insights from your unique IT environment – especially how users interact with software – to improve adoption outcomes and productivity in general. Whatfix’s Product Analytics enables organizations to track, visualize, and analyze these trends and behavior data with data consistency unrivaled among DAPs. Since its launch, Product Analytics has seen approximately 200% quarter-on-quarter revenue growth and has been adopted by 100+ customers including large enterprises like Cisco and UPS. This year, Product Analytics saw further evolution as Whatfix began to offer new enterprise-centric analytics with the Enterprise Insights product.”
What have been some of Whatfix’s most significant milestones? “Our earliest Whatfix milestone, as such, was in 2013 when we founded the company. We moved into our first office in Bangalore in 2014 and signed our first customers in 2015, all immensely important markers in the early life of the business. Whatfix’s 2015 presence at Dreamforce was a turning point – we gained key market knowledge at this conference and Whatfix’s path to faster growth and profitability became clearer than ever. By 2020, we had earned recognition from top analysts in a category of our creation, and by 2021, we made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 North America. Some more recent milestones include our acquisition of Leap to augment our mobile focus, and our certification as a Great Place to Work for the India region,” Batti revealed.
Customer Success Stories
When I asked Batti about customer success stories, he cited the following:
One of the world’s largest shipping companies needed to migrate users from legacy products to newer web versions while maintaining employee engagement and experience. With Whatfix Product Analytics, they were able to achieve a data-driven reduction in technology debt and a Business process adoption acceleration with business outcomes like a 60% reduction in product go-live timeline, a 20% reduction in the cost of change management, and a higher & quicker ROI on their innovation initiatives.
At the same time, the company needed to influence users to complete the mandatory Information security tasks on time. Whatfix helped them improve security compliance tracking by achieving a 40% acceleration in time to achieve Information Security compliance, up to 10% reduction in Information security budgets, and improved confidence in Org’s Information security posture.
Experian, one of the world’s largest credit reporting agencies, improved its sales pipeline forecast and achieved topline impact with Whatfix. The challenge was an overdue sales pipeline pile-up leading to incorrect sales forecasts. Within 4 weeks, Whatfix was able to reduce overdue sales pipeline exposure by 50% and improved their topline impact, enabling sales to recover the sales pipeline partially and achieve additional revenue of $1.2 million per quarter. In general, Whatfix achieved a 48% reduction in training content creation costs, a 55% reduction in support queries, and a 72% increase in productivity in the first year.
Sentry Insurance is one of the largest mutual insurance companies in the United States, offering property and casualty insurance, life insurance, annuities, and retirement programs for businesses and individuals. They have more than $3 billion in revenue and support more than 4,400 employees nationwide. Until recently, Sentry was using simple tools to point Sales, Customer Service, and Claims teams to training resources. The organization needed to provide a better experience to stakeholders for improving efficiency. Following careful evaluation, Sentry selected Whatfix digital adoption and experience layer to bring about a unique digital transformation experience for their users and stakeholders.
Sentry’s main drivers for adoption were better user onboarding, moment-of-need support, to support for the learning culture overall, and increased customer satisfaction. Colleen Behnke, Learning and Performance Specialist at Sentry Insurance describes Whatfix’s impact on these objectives this way: “Whatfix is the ideal DAP for agile, customer-centric insurance organizations like Sentry. The difference is that people love using Whatfix. You don’t need technical skills to create and deploy content, it’s packed with innovation, and we can integrate it quickly across almost our entire application portfolio.” Whatfix is live on more than 8 applications for Sentry, supporting 2,000 sales, underwriting, claims, and operations associates along with 700 external agents and customer service representatives, and, most notably, 75,000 customers. Whatfix has achieved $1 million saved across content creation, user support, application adoption, and productivity, 40% less time to create training and support content, and 100 fewer support tickets per day with Self-Help.
Funding / Revenue Model
Whatfix has raised $140 million to date. And in 2021, the company raised $90 million in series D, tripling Whatfix’s valuation since 2020. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round with participation from EightRoads, Sequoia Capital India, Dragoneer Investment Group, F-Prime Capital, and Cisco. Plus Whatfix has made three acquisitions as yet, including Airim (2019), Nittio Learn (2021), and Leap.is (2022).
In terms of a revenue model, Whatfix sells software-as-a-service on a subscription business model, targeting large and medium enterprises. The company provides services to several Global 2000 customers, including 72 Fortune 500 companies, globally, including Aramark, Autozone, Avnet, Becton Dickinson, Cardinal Health, Cisco, Genuine Parts Company, Microsoft, and Sanofi.
Total Addressable Market
What total addressable market (TAM) size is Whatfix pursuing? “According to the Gartner report on worldwide IT spending, Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.6 trillion in 2023, an increase of 5.5% from 2022. In 2022 alone, over $793 billion worth of enterprise software was sold. Based on this, we estimate that the addressable market for DAP products is easily in the range of $25 to $30 billion conservatively,” Batti assessed.
Differentiation From The Competition
What differentiates Whatfix from its competition? Batti replied:
Whatfix has been identified as a Leader in the DAP category by Forrester and the Everest Group respectively, and recognized by Gartner in their first market guide for DAP. Whatfix has been listed in the Deloitte Fast 500 companies twice in a row and continues to be the highest-ranking digital adoption platform (DAP) on the list this year too.
Whatfix separates itself from competition by our focus on our customers and innovation, and on the symbiotic relationship between the two in particular. For the last eight quarters, Whatfix has scored a B2B SaaS Customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) score above 50, which is considered excellent according to Hubspot, and earned an average 99.5% CSAT score with 31.4% – double the Industry standard of 12-15%.
As ticket volumes increase, CSAT usually goes down. Whatfix’s tickets increased 2x YoY (while team size increased by 40%), but we still increased our CSAT and improved response times. Whatfix has earned significant public recognition for its excellence in customer service through customer reviews on third party sites. Whatfix was recognized by our customers on Gartner Peer Insights scoring 4.6/5. On G2 Whatfix earned a 4.6/5 from our customers and the Winter 2023 Leader Badge.
Our customers regularly share with us directly that “Whatfix has the best support staff over any other company we have worked with”. During the first three months, customers have a dedicated onboarding team responsible for the end-to-end go-live. A dedicated customer success manager and unlimited new editor training are available through the duration of our agreement, a level of service unmatched in the industry. Value engineering services are offered to substantiate business value achieved. Engineering and product deliver 52% of product functionality as a result of customer feedback.
We lead our category in product innovation as well, partly as a result of this essential connection between customer feedback and engineering, with the largest DAP portfolio among all our competitors, comprising web, mobile, desktop, and several analytics solutions with more on the way, including features for simulation and collaboration with generative-AI-based tools.
Future Company Goals
What are some of Whatfix’s future company goals? “After cementing its presence in the US and Europe markets and expanding its APAC presence, Whatfix wants to expand further into new markets while deepening our presence in our existing ones, while maintaining our leadership of the category. We are leading the DAP category with our customer centricity, and userization in our innovation. We will continue to launch new products as a part of our evolution to a multi-product company, and are currently on track to launch one new product every year,” Batti concluded.