Darwinbox is a cloud-based, SaaS HR platform which caters to enterprise-level organisations that have employee counts greater than 1,000.

This cloud-based HR platform offers a seamless way to manage the employee lifecycle
Atom Interview Friday, March 29, 2019 - 22:00

Darwinbox is a new age HR platform which takes care of all HR needs across the employee life-cycle — from recruitment, onboarding, employee management, payroll, leave, transfer, and performance management to exit management. It acts as a one-stop shop to streamline the recruitment and on-boarding process and has an evolutionary talent management system catering to every performance philosophy. Its solutions combine workflow with intelligent insights and smart interfaces.

The Darwinbox team founded and led by Rohit Chennamaneni, Chaitanya Peddi, and Jayant Paleti is on a mission to transform the interaction between workforce and technology, through enterprise products that are as simple and effective to use as daily consumer apps. Started in 2015, the company currently has marquee clients like Paytm, Delhivery, Dr. Reddy's, Arvind, Nivea, Swiggy, GVK Bio using the platform. Darwinbox is backed by investments from the likes of Mohandas Pai and Silicon-valley based investor Lightspeed Ventures.

The platform also leverages AI and Machine Learning to manage the entire life cycle of an employee.

In an email interaction with TNM, Darwinbox co-founder Chaitanya Peddi shared some insights on how the company started, competitors in the market and future growth plans, among other things. 

(L-R): Rohit Chennamaneni, Chaitanya Peddi and Jayant Paleti 

Here are excerpts. 

When and where did the company start its operations and what was the aim behind setting up Darwinbox?

Prior to starting Darwinbox, the founding team (Rohit Chennamaneni, Jayant Paleti, Chaitanya Peddi) of the HCM (Human Capital Management) platform were consultants with McKinsey and EY, where they advised large enterprises on business transformation through digitalisation and specifically so in the HR space. A common observation they shared across their clientele was that despite increasing efforts to streamline HR processes, organisations struggled to furnish critical information about their human capital. The gap was most evident in a large-scale merger conversation led by Jayant where to his surprise, neither of the stakeholders were aware of key indicators of their talent attrition.

As the trio went a step deeper to solve the problem, they realised the real trouble was with multiple disintegrated systems (every organisation had an average of 3 HR systems) across the employee lifecycle that made it difficult to sync and analyse data. Above all, the solutions that existed were rigid and clunky for the HR and employee alike resulting in poor adoption. 

To deal with these challenges and to make HR technology more intuitive, integrated and insightful, Darwinbox was conceived in 2015 in Hyderabad. 

What is the Darwinbox business model and the HR solutions it provides? 

Darwinbox is a cloud-based, SaaS HR platform which takes care of all HR needs across the employee life-cycle. Built for large enterprises, the platform’s core organisation framework is configurable to suit the diverse structures of enterprise India and forms the foundation to enable every facet of digital HR.

Darwinbox largely caters to enterprise-level organisations which have employee counts greater than 1,000. The SaaS model on which they operate on allows customers to pay as they use. The subscription fee is charged per employee depending on the modules opted. Right from development to the post-implementation support, the entire process is handled in-house to ensure seamless transition and a delightful experience.

How does Darwinbox enable the transition from stitching together a multitude of clunky software programs to one seamless intuitive platform? 

Darwinbox is an end-to-end platform that handles HR needs from hire to retire on one unified platform. With analytics that encompass multiple stages of the lifecycle, Darwinbox provides a 360-degree view of the talent profile for organisations to make data-backed decisions around employee’s engagement, performance, and retention. The platform also integrates seamlessly with 3rd party solutions in the space, saving HR teams the huge trouble of syncing and controlling employee data across systems. 

Built to bridge the ‘digital divide’ between products a working professional uses for personal needs (for example – Uber, Facebook, Big Basket, Amazon) and professional needs at the workplace, Darwinbox offers a highly intuitive and mobile-first user experience. With the latest addition of AI-based conversational voicebot - Darwin, there is a significant reduction in the time to action resulting in improved adoption and efficiency. 

Tell us about the technology behind Darwinbox – Integration of AI and ML to reduce redundant, repetitive tasks 

Smarter choices in hiring and rewarding talent, early prediction of attrition and ease of use through conversational UI are a few remarkable outcomes of AI and ML based features in Darwinbox. Hosted on AWS cloud, Darwinbox is among the very few product companies to use Kubernetes architecture for best workload scalability. 

Specifically, who does the technology benefit? An employer, employee or both?

The Darwinbox platform benefits both employers and employees alike. Right from finding the best talent for the job to engaging and retaining them, Darwinbox empowers employers with intelligent insights, administrative control, and digital automation for efficient and error-free processes. Organisations witness ROI in terms of time taken for a particular HR process, reduced error rate in pay-outs, better hiring rates to reduction in attrition of high performers after implementing the system.

Employees on the other hand gain from the ease with which they can access information and perform their HR tasks. Transparency and control over their own performance and career development helps them take charge of their growth in the organisation.  

How does Darwinbox enable a culture of continuous feedback?

Continuous Feedback is the future of performance reviews – a prompt approach to arrest attrition, improve performance, and spike engagement. Results obtained from annual reviews are often biased by recency and don’t accurately reflect employee contributions over a course of time. Continuous Feedback, however, fosters constant healthy dialogue between managers, reportees, peers and teams about - performance and overall development in real-time. 

Darwinbox’s advanced talent management suite allows employees across the organisation to share instant and real-time feedback through the web or mobile app. 

Who are your competitors in the HR space in the specific domain that you are working in? 

Given that we primarily serve the large enterprise market, we have very few solutions that cater to a similar scale and complexity. We primarily compete with the long-established global solutions in this market, SAP & Oracle. 

However, unlike the archaic solutions with clunky interfaces, Darwinbox is built with a keen focus on bridging the digital divide between consumer and enterprises apps, ensuring an intuitive user experience. Bringing in the much-needed Indian context that the global solutions lack, Darwinbox’s platform stands out for its high degree of flexibility in catering to diverse structures and policies of Indian enterprises. As a new age solution, the platform offers pioneering features in the space of Analytics and conversational interfaces as well.

Also, the time to value (implementation speed) which is almost 1/4th of the time taken by competing solutions is a clear differentiator. 

Which are some of your prominent clients and what are your future growth plans?

Currently, over 350,000+ employees from 150+ leading enterprises use Darwinbox’s HRMS (Human Resource Management System) platform. The clientele boasts of marquee brands like Arvind, Paytm, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Myntra, Delhivery, Nivea, Swiggy, Emcure, GVK Bio, and more. 

As one of the fastest growing HCM platforms in the country, the focus on growth and expansion remains steadfast. In the near future, the plan is to expand to geographies including and beyond SEA (Southeast Asia), MENA (Middle East & North Africa). 

The product, on the other hand, will see the addition of some first-of-their-kind features like facial recognition for attendance, smart prediction of critical talent trends, along with the addition of a strategic module to the suite - Rewards and Recognition. But, a significant upgrade to the product as well as the business model will introduce an individual consumer-focused financial, and wellness offering for employees on the platform. This will be a true blend of the B2C and B2B digital worlds to offer unlimited benefits for employees.  

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