Today’s Guest

Kamil Makowski
CEO, Mcon Partners

Episode Summary

In this week’s episode we’re delighted to welcome Kamil Makowski from Mcon Services.

This is a great discussion about Podio and business process and, in particular, how Mcon services uses Podio as a springboard for business process design, optimisation and automation.

Kamil started his company from the ground up, so it’s a great opportunity to hear how a small kernel of an idea (in this case a frustration with data entry) can lead to the start of a growing business!

It’s also an exciting podcast as Kamil introduces us to his new extension that Mcon Services is working to launch to help business better track and understand their processes!

Show Links:
Two short pitch videos about Mcon Services:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO1Kx2NcfIA&t=1s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO7KBd6gqmg

You can also find them at mconservice.com

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Audio Transcription

Narrator 0:00
Welcome to powered by podio automation is everything. supercharge your business with podio. Get ready for another episode of Supercharged! with Jordan Samuel Fleming your weekly dive into the awesome impact workflow and automation can have on your business when it’s powered by Podio. Join us each week as we learn from the top podio partners in the world as we investigate system integrations and add ons and hear from real business owners who have implemented podio into their business. Now, join your host Jordan Samuel Fleming, CEO of G amechangers for this week’s episode.

Jordan Fleming 0:44
Hey, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of supercharged I’m your host Jordan Samuel Fleming, here to talk all about the power of workflow and automation when your business is powered by podio. Today’s guest is Kamil Makowski from M con services. Kamil, welcome to the podcast Introduce yourself.

Kamil 1:03
Thanks for having me, Jordan. Well, I’m Camille CEO of M con services. And basically we work with process automation and digital transformation.

Jordan Fleming 1:14
Fantastic. So where are you? At the moment? Where are you? Obviously, from the last name your your Polish?

Unknown Speaker 1:20
born, as

Jordan Fleming 1:21
you say, I that’s which is actually where I’m located right now in Poland? Yeah, so. But you’re based? Where are you based? Right now?

Kamil 1:33
We’re based in Copenhagen. in Copenhagen. I

Jordan Fleming 1:35
love Copenhagen. And so what, you know, where where do you find most your business at the moment? What kind of companies do you work with?

Kamil 1:45
So at the moment, we, we work with actually a large, large painting company here. And then like, a company that’s actually trying to turn themselves into into a franchise. And we’re slowly Well, we started working with them quite a long time ago, I think, like three years back, and they were quite not as big as they are right now, obviously, but we start implementing stuff for them. And then they change their strategies and wanting to become a franchise company. So actually, we went from starting to build a small system for for a smaller painting company to now actually building a large franchise system for this company.

Jordan Fleming 2:24
Interesting franchise, I’ve always felt I worked in franchising for five years or so years ago, and I’ve always felt podio would match up well, for a franchise, you know, system, but never got a chance to do it. So that’s, that’s quite interesting. And I think that’ll be an interesting project. Now, you know, you talked a bit. You know, I know, in your, in your introduction, that you sent me, you talked a little bit about the change, or the focus on process. Is that something, you know, from a business perspective? That is, has that been a kind of just a natural growth for you guys? And has podio played a big part in that and how?

Kamil 3:10
And yes, it has been a quite a natural transition, I would say working with podio. So in the very beginning, when we started doing podio, we just saw podio as as a platform, as is basically a software where you can do some project management and some other small things. But you know, once we started growing once the system started growing, we put more and more focus on on actually the process side, because it was just inevitable, you know, suddenly, it wasn’t just, you know, a few separate apps that we had on the system, but every everything started to become interlinked. And once it started to come into link, you know, we actually started thinking about okay, but these people actually do the same things the same way every single time. And that also kind of came natural once we started doing all the global flow development and Citrix Podio automation. I think we should call it now. But uh,

Jordan Fleming 4:05
but one day, one day, I’ll call it that one day, I’ll never, I’ll never fully get away from globiflow, but PWA is at least easy.

Kamil 4:14
Yeah, same here. But yeah, and actually, actually, the the process approach started back when, when I started getting the first developers on board. One of the first people that that we got on board was, was a guy called Mariusz. And actually previously, he worked on some some IBM stuff, some Process Management in IBM, and when he saw polio, and when he saw globiflow, his first thought was, you know, we got to do processes. This is all process based. And that’s actually when this transition started. So we started doing actual process maps, we started focusing a lot on the process analysis, and the process life cycles, and then that became our main focus, whereas podio is just There’s kind of a gateway to get into actually performing those processes. Does that make sense? Sure. So,

Jordan Fleming 5:07
yeah, and and I definitely, you know, podio lends itself, particularly with, with the workflow automation, it lends itself into developing those kind of processes for for businesses of all sizes as well, you know, where, where maybe it was larger companies that would focus on process earlier, a tool like podio can be the facilitator. I think a lot of times to bring in a more rigorous process. Um, tell me, when you approach process, I mean, it’s a conversation I have with people all the time around, doing too much versus doing too little. What do you what do you find? Or how do you approach the balance of that?

Kamil 5:51
Yeah, so it’s always a tricky thing. But I mean, we would say that we try to, we try to get as much of a detailed overview as we can of every single process. And we do understand that it’s very, very hard to follow that process 100% of the time, so if we go down into all the smallest details, but just the fact that we are able to analyse it, and to map it, to document it, and then also to automate most of these small steps, in the end actually makes it a lot easier for the for the final users and stakeholders of those businesses. So even though, even though we will not 100% follow those processes, it’s always good to have them script and always good to have the map as kind of this perfect scenario for these companies to follow.

Jordan Fleming 6:41
Sure, and, and in terms of, you know, making a balance then between, you know, breaks in the process where judgement needs to be applied, or, or, or, or ensuring that you’re not being too restrictive in your process. Because I think you can, what works well, on paper, or in a theoretical concept in a process structure, or if you’re developing it is great, but can change very quickly, when you actually put human beings doing it. That’s certainly that’s been my experience. Right? I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s inevitable, and I know, and that I think, podio actually, I’d be interested in your opinion, because I think that I think podio you know, you tend to get some people who get involved in podio. And, and they get really excited by processes, and you have to actually walk them back from being too ridiculous. What do you think about that? Have you experienced that?

Kamil 7:43
Yeah, that can certainly happen. 100% 100% I mean, but but but again, you know, it’s, I think it’s important that because the approach we take to those human decisions that you’re talking about, is actually that we plan those places in the process into that actual process flow. So we might have, let’s say, the process split into two different parts, whereas the the first the first part is very standardised, very straightforward, and certain steps to follow. And then we just reach a place where, you know, decisions have to be made different exceptions happen all the time. So that’s just kind of, you know, we we design that into the process. And then keep that either it might be a conversation might mean meetings, and whatever. But then we just automate all those things that lead up to that final decision, and to that final discussion. So we might automate planning the meetings, we might automate, like all different scheduling, like gathering the automate the information that they need to make this decision, but then we actually planted into the process. And then once the decision is made, we move on and move to those standard steps again.

Jordan Fleming 8:49
So let’s step back for a second. I mean, obviously, you’ve you’ve got a business that is focused on this and growing. How did you initially get into podio? And, you know, how did you find it? How did you get into it? And being in Copenhagen? There’s a, there’s a direct link, I, I have drank many times in the podio bar. But so how did you find it?

Kamil 9:15
I’m very, it was a coincidence, to be honest. In every way, this was, this was like, I think, four or five years ago, when I when I started working with podio. And I was I was basically just doing this boring data entry job at this company that that we’re now working for. I was just sitting in Excel, you know, looking at PDFs typing in the same kind of data over and over and over for hours, every week. And then I was I was just thinking, oh, there must be another way to do this. This is this is stupid. This is ridiculous waste of time. And then I just approached one of the partners that that company asked and this and we this, you’re wasting your money and you’re wasting my time. like can we not do something about this and then What he told me was, hey, listen, I heard this interview with a guy who just created a platform called podio. And then he sold it to Citrix. It was on the radio the other day, you should check it out. And I was like, Okay, let me let me check it out. Let me see what it’s all about. And then it seemed very, very interesting. And then I just jumped into it. I was like, yeah, maybe I can do a little bit of automation here. And I just started, you know, with one app, then we had two apps, three apps, five apps. And then this just grew from very simple, you know, just automating a few data entries here and there to an actual system that that they started implementing.

Jordan Fleming 10:35
That that’s great. I just, I heard about it, because nobody ever says I heard about this platform called podio. I’m not really I mean, it’s sort of like the world’s best kept secret in some I feels like that sometimes. But, you know, obviously, for those people who may be listening that that don’t know, obviously, that although we’ve had both Anders and Sarah, on the programme, and Citrix bought it, but it is a Copa, a Danish startup, it was and I think that one of the founders is now like Minister for he was like Minister for entrepreneurial thing, or it’s not somebody who’s in the government, from what I remember. Yeah, one of the founders, I unfortunately, the the podio partner get togethers, which this year went virtual, which launched last year, technically 2020, obviously, for obvious reasons. And was actually very cool, virtually and and Gil and the brick bridge team did a great job. For years in a row. We’ve been all congregating for European partners in Copenhagen to have these get togethers. Right? And, and they have been phenomenally enjoyable. And I’ve now feel like I know that city. Pretty friggin well. I know, I know where I stay. I know, like, where I get my airbnbs I know where to go to drink? I know. I know. I know. I know, to do other things. And yeah, it’s fantastic. So going to, you know, I mean, as you are, you know, working in podio. Are there any specific? I mean, obviously, Citrix PWA, the workflow fits perfectly in your processes. What about, what have you been doing it? Or have you been doing anything around extensions? Are there any ones you particularly love? You know, what? How has that been for you guys?

Kamil 12:32
Yeah, definitely. I mean, in our opinion, podio without extensions is is not nearly as powerful as it can be. With the extensions, obviously, something that is just an everyday extension for us is quivvy tools, which is an amazing, amazing extension, I would really recommend that to everyone. It just saves. So so many hours of investigation and like debugging testing, and

Jordan Fleming 12:58
I need to get into it, I keep I’ve looked at it, like high level a couple times. I know Mike, and I think it’s amazing. Like, from what I look at it, I think, Wow, that’s cool. I just I’ve never had the time to sit down and actually look at it. And but I I’m, you’ve now spurred me, I’m gonna have to I’m gonna have to do it. Because it does seem like an amazing tool. And from a development point of view, it must help you a lot.

Kamil 13:22
Yeah, it really it really does. I mean, sometimes we even spend more time in grievance tools than in globiflow Because we just find out what is wrong and query tools and then just know exactly where to correct it just go and correct the flow. And then then we are Yeah, yep. But uh, actually we are we’re developing some sort of extension ourselves to, I don’t know, if you want to get into that.

Jordan Fleming 13:46
On what?

Kamil 13:47
We’re developing an extension.

Jordan Fleming 13:49
Please, if you want to get into it. Let’s Let’s break up.

Kamil 13:53
Okay, let’s do it. But yeah, again, it’s very, very process focused. And what we’re trying to get into right here is process mining, which is something that we haven’t really seen from podio yet. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with process mining,

Jordan Fleming 14:08
I’m not, you’re not okay.

Kamil 14:11
Well process mining is, is basically once you once you have your process defined, and basically documented and automated, you can then start mining that process, which basically means that you can start an instance of that process, let’s say, let’s say a project, and let’s take this this company, the painting company. So once they get a house, their process starts, their delivery process starts. And then from that point out, there’s a bunch of sub processes and core processes that are all interlinked. But in the end, you know, that process ends when the house is delivered. So, as soon as you documented that whole process, and you’ve automated it, let’s say in podio, or in any other system, you can start mining it and mining it means that you basically track all the activities of every user That starts that process throughout the whole thing. So this is all based on all the logs that you can gather from every single interaction that a person does to this single process. And you can actually have that real time displayed on an interface or just through simple data. Whereas you can see how people actually follow that process where in the process, do people do mistakes? Where do we have delays? How far along each process actually is, is in the in the in the completion and so on. So in the end, you just end up with having the option to trace. And so

Jordan Fleming 15:43
almost like, you know, I don’t I’ve never called it that, but that but I mean, I, you’re in essence, you you potentially heat mapping where there are problems, or, you know, or wait, like where there are blockages or where people are spending more time on this bit less time on this bit, or potentially you can even see, from a training point of view where a user is struggling with one part of the process that other people don’t, maybe that’s a training issue, is that what we’re kind of talking about?

Kamil 16:15
Yes, exactly. It’s more or less like a heat map, like you said, and then you just see the whole process, right? And but but actually, it’s there’s, there’s other things that that come along with this. And that’s, like when people don’t follow the process, you can actually see when those people are not following the process. So you can actually backtrack on that and say, Okay, listen, we’re missing one piece of data here, go back and correct it, you know, you didn’t follow the process. And this we can automate as well. So this, this could be like a reminder, an email or just another, I’m sorry, I’m just this could be a and a reminder and email or anything like like that. So just remind some people to backtrack in that process, or to fill out additional data that was not when the processes broke. And actually, the thing and the thing about this extension that we’re creating here is that it’s going to be not only linked to podio. But it’s actually going to be a decentralised platform, where we the first, the first system we’re connecting is podio. But then we’re going to extend this to any other system as well. So actually, these processes that we can design and track will not be only podio. But if you have any integrations with other system, let’s say an accounting system or smrtphone in your case, I mean, you could you could actually trace track these processes across different platforms as well.

Jordan Fleming 17:37
That’s interesting. And I mean, I’m I always love to hear and understand about new, you know, integrations and a new extensions. And that that sounds like a very interesting one. what’s the sort of timeframe beta frame or whatever? Like, where, what what can we expect you’ve you’ve whetted the appetite now? I mean,

Kamil 17:58
yeah, that’s true. So, so we’re actually in. So the, the thing about it is that if you if you want to track these processes, you have to script those processes on the platform. So this would be some some kind of an external flow engine as well to podio. Because once you have them scripted, then you can do the process, Mike, we can’t really do the process mining on globiflow or other systems, right, we have to have the logic and the code on our platform. So we’re at the stage right now, where we’ve developed that first stage where we can actually write the logic for podio and any other integrations. And then we’re deploying this somewhere in the next week or two for for our client. And we’re going to start migrating some of the globiflows and everything we’ve done there to our platform. Once we’ve migrated some of those initial processes, we’re then going to start developing these, these process mining features on top of that.

Jordan Fleming 18:55
Okay, interesting. Yeah, no, I mean, I, you know, obviously, the, you know, right away, the podio API is so flexible, that you’ve got a lot of opportunity when you’re doing something like that. And it’ll be you know, fascinating to see how that can, you know, because that will be essentially that will that will promote the building of our workflow outside of globiflow, which, which I have no problem with, I mean, we do that all the time. globiflow is absolutely brilliant, and it is an essential tool for podio. But for for more advanced people and organisations, we’re almost always building outside of podio, the, the, you know, using our own service to drive certain automations so that we can have reliability, enhanced reliability or, or backup, you know, capabilities to rerun flows that don’t we’re podio has shit the bed, as my Andrew Cranston who works with me a Gamechangers, he likes to describe it as podio shitting the bed when when when you know, you’ll have an API slowdown or or search errors right now, right right now, the world is podio is basically one big goddamn search error. Error. That’s what it feels like right now. Interesting. Well, I’m excited to hear that. And I’m excited to I’ll be excited to see that when you actually, when you get it launched, once you do get it launched, let’s do another podcast specifically about that. And we can we can, you know, put the links to, to your the site when sets up the signup in the podcast? Because I think that that’d be very cool. I love promoting extensions, I love people seeing what’s out there. And I think that’s, that’s fantastic and will be interesting. Tell me in terms of, you know, obviously, you you’ve got the extension coming, that’s exciting terms of your own client base, or people you’re you know, are you guys, are you looking as a podio partner? Are you looking to get more clients? Or are you…Are you guys full up? What kind of people do you like to work with? You know, cuz obviously, I was like to put everybody’s links in the podcast so people can find who I’m talking to tell me a bit about the situation right now.

Kamil 21:21
Yeah, we are, we are looking for blinds, actually, this last year, we were all filled up. But this year, we’re going we’re expanding the team, and we’re going to pull out on marketing and sales and trying to grow as much as possible. So clients we’re definitely looking for. And this could be, you know, local clients, and then my buddy could also be clients anywhere in the world, because we weren’t 100% remote and digital, so it doesn’t really change much and in depth.

Jordan Fleming 21:50
One, and I mean, if we’ve always done that, as well, I mean, we gamechangers, has, has been a remote company for, you know, nine years or something and worked with companies in a, you know, over 15 countries, but the last year has proven to most people that you don’t need to be on site to do this work. So I think that that opens up people to be able to feel more comfortable with engaging a company, you know, in, in Copenhagen, because who gives a shit? I mean, you know, with zoom and podio, what the hell do you need?

Kamil 22:31
I you know, I mean,

Jordan Fleming 22:33
so I think that’s really, really fun as well. Tell me, are there any specific? I mean, obviously, for your company, or your work? You you’d be heavily focused on the process element, I assume? Because that seems to certainly be a forte, are there any types of companies or you know, that you particularly are interested in or have experienced in that there’s only so many paint companies out there, you must work with lots of difference. What type of sectors? Do you work with? A lot of that, you know, well,

Kamil 23:06
yes, we we don’t actually go by by industry and sector as such, when we look at the other variables of those specific companies. So actually, we focus a lot on gazelle type companies, so companies that have experienced quite a lot of growth recently, oftentimes, some of that growth is is quite unstructured, and which, which makes them perfect candidates for freedom standardising processes, and doing some of this automation. So it’s, it’s more about those kind of companies. And of course, you know, just just the nature of the founders and business owners of those companies that you know, why not want to do you know, innovative stuff, and really go into digitalization, because that’s also an obvious factor that that we can then segment by when it comes to those companies, but But usually, because our companies, so small, medium sized companies, not too big of companies, not enterprises and stuff. We have worked with a few smaller companies like startups, which has been great. Of course, it’s not to the same extent, because they don’t really have all their processes in place yet. They’re still very flexible, but uh, yeah, small medium sized companies gives us our are the perfect match for us.

Jordan Fleming 24:21
Perfect. And and do you have a particular sort of, you know, if you’re speaking with a new company, say there’s someone out there who’s looking for, you know, to help kind of build their innovation and systems using podio? Do you have a kind of way of engaging with them? Do you have a like, do you have a defined method or Can anyone just reach out and you you’ll, you’ll schedule a call like, what what sort of ways to keep people engaged with

Kamil 24:49
you? Yeah, right now we we do most of it through our website. So if you actually go on our website, you’ll see exactly the different models we went by the way we work with clients and you also read a little bit of about podio there. And then yeah, we schedule a meeting, you can do that straight through the website, or you can shoot me an email. And then we schedule schedule that initial around 60 minute call, we do what we call the the process identification phase, which is we talked to you and figure out in what part of your business we should actually start focusing was important for you. Where are the main pain points. And from that point out, we kind of set a focus. And then we started, we started doing some of the analysis and redesign.

Jordan Fleming 25:34
Great, well, fantastic. It was lovely to finally get a chance to speak to you. I will post for anybody listening, I would post the website, on the podcast information and on the website on on the podcast website, so that you can easily reach out and I encourage, encourage you to do so. I’m excited to be in the loop about your new extension. I am excited to please do make sure you keep us updated on that because I would love to hear more about it. And I want to thank you very much for joining me today.

Kamil 26:09
Thank you for having me, Jordan.

Narrator 26:12
You’ve been listening to Supercharged! with Jordan Samuel Fleming. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify for your weekly dive into how you can supercharge your business by making it powered by podio. Be sure to check out our website www.wearegamechangers.com where you can learn more and arrange a 30 minute call with Jordan to help you understand how podio supercharges you!