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How India’s top unicorn is leveraging Dashworks for distributed work

October 3, 2022
Prasad Kawthekar
Prasad Kawthekar
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What changed for sales productivity in 2023
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What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
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With lightning-fast delivery, live order tracking, and zero minimums, Swiggy is the food ordering app changing how India eats. It is one of India's fastest-growing unicorns, with 7000+ employees and deliveries across 600+ cities.

We sat down with Ramasubramanian (Ram) Kumaresan, Swiggy's AVP of HR, to learn why his team trusts Dashworks as their knowledge management partner for the long haul. We dive into:

  1. How the shift to remote work exposed gaps in information flows 
  2. Leveraging Dashworks to drive cross-team productivity
  3. The value of Dashworks' nearly "invisible" integration
"Investing in institutional knowledge is a long-term decision. We felt confident that partnering with Dashworks would enable the future we want to build." 

The Rise of Remote: Struggling to Maintain Information Flows

Before March 2020, nearly every employee at Swiggy worked in person at their HQ. 

There were natural and critical mechanisms for information flow, even if they were as simple as tapping your desk neighbor on the shoulder to locate a file. 

Their design teams had even put extensive thought into laying out the office premises (think collaboration rooms and centralized walkways) to encourage frequent conversations. 

When COVID forced them to go remote, they had to consider new mechanisms to replace those "serendipitous connections," as Ram puts it. 

It was time to invest in their tech stack's communication infrastructure. 

Stress on the System: In-Person Communication Blockers

Like countless companies in early COVID, the Swiggy team made the mistake of trying to mimic or recreate their in-person workspace dynamics over Zoom. 

Pre-pandemic, you could go across the hall to ask a teammate to summarize a project timeline. 

Today, instead, you have to jump on endless calls and navigate countless threads to stay in the know.

Ram quickly saw an unsustainable overload on their existing synchronous comms channels. 

In response, the team began prioritizing the design of consciously balanced sync and async systems. They turned to a few potential tools — Dashworks being one of them. 

"You can't just build a remote organization out of totally synchronous comms channels. So that's where the search for solutions like Dashworks began." 

Why Swiggy Chose Dashworks to Streamline Intelligent Search

Institutional knowledge management, especially for a company of Swiggy's size, requires intense investment to create truly structured and scalable networks. Many orgs have entire departments dedicated to knowledge curation and accessibility. 

The task grew overwhelming for Ram's team, so partnering with Dashworks was a welcome solution. They chose our platform for two primary reasons: 

  1. Pure convenience — The tech of the product itself exceeded expectations
  2. Long-term viability — Swiggy trusted us to deliver value for years to come

While many tools are installed overnight, others have to deal with years of data, files, code, and more, which requires more time and resources. 

Considering Dashworks, Swiggy knew their onboarding process would be drawn-out — likely anywhere from 12 to 24 months to achieve their end goal. 

If Ram was going to commit to this process, he had to feel confident in his partner's ability to show up in the present while continually evolving in the future. The Dashworks team aced both of those requirements. He summarizes why: 

  • Shared vision — Dashworks mirrors Swiggy's dedication to solving end users' needs. 
  • Track record — The Swiggy team was impressed by Dashworks' evolution, namely our ability to define and stick to product roadmaps, shipping timelines, etc. 
  • Vendor trust — Knowing this, Swiggy trusts Dashworks to deliver this solution at scale. 

"Swiggy is laying the foundation for the information architecture we want to build and have in the future. Dashworks is that long-term partner for us." 

Benefit #1: How Dashworks Amplifies Remote's Advantages

Since the pandemic started, Swiggy has shifted to a remote-first workplace model. 

Ram attributes this to four key benefits of the digital office: 

  1. Employees save time — Swiggy is based in Bangalore, which is known for commute times of up to 2.5 hours. People can reclaim that time for both their work and personal lives. 
  2. Meetings are purposeful — Today, Swiggy teams know how to structure a 30-minute slot for the best outcomes. "Respect for everyone's time and availability has increased greatly." 
  3. Reduced distractions for flow states — The physical office has many perks but is really not ideal for getting into the flow of an hour of deep, uninterrupted work. 
  4. Greater outcomes & accountability — Along those lines, deep work means improved outcomes. Remote workers know they're directly responsible for these results.

Remote work has enabled Swiggy employees to architect their workdays, balance professional and personal responsibilities, and drive productivity. 

Dashworks further streamlines remote work by bridging the information disconnect in most distributed workplaces. 

"By going remote-first and asynchronous, we saw significant amounts of time being saved each day and affirmed that everyone's time is valuable." 

Benefit #2: Powering Deep Work and Cross-Team Productivity

During the 2020 move to remote work, the Swiggy team conducted several studies on the transition and productivity results. 

One found that teams spend much of the day just searching for info. We see employees (mainly engineers) regularly breaking focus to click out of their screen, open other apps, and look up a file. 

All of this eats at their ultimate productivity. You can also extrapolate the number of searches a coder, marketer, etc., makes per day across an entire year, department, and company. 

According to Ram, the amount of time wasted felt unbelievable. 

Dashworks' integrated, quick, and intelligent universal search minimizes the number of clicks or attempted keywords needed to get to a desired piece of data. 

As a result, it reduces these distractions and the cognitive load required to get work done. 

Teams can focus on and maintain their flow states of output rather than info gathering. 

"Imagine if a mechanic spent more time referencing manuals and finding tools than working on the car. Unfortunately, we see that happening in the digital world." 

Benefit #3: Streamlined Onboarding Using Dashworks

While transitioning to the digital workspace, the Swiggy team noticed the absence of one significant aspect of office culture. 

Most organizations are built on implicit networks of interpersonal relationships. All of those live conversations and bonds informally facilitate comms and info dissemination. Without the networks, silos, and miscommunication could become the norm. 

Ram has especially seen this in action with new employees entering the system. 

The typical onboarding flow comprises structured resources like: 

  • Guides, wikis, and pre-recorded webinars
  • Zoom trainings with every new hire at once

But, when the 101 is done, there are few ways for new team members to go beyond the basics and accelerate their understanding of the company. 

Even if these resources exist, they might need to figure out whom to contact or where to begin looking, or they might not feel comfortable asking when they're new to the team. 

Unfortunately, remote work exacerbates this, as an in-person employee could turn to their nearest desk neighbor and ask to be pointed in the right direction. We once again see these invisible info networks of the workplace in action. 

Here, Dashworks can become that easily accessible network for new people to discover unspoken institutional knowledge. 

"There's a lot of implicit communication of info in the culture of companies. That invisible network is what we're striving to recreate with Dashworks." 

Seamless Scaling: The Value of "Invisible" Search Solutions

Swiggy's fundamental use case for Dashworks is swiftly navigating and accurately searching their many unstructured info repositories. These mainly include GSuite and Confluence, with plans to expand to Google Sites, CRMs, and a company-wide wiki. 

Aside from being able to track down specific content quickly, this also helps them: 

  • Discover new knowledge — On top of locating your buried files, you can find relevant, helpful info created and published by your teammates, supervisors, etc. 
  • Cut out the middleman — Dashworks could never replace interpersonal interactions. But it can eliminate the need to always turn to someone for their project files, meeting notes, deliverable guidelines, etc. 

Even more, all of these capabilities are integrated with the Swiggy team's existing workflows. 

" The highest form of convenience is when a product serves your needs, but you don't even realize it's there in the first place. So the invisible solutions are the ones that are most convenient at the end of the day." 

Dashworks brings both components to the table by design: 

  1. The pure tech itself that can power this universal internal search
  2. Its intentional convenience factor and seamless, "invisible" integration for end users

Ram emphasizes that Dashworks has been essential to Swiggy's institutional knowledge management. But, ultimately, they're still early in their partnership with many more advancements ahead of them. 

"It's one thing to have an enterprise search and another to integrate it into your browser or Slack. So that's where Dashworks scored for us."

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