Uncover the significance of WordPress in enterprise-level solutions through this thought-provoking video. Explore real-world examples of how leading companies utilize WordPress to achieve scalability, security, and customization at an enterprise level. Get inspired by success stories and learn about key features that make WordPress a powerful business tool. Elevate your understanding of enterprise solutions with this compelling show
#2- How generally is WordPress seen in enterprise-level website solutions at the beginning of 2024, and what are some of the significant problems and opportunities?
#3 – How have the ongoing changes connected to Gutenberg over the last few years affected how WordPress is seen and used in the enterprise sector?
#4 – How do you deal with security and integration with SaaS enterprise software that doesn’t offer semi-open API or is not that good?
#5 – What business tools and services do you use to run your business daily that you could recommend to the audience?
#6 – If you return to a time machine at the beginning of running your business, what essential advice would you give yourself?
This Week Show’s Sponsors
Sensei LMS: Sensei LMS
The Show’s Main Interview Notes & Links
[00:00:14.710] – Jonathan Denwood
Welcome back, folks, to the WP Tonic. This work this week in WordPress and SaaS. This is episode 894. This is our first episode in 224. I don’t know where the last year went, it flew past. We got a great interview folks. We got anal capture of multi docs. He’s going to be talking about his experience with enterprise level solutions with WordPress. He’s had many years running a successful agency in this area. He’s got an enormous amount of experience and knowledge to share. I’m sure you’ll get some tips and insights from the conversation. So Al, would you like to give us a 2030 2nd introduction about yourself quickly?
[00:01:15.270] – Anil Gupta
Of course. First of all, Jonathan, congratulations on the 894 episodes on the podcast. I started my podcast very recently, just this year and I know how much effort and work it is to produce a podcast. So well done and congratulations on doing this consistently.
[00:01:36.910] – Jonathan Denwood
Well, thank you for that. I appreciate it. You can send me the check after the.
[00:01:41.660] – Anil Gupta
Sounds great. Hey everyone, I’m Anil Gupta. As Jonathan said, I’m a CEO and co-founder of Multidots, Multicolab, and Dot stores. So these are the three different brands. One of the multidots is where we do a lot of WordPress design, development, and mostly enterprise-grade migration and custom development. Multicolab is also an enterprise plugin where we offer Google Doc-style collaboration in WordPress. That’s one of the things that a lot of enterprise customers were actually asking for. So we built that product and our third brand store, that’s where we serve a lot of small medium businesses who are using woocommerce and e commerce. So these are the three different brands and the customer group we are serving.
[00:02:38.110] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s great. And I’ve got my great co-host, Kurt. Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
[00:02:44.790] – Kurt von Ahnen
Sure thing, Jonathan. My name is Kurt von Anan. I own an agency called Manana Nomas.
[00:02:49.890] – Anil Gupta
And a podcast of the same name.
[00:02:51.750] – Kurt von Ahnen
And I work directly with great companies like WP-Tonic and Lifter LMS.
[00:02:56.370] – Jonathan Denwood
Thanks. Before we go into the meat potatoes of this great show, I’ve got a couple of messages from our leading sponsors. We will be back in a few moments folks.
[00:04:09.870] – Jonathan Denwood
We’re coming back, folks. I just wanted to say that we’ve got a sponsor who’s with us until the end of this month. That’s Cloudways. Cloudways. I think you’ve all heard about Cloudways. They offer an excellent service to WordPress professionals. If you’re looking for cloud-based hosting, they’ve got a special discount deal. You can find all the details on our particular page for sponsorship deals and a created list of the best WordPress publidens and services. You can find all these goodies by going over to wpntonic.com deals, and wponic.com deals, and you’ll find all the goodies there. What more could you ask for? Probably a lot more, but that’s all you’re going to get from that page. I’m sorry, I’m sorry to disappoint. No, it’s a fabulous page, and you should go to it and buy and use all the sponsor’s goodies on that page. That’s the way to support the show. Let’s go straight into it. So what led you into the world of WordPress and what’s the origin story about Multidoc? How did it start and how did you get into this particular sector? Offering solutions to enterprises?
[00:05:40.830] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, so it was 2009. That’s when I started and co-founded Multidocs along with my business partner and friend Aslam. And we started our agency pretty much like an open-source solution provider. So we were not just focusing on WordPress, but we were focusing on Magento Drupal and Joomla. So a bunch of other open source platform. But our goal was to focus on open-source technology and provide that as a solution to anyone who is looking to implement e-commerce websites and stuff like that. So we did that for, I think, the first five years of our agency. So, in the first five years, we did all these different open-source platforms.
[00:06:34.390] – Jonathan Denwood
What was your background before you started the agency, though?
[00:06:38.220] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, so I studied computer science. I studied computer science. I was a developer. My first job was as a PHP web developer, so I was building websites during my college years. after that, I worked for roughly like five years in different tech companies as a web developer, and my last job was as a project manager. That’s where I had a chance to manage teams and clients and projects, and that kind of gave me confidence and created a path for me to become an entrepreneur.
[00:07:16.850] – Jonathan Denwood
All right, so I’m sorry to interrupt. So you started developing Drupal and other web based platforms. So what led to the path in specializing more into WordPress?
[00:07:31.090] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, so first five years in our business, we worked in all these different platforms. And one thing, it was very hard to catch up with all the updates that’s going on in Magento, in Jimilhar, in Trupal and WordPress. It was very hard to kind of stay up to date as a developer or as a solution provider. And we noticed that. I think there was one time where I was doing a math and I was like, I looked into our customer base and I think 60 70% were on WordPress. So the Magento Joomla Drupal, they were all like less than 30%. And that’s when I think my business partner and I, we made a decision that it’s very stressful to kind of continue to focus on four different platform and also continue to invest time and energy. So yes, that’s when we made a decision to just focus on one platform. And WordPress at that time was very popular, fastest growing open source content management CMS platform. It is still fastest growing. That was our motivation to focus on WordPress. And one of your question was how we end up focusing on more this enterprise sector or enterprise space in the WordPress.
[00:08:57.550] – Anil Gupta
That’s also a very interesting observation where I think it was around our ten year of my agency’s anniversary. So ten years in, so we were like focusing on the WordPress. And one thing I noticed that the WordPress software, so overall, WordPress software that a high school blogger or small business uses is the same piece of software that enterprise also uses. Okay, so in a sense it wasn’t changing that much. The found 80 90% of the foundation is the same. It’s just like there were a couple of things that you need to handle differently when it comes to the enterprise and all. So that was kind of like a big, because earlier it was like, oh, that we’re not sure if the enter WordPress is right. For the enterprise. But then when I started to going to different Wordcamps and being more involved in the WordPress community, I learned that WordPress is being used by some of the big enterprises and that kind of like created a spark that oh, we should actually focus on this another space where the WordPress for the enterprises. So that was one big motivation there for us. And yeah, another thing I think was the confidence because when you work with small medium businesses for a while we had some doubts that whether we are ready to serve the enterprise customers, the challenges and the demands for the enterprise customer.
[00:10:37.580] – Anil Gupta
But I think that also something that came up with more experience. So we started kind of like working with some of the complex WordPress migrations and customizations for the small customers. So that was also a big, actually learning that before we started working with big clients, we were already working on a complex WordPress projects for small clients. So there is like a difference. So there are two different things. One is big client and second is a complex WordPress project. Right? So for the big clients it’s the same level of complexity or maybe even there are a couple of things that changes. So that was another big confidence for us that we already have experience and knowledge on working on complex WordPress migrations. And so yeah, that should be not.
[00:11:37.520] – Jonathan Denwood
A problem because obviously I’ve done a few large, it’s mostly in the medium size, the smaller medium size that WP tonic has been active in. But I have done some larger projects for larger companies. I have a couple large clients. I think one of the main areas that I just want to see your own insight about this. I think one of the bigger differences when you get larger companies is integrations. You touched about your own plugin that works with Google Docs, your own solution. A lot of companies have got legacy systems or they require integration into accountancy, external crms, crms that are dominant in a particular industry sector, but not generally that well known, that type of thing. Would you agree? And I think that’s a learning process for agency that’s moving up is that they’re going to be dealing with a lot more integrations with other systems. What’s your own feelings about this?
[00:13:03.130] – Anil Gupta
I agree with you, the integration is one of the things that is important. I will add a couple more. So when we started to focusing on enterprise, what I observed that as I mentioned, the WordPress software is the same, but there are a couple of things that changes when we work with the enterprise customer. The first one is structure. So sometimes they don’t want a plain simple WordPress, right. They will need headless or sometimes the publishing will be happening something where and they will just be using WordPress to display. So they write content somewhere else and it got published on WordPress website. So structure compliance is something that’s also important speed to publish. So how fast their publishing or content creation team can write and publish the content. So that becomes very important for the enterprises performance, both performance of the WordPress as a backend and front end security integration that you mentioned and the last one, I would say support. So those are the seven things that we identified that, oh, these are the seven things which are very important and also a little bit different how we address a small website versus an enterprise website.
[00:14:19.700] – Anil Gupta
These seven things, something that will pay attention to.
[00:14:23.400] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s great. Over to you, Kurt.
[00:14:26.290] – Kurt von Ahnen
Yeah, I’m listening with big, wide open ears, right? Because as an agency, you’re like, well, what are some of the secrets? What are some of the things to look for? In my personal experience, I’ve noticed there’s almost like a prejudiced opinion of WordPress at the c level, executive level, right, where they’re like, oh, no, I heard WordPress has security issues, or no, we don’t want to be on WordPress. We need a bespoke custom website or something like that. And in some cases, I’ve actually gone. When I first interviewed with Jonathan years ago, he was like, how did you get WordPress into Suzuki? And I’m like, I just did it and asked for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. And then once they realized it, they were like, well, it, that’s, that was years ago. How do you think WordPress is kind of like viewed or seen by the executive world now in today’s market? Do you think it’s better accepted or do you think it still has that weird, like, you got to sell them on it first before you can do it?
[00:15:33.210] – Anil Gupta
That’s a very good question. In fact, we also have observed this change that three or four years ago we were getting a lot of security questions and concern from the technical buyers and enterprises. I think especially in 2023, we haven’t got that many questions related to security. So I’m sure the perception is changing. And some of the big case studies like NASA, White House, I think that kind of also adding that confidence where when they hear that a lot of big banner brands and White House and NASA and this kind of like government institutes are also using WordPress and trusting on the WordPress. So I think they filter out that doubt and confidence in WordPress, especially in the security space but I would also say that I think a general level of interest and curiosity around security performance is always there for the technical buyers. Right. It doesn’t matter if it’s WordPress, especially like all these security cyber hacks and all those things are happening around the world. I would say any technology buyer is a little bit cautious about whether the platform or tool or software they are using is secure or not. But specific to the WordPress, I see that level of the caution, but it’s not like a big turn off for them that WordPress is not secure.
[00:17:27.040] – Anil Gupta
So we should not even think about WordPress. Yeah.
[00:17:30.120] – Kurt von Ahnen
And then I guess the follow up to that would be when you talk to an enterprise customer about adapting them to a, you know, Jonathan had already asked about a couple of obstacles, but what are some major problems or the other side, what are some major opportunities to converting an enterprise organization into a WordPress environment?
[00:17:52.630] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, this is my interesting question because I always try to pay attention to this particular part where what are the things that they really like about the WordPress enterprise customers and what are the things that they are not yet happy about. So in terms of the problems, I would say WordPress, when we designed or when launched 2004, it was designed for small and medium businesses and bloggers, right? So it’s very simple, which is, I think a strength of WordPress, that it’s very simple and easy to publish in WordPress. But in enterprise and when it’s a large business, workflow is something that we see a lot where we have to go and find, design a custom workflow and create, use plugins or customization. So workflow is something that I think is not yet there how enterprises need. So that’s kind of like, I would say a problem and opportunity both for us as an agency where we help them a lot. Second thing comes to my mind is collaboration. And that is where we also built Multicolab, where right now in WordPress, there is no any way where multiple people can collaboratively create a content and publish.
[00:19:13.560] – Anil Gupta
Now collaboration has been like, we are very poised by the collaborations using in all the different apps like Canva or Notion or WordPress, Wix and Google Doc and Microsoft, like pretty much any big content creation platform that we see, it has collaboration tools in built. Right? So with that, that’s something that also coming up as a big ask now and big turn off for the workplace. Some of the customers, because the collaboration is not there. They were looking and shopping for the other platforms. And that’s one reason why we built multicolored. So I think those are the two comes my mind that collaboration and.
[00:19:59.470] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:20:00.740] – Kurt von Ahnen
Thanks for the insight. Jonathan, over to you.
[00:20:03.170] – Anil Gupta
[00:20:03.540] – Jonathan Denwood
A couple of comments about what you said. I think when it comes to security I think people got to understand. I’ll be interested your response, my own view on this is that people tend to think that SAS automatically is going to be more secure. But I think that’s a fallacy myself. Look at the ongoing disaster that’s last pass that suppressed a lot of people’s wallets and that were utilizing to store passwords and a lot of secure data had been cracked and they suppressed that. And the full extent of that breach is still just coming out and they’ve been forced and that’s been ongoing pattern, hasn’t it, that SaaS companies suppress the knowledge that they’ve got some substantial problems where it’s open source. It’s more out there, isn’t it? Which is a two edged sword, isn’t it? Because it does give the slight impression that it’s not so secure, but it’s only that you’re not being told the truth by a lot of SaaS companies. Do you think I’m being unfair there or do you think I’m basically correct?
[00:21:42.210] – Anil Gupta
I don’t know what’s the right answer here, but I would say, yeah, you.
[00:21:51.350] – Jonathan Denwood
Can say that I’m talking accident actually, because I normally am.
[00:21:55.800] – Anil Gupta
Yeah. No, I think my view in general when it comes to security is that it’s like do I trust on trust on someone else? Like SaaS is more like you are trusting on them that they will secure your data, they will secure the platform, and in an open source you have a control that you are like, all right, I’m going to set up this on my server. So basically depending, I think, let’s say if I’m a kind of a person where I feel like I don’t have the enough resources and budget to secure something my own, then I think cloud or SAS becomes a good option. But some of these enterprises, I believe that they have a very decent budget and team and infrastructure to protect. And if they have a more control over how they want to structure then I think they will be able to take very fast and quick action in order to avoid any security loopholes compared to the clouds. That’s kind of like, my opinion is like how you, if you want to control that’s kind of like give you more confidence, then I think that might be the route that you should go for.
[00:23:14.610] – Jonathan Denwood
And before we go into the other main question, I’ve got a quick other follow through question. When you were talking about responding to Kurt’s question that what are the opportunities? And you were saying how people look. Now obviously when an enterprise customer is looking to change web based website publishing platform, they normally going to give it to their IT team and depending on the organization, the higher management will have some input and the marketing. But when they’re making a short list, are you finding that WordPress is part of that short list or is it, what are the things based on your conversations that determine that WordPress is in the shortlist? Is it that some of the people in the IT or somebody in higher management has utilized WordPress before in a previous job, in a previous working for a previous company? And they say, well you should look at WordPress because I get the feeling that there’s still a bit of resistance from IT departments about WordPress and open source in general. I suppose it depends on the culture of each IT department linked to each enterprise customer.
[00:24:46.970] – Anil Gupta
Yeah. So two things I would say there first is, yes, when it comes to initial set of options to build website or cmS, WordPress is part of that option that I’ve seen that because when they come, some of the enterprise customers that we work with in the beginning, they will tell us like hey, we are between Adobe and WordPress or we are between sitecore and WordPress or this third other platform. Right? So I can see that they have couple of options and the WordPress is part of that most of the times. My understanding, my experience is that the people who is a decision maker in the client side, whether it’s head of technology, CIO, what their experience and involvement is with WordPress, I think that becomes a big factor to decide. And I think you also pointed out that thing and that is kind of like one area where I have noticed that if they have a very strong connection with other platform or other cms, then they will lean a little bit more towards that than the WordPress. And that is where I think we have an opportunity where we need to find what they know.
[00:26:07.430] – Anil Gupta
Because Gartner and there are like bunch of different tech reports and technology research that some of these CIOs and director of technologies in these big companies, they read. And if WordPress is there, then they will know what WordPress is capable of and power of.
[00:26:24.830] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s great. I’m going to throw the aloe question back over to you, Kurt.
[00:26:29.610] – Anil Gupta
[00:26:30.140] – Kurt von Ahnen
Well, it kind of switches gears a little bit, but it’s still related to an enterprise kind of question. And part of me is hesitant because I’m waiting for you to go, oh, they just used the classic editor. But how are the changes in Gutenberg kind of affecting the way that you’re interacting with enterprises? And I guess my question is more like, if I had to refine the, like, do you find yourself having to train or onboard or work with people to show them the benefits of the block editor and stuff like that, or are they just kind of adapting it and moving forward?
[00:27:05.110] – Anil Gupta
Most of the customers that we work with, we help them to move from other platform to WordPress. So majority of our customers are like that. So WordPress might be their first hand experience. Right. So at that time we tell them like, hey, in order to publish the content, we have a Gutenberg, we have a classic character and we have a bunch of other page builders, but most of the times we recommend them and we explain them the trade offs of each different page builders, we don’t get that much. We haven’t got any hard resistance on Gutenberg, I think because it’s the first time they are interacting with the WordPress because they have been using some other platform, in some cases where someone has already a WordPress website and we help them, maybe redesigning, revamping or brand new WordPress website. So in that had, but it’s not that big, but we try to explain them and educate them what Gutenberg editor is and what kind of like it is capable. Nice. Yeah.
[00:28:17.870] – Kurt von Ahnen
Because one of the things I noticed about Gutenberg from a publishing perspective was for the first time in forever, I feel like in WordPress I can go to full screen editing and I can write like a writer writes like I can really see it. Whereas if I’m in another page builder, I don’t have that little text block on the left column. I mean, I have a real page that I can really write in. And that’s something that I think from a publishing perspective or from a corporate content perspective, I think would be a really good benefit for them, especially if they’re new to the platform, because it works and behaves differently than the other. From a space perspective, it operates differently than most other platforms. It’s really nice the way that works.
[00:29:02.990] – Anil Gupta
Yeah. And my personal observation in that space is what you mentioned about. I think it’s true. When we think about Gutenberg, we have to think Gutenberg or page block editor. What we need to think about is there is this builder community. So we as a developer agency consultant and some of the also team members in our clients team who are also more hands on and pro with the WordPress, that’s like that’s one group of people who are also interacting with this block editor in regards to creating workflows, creating custom blocks and stuff like that. And then there is another group who doesn’t care about all that. They just want to go and publish, write content and publish content every day, every week, and they want to do it faster, better and quicker. Right? So for them, how the interface, like how the editor, they are using the editor and how editor giving them the tools to publish and create the content, that matters a lot. And that’s something that I pay a lot of attention to. When I’m interacting with someone in my clients team, I’ll try to see whether they are more pro and they want to see how it’s easy to create custom templates, blocks and all that, or they are just looking for like, hey, I don’t care about the template, I don’t care about the custom blocks.
[00:30:32.790] – Anil Gupta
What I need is like, this is how I’ve been writing content for last 15 years. Can you make it same or easier? And that’s where I pay attention to, and that’s where I think block editor gives us that option where we can kind of design it in a way that it fits the people’s need.
[00:30:49.410] – Kurt von Ahnen
Yeah, that’s great. Jonathan.
[00:30:53.410] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:30:54.490] – Kurt von Ahnen
Is it time for the break?
[00:30:55.960] – Jonathan Denwood
I just got a quick follow for your question about that. My own position on this is that at WP Tonic we were offering elementor, but now we’re offering also cadence, but we recommend cadence because. What’s your own position about this falsehood editing, because I just felt that Cadence and Ben, who’s the chief technical developer of the cadence WP, he’s a fabulous developer and his team, and he’s got great insight. But when it comes to full site editing, I just felt that that was the wrong thing at the wrong moment. It needed a period of building and consolidation rather than where if you want to go the full site, it’s almost like jumping on the train and they’re still building the track at the same time and you’re just hoping you don’t really know where the track’s going.
[00:32:09.770] – Anil Gupta
[00:32:10.240] – Jonathan Denwood
I think you can see all the power. Gutenberg with blocks, cadence was the middle ground for us, and I’m very happy. So I just think this whole process and all these page builders and that there just seems to be, instead of which I felt that was needed a little bit, was hoping from Gutenberg was unifisation that the opposite is that it’s fragmented even a bit more. That’s always been part of WordPress, which is probably part of an open source platform, the power WordPress is all these options, but because of Gutenberg it seems to have even gone a bit further. What’s your own response? Do you agree with whatever or do you think I’m incorrect in what I’ve just.
[00:33:14.490] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, I think in large platform like WordPress where a it’s open source and b it’s also being built and contributed by a large community of developers around the world. I think my personal observation is that when I work with very, for example, whatever the 42 or 45 or 48 percentage of the WordPress market share market is who are using WordPress, we work with let’s say 50, 52 customers. And in last 14 years probably I worked with 200 different customers and probably built maybe 500 different WordPress websites. So that’s kind of like the data set that I have. When I look into that I see that everyone has very different way different thing that they pay attention to. Like something that’s very important to one group is not that much important for another one. So full site editing and a bunch of other things even like we are talking about the language, I think multilingual I think is going to be phase four, collaboration is phase three. So there are like two different group. Like once someone wants multilingual fast and then collaboration later. So I can see this priority conflict. I don’t know if there is any right way where somebody is collecting these inputs.
[00:34:45.620] – Anil Gupta
Like hey, whether full side editing is important or simple editor is important, whether collaboration is more important or performance is important or which we should give more priority.
[00:34:57.210] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I think you got a good point there. I think where you could say is that there was a necessity and there still is to have a kind of roadmap that’s really clear and public. Obviously a roadmap has to still have the ability to adapt, but there seemed to be fundamental changes that weren’t communicated or just seem to happen out of the blue, but that probably isn’t the case. But it just came across that way.
[00:35:31.130] – Anil Gupta
Also, I would add one thing that like full site editing, none of our customer has been asking for it and none of customer, because that’s what I’m saying, we work with a very small subset of the users of the WordPress. So that’s not the 100% of the opinion. But if I just, even since full site editing is launched, none of our customer has like oh yeah, I was waiting for that feature or that option to be enabled. So that’s, I think something that is very, also important to see that? Who are we serving? Maybe full site editing will be attractive for small medium like bloggers or some of those DIY website builders. But yeah, we definitely need to see who are we building WordPress for?
[00:36:19.240] – Jonathan Denwood
Well, I think that you touched on another thing which is totally understandable because of the size of the user base and the percentage of people utilizing, you’ve got all different type of user cases overview. So to satisfy each user case, each bucket, as I would say, is extremely difficult. So I’ve got to keep that. We’re going to go for our break, folks. It’s been a fabulous discussion. I think we’ve covered a load of stuff in just 30 minutes. We got some other great questions to ask and some areas to cover. We will be back in a few moments, folks.
[00:37:01.910] – Speaker 6
This podcast episode is brought to you by lifter LMS, the leading learning management system solution for WordPress. If you or your client are creating any kind of online course, training based membership website, or any type of elearning project, lifter LMS is the most secure, stable, well supported solution on the market. Go to lifterlms.com and save 20% at checkout with coupon code podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show.
[00:37:39.490] – Jonathan Denwood
We’re coming back. We have had a fantastic discussion and we have covered a load of interesting stuff. We got another great second half, but before we go into it, I just want to point out if you’re a WordPress professional and you’re looking for a great partner, great hosting partner, much more and you’ve got a community or learning management project. We specialize in the hosting and the support of WordPress professionals building such websites. We’ve got a load of experience. We love you to come on board and host a website. As you know, community websites on Buddy boss and learning management systems have unique requirements when it comes to hosting an ongoing support. Why don’t you go over to wptonic.com slash partners and have a look at what we’ve got to offer. We’d love you to become a partner with WP Tonic, so I’m going to throw it over to Kirk again.
[00:38:43.130] – Kurt von Ahnen
Fantastic. Anil, you were super gracious. You’ve already talked a little bit about security and integration, especially with SaaS stuff. But the next question is a little more direct, like what do you do when you have this enterprise customer, when you’ve got client you’re working with and they’re like we absolutely must connect to. And then you get into the meat and potatoes of it and you’re like, oh man, this sucks.
[00:39:12.050] – Anil Gupta
[00:39:12.580] – Kurt von Ahnen
They want to connect to this old legacy thing.
[00:39:14.580] – Jonathan Denwood
And it is not all APIs are built equally, aren’t they?
[00:39:21.330] – Kurt von Ahnen
So I was just, from a strategy perspective, and you could answer this 20 different ways. I know that. But from a strategy perspective, how do you approach or deal with, you’re building a new top line product and now you’re being forced to connect to something that in your opinion is like, man, this is junk. How do you breach that?
[00:39:45.660] – Anil Gupta
Good question. This is something that usually we tackle in our discovery phase. So when we take on any new project before that, that’s like we have a discovery phase where bunch of, can I slightly interrupt?
[00:40:05.150] – Jonathan Denwood
How do you deal with discovery process? Obviously these are big jobs. We have initial consultation and then we make a decision that, does this need paid discovery? We can’t spend hours and hours and hours just doing free discovery. How do you broke it? Do you, so is it the same? You do initial free and then you get to a point where you say, we’re going to have to ask for paid discovery. Is that correct?
[00:40:39.950] – Anil Gupta
That’s very true. So our process is that we have a very strong and strict lead filtration. So any website inquiry that comes to us, we kind of like first filter it out, whether there will be a good fit or not. And the one that we select, these are the good customers or the problem that we want to solve. After that, we have internally for those selected leads, we have I think 3 hours free discovery. So we invest 3 hours of our free time. So that’s like very quick high level assessment. And we don’t tell them, okay, on the first call that you have to pay right now. So first we call it complementary discovery. So that’s like, usually it’s 3 hours maximum, but sometimes we are able to conclude in one, two, 3 hours. So that’s where our solution architect just take a quick look at what customer is asking for. And we have questionnaires where we send to them like, hey, give us these details and based on that we give them, tell them about, all right, based on the information that we have now, we need to do this two weeks or three weeks or four week of paid discovery.
[00:41:51.880] – Anil Gupta
And that’s where we propose them a paid discovery. But a lot of time. If in these two or 3 hours, if it’s very straightforward, WordPress migration or design, then we don’t go, when we don’t do the paid discovery. But I would say 95, 98% of the time it goes through a paid discovery.
[00:42:12.970] – Jonathan Denwood
Sorry, interrupt back over to you. Kurt, I apologize. Back to the API question.
[00:42:19.050] – Kurt von Ahnen
The main thing of the question is paid discovery or not, when you find out that what they want to connect to is giant, how do you address that part of me? And then I’ve done this before where I’ve been like, hey, this solution is outdated, old. Can we possibly migrate you to something newer and better and cleaner? But sometimes they’re just really committed to something that they paid for. They built custom 1012 years ago and you’re like, well, I got to figure it out.
[00:42:45.510] – Anil Gupta
No, we have that. We had some of the situations where we dealt with that. My team’s approach in situations like that is that when we work with any third party vendor or their own legacy software or someone else where they don’t have a strong, clear and secure API endpoint, then we tell them like hey, that is going to be something that we need this. We do the assessment and we provide them that the vendor needs to work on these API endpoints and some of our suggestions. So we do that audit and we tell them what needs to be done in order to integrate that. And surprisingly we have got a very positive response. Like vendors, because they know the power of the WordPress, they know that WordPress is powerful and it’s so big. So they also are very supportive in regards to making those changes into that platform so that we can integrate that well with WordPress. So that’s like our approach. Number 1 second approach is we also look into, I’m not sure, have you guys know about this integration platform as a service? Ipas?
[00:44:03.790] – Kurt von Ahnen
No, that’s new to me.
[00:44:05.300] – Anil Gupta
I would say like Zapier and Boomi and Workato. These are like some of the examples. So basically what they do is they are like integration as an integration platform as a service. So basically they go and look for all these popular enterprise tools, software and applications and they deal with them and find out like hey, let’s create these APIs and all that, and then you use them to integrate with your web, with WordPress. So then they basically do a lot of hard work in making sure that those API endpoints are secure, they’re fast and whatever the essential APIs are there. So then you deal with. So that’s kind of like an approach that we have been taking a lot and suggesting a lot since last few years where instead of creating everything from the scratch, we will see if this integration platform as a service tools has some of this integration available or not.
[00:45:05.090] – Kurt von Ahnen
That’s a little gold nugget right there because it’s kind of like it’s like a WP Fusion or Pabli or Zapier but it’s more of a custom integration solution.
[00:45:15.330] – Anil Gupta
Right? Yeah and there are plenty, I think there are around 1618 different iPAss platform integration platform as a service and they each has at least 200 300 different apps that they kind of support. Some of them might be same, some of them might be different in each platform. So I would say that would be my first go to kind of like check if they already have whatever this tool, enterprise tool or software we are trying to integrate. If they already have a support then I’ll just go and work with them.
[00:45:48.670] – Kurt von Ahnen
[00:45:51.210] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah I think you mentioned some of the SaaS platforms that you help people move into WordPress. I think on our side we love the fluent set of plugins. They fluent CRM and they got fluent booking and they’ve got fluent forms. We’re big supporters of fluent because dual and the team and integrates with our particular client set. But do you think WordPress, because I think one of the main competitors on because not the clients, corporate clients I’m aiming at are between the five and 10 million, let’s say half a million to 5 million, 5 million to ten. I find when they jump from ten to 20 million when you look at their website and what they got, they’ve dropped WordPress, they’re utilizing SaaS, they’ve got a larger it team. But in that half a million to 5 million, 5 million to 10 million. HubSpot has a large presence. They offer a CRM, they offer website, they offer marketing optimization, but they’re extremely expensive. But not as expensive as Salesforce. But they’re seen as a cheaper solution because when people look at implementing a salesforce kind of solution it makes hubs of spot look cheap. But are you finding that you got people that are looking to move away from HubSpot or is it a lot of your clients are a higher level?
[00:47:57.450] – Jonathan Denwood
What’s your opinion about what HubSpot is offering?
[00:48:03.850] – Anil Gupta
I don’t have much experience with HubSpot but in the sense moving anyone from HubSpot to WordPress or helping anyone to move out from WordPress to HubSpot. I have observed that especially some of the customers and one thing that you mentioned about these different client range and how they decide to switch out from WordPress to HubSpot or any other platform. My observation on that is that yeah, we had some of the customers where we built the whole WordPress website and then few years later they are like oh, we’re going to switch to something else. And the pattern that I have observed is a lot of time, it’s either change in the management. So if let’s say they have a new hired, they fired old CTO, CIO or director of technology and they hired a new one and the new person has more affinity with HubSpot or some other platform in the previous company. So they would like to bring in that same experience and the platform. So that’s one the change in the management. Second is merger and acquisition. So that is something that we deal a lot with. Whenever one of our big client get acquired then whole thing like the whole strategy around the platform and everything changes.
[00:49:29.480] – Anil Gupta
So it’s nothing wrong with the WordPress, it’s nothing like the right with the HubSpot, it’s just something that because the.
[00:49:36.330] – Jonathan Denwood
New company I’m facing it myself, I’m going to lose one of my major clients in the end of June they got taken over and the people that taken over are totally against WordPress. They think it’s Satan regenerated, they’ve got no interest in know. I spoke to the chief technical officer and he made it more than clear he just thought WordPress was the devil in Carl, end of story. So they’ve been with me for years but they got bought up and the new people, they just hate WordPress, bless their little souls. I’ll bet. Go over to you Kurt for the other question.
[00:50:26.750] – Kurt von Ahnen
Well the next one, Anil is maybe more personal. What tools and services really end up in your tool belt for helping you run your daily business stuff and what would you recommend to a listener or an audience member? That’s like I want to get better at my game. What tools and services should I look at using?
[00:50:50.110] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, I’ll share a few. And again these tools are very personal. So everyone has personal preferences pretty much. For one thing probably you will have 1015 tools and they will all be doing the same job one or other way. But a lot of times it ended up being the personal preferences as well. But for the communication we use basecamp. So that’s kind of like our main platform is for internal as well as external communication. So all our project management with our clients plus internal communication with our team and department we are doing it on a base camp. I like base camp because it’s simple and all of that. At one point I was thinking about doing what automatic does like creating a p two blog and then using the WordPress as a communication, internal communication, but then we refrained from that option because if I have more control on that then my team will spend more time in fine tuning that rather than working on the client project. That was my stand.
[00:51:57.260] – Jonathan Denwood
I was like how do you deal with clients that insist that, how do you deal with clients that insist that you utilize their internal communication system, whatever it is, Norton or whatever thing that they utilize, how do you deal with that?
[00:52:15.370] – Anil Gupta
That’s a good question. In fact, it’s surprising that when we were working with small and medium customers five years ago, we were actually more in that situation where they were like all over. They was like oh, I will use Asana, I use Trello, I use as Monday and this and that. And they would, yeah, yeah, exactly right.
[00:52:38.770] – Jonathan Denwood
But with mi they change every week as well.
[00:52:41.680] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, exactly. It’s like now I want to use Google Doc. I don’t like any of those. But yeah, we noticed that with enterprise customers that we work with, we have been suggesting basecam and pretty much everyone, most of them has been very acceptable to that. I think it’s more confidence as well. I always tell my team that think about when customers comes to us, it’s like you’re going to a physician, a doctor, and they tell you like hey, this is my form, you fill this form and then next thing is going to happen is I’m going to create your profile on whatever my doctor, whatever platform that I’m using and that’s where I’m going to share all our diagnosis standard and we comply with that because we went there with the solution and that’s something that five years ago I was less confident. So I was like complying like whatever platform they would say I’ll try to, but that was not productive because then my team has to learn this whole new platform that they don’t know and the whole communication is fragmented. Half of the communication is our internal platform. Other project team is communicating other.
[00:53:56.840] – Anil Gupta
So we are now taking a very strong stand on that and telling them like we will use the base camp for the communication.
[00:54:05.710] – Jonathan Denwood
Would you say it’s a bad time if they insist on it? Because fundamentally if they start telling you what tools you’re going to have to utilize and that it’s normally a red flag that this ain’t going to go too well, would you agree with it?
[00:54:20.360] – Anil Gupta
I agree 100%. Yeah. So that’s something that I always tell them like, hey, you came to us and you want us. And I tell them like, hey, we have more experience in WordPress and website design and development and your expertise is not that your expertise is running your business. So I was like, yeah, if you are working with us because you trust on our expertise and so that also comes with what we recommend.
[00:54:46.490] – Jonathan Denwood
I’m sorry I interrupted again. I’ve been terrible. Kurt, I’ll be constructive. What other tools do you utilize rather than base camp? Anything else? What’s your position about Slack and how do you utilize it and how do you integrate it with base camp? Is there any internal what should go on base camp and what should be utilized on Slack? Because I’ve got a hate love there with Slack. I despise it in some ways and I love it in other ways.
[00:55:19.590] – Anil Gupta
My stand is that slack is only for emergencies. Otherwise we pretty much use base game for all sort of communication. And that’s something that, let’s say birthday announcements and sending some cute pictures or something like that. Like internal communication where it’s more like fun, entertaining or if it’s urgent you.
[00:55:48.270] – Jonathan Denwood
Say the stuff that you don’t want the client to accidentally because you never want to mix a black. We use slack for internal discussions, but sometimes we have clients on it because we use free camp. But I used to set up two free camp projects, one for the client and one for the Internet. But there were a couple of times where people got confused and put stuff on the Ron which you don’t want the clients to see. So I’ll just keep the clients that do utilize free camp. We always make the discussion about it goes on Slack and we keep it totally separate so there’s no embarrassment. Is that what you’re talking about? Embarrassments?
[00:56:38.830] – Anil Gupta
I would say like we actually don’t.
[00:56:41.870] – Jonathan Denwood
You don’t say anything about the clients?
[00:56:44.750] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, we don’t create clients Slack account. I don’t think so. Yeah, it’s base camp because it’s one platform where they will be updated about the communications and all that. But yeah, we share our calendar and Zoom link so they can schedule meeting if they have something urgent to talk. They have our phone numbers but I don’t think so that we have any client that I can remember who is actually on Slack, on our company Slack.
[00:57:15.610] – Jonathan Denwood
Before we go on to the next question, I just wonder, have you ever had to sack a customer and what was the decision? Why did you think, what process did you go through to make the decision and how did you handle the parting ways with. Because it doesn’t happen very often, but I have had to say goodbye to about two to three clients. But that’s over 15 years so I don’t think I’ve done too bad. But there are scenarios where you’re going to have to say goodbye to them gunny thoughts about how you’ve done that and how you made that decision.
[00:58:08.410] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, we have done that too. In the past, especially when we were moving from small medium to enterprise, we had to say no to a lot of our small customers at their time. Yeah, I think my approach was at that time during the migration process, we were very honest with them, like, hey, we have been working with you and our hourly rate and all of that was this. But now we are focusing on that. Our engineering team, everything in last five years, six years, they all got better and things like that. And so we tell them about the fact that our new hourly rate is going to be this. And I don’t want to enforce that. You need to work and that’s like a big jump or whatever. So usually if it’s migration from small to virage customer, I tell them the fact that this is what we want to work. And some of the times it’s not just a WordPress website, but they have a bunch of other custom development. And also we also tell them this is not kind of like project, that we are a good fit, a Frankenstein. Correct? Yeah, we will not be motivated to do that.
[00:59:21.990] – Anil Gupta
But some of the clients, for other reasons, let’s say not just the price, but let’s say they have not been a good client, they’re not been communication. And following some of our suggestions and the process, we kind of approach that with the same candor. We tell them like, hey, this is what we are struggling with and I don’t think so. This is working out. It’s very hard. Breakup is very hard.
[00:59:49.250] – Jonathan Denwood
It’s communication and expectation, isn’t it?
[00:59:52.180] – Anil Gupta
[00:59:53.790] – Jonathan Denwood
I did have one CEO who found out about halfway through that she was a raging alcoholic and she was sending me abusive text messages at like 12:00 at night. Or I had a meeting, had a physical, flew in to see her and her chief financial officer, who was a very nice guy, and it was 12:00 meeting and she was drunk at the meeting.
[01:00:21.260] – Anil Gupta
[01:00:23.350] – Jonathan Denwood
She started abusing me at the meeting, but the chief financial officer had to jump in. That one is always burnt into my memory. Back over to you, Kurt, for the final question.
[01:00:38.010] – Kurt von Ahnen
Don’t worry, I don’t think I’m going to share any of those stories. Emil, the last question know, especially for folks that know doctor who from the UK and stuff like that, but if you had your own tArdis, your own time machine, and you could go back to the beginning of when you started running your business, what essential advice would you give yourself? How would you meet, greet, and mentor yourself if you went back to the beginning.
[01:01:06.230] – Anil Gupta
So two things I would say there. First is, I think, based on this 15 years of experience and doing those things, I think it just changed. I learned something and seen some things with the time and experience, and one big thing is the courage and the confidence. I feel like in the beginning, when you don’t know how some of these long term strategies or some of these decisions are going to play out in a longer run, I ended up making a lot of short term, fear based decisions. I didn’t do a few things that I should have done and things like firing the wrong people, hiring the right people. So I didn’t have that courage and confidence because I didn’t have the experience of dealing with the situation. Now, knowing those things, dealing with those things, like hundreds of different times, it’s still the same situation. It’s just like my perception and confidence has changed. So that is one thing that I would say tell myself to be more courageous and confident in decision making. Second thing is, yeah, I think I would also pay more attention to efficiency than innovation, which means we are in agency business.
[01:02:33.250] – Anil Gupta
We are not building a rocket. So I think when I started my agency, there was one thing that was going on my mind to kind of like, oh, that we have to be innovative. We have to do this all different kind of things. And that actually ended up becoming more like a shiny object for me and more like a distraction to me. It didn’t actually contributed that much result into the business growth, but ended up adding a lot of stress. But then when I think about now, I was like, actually, the whole agency business is an efficiency business. It’s not an innovation business. Like, if Weber is into WordPress, we use the same platform, same set of tools, pretty much the process and infrastructure. There is not much innovation that we need to pay attention to. What we need to do is find way to make this business efficient. Like internally, what are the things that you can do to kind of increase the output, increase the quality, increase the speed, and things like that? And that is more on efficiency. And the efficiency is basics. Efficiency works on the basic level. I don’t think so.
[01:03:50.990] – Anil Gupta
There is much innovation that efficiency can do, and that is something that was a big learning for me. So now I try to refrain to model the framework that we have internally with our leadership team. I tell them, scale what has worked. So 80% scale, 20%, less than 20% innovation. So if they come up with new shiny idea about like, oh, we should do AI or we should do that I was like, all right, only 20% time, 80%. Let’s just do the same thing that we have been doing, because that’s what clients, for each client, it’s the same WordPress website, same design, same development, and a lot of different things that we just need to do it more efficiently rather than keep innovating too much, worrying about innovations.
[01:04:43.130] – Kurt von Ahnen
[01:04:43.980] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I think that’s very insightful there because I know there’s overlap, but I think that can be a big difference between a freelancer’s attitude to some extent, where they’re looking for the latest technology, the latest plugin, the latest. You get a lot of that in WordPress, the latest hosting provider, the latest plugin, and they all jump ship where your agency, you’re much more. We look at it, but we’re about efficiency because that’s the kind of difference in mindset between a competent freelancer and an agency owner. I think that was very insightful. Thank you for that. I think it’s been a fab discussion. What’s the best way to find out more about you and your company?
[01:05:43.710] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, so my company, multidot, is on multidots.com. Our other products, their website is multicolab.com for Multicolab and store. So they are all three very easy to find. But I also have my newsletter, which is on anilj substack.com. That’s where I write a lot about personal growth, personal development, entrepreneurs, anything that I’m experimenting with, and any of my learnings; it’s like my public journal. That’s how I like to say it—like anything that I learned, experimented. I tried to take a lot of notes. I’m very good at taking notes. And then I publish those.
[01:06:23.050] – Jonathan Denwood
I’m not at all. So, Kurt, what’s the best way for people to learn more about you and what you’re up to?
[01:06:32.190] – Kurt von Ahnen
Well, for business stuff or to be a potential guest on our podcast at Manana Nomas, it would be mananonomas.com. And then, if it’s a personal connection, you want to reach out. It would be LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn almost every day and the only Kurt Vaughn on LinkedIn. So when you find me, you know.
[01:06:47.750] – Anil Gupta
You got the right guy.
[01:06:49.650] – Jonathan Denwood
Kurt’s got a course that you need to sign up about outreach through LinkedIn. It’s a fab course, so hit him up for that. It’s very inexpensive.
[01:07:04.630] – Anil Gupta
Would you mind sharing that?
[01:07:06.630] – Kurt von Ahnen
No, not at all.
[01:07:07.590] – Anil Gupta
Not at all.
[01:07:07.930] – Kurt von Ahnen
I’ll hit you with that. It’s on kurtvanallen.com. But yeah, I’ll send you a link directly. Anil, I got your email.
[01:07:13.790] – Anil Gupta
Yeah, that would be great. I did a LinkedIn course last year and learned a little bit about how to use LinkedIn for audience growth, and I was surprised. I was like, oh, I know how LinkedIn works. And then I was like, no, I don’t understand how LinkedIn works.
[01:07:32.910] – Jonathan Denwood
It’s a beast in itself. But Kurt’s got a fab and we’ll ensure the links in the show notes. Folks, I highly recommend signing up for Kurt’s course if you’re looking to utilize LinkedIn in 224. We will be back next week. I think we’ve had a fabulous discussion. I think your last reflection was amazing. I think you were spot on in your insight. It’s been a fantastic discussion. We’ve got some great interviews coming up in January. We will be back next week. We’ll see you soon, folks. Bye.
[01:08:08.630] – Speaker 1
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