Dexterity, prosperity, sanity
Melbourne start-up Dexterous is helping clients stay on top of their evolving software needs.
Dexterous is a little different to the typical tech start-up. One founder is an ex-banker, the other a chartered accountant. Describing what the company does in a nutshell is difficult: it’s a moveable feast, a completely customisable suite of modules that changes with the needs of each client. At its core, Dexterous facilitates the flow of data between the multitude of different pieces of software used in an organisation. It pulls all the disparate activity into a single, intuitive interface and executes automatic, rule-based tasks.
“We’re a solution to the problems that arise as technology evolves,” says Robert Nisi, director. “Technology moves so fast and everyone’s trying to grab different bits of software here and there to solve different needs, but businesses now have too much technology and it’s all become very disorganised.”
Nisi says many businesses aren’t aware of the double and triple entry they’re doing. The Dexterous team comes in and works with whatever combination of software the business has and puts it all into one dashboard, from which the user can control all those streams of data.
Dexterous grew from the challenges Nisi was facing in-house at his accounting practice, 13 Concepts. Around five years ago, the practice identified the need to bring in a digital division to service the evolving needs of clients.
“We built this digital division to do web design and different digital media stuff,” Nisi says, “but one of the big things we found about having more than one department in our business was getting adequate software to represent what each division was doing.”
So they did what most businesses do: they went online and purchased some online software-as-a-service (SaaS). But it never really worked for them.
“It ended up actually taking more time, as with turnkey software you’ve got to mould your business around the software, rather than the other way around,” he explains. “What we decided to do is hire a great team of developers, all based here in Melbourne, all full-time, and build Dexterous from the ground up.”
The idea for Dexterous was that it was to be the one solution that could integrate an organisation’s emails, customer relationship management (CRM) system, accounting software and so on. For example, the tool can be set up so that when an email comes through from person X, five things happen on a particular system. Then once those things have happened, another five things happen.
And it gives full transparency into what’s happening at any one time, letting a manager make decisions based on data, rather than hunches. For example, where a business may have thought their top client is X, the data on how many emails they’re sending, how many appointments they’re involved in and how many times they’re calling, may end up telling a completely different story.
“Like most businesses, we previously had spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of different data sets that everyone would bring together at a monthly meeting,” Nisi says. “Dexterous is, essentially, an enterprise solution that can be taken to any organisation and provide a bespoke solution with real-time dashboards. And, because it’s modular, it’s customised to exactly how they need it.”
For a client that wanted a timesheet module, for example, the staff would previously fill out a spreadsheet, send it to their manager, who would send it to their manager, who would then send it to payroll. “That whole process was taking 15 to 20 hours,” Nisi says, “and that’s just one process per week. We were able to streamline that one process, so now it’s under 30 minutes. If you multiply that across the 20 different things any organisation does on a weekly basis, there are huge amounts of savings to be made.”
Another client’s solution involved invoice reminders, requiring Dexterous to be able to automatically check the bank account and make decisions on what to do next. Another use case is Dexterous Mail, a lifesaver for anyone who receives more than a few emails each day. “You can set up rules that sort your emails based on who they’re from or how many emails are in a particular conversation chain, so you can deal with the most urgent things first. And you can set rules so that certain things automatically happen based on those rules, as well as measure how much time is being spent on certain projects, and so on. It’s unlimited.”
The full enterprise system of Dexterous can prioritise more than just email. A bank may have thousands of applications per day, or a warehouse may have thousands of orders per day, for example. Dexterous can scan all the data from any source to determine what’s important and what should be dealt with first. “Because we’re collecting the data,” says Nisi, “we can build any rules around it based on any criteria.”