Creating a free tool to capture new customers: Hoggo’s feedback

You have decided to make your HRIS platform free. For what reasons ?

At the house of hoggo, our core business is to simplify the internal functioning of companies while fighting to enable them to constantly save money. We started by optimizing our clients’ group insurance contracts to offer them better coverage at the best price. The next step ? Create a platform that makes it easier for them to manage day-to-day paperwork and contracts.

Last year, we went even further, with a slightly crazy project: to create a 100% free HRIS, easy to deploy in any company. We have indeed realized that many small structures do not have the reflex to rely on this kind of tool.

Barely 20% of companies with less than 100 employees thus use an HRIS today, whereas this type of platform can have a considerable impact internally, in particular for the collection of the various variable payroll elements (absences, expense reports, transportation, health insurance, provident insurance, etc.).

Our first objective, by making our HRIS free, is really to democratize the use of this type of product, including in small companies where administrative functions are often seen as a chore.

Our second objective is marketing: by equipping these companies with a simple, easy-to-use HRIS, we have an entry point into their HR processes, and can offer them the opportunity to optimize all their insurance contracts. group if they wish. The HRIS is therefore a real acquisition channel for us.

The third reason is perhaps even more strategic. The last decade has seen the emergence of SaaS, i.e. solutions in the cloud, paid for by subscription per month.

In 2022, it has become much easier to program this kind of application. At Hoggo, we are convinced that we will see SaaS cost deflation over the next few years, especially in applications with simple architecture and limited technology.

This phenomenon will accelerate with the inflation of general costs, which has already been observed for several months. For me, the only products that will survive will be those that provide enough added value to their users. This is exactly what our HRIS does. It is also part of our constant desire to provide a maximum of services to companies, for a minimum of expenditure.

How to create a project of this type is different in 2022 than it was 10 years ago?

The HRIS market, and more broadly software, has evolved enormously in 10 years. I see 3 major trends that have impacted it, and whose effects continue to be felt:

1. Ease of development

One of the major changes is that today the productivity of IT development has increased considerably. Even using a real programming language, it became much easier to organize the work of developers, and to build applications from the front. This means that it takes much less time and investment to develop the same platform in 2022 than 10 years ago.

This is due to huge gains in efficiency, linked to new organizational methods, new development and product design support tools, but also to the many open source libraries available to developers. No-code solutions play a very important role here, allowing the rapid development of simple tools for reduced and stable costs.

2. Company maturity for digital and importance of the employer brand

The second major fundamental difference is that potential customers are much more mature today than 10 years ago: they are less resistant to this type of digital solution. Result ? For the same product, there are more potential customers today than in 2012. More and more companies are reassured by digital, by the cloud and by subscriptions to an IT service. This significantly lowers distribution costs.

Another phenomenon? We are much more aware than before that certain digital tools can help us improve daily life in companies, and the Covid crisis has further reinforced this conviction.

3. More competition and SaaS offerings

At the same time, we have seen the emergence of many players and many platforms that are adopting the SaaS model and constantly offering new services, in particular HR. Compared to 2012, the number of platforms offering digital HR services has exploded. Most of these actors are SASS actors. To stand out in this market, you have to bring a breakthrough innovation.

At Hoggo, we try to do this first by making all the opaque and complicated processes that punctuate the admin management of companies much more transparent, and then by the price, precisely to make these services accessible to everyone.

Has your observation on the greater ease of creating this kind of platform changed the way you approach the development of the HRIS?

From the beginning of the project on the HRIS, we decided to develop the essential modules which made it possible to meet the needs of 90% of the companies in France, neither more nor less. No frills, just efficiency.

Fortunately, it turns out that in practice, although the field of actions and possibilities is wide, the IT complexity of the project is relatively limited. It was predictable because today thousands of companies still work with Excel spreadsheets on this subject.

Another phenomenon that plays an important role? Our HRIS tool is designed as a succession of independent modules, nested around the notion of employees and companies. This characteristic makes it possible to parallelize the developments to gain speed.

We were therefore able to maximize the work of the developers by making them responsible for a particular module. We therefore had an optimal project organization to deliver our ten modules in 3 months.

What impact does low code have on the market for SaaS tools and solutions? Does it allow smaller players to compete with already established players?

First, it allows new players to compete with historical SaaS players. Low-code solutions thus make it possible to create pages, data models (database, relationships between models), rules (conditions, etc.) and events. When you think about it, most web applications are effectively an overlay of all of these elements.

Today, the main impact of low code applications is on showcase sites and simple applications. No code will gradually replace the role of certain development agencies in the segment of showcase sites or simple applications requiring only a few data models. In my opinion, it will spread slowly towards more and more complicated applications, but the transition will be long.

But curiously, the real impact of low code is rather on the side of existing SaaS solutions, where it is very widely used. When on Sendinblue, you can create email and SMS follow-up workflows with conditions on user segments, you are using no code solutions.

CRMs now include all of these types of tools. These features have become essential to offer customization for all specific needs over a common layer. This solves (partly) the problem of developing generic solutions for specific needs.

In your opinion, will this observation be even more intense in the years to come? Will low code/no code software gradually impose itself on the market?

Do not see low code programming software as a revolution. For me, this is the latest extension of a process that has begun since the beginning of computing. 30 years ago, most software was programmed in Java and C++. We then witnessed the emergence of high-level programming languages, which are in fact an overlay of low-level programming languages, supposed to save developers time by avoiding reinventing important parts of their program. Then, we saw the emergence of web frameworks (Rails, Django, Symphony, Laravel etc…) which considerably improve productivity in the development of web applications.

The premises of low code are found in the platforms allowing to customize the data recorded and the actions to be carried out. The question is whether today there will be a massive transition of web applications to this new paradigm?

No-code software is very interesting for programming very specific sequences of actions. In marketing, for example, it has become the norm to create automated customer and prospect follow-ups, and this is similar to no code. The no code will also be essential for the creation of showcase sites (Wix, WordPress, Webflow) and for the simple processes of collecting information. This is already largely possible with current solutions.

Nevertheless, the low code will very quickly reach limits because in reality to perform the most complex operations, you need a significant degree of understanding of the system, which in reality amounts to having in-house developers. The developer’s job will therefore not stop, it will tend to focus on tasks with high added value.

In addition, for larger applications, the number of complex interfaces and operations is significant so the gain in simplicity from low-code platforms tends to decrease as the complexity of the project grows and even to become a factor from of a certain threshold. Furthermore, it is interesting to note the emergence of machine learning tools to help developers code bits of code on high-level software. This could be the parade of classic development software against low-code tools. We can cite in particular GitHub Copilot: Your AI pair programmer.

On the other hand, it is necessary to note an important evolution of these last years, the barrier with the entry to learn how to program became increasingly weak. It’s much easier to become a developer today than it was 20 years ago.

As a SaaS tool, how can you adapt your business model to deal with this problem?

In my opinion, it is necessary to concentrate and invoice only the tasks with high added value, and to use the development of application as a means of acquisition or native integration with paid functionalities. This is what we do at Hoggo, and this is what allows us today to have more than 2,200 customers throughout France.

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Creating a free tool to capture new customers: Hoggo’s feedback

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