Fast8 HR Software Suite for Streamlined Business Operations
Software Suite Helping Small Businesses in Indonesia Manage their HR Management
Small businesses often struggle with payroll and human resources. In Indonesia, Fast8, a young startup launched a suite of integrated software to help SMEs and middle-sized companies systematize and automatize their HR management so they have more time to devote to their businesses.
Afia Fitriati is the eldest child of an entrepreneur family. As her father started several businesses and experienced setbacks, “I watched how he struggled with multiple aspects of his businesses, and that stayed in my mind,” she said.
After undergrad studies in information systems and marketing, followed by an MBA, Afia worked for a few years with corporations and did some consulting. Eventually, entrepreneurship caught up with her, and she started an e-commerce business selling retail fashion. Around the same time, in 2008, her husband, Else Fernanda, a software analyst, started his own software development house working in the capital market segment. After a couple of years, Afia joined Else with a common goal of growing the business.
“I remembered my Dad’s businesses. One of the reasons for his failures is he did not invest in people management.” Juggling between being a new mother and running the business made Afia realize that HR software on the market was outdated and inefficient.
Employee Management Software Gadjian
Fast8 has since focused on building software for the HR market, and in 2016, launched Gadjian, a cloud-based HR-integrated system offering an employee center, attendance records, shift scheduling, payroll, and leave management. Gadjian, which means payday, was designed to help SME owners and HR/finance managers of companies with less than 300 employees with their operational and administrative burdens.
Attendance Management System and Employee Wellness Platform
Other integrated applications followed Gadjian. Hadirr, an attendance management solution oversees the performance of mobile workers, remote employees, and multi-branch offices using geofencing and biometric face recognition technologies. Through Hadirr, employees can record their work attendance, and the system can monitor online timesheets, and employee work shifts, track field sales, and record overtime.
Meanwhile, Payuung provides a one-stop shop for all employee benefits, including employee loans, insurance, and business financing support for business owners.
The Fast8 suite automates processes and serves as a Fintech enabler, as it helps companies with health insurance, loans, and anything that can help them grow their business.
B2B Business Now Catering to Employees’ Needs
Started as a B2B for SMEs, Fast8 now caters to business owners, finance, and HR managers for private companies, generally up to 300 employees. However, the company has also started addressing employees’ needs, providing early wage access, employee loans if the employer is eligible, wellness goods and services such as gym memberships, and vitamins that can be purchased from the Payuung platform.
Fast8 currently has 95 employees and has served over 5,000 companies, representing over 100,000 employees. Most Fast8 clients are in sectors employing a large staff, such as distribution, retail, and services. The company is also stepping into the government sector this year.
Fast8’s Strong Branding Strategy, Ahead of Competitors
Fast8 paid particular attention to its branding. “We registered all of our brands, and we really racked our brains to find brands that customers would relate to,” Afia said, explaining the choice of the name of their first product: Gadjian (payday). “It is catchy because people relate to it immediately.” “We were always concerned about copycats, so we registered our brands as soon as possible.” The company also wanted to register its unique source code to automate payroll to ensure copyright protection, but she said such registration is not currently possible in Indonesia.
“We have new competitors that copy our brands or even use them in their advertisement, and in a couple of cases, we had to send cease-and-desist letters.” “If we had not registered our brands early, we would not have been able to do that.”
The number of competitors is rising every year, but it is very complex to create a system that can address millions of business problems and take into account the difference between businesses’ needs. “Such system also needs to be easy for people to use and breaks these layers of complexities.”
“Our competitive advantage is our experience and the trust of our customers,” Afia commented, adding that those customers are very risk-averse, as payroll and HR management are very sensitive issues.
Scaling up and Expanding Fast8 outside Indonesia
In the next five years, Fast8 intends to become the leading enabler of productivity and wellness for the Indonesian people. “Right now, we have the building blocks, the productivity measurement system, the marketplace, so the next five years is going to be the time to scale up.”
“We are currently focusing on the wellness area, as we realized many people are interested outside our current ecosystem.” Insurance is part of wellness, she said, but the company also considers wellness products as well as community support.
The company is also looking towards Latin America, an emerging market with similarities with the Indonesian market, for which discussions with a distributor are underway, according to Afia.
Being a Woman Entrepreneur in Indonesia, a Mixed Experience
In Indonesia, according to Afia, opportunities are much the same between men and women, but it is a different story when it comes to growing business. Women entrepreneurs are expected to remain SMEs forever, she said. Any intention to grow the business is met with incomprehension. “The general view is it is fine for women to set up businesses, but not normal to have bigger ambitions.” To any woman entrepreneur, Afia’s advice: “Stay patient and resilient; you will need it!”.