Interview with Shyamal Parikh of SmartTask

Shyamal Parikh SmartTask Interview

Meet Shyamal

Hi, I’m Shyamal Parikh, the founder of SmartTask – a comprehensive project management tool made for Agencies and hi-tech teams. SmartTask today caters to over 30,000 teams across prominent brands like Adecco, ABB, and more.

I have a background in Engineering and was deeply interested in robotics and embedded systems during my college days. This interest fueled my passion for programming and problem-solving and inspired me to develop SmartTask.

What was the initial inspiration for creating SmartTask?

In 2014-15, I aimed for a Master’s in Embedded Systems but faced difficulty getting into a top college due to my Mechatronics background. Determined, I utilized the 1-year break to reapply.

During this time, I also worked at my father’s business and quickly realized how chaotic the whole thing was (ha-ha). He was using different tools to track sales, service requests, and tasks and I wondered if there was a way to streamline these processes. I think it was then I came up with the idea of SmartTask – an app that allows businesses to manage everything (be it clients, sales, or tasks) from a single platform.

How does SmartTask differentiate itself from other online collaboration tools?

Unlike other PM tools that try to be everything to everyone, SmartTask is specifically built for agencies and hi-tech teams.

We bundled a CRM with a project management tool so agencies could manage their client lifecycles, projects, and workflows in one spot. We also doubled down on real-time collaboration, resource management, and time-tracking, so that agencies can track the stuff that really matters. Basically, SmartTask helps agencies crank out awesome work for their clients – without all the extra hassle.

What are the key features that you believe contribute most to your users’ productivity?

For agencies, SmartTask’s key productivity boosters are:

  • Client portal: It’s built right in, so you can manage your projects and client relationships all in one place. No more jumping between tools or losing crucial info.
  • Time tracking: It’s a breeze with SmartTask. Log hours (manually or using our in-built tool) and estimate project costs. 
  • Workload Management: You can divide up tasks based on your team’s availability, so everyone’s working smart, not just hard.
  • Visual dashboards: Get a real-time, bird’s-eye view of all your projects and client work. Spot issues before they blow up and keep your team and clients in the loop. 

And of course, we’ve got top-notch collaboration tools baked in. File sharing, comments, integrated chat – everything an agency needs for seamless communication.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to develop their own SaaS products?

My advice to SaaS entrepreneurs would be – get first-hand insights from your target audience before building the product.  I visited 100s of businesses within 2-3 months and spent a lot of time talking to business owners before building SmartTask.

Next, be prepared to wear multiple hats initially – I coded the entire SmartTask app myself. Also, document your learnings diligently – we make it a point to write SOPs for everything at SmartTask. 

Finally, don’t let rejections get to you – I cold-called hundreds of businesses before getting my first clients and I’m sure you will too!

What common productivity challenges do teams face, and how can SmartTask help?

Since I’ve worked with agencies to understand their pain points, I can tell you that one of their biggest challenges is keeping everyone on the same page. You’ve got designers, developers, copywriters, account managers – all working on different pieces of the puzzle.

If communication breaks down, things get messy fast.

That’s where SmartTask comes in. It brings all your work into one place – from client onboarding to project management to resource allocation. No more digging through emails or chasing down files. Everything’s right there, at your fingertips.

SmartTask also makes it easy to track your time and budget. You can see exactly where your billable hours are going and ensure you’re staying profitable. 

The best part is that SmartTask helps you focus on the work that really moves the needle. With all the admin and communication streamlined, you can pour your energy into creating killer work for your clients. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

What features should a team look for in a productivity tool?

When it comes to picking a productivity tool for your team, especially if you’re an agency, there are a few things you need to look for:

  • Built for an agency: Your workflow is unique and you need a platform that gets that and supports it every step of the way.
  • Time tracking and budgeting: Look for a tool that makes time tracking simple and gives you real-time insights into your budget. Trust me, your bottom line will thank you.
  • Customization: Your productivity platform should be flexible enough to adapt to your agency’s unique processes. Look for features like custom fields, configurable dashboards, and agency-specific reporting to tailor the tool to your needs.
  • Integrations: Your productivity tool needs to play nicely with the rest of your tech stack, so you’re not constantly juggling data between different systems.

Of course, user experience is crucial too. If your team is fighting with the tool every day, it’s not really boosting productivity, is it?

What advice would you give to teams to improve their productivity?

If you’re an agency looking to boost productivity, here’s my advice:

First, get crystal clear on your priorities. What are your agency’s big-picture goals? What does success look like for your clients? Use that as your North Star to guide your productivity efforts.

Next, take a hard look at your current processes. Where are the bottlenecks? What’s causing friction? Be honest about what’s not working, and be open to changing things.

That’s where the right tools come in. And I’m not just saying that because I built SmartTask (although, that’s part of the reason – haha). Investing in a productivity platform that’s built for agencies can be a game-changer. It can help you streamline workflows, collaborate better, and organize all your client work in one place.

What role do AI and automation play in the future of productivity tools like SmartTask?

AI and automation will be absolute game changers for productivity tools and we’re already seeing the power of these technologies in action.

One area where I think AI will have a huge impact is in progress tracking and alerting teams when things are off track. I believe this will be akin to having an AI project manager working 24/7 to keep your agency on track. 

Another big area is using AI to optimize resource management. Imagine a tool that can predict the best way to allocate tasks based on your team’s strengths and availability. This could be so helpful in managing agency workflows.

Did you enjoy our interview? Do you have anything to say to our community?

Absolutely! To your community, I’d say embrace the power of productivity. Also, stay curious, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to try new tools and techniques.

Who we are interviewing today? Shyamal Parikh

Which product are you part of? SmartTask

What is the focus of the interview? Productivity and his role in SmartTask company

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