Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast

S1E15 - Interview with Bill Carovano of Digiflow Software Solutions

May 06, 2019 Brick Bridge Consulting Season 1 Episode 15
Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast
S1E15 - Interview with Bill Carovano of Digiflow Software Solutions
Chapters
Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast
S1E15 - Interview with Bill Carovano of Digiflow Software Solutions
May 06, 2019 Season 1 Episode 15
Brick Bridge Consulting
  • Bill's time at Citrix working with the ShareFile and Podio product lines.
  • The Podio-Globiflow resale partnership, and how it led to Globiflow becoming part of Citrix
  • Founding of Digiflow Software Solutions.
  • "Talking Shop" about Podio as a "PaaS" and how it is totally unique in the market

Follow us on social media (@PodcastPodio) to stay up to date on all Podio Podcast news.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/brickbridge)

Show Notes Transcript
  • Bill's time at Citrix working with the ShareFile and Podio product lines.
  • The Podio-Globiflow resale partnership, and how it led to Globiflow becoming part of Citrix
  • Founding of Digiflow Software Solutions.
  • "Talking Shop" about Podio as a "PaaS" and how it is totally unique in the market

Follow us on social media (@PodcastPodio) to stay up to date on all Podio Podcast news.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/brickbridge)

Gil Roberts:

Welcome to the Podio Solutions Podcast, season one episode 15. I'm G il Roberts a nd with ,Brick Bridge Consulting, a nd with me today w e'll be Bill Carovano of Digiflow software solutions, h e's gracious a nd g iven us an interview today, which we'll dive into here in just a second. This podcast is about the design and development on the C itrix podio platform, which is located at Podio, p o d i o.com. We use this podcast to discuss our experiences with podio as well as other interesting topics from the podio developer community. If you are a podio designer or developer working at an agency, small business or enterprise, you s hould immediately hit that subscribe button if you have already. Thank you so much for your support. Lastly, before we dive into today's topic, if you have a topic, issue, solution, problem, or anything else you'd like to discuss, we want to know, u h, w e're looking for podio gaps as we asked for every episode, as well as those with some interesting viewpoints for interviews. Just like b ill today. So hit us on our Facebook, linkedin, Twitter, or send us a podio email or a podio message or email to p odcast@brickbridgeconsulting.com. So as I stated before, Bill Carovano is going to join us today. U m, and we're going to be going over his, u h, industry knowledge, u h, his time working with Citrix as well as his, u m, u h, history with the podio, globiflow sale and then his founding of digital, u h, Digiflows software solutions. U h, so it'd be great. I t would give t he talk shop together. I think you guys a s listening to really gonna find a lot of great information about this. So listen here, thanks. Welcome to the Podio Solutions podcast. I'm here today with Bill Carovano. That's, I said that correctly, right?

Bill Carovano:

Yup, sure did.

Gil Roberts:

Excellent. Bill Carovano of , Digiflow software solutions? You are the founder and Digiflow, started in 2016 and we wanted to just give Bill some time on our podcast today. We see bill, we see you out in the forms constantly helping people and giving back to the community. So we wanted to shine the spotlight on you and say, Hey, thank you for all the support in the community. I , I've never , uh , you and I have never actually messaged back and forth on that, but I have used a couple of your solutions and so I personally appreciate your effort and contribution to the community. So first I wanted to learn a little bit more about you and digiflows, software solutions and how that ties in with the podio community at large .

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. Gil, thanks. Thanks so much for having me and likewise, thanks for contributing to the community with this podcast. I really enjoy it. Um, yeah . Digiflow software solutions is , um , a company I created back in 2016. Uh, I had left Citrix, which I where I was an employee for almost 17 years , um , in mid 2016 and um, so Digiflow came out of a lot of my work at Citrix. Um, in the last four to five years at Citrix, I had responsibility for the share file , enterprise product line. And then over the final 12 to 18 months of my tenure at Citrix, I was responsible for the , the podio product line. So when I left Citrix, yeah, go ahead.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah , you are doing a sales there , installations engineering. What was your kind of duties during that time?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, I was actually responsible for the podio product line globally. So I had, in Citrix terms, we would, we would call it dotted line responsibility for all of those functions within the company. Although I only had a few direct reports. That's the way product lines are kind of organized at Citrix at that point in time.

Gil Roberts:

Okay. Excellent.

Bill Carovano:

So I uh, I left Citrix in the middle of 2016 so my last role there had been related to podio and um, I wasn't a hundred percent sure what I was going to do when I left Citrix. I took some time off and then I had a few ideas brewing and podio just kind of that , that ecosystem and the opportunities are just kind of pulled me in and gradually became 100% of what I was doing. So by the beginning of 2017, I was 100% doing podio stuff. Uh , and um , most of it was consulting at that point in time, but I was also starting to publish some app packs. Uh, and it was almost like I was building pseudo products in a way on top of podio and, and uh, eventually ended up building some, some SAS like offerings, which I'm still running today.

Gil Roberts:

And you know, the app packs, you mentioned that there's a bit of a Sida , I'm curious how is there we , you're trying to monetize through that. Were you just trying to do , get some exposure? What was the strategy with publishing to the app pack store? We don't, we don't see a lot of people do that as they used to.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. Initially it was a way of a , I mean it was completely free. It was open source, right. So I viewed it as a way to draw attention to myself to sell services initially so that, and it would give, you know, some people would just take the app pack, use it, implement it in their own systems, and that was, that was perfectly fine. But then other people would say, hey, I really like what this app pack does, but I don't know how to implement it. And then they would hire me to go implement it for them. So it was kind of a tool for me to sell services in the early days.

Gil Roberts:

Interesting. That's very interesting.

Bill Carovano:

wish I had more time to spend on that today. And I do think there's an opportunity to monetize those sorts of things by somebody, but it's just not something I'm too focused on at the moment.

Gil Roberts:

That's fair. Okay, well we'll set that off to one side. We might pick that up as a conversation , uh , to. So it just haven't run into anybody that, that's done that route up . I'm sure others have. You know, there's never heard original thought. Right. But , uh, I think that's , I think it's a really way to kind of get yourself off the ground and cause people go to that store quite a bit. Uh, that, that option is there when you, when you make a new app to go there we go and look like on a brick bridge side, we go and look and just see what, what other people have done in the past to get some ideas. Uh , we've always kinda gone custom for everything that we do out of the gate. Um , which you know, as, as you know, podio does a great job at allowing you to do that. Uh , but we just haven't thought of it , uh , in that way. So it's a very interesting idea. Hopefully some of the listeners picked up on that as well. Alright .

Bill Carovano:

It's pretty with the game changer for me really was, was that once you have the ability to publish a set of globiflow flows with an app pack, that was what made it just super amazing. And you could actually build really an entire system. And so like give you an example. The A, I've got a Twillio app pack that's published that's just basically published so that people have, the globiflow flows that they need to interact with Twillio for text messaging. But then there's also more complicated ones like the multichannel drip marketing pack, which is almost like a product in its own right. And that gets a lot more complicated, but it's the ability to publish the flows along with the apps that that was so significant.

Gil Roberts:

Sure. The app itself is , is a great first front end piece, but it really was globiflow and really the admin and gobiflow a number of years back that that created the ability to make these software solutions available to others. Not just, you know , one off customizations for clients. I want to dig into that, but not just yet. Uh , what's , uh , talk a little bit more about kind of your, your initial founding of a digiflow and kind of what you kind of started cut your teeth on it as a business there. I'm always curious about hearing how that , how you got it off the ground.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. So one of the reasons that I decided to leave Citrix after such a long period of time is that in my role as I'd gotten really further and further away from customers and I wanted to go back to my roots and get really close to customers and what customers are actually doing with technology and with software. And so with, with podio and globiflow and some of the other technologies that I, that I work with, I was able to kind of get back into a consulting software development consulting type business even though I'd really been out of that realm for well over a decade. Honestly. I mean I hadn't been a software developer and a really, really long time, but the, I, I kinda , I don't know if you've heard the term citizen developer, but that's kind of what I was, is I, I knew enough about programming software development , so forth, that I could pick up a bunch of skills and , and use the, the ease of globiflow to build some pretty interesting systems for clients that were using podio but wanted to do more with it. So it was a, it was a very , um, easy entry point to get back into software development consulting. Um, which would have been, if I'd had used any other tech stack, it would have been a really daunting task for me.

Gil Roberts:

Oh yeah . Yeah . It's, for me, I see a similar path. I did a lot of development courses and things way back in the early two thousands, which is dinosaur age at this point. I came back into that , that started using podio around 2012, 2013 early before some of the automations. It was just kind of fancy forms. But , um, when, when globiflow came out and kind of changed everything, I felt the same way. It's like I was able to remember some of the things that I learned early on as a, as somebody into development that left. Uh , but I was able to reapply that with the globiflow platform. Do you feel that it's the level that globiflow provides in automation allows for complete software packages today?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah. No question. I mean that's one of the things I'm doing right now is I have a business partnership with a company called call porter, which offers a , an array of services to real estate investors. And one of the services that we offer via call porter is a turnkey podio based lead management CRM. And so part of the offering to call porter clients is a SAS cloud lead management CRM. And that's been built predominantly by me using tools like podio, globiflow, procfu to a Twillio Lob. A bunch of tools that I've put together and I mean I , I wouldn't call myself sort of a hardcore software developer. I'm more of a business workflow person that has enough technical skill to build and manage these sorts of systems. And so what podio is doing with globiflow is it's abstracting so much of the underlying complexity that you can actually get straight to the business workflow and not have to worry about any of the underlying complexity to to any extent like, like you would with with a different tech stack.

Gil Roberts:

I think there's a fantastic point because at the end of the day, for a lot of our users, right, the people that purchase from us, they just care that it works. I know that from a workflow standpoint, cutting through some of the unnecessary set up when it comes to software development and just getting to the business process and automating that or executing on that is the important point are our purchasers, our clients, they have a real world need, right? They need this paperwork done or these things sin if like with lob or something like that, these certain timings. I think it's important for us as those delivering the software to be able to get it out in front of people and allow them to use it and iterate with it. Uh, early on now w we tend to give out like access to the solutions we build for our clients very early in the process to allow them to play and tell us what they like and what they don't like. Is that something that you guys do their digiflow as well? Do you, do you open that up?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I love working with the clients of the, the call porter CRM, just as an example. I love the ones that really adopt the solution and keep asking me for customizations and enhancements cause they're , they're really tailoring it to their own unique business workflow. So we , we kind of get them started with what, it's the same technology that I published in the app packs. It's just applied to a, a SAS service. Uh, and , and but, but they take it and run with it and say, Hey, can we get the, can we get podio to do this or that in terms of automation or organization? And the answer is always yes. Right. Just cause it's such an amazingly customizable platform.

Gil Roberts:

I , it's so important when Globiflow came out. Um, when was that? When was, cause I, I remember me personally picking it up early 2014 you still had to pay globiflow separately.

Bill Carovano:

I don't remember when it came out, but I first became aware of it sometime in probably around mid 2014 when, and that was when I was at Citrix and I was still working on the share-file product line at that point in time. Um, and yeah, I thought it was amazing then. And by the time I moved into the podio leadership role in mid 2015, one of the first orders of business for me was to book a trip to Calgary to go meet Andreas and see , see what this was all about because I just thought it was so amazing and so unique. And , um, it was during those meetings with Andreas that we came up with a couple of ideas. Um , one was to , to bundle globiflow into podio premium so that Citrix Coz could sell it right along with podio and then to , uh , funding some additional integrations of globiflow with RightSignature and share files so that you could drive workflow with podio. Kind of , kind of like the, a good example is the RightSignature build the build a pdf, send it for signature track , the signature, those sorts of things as RightSignature came out of those, those meetings . So

Gil Roberts:

I guess that came out what, 2015 all the extra , the additional right signature . Maybe late 2014.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, I was um , the rights and interests in your file stuff would've been 2015 or so, maybe even into early 2016 when the reseller partnership went live in , uh , I think sometime in January or February of 2016 I think is when the reseller partnership went live.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah, I remember, I remember seeing that and I from a business perspective, completely understood because it really added so much value , uh , to , to a great kind of platform as it was. But it just having the automations there, as we all know, I'm preaching the choir a little bit , uh, just really added more to it, kind of brought it alive. Right. So I think that , um, those early on integrations , uh , were very important. I used a ton of the right signature integrations right when it came out. It was, it was actually almost for Tutus . We were , we were going through paperwork process. I was working at a nonprofit where we picked up podio originally , uh , back in 2016 and we were going through some , uh , loan application process that we're trying to get onto the podio platform. So that came out right at the right time. That's why I remember using that 2015. So I know that , um, that partnership started there. Uh , how did that lead to become a , you know, globiflow becoming a part of Citrix? I think you have some inside.

Bill Carovano:

Mm , yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, my, my, my goal , um , at the time was to build a business case inside a Citrix to acquire globiflow. Because I saw podio as, as a, as a, as an interesting product line, very unique product line. But with globiflow, there was nothing else like it. And so my goal was to bring it together as one unified product line, but in order to do so within Citrix, I had to build the business case. And so I basically took a page out of the , uh , a playbook that we had used for RightSignature. RightSignature was resold by Citrix prior to being acquired by Citrix in order to prove the business case for the acquisition. And so we basically took a page out of that playbook and applied it to global flow and it was super successful. And a little over a year later, globiflow ended up being acquired, which, which was after I had left Citrix actually. But a, the acquisition that happened as it happens, I was really happy to see that.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I think it was better for both software sets to come together, but that's a, hm, I want to step back for a second and point that out just from a very interesting standpoint of the , the reseller partnership becoming the reseller to understand the business case. I think this is a , a great move. I you said that originated on the right signature side , uh , but awesome idea for you to apply it in this situation as well. A , it kind of allows you to see the book of business, right? Like, hey, we're buying into this product. You know, what kind of businesses is behind the curtain, what's actually see some, some live people at purchased a at through our partnerships. I think that it's a smart move. I think some people should take note of that. Uh, it's kind of a bit of a half step into an acquisition, but I, I think it's really smart for the acquirer to do that. Did you guys come up with that as a management team when you saw that being used at RightSignature? Did you come up with that? Who , who, who can we?

Bill Carovano:

Well, so my, my, my boss at the time, Jesse Lipson , who was the founder of share file, he was the one that had , um, led the primary interest in acquiring rights signature and put together the idea of, hey, why don't we do a reseller partnership on writing teacher? And when I took the idea of requiring globiflow to him, he said, yeah, it sounds great. Let's, you know, we're going to probably be asked to prove it out first. So why don't we try a reseller partnership with globiflow ? And I said, okay, sounds good. So we made that happen. Uh , so it was really his, his , uh,

Gil Roberts:

Brainchild. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Coaching to me. Yeah. It was really his because he'd proven it , that model out before it was a good thing to apply to global flow as well. And it proved to be very successful and it was a no brainer to acquire globiflow uh , about a year later.

Gil Roberts:

Absolutely. Fantastic. That's it . That's a little , little golden nugget of business knowledge there . Uh , just in general for anything. All right, so let's, let's move on. I want to talk a little bit more about kind of the initial customers and initial fan , the founding of , uh , digiflow, um, and who are your customers sets , who , who tends to enjoy your services?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. Right now I've, I've ended up in , um , the real estate investment arena predominantly. Um, and that wasn't necessarily by design. That just seems to be where there's a , a lot of activity going on. And so a port , a big portion of what I do is my partnership with Call Porter where I have basically a mini sa SAS business and I'm helping to grow the call porter business as part of that. And then I have some just traditional consulting, but it's , it's almost more like I'm a fractional CIO or fractional CTO to a couple of key clients because I spend a number of hours with them every single week over in some cases a couple of years now. Um, so just podio is just their business platform for, for everything they do. And as the businesses grow, I continue to help them grow their business through enhancing their podio assistant to meet their needs.

Gil Roberts:

Absolutely. It's integral to have a central just information management system. Um, we do a lot of work with the Rei community there . They are quite fickle. Uh , with the podio platform. I've noticed just in general, there's, there's investor fuse, there's a couple of other rei based systems that we've run into. Uh , Jordan and then the guys that were game changers have boost pm and property management one. So kind of accessory to just a property. People in general, real estate industry in general is found a lot of traction on Podio. Why do you think that is?

Bill Carovano:

Well, I think we all owe Dan Schwartz a debt of gratitude for one from investor fuse because I don't know if he was the first, but he was certainly the one that I became aware of that was very vocal about what podio could do as a, as a lead management system for real estate investment.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah, he's definitely was the most vocal about it. That , so we ran into that. That was kind of the first solution product that we ran into. I think the ease of use and the customization and some of the paperwork options is, is the board , our rei guys are telling us why they like it. Cause I, I flat out ask them like, Hey, you know, we're, we've got people in five different states that are using these, you know , using podio is real estate. And they've all approached us. Uh, so I've asked them like, hey, why podio ? Why you guys so, and I think it's easy use and the ease of customization. It's also not as intuitive as like salesforce, right? Salesforce a $150 yeah,

Bill Carovano:

it's a very low, yeah, it's a very low entry point. I mean you can get for $24 a month, but what you get with podio is absolutely amazing.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah. It's, it's , it's a great deal. Great value to them. I've also noticed, and maybe it's just who who contacts us, but w we tend to deal with shops that are around, you know, 10 20 people. So these aren't huge operations and I , I think the podio fits that bill really well, especially in that small, medium size business space. I think that attracts them as well. Do you feel that there's more value to real estate people in the Podio side of the business? Like the actual tracking side or is it really the automations that that drive a lot of the value to them for real estate investors?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, it's, it's the, it's the automations because it allows you to standardize and automate a pretty standard workflow and keep a lot of different people on the same page , um, in one system. And again, at an entry point that for the size of companies that you're often dealing with, with a real estate investment company is , is ideal. So, but you know, I see a lot of opportunity outside of that. I mean, Jordan and team, I know we're chasing similar opportunity in, in the property management space, which is kind of just to, just to decide of what real estate investors do. And a lot of cases these companies are in the same businesses. But I also see there's an opportunity for others to do similar things in other industries like bookkeeping, accounting, legal, and eventually I think one of the biggest opportunities is going to be healthcare once , um , no, once there's a better HIPAA compliance commitment from Citrix on that front, there's just, there's no end to the industries that can be, whose workloads can be streamlined and standardized and just run much more effectively using a system like podio.

Gil Roberts:

I agree. I think you hit the nail on the head with the accounting and legal fields. Um, they , uh , I was just actually with our lawyer last Friday , uh , putting some things, business deals together with them, and uh, he was just kind of looking at what we're doing. And you know, he's a lawyer, he's our lawyer that works with a lot of other clients, right? So he's just kind of , what do you guys do, you know, CRMs, what do you, what do you do with all that and say, Hey , uh , how do you keep all your sales information? He's like, I have a stack of business cards and a excel sheet. I'm like, well, that doesn't lend itself to automation. Right?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. That's probably the biggest opportunity for podio is people that run their business out of excel and are just struggling to figure out, well, how do I do this better?

Gil Roberts:

You know, it's , it's actually unreal how many people are a lot of businesses, even businesses that have, you know, a hundred employees, how much of the, of just the , the workflow market, that office word and excel takeover. And I don't know if that's from a standpoint of just people know how to use that and that's, that's why they're comfortable with, and that's Kinda like the easiest. That's , you know, fire sell , right? Like as easiest thing to do to start tracking something. So you always say hats off for tracking it. Uh, but there's, you know, lets get you into 2019, which gets you into a system that's gonna allow us to put some automations around either time-saving paperwork, kind of transactional or uh, you know, some marketing automation, see if we can generate some business. So, you know , save you some expenses, increase your revenue, that's not going to happen out of excel. Right.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. And it's , it's, it's interesting , you do see growth in, in the kind of spreadsheet plus solutions like Smartsheet and, and to some extent air table, which have , uh , initially they looked like a sprint , more like a spreadsheet. So the initial adoption factor for an end user is probably, it just feels more accessible than maybe a podio does. But really when you get down to it, podio is just far more capables . And either one of those solutions , uh , when it comes to really driving the full business workflow and multiple business workflows. Yeah, I think I , and I think that last what you just said there , the multiple business workflows in like tying things together that are, that are not just what's on that one excel sheet. It's like all the excel sheets in your business. We can tie all that together cause everybody's got one on their desktop. Right? And those are different departments and things that you do over and sales affect what happens over operations and where we can kind of tie in and integrate not just other software packages with Podio, but also just integrate your own departments internally. Uh , so that , that you guys work better together. And you know, if Sally's out on vacation in the spreadsheets on her desktop, you can't get into it. You know, you don't have to call it services, come on lock or computer. Right? It's all right there in the cloud. Everybody has access to it. Um, yeah. I don't know if you see the same thing I do, but I , I see a lot of these small businesses, they, if they get beyond the spreadsheet, they may run hubspot and base camp and slack and Trello and so they've got like four or five different systems and you contrast that with a business that just runs podio. It's just a lot more unified and a lot less fragmented than what I see a lot of people doing with all these different systems. I mean podium can do all those things in more and do it in a lot more streamlined fashion.

Gil Roberts:

Something I wanted to talk about it as we move along here. The is actually on that point where it's like, okay, so, so you've gone beyond the Microsoft office suite and then maybe any of the specific industry tools and you're using some of these other SAS softwares, mail chimp's of the world lob. You mentioned that earlier though. These other things. Do you guys do a lot of work with Zapier to try to wrangle that in and then tie it back to the podio platform? Is that, are you guys doing a lot of work with, with, with those style integrations?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, to some extent. I mean Zapier is a good, is a good tool in the toolbox , um, to have because it's often the easiest integration tool between different systems and it's often something I'm , I will find a client already has for whatever reason. Um, and they've got a free version which is really easy to adopt a generally try and do a direct API integration if I, if it's possible to do so. So like when I do an integration with Twilio or log, that's a direct API integration. But if it's a, another system like for example, if I need to bring in Facebook lead, it leads into Podio, I'll do, do it using Zapier. Cause that's just the easiest way of doing it.

Gil Roberts:

No , it's definitely the past, the path of least resistance a on your API development. Uh, we do a ton of that. I'm definitely curious what , where do you guys host two solutions ? You use an AWS, are you

Bill Carovano:

everything that I pretty much do at this point is all based on globiflow and procfu. So I don't actually, I'm starting to dabble a little bit with some Google cloud platform. Uh , subsystems like , um , functions. And you know, I've got some early my SQL databases and stuff like that for certain use cases, but predominantly what I've been doing is, is all Globiflow and procfu. So, and I don't, I know you guys use lambda and I've looked into it. It's just I haven't had the time to really,

Gil Roberts:

And we have two guys that just sit there and that's what they work on. So it is, you got to dedicate resource to it and you've got to get it set up and, and out. Now I will say for our Sassaafras, product soon to be released, we were kind of talking about that before we started. Um, we're gonna allow people to come on and actually code the functions . So literally all you have to do to code your flows. Now it's going to be probably in c sharp or PHP . So it's going to be more traditional development. So it's not to be drag and drop a , you ought to kind of have to code it out, but a , that that will be run on AWS architecture and , and do business flows , um, that aren't just the easy to do either from a globiflow procfu perspective or if you need some kind of heavy custom integration. Uh , we, we have an integration with the federal government, HUD, you know , that's not, you're not gonna find out on Zapier, right ? So , uh, you're, you're gonna need to have a custom integration. So it can also host those as well , uh, to , to help, you know , if there's clients that just have use cases for stuff that , um, and I just said isn't, isn't on Zapier isn't on proxy , right? It's just a , I have to have this, this federal reporting as a part of the product , uh , that that's being built. So

Bill Carovano:

I see me being an early , uh, early adopter of Sassafras for sure. I'm definitely really interested in diving into that once that's in Beta or whatever form of release you guys make it in. It sounds really, really interesting.

Gil Roberts:

We're , we're in super early Alpha. Thats what we tell people, we actually, it's built services firs so it actually works. We have two of our client , we , we needed it for our own clients. That's where the need came out of. Um, and we can actually, we've done a couple of demos, we can run it on a command line so, so you can type in the commands and it'll shoot out deployments and wire all the hooks up. And basically it right now it takes less than 10 minutes and we can do a copy of the uh , eight workspace solution. It's got about 60 apps all across references and cross javascript references and it'll shake the copy out, fix all the relationship fields, do all the Java script , all that kind of stuff. So lot faster than trying to do it manually. Now we have our flow engine that's wired to that. So it's not copying globiflows or or anything like that . Like that, these solutions we use globiflow initially as prototyping, but if moved completely to accustom flow engine for both of those products so that we used a little bit of globiflow to do like extreme customization for individual product users, which works really nicely. They work together very well. You know , you can use globiflow to do just a little bit of scripting , um, over the top of accustom engine . So it actually exists. It works. Uh , it does not have a user interface that's, that's the uh, that, that's kind of the , the bugaboo there is that there's nowhere to go and log in to use it. So that's what we're, we're actually trying to work on right now that and multi organization deployment w we were kind of talking about before we got started to spin up a little bit of foreign in our side, but we're , we're slowly moving through those issues on that.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. Well I'm so appreciative you had this podcast because I wouldn't have been aware of it at all if I hadn't started listening to the podcast . I'm definitely count in for taking a look at that cause I can see a lot of utility for Sassafras in the future for me.

Gil Roberts:

Um, and we'll, we'll , uh, we'll talk a little bit at the end here about it. Um, something that we saw and the reason that we created it and I think you'll appreciate this is just clients that are in the similar industry looking for a similar solution. That's something you've already created, right? And, and you're, you're doing this, I mean, you're doing it through the app pack and the published globiflows space , right? So this is, this is something that, that , that can be done. What we found is that multi workspace , uh, you know , multi app with like references between workspaces was just , uh , it was painful to make a copy of that.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah. That's where, you know, I definitely, what I'm doing right now with , with call porter and the lead management CRM is a single workspace solution. So it works perfectly fine for this particular use case. But it's , it where , where you have multiple workspaces, I can see, definitely see Sassafras. But also I wonder if Sassafras might actually be useful for packaging up of an existing multi workspace solution. Like I'll give you an example. Um , one of my clients is a real estate investment company and they work across multiple markets. And so let's say next week , um, the , the , the president of the company comes to me and says, hey, we're going to be opening up the Denver market. And so I need to get everything spun up for Denver. I'm , I'm curious to see a Sassafras would allow me to kind of package up a multi workspace solution for that new market and be able to open up that market faster because otherwise opening up that new market is kind of a painstaking process from a technology perspective, right? It's, you could probably create a, a clone of the primary workspace with its flows , but then you're going to have to go through all of those and make the connection to the decentralized workspaces a , it's a lot of work. And from my client's perspective, he's probably wondering why is it so hard? And it's because the tooling is a little bit lacking to be able to do multi workspace. So I'm hopeful that that Sassafras might be an interesting tool in the toolbox to help with that sort of problem as well.

Gil Roberts:

It does. Um, and, and we've talked a little shop here, the uh, with, with Sassafras it, it has kind of three layers to it , uh , and it , the two of them are kind of bundled together, which we call deployment and patching. We can actually patch podio solutions that are already out there. So change fields, change hooks automatically across multiple , um, you know , it would say you got five people using the same solution, attach all five, hey, I need to change these fields, rewire some of these hooks and uh, you know, eliminate this, move some data over here and do that. And the patching system will , we'll take care of that for you. Um, from the aid comes in from the API and does that , uh, what we're hoping to do , uh , with both patching in deployment as you'll be able to through the interface, kind of like globiflow, right? You'll, you'll sign in, single sign on and it'll pull up, you know, here's your workspaces and you'll be able to go, okay, make a solution. So I want, you know , this workspace, this one and this one, those go together. So that when I give , when I deploy a copy out to somebody, I want to exact copy of this. Uh , so that's the idea behind it so that you'll , you'll be able to sign in, see what you have and then designate which ones are and , and you'll be able to do multiple products. Uh , but you can designate, you know, this is product a, this is product B. These workspaces go with, have these go with this. The original idea behind that is that you can have development workspaces and then you, you capture a copy of a point in time of that and that becomes your deployment copy. That's your production copy, right? So the idea is you can continue to work in a development environment and test. So sandbox that a of the product a you can break it and do all, you know, progress it and try things and then when it's ready cause you feel it's good, you've done your testing on it, you've made your changes or you can either deploy out new copies or send that out for passion , uh , to exist in copies. Um, kind of like the CD stamper in the, so to speak about it'll stamp out what you consider production. Uh , we're hoping that that allows for more complex solutions to be shared. I the single workspace solution, the, the Procfu and the Globiflow of the app packs and all that take , take care of that really well. I think what we find.

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, definitely.

Gil Roberts:

Especially with the access model of having to segregate people into different workspaces based on job roles that , you know, we start talking about like a , we have product over in the housing counseling space. Um, not everybody is allowed to see the , the client's profile, right? So people at the front desk checking people in , they need to be able to see that person's contact information, but they're not allowed to see why they're there for counseling, that there's a HUD certified counselor that has to deal with that. That's not medical information. So it's not, it doesn't fall on her hip or anything like that, but it is like, you know, they want to keep those things separated. So that right there necessitated workspaces. Right? Or you're going to have to shoot out a ton of shared items so that doesn't look pretty. Especially..

Bill Carovano:

yeah, I mean anything to break that constraint of single workspace is going to be really, really helpful for those of us engaged in building these sass products on top of a podio. So that , that sounds super interesting.

Gil Roberts:

Do you ever use any kind of um, custom with like with call porter or some of these other products? Do you ever, have you ever used any custom engine or anything outside of globiflow?

Bill Carovano:

No , just , yeah, just procfu for certain things. Um, that that procfu has actually been pretty critical in helping to scale, especially when when a new workspace is deployed for a client. Um, I've started to experiment with a few and it uses a few of the Google cloud platform services, but that's pretty lightweight at this point. It's really still predominantly globiflow and a little bit of procfu.

Gil Roberts:

Do do you see more and more of this need in , in your business signs or with your clients are , or maybe their asks as maybe that's a better way that the phrase is , is you see your clients asking for more and more things that may fall outside, maybe not procfu but fall outside of the kind of globiflow Zapier level or are you seeing, are you seeing more demand to that?

Bill Carovano:

Um, I think the biggest thing they don't, this isn't what they specifically asked for, but it, it's the multi workspace situation, right? What they're asking for is more segmentation of data and access. And the really the only way to do that is multiple workspaces with podio. And so it leads to where I think Sassafras has an interesting entree is how do you build, package up a solution that does span multiple podio workspaces. But that's not the direct ask. It's just that that is the solution that meets the requirement. And Sassafras seems like it's a good technology to address that.

Gil Roberts:

Yeah. And it's a , it's a , we hope that the , the tooling that, that we'll be able to provide the community is going to satisfy those client needs. And I think you make a good point. It's not like they're saying, hey, can I get more workspaces? Right. Cause that's what everybody wants more workspaces. They're saying, hey, I can't, I can't have this person being able to access or accounting space. Right. Like we don't want our employees or the payrolls at. So

Bill Carovano:

yeah, I mean I think the only other, the only other example maybe that site is with, with the scalability of podio under such a stress, I mean, the platform is just, we're , all of us are putting so many demands on the platform, the need to break out these really large apps into really true database solutions. Maybe something, it's something I'm starting to experiment with a little bit. Um, so for really large apps, if there's a hard limit that ends up being put on Apps of 500,000 records, then that's going to force me and everybody else to start using more true database solutions like my sequel and using tools like procfu to access those from podio. Uh, with the my SQL support that procfu has. So that, that would be one, maybe the near term or maybe the midterm exception to what I just said, which is where other cloud platforms have used to augment what podio does, where we're, podio is not quite built to scale to a certain level.

Gil Roberts:

That's fair. And Podio is not a database product. Right? It's a, it's an application to

Bill Carovano:

it is. Yeah. I mean it isn't, it isn't, right. It's a , it's a relational database tool, but it's not built to host 5 million records in a single app, which is, which is fine, you know, that's, that's fair. Um, there are use cases for that. And I think that's where people like me need to get more comfortable with building out other cloud services. So that , that's what I'm starting to do a little bit, a little bit of with my SQL and some other tools like that.

Gil Roberts:

I'm going to tell you , I'm going to throw one thing at you that's kind of um, the related to the database topic here that we're talking about, which is reporting. Do you, do you have a lot of clients that that need like multi branch reporting or are basically reporting that the like the tiles and some of the simple stuff that you can do? How are you guys addressing that?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, that for one of my clients right now, that's a lot of what I'm doing for them is reporting. And really the solution is building out apps and views and globiflow and procfu automations that build those reports. So, so people say, well, where's the reporting in Podio? And they look at what's called reports in podio. Well that's not really what, how you build reports in , in podio. The way you build reports in Podio is you build apps for them and, and you build views on the apps that you actually need to get the source data and you use globiflow and procfu to , to, to build the data for the reports.

Gil Roberts:

And you send those out as PDFs, CSV, or xls?

Bill Carovano:

Yeah, PDFs, excel spreadsheets. Sometimes just apps themselves. Sometimes I'll use Zapier to pump the data over to a Google sheet or something like that. That varies .

Gil Roberts:

I know, I know reporting is always like top of mind, right? Cause we're always, you know , when we start these projects, we're always talking to the, to brass and one of their big, one of their big needs is reporting. So it always comes up. Um, we, we do some of our complicated reporting. We actually do out of SQL database. We're hoping, probably not in the initial, but we're hoping to have a database product attached to Sassafras so that you can just build out data and reports automatically. But we'll , we'll more about that later. Um, I , I think that addressing that need to management it has and, and us being able to do that , um, from a complex complex reporting as one of some business. Um, cause it's not , it's not the most simple thing to do. And we've done , um, we've done some things where we , uh , use apps like a workspace where nobody else is invited in and we do some apps to do some juggling , uh , and try to and try to tie things together from, from other workspaces. It never really , um, it likes the break sometimes that , that kind of method, I dunno if you guys, have you ever done that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, a very similar approach to what I've, I've taken. Um, I think that the, for the most part it's worked quite well. Um, it , it really is reliant on views using views on one of the apps where we want to get the source data and procfu. Who for me has been critical in bridging some of the gaps. Like for example, I'll give you a good example. With globiflow, it's difficult to do something like count the number of items. Just get a simple answer to counting the number of items in a view, right? You can get a view and looped through it in globiflow, but what you really want is just give me the count of items in this view. And that's one of the things that procfu has a script for. And so I've used things like that pretty extensively to address some of the gaps that , that my clients have in when it comes to reporting.

Gil Roberts:

That's fantastic. I hope listeners today got some value from, from our interview and bill, we really appreciate you taking the time , uh , not just the , the on this podcast, but really taking the time to answer people's questions throughout the community. I think it's huge. It helped me early on , um, your, your posts as well as others. There's several others . We're gonna try to get some other people from the community that are helpful on , on the show as well. But I think that has just made this and really , uh , our ability to go into business here, at brick bridge. So much easier when there's so many people like you build it or they're giving back to the community. So we greatly appreciate it. And again, thank you for your time for coming onto the show. Uh , is there anything else that you would like to share with the community? Is there anything you would like to go on, That you got going on that you would like to share with our listeners? Kind of rolling out the red carpet today?

Bill Carovano:

No, I'm good. I just thanks so much for , for you and also for Jordan for putting the two podcast together. I really enjoyed them and uh , I hope others are getting similar benefit out of it. So much appreciated and keep up the good work on those .

Gil Roberts:

Excellent interview with Bill Carovano want to give him a big thumbs up for coming on the show. Wonderful Information. We found it very enlightening to look at his view and the history that he seen in the podio platform and just kind of discuss his history. So I hope that everybody got a big piece of value out of that interview with bill. And we want to thank you for coming on the show. I once again, we are still looking for Podio, gaps for us to solve for an ex , um , gap episode , uh , that will be coming up here shortly. So please do submit those, hit us up on Facebook, linkedin, Twitter, or send us an email or podio message, at podcast@brickbridgeconsulting.com. On our next episode, we will be finishing our two part series with Alex talking about the reliability of business applications. I think we had a great response for the first episode, so a lot of people are ready for part two. So thank you , uh , once again, Bill for joining us and you guys have a great rest of your week.