Solutions for Today’s Challenges: AI, Automation, and Smart Suite Innovations

With Jon DarbyshireEP 190

In today’s episode, host Meny Hoffman sits down with entrepreneur Jon Darbyshire to delve into the intricacies of software implementation and AI-driven business solutions. Tune in as they explore why so many software projects fail, the pivotal role of AI in transforming everyday tasks, and how Darbyshire’s Smart Suite is setting new standards in project management. They also share insights from the startup grind conference, discuss how to vet the best project management systems, and the critical importance of customer feedback and company culture in driving growth and innovation. Plus, get inspired by exclusive stories from Darbyshire’s journey, including the successful sale of Archer Technologies. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or a business leader aiming for greater efficiency, this episode offers a wealth of practical advice and forward-thinking strategies.


John Derbyshire’s background (00:01:00) John Derbyshire’s background, including his previous company and the genesis of Smart Suite.

The culture at Archer Technologies (00:03:06) The culture at Archer Technologies and its impact on the business.

Balancing talent acquisition and culture (00:07:36) Balancing talent acquisition and culture in the tech industry.

The process of finding the right buyer (00:14:15) The process of finding the right buyer for Archer Technologies, including the acquisition by EMC.

Lessons from the Archer Technologies exit (00:17:12) Lessons learned from the exit of Archer Technologies and the inspiration behind Smart Suite.

The vision for Smart Suite (00:19:20) The vision for Smart Suite and its role in streamlining business processes.

The rise of no code (00:20:51) Discussion on the rapid growth of no-code products and the challenges of integrating multiple point solutions.

Empowering small businesses (00:22:07) The shift from custom software to no-code solutions and the impact on small business operations and decision-making.

Creating user-friendly software (00:24:01) The importance of building software that resonates with younger generations and the role of user experience in software adoption.

Selecting the right software (00:25:38) Guidance on evaluating and selecting software based on specific business needs and avoiding unnecessary features.

Involving end-users in software selection (00:28:02) The significance of including end-users in the decision-making process for software selection and its impact on ownership and adoption.

Customer-inspired product development (00:29:15) The emphasis on customer feedback and involvement in shaping product features and the role of customer-inspired development.

Ensuring successful software adoption (00:32:23) Strategies for successful software implementation and adoption, including considerations for process complexity and user involvement.

The future of AI in software (00:35:15) Insights into the growing significance of AI in various industries and its potential impact on automated tasks and decision-making in the future.

Using AI in Smart Suite (00:40:50) Discussion about leveraging AI in Smart Suite for data extraction, decision-making, and marketing purposes.

Success Story of AI and Automation (00:41:33) An example of a customer’s successful use of AI and automation in Smart Suite, resulting in cost savings and efficiency.

Future of Smart Suite (00:42:44) Plans for Smart Suite’s future, including simplifying the interface, enhancing AI integration, and making it user-friendly.

Resources and Trial Offer (00:44:43) Information on where to find more about Smart Suite, including a free trial offer and access to resources, blogs, and videos.

Rapid Fire Questions (00:45:25) A series of rapid-fire questions covering a book recommendation, memorable advice, regrets, and future aspirations.

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Practical Pointers
Importance of Selecting the Right Software: Jon stresses the importance of evaluating software to fit your company’s needs, utilizing free trials, and involving your team. This helps avoid failures from mismatched or overly complex solutions.
Leveraging AI for Automation and Efficiency: Jon Darbyshire highlights how Smart Suite’s AI capabilities, like custom workflows and data analysis, streamline operations and let employees focus on strategic work.
Involving Team and Customer Feedback: Involving your team in decisions fosters ownership, and gathering customer feedback ensures relevant features.
Prioritizing Cultural Fit in Hiring: Jon Darbyshire underscores hiring for cultural fit over short-term needs. Internal referrals and cultural assessments help attract and retain top talent while maintaining a positive work environment.
Integration and Simplification of Work Processes: The episode underscores the value of integrated, no-code platforms like Smart Suite allows companies to manage multiple processes on a single platform, reducing complexity and improving efficiency. This kind of integration ensures seamless data sharing and comprehensive management reporting, making it easier for decision-makers to access and act on relevant information.
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Guest Bio
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Jon Darbyshire

In 2021, Jon and his team launched SmartSuite, the work management platform that manages any process, from any industry, on one platform. Now, SmartSuite unites essential elements used to get work done, regardless of company size or type.

In the year 2000, Jon founded Archer Technologies, an enterprise governance, risk and, compliance software, giving business users—not developers—the ability to adapt software to their unique business requirements. Jon and the Archer team built a flexible, award winning platform and solution suite that became the mainstay of governance, risk and compliance teams for some of the world’s most powerful organizations, including 1 in 3 of the Fortune 100. Archer Technologies was purchased by EMC Corporation in 2010.

Throughout his career, Jon has been dedicated to automating everyday, essential business tasks to create smarter, more efficient organizations, no matter what the industry. Prior to Archer Technologies, Jon held leadership positions at both EY and Price Waterhouse, honing his skills in understanding the need to automate and simplify work for the enterprise.

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