How PowerPoint slide search tool TeamSlide adds value to consultants

27 September 2017 Consultancy.uk

After working as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company and Cisco for six years, Kartik Sundar launched a startup that provides PowerPoint-focused productivity tools to managers and management consultants. His firm provides users with a PowerPoint add-in that helps create insightful consulting-style charts (Aploris) and a tool (TeamSlide) that helps them instantly find slides in decks. Several years into his venture, Consultancy.uk sat down with the founder to find out how TeamSlide can help consultants improve their productivity.

What was the motivation to leave the consulting field and start your own business?

From a relatively young age, I have been interested in being an entrepreneur. Like many young entrepreneurs, I toyed with a few simple startups and wrote multiple business plans. Consulting with Bain & Company gave me my first opportunity to develop my business acumen and get a better understanding of how a variety of industries work.

After a few years in consulting, I felt prepared to start my own business and was very fortunate to team up with another Bainee, Claudius Ohrt, to launch TeamSlide. Claudius was already working on PowerPoint-focused productivity tools and I felt that the alignment between the product and our consulting background would help us be successful.

Tell us a bit more about TeamSlide – what functionalities does it offer its users? And how does it differ from other products in the market such as SlideBank or Shufflrr?

TeamSlide is a PowerPoint search and slide library solution. Ultimately, TeamSlide ensures that your PowerPoint content is at your fingertips. You can search, preview, and insert slides into your presentation, all without ever leaving PowerPoint.

TeamSlide is available in two different configurations:

  • TeamSlide Pro is a desktop search solution that enables you to find specific slides across all your folders and email attachments.
  • TeamSlide Business enables organisations to search a shared repository of PowerPoint content. You can create a slide library using TeamSlide or connect an existing one like SharePoint or Box.

PowerPoint slide search tool TeamSlide

We differ from our competitors in 3 critical ways:

  1. TeamSlide works from within PowerPoint. You don’t have to ‘ALT-TAB’, go to a browser, or disrupt your workflow in any other way. Our add-in loads in a pane within PowerPoint, allowing you to search for slides while simultaneously working on your presentation.
  2. Our search capabilities were optimised in conjunction with a consulting firm who put it to the test with over 1 million slides. Our search filters out duplicate slides and title slides, considers slide titles more heavily, and even searches metadata. Essentially, it’s been thoroughly tested and is consultant approved!
  3. Our service is top notch. While this may seem like a throw away point, for us it is a true differentiator. Beyond technical support, we ensure that TeamSlide is a business success by helping the customer through on-boarding, rollout, and training. The other day, I reached out to 3 customers to ask if they would be willing to be a reference – within minutes they all responded with a resounding "yes".

You say that TeamSlide can help consultants save significant amounts of time because they no longer need to hunt through folders and emails to find that one killer slide. Do you have any insights into how big of an issue this is for firms?

A couple of our consulting firm customers had already identified slide-level search as a need. During quarterly surveys of their consulting staff, slide search consistently came up as a top three requirement.

Essentially, sharing knowledge is a critical function for consulting firms. Given the variety of projects and the relatively high-level of employee churn, consulting firms need effective tools to capture and disseminate knowledge. Many already have large knowledge repositories but typically each presentation only has a couple of ‘million-dollar’ slides. The hunt for these slides is cumbersome and can be extremely time consuming. Even at the smaller scale of slides on a consultant’s computer, it can take a while to locate a slide created even just one month ago. This leads to lost productivity from wasted time, but also from lost opportunity as duplicate slides are created, many times with errors that lead to poorer client meetings.

Quote Kartik Sundar

How has the user base of TeamSlide progressed since launching and what are the ambitions going forward?

Largely due to excitement from consultants, our user base has grown significantly since we launched TeamSlide a few years ago. TeamSlide Pro was born out of necessity – while working with a major global consulting organisation we got consistent feedback that consultants loved the ability to search their firm’s knowledge repository, but also needed a better way to search their own hard drives. Today, TeamSlide also serves marketing and sales teams across a variety of verticals in countries around the world.

Our ambition is to provide users with incredibly easy access to all their slides to help drive better business outcomes.

Lastly, with the blending of strategy consulting with other forms of consulting, such as operations, creative and advertising, the nature of analysis and presentation is changing. How are you ensuring that TeamSlide is in sync with these developments?

Since leaving management consulting about six years ago, I’ve already seen a number of significant changes. For management consultants, the generalist model seems to be giving way to a more expertise-based consulting style. Firms are hiring consultants into specific industry practices, investing in new roles like data science, and even making large acquisitions to expand their technical expertise. And as consulting firms push their consultants to focus more on the story and conclusions of their work, PowerPoint needs to be an effective enabler rather than a troublesome chore.

I ensure TeamSlide stays in sync with new developments by working very closely with internal teams at a few industry-leading consulting firms. This way, I obtain first-hand knowledge on how the industry is shifting and can incorporate that into the growth of TeamSlide. These firms also enable to us to quickly test hypotheses and build exciting new products (like TeamSlide Pro). Lastly, we will have to continue to innovate to provide consultants with the tools they need so that they can focus on their clients.

As part of the interview, Kartik Sundar has provided Consultancy.uk readers with a free trial of TeamSlide Pro. Follow this link for access.

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