Editor's Note: Nikhilesh Dey, a student in JWU's MBA degree program, gives a firsthand account in his own words about a trip to Upserve, a software company in Providence, Rhode Island, that he toured with his Technology in Hospitality in Tourism class, taught by Associate Professor Debbie Howarth.
Software is an application so versatile yet so complex, there's no wonder that software controls and aids the majority of work we do in today's day and age.
Nestled among the bustling streets of Providence on your way to Kennedy Plaza, at 10 Dorrance St., there is a software company called Upserve. The company specializes in restaurant POS (point of sale) management software. It targets all sizes of businesses by providing cloud-based software, which does away with the large investments needed for hardware, hence leaving smaller restaurants with an alternative to maximize their profit and manage their businesses effectively at a fraction of the cost.
As we waited in the lobby with anticipation to learn about Upserve, 2 representatives of the firm stepped out of the elevator and welcomed us with a warm smile into their workplace, which is divided into 2 floors. The first thing you see out of the elevator is a big television, split into multiple screens, with various statistics. It felt like something out of Wall Street. However, the stocks and their prices were replaced by employee and client statistics, giving us a good view of how the overall operations at Upserve are doing. The board also gave some important information as per the employees, and that was about what food was being served in the cafeteria, a few floors above.
Upserve's entire workforce is divided into various teams, with each having a specific task. The tasks ranged from looking at potential clients, to reviewing referrals from current clients and contacting them. Another team was responsible for present client interaction, in which every client was provided with an individual representative to take care of their entire account. Other teams dealt with technical support, and so on. The teams were all organized in a manner that made it easy to communicate, and tables allowed for people to work individually as well as collaboratively, by just removing the table divider when the task demanded. The office floor had various conference rooms all named after streets in Providence, and the workplace had unconventional sofas and tables where the staff could sit and work.
Upserve staff Courtney Nardozza, senior talent business partner (left), and JWU alumna Nicole Theohary'15, manager, customer service (middle), give JWU MBA students a tour of Upserve.
Everything about the work atmosphere seemed relaxed and comfort driven, with care taken to provide employees with a comfortable place to work. The workplace even had a game room with a pool table, ping pong table, dart boards and a case filled with trophies that Upserve teams had won against other local organizations during competitions. What better way to connect with a team than with games? The office walls were adorned with many more screens similar to the one at the entrance, and these screens displayed a leaderboard showing the employees with the highest points, which they earned through completing various tasks. Every time a team member booked an appointment or achieved a certain task, the screen would show their picture and make a sound, letting everyone know of their accomplishment for the team. This was then celebrated with a loud cheer by all team members. We were lucky enough to feel the rush and dive into the experience of the employees by cheering on a member of the Upserve team who had just booked an appointment while we were on our tour.
The idea behind the company is simple: to provide services that the client needs, to work with the client to reach their potential and to help clients in any way possible. The sheer enthusiasm with which the staff worked would be enough to make any business feel comfortable at the hands of Upserve. As we saw firsthand at Upserve, a happy staff leads to happy customers.