Speed and agility are competitive advantages that drive innovation. A counterweight is a competing goal of quality, which cannot suffer in the quest for speed. How can you achieve both with the same amount of resources? By:
- Automating repetitive, rote, manual tasks in internal operations
- Maximizing technological integration, enabling better flow of insights and reducing error
- Continuing to provide greater automation to our users
With priorities set, how to execute? Leverage a strong team. Bringing the right people into an organization is critical for future growth. The annual process of hiring interns provides an opportunity to reflect on corporate culture and future direction. At DiligenceVault we want to harvest the skills of these bright millennials who are being trained in the new technologies we offer – automation, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing – as we lay the foundation for the growth of the company. We also want to mentor them on: how to communicate, collaborate, complete a project, and differentiate themselves when looking for full-time roles. This means that more senior people at the company need to understand millennials, who also need to function effectively with more seasoned co-workers.
This summer with the help of our engineering team and interns, we prioritized several projects with automation as a theme to improve internal ROI. These include:
One of the dominant features of DiligenceVault is Collaboration – among team members and with investment partners. Collaboration is even reflected in our pricing, which has no restriction on number of users. One project was to introduce real-time asynchronous updates when multiple users are working on the same diligence project or a document. Our interns researched popular options including Socket.io, Pusher, Pushpin, Fanout, and Simperium to recommend a winning solution.
Email delivery status tracking
Email notifications, alerts, and reminders are a key part of collaboration between and within firms. A big challenge is email delivery: people leave firms, senders make typos, and email filtering programs block emails. One project included tightly coupling status tracking within five mins of an email being sent, so that we can alert the sender of any failures in a timely fashion. Using this integration, we can universally identify if an email is no longer valid, so that our users’ efforts are not squandered.
New tech stack research
While we focus on enabling our users to easily find answers to most questions themselves, they will still have questions, and we’d like to help them with basic platform administration. We also wanted to test a new tech stack, so two fearless interns tested Vue.js with Django and MongoDB. They researched and built everything from scratch to deliver an improved user administration, with functionality from unlocking an account to setting preferences and purging test data.
Behind the scenes automation
We focused on continued DevOps automation around multi-threading and deployment to improve application delivery and management. This project entailed research into Celery and innovation in docker and encryption technology.
We continue to enhance our automation testing frameworks to enable faster shipping of code and to quash more bugs during development. This means that the users see less bugs, especially as the platform gets more complex and expansive, enabling us to minimize time spent on incidents and application maintenance.
Enhancing NLP algorithms
One of our biggest achievement is NLP algorithms that bring automation to our clients’ diligence process and data capture. This is an area with a lot of new research, so one project involved improving accuracy of our algorithms and evaluating various optimization mixes for feature sets.
We thank our 2018 class of interns, and we walk away with 2 learnings:
- Shifting Gear to Value Addition: In the same way our users achieve enhanced outcomes by reducing administrative tasks and improving responsiveness, the DiligenceVault team saw significant improvement in operating efficiencies when all the projects came together. This enabled us to shift attention from manual tasks and multiple systems to improved focus on high value areas of client engagement and client service.
- Future of Work – Millennials: Our interns came from #Columbia, #Northwestern, #NYU, #SVNIT
We learned that this next generation is great at figuring things out. They are independent, fun to be around, and have opinions. They are inspired by complexity and challenge!
For others who are integrating new hires or analyzing their corporate culture, a new book by A. Sophie Wade, Embracing Progress: Next Steps for the Future of Work, provides a valuable framework for thoughtfully constructing the work environment of an organization. This starts with the priorities we set for collaboration with team members including new team members and millennial interns – how we can ensure engagement, personalize the work experience so that it is both meaningful and valuable, integrate people into the firm, and continually support the choice to work on projects of interest with DiligenceVault as opposed to elsewhere.
As a platform, we are avid promoters of digitization and automation with our clients, and this summer we moved forward in adding more of that internally. As a technology company, we are happy to note that the book recognizes technology as an important tool for engaging and retaining people, especially the next generation, since we feel that the technology DiligenceVault provides for its clients serves the same purpose in support of our users.