Companies can use digital transformation to improve their customer service. There is a term called the experience economy, that refers to how important it is to give a good experience to people and organizations companies serve and work with. This can mean customer service reps providing faster solutions, or it can mean more quickly putting together information on a price quote.
As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Fallmann.
Daniel Fallmann founded Mindbreeze in 2005 at the age of 23, after he finished his studies in computer science. As Mindbreeze’s CEO he is a living example of high quality and innovation standards. His passion for enterprise search and machine learning in a big data environment has fascinated not only the Mindbreeze employees but also their customers.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I founded Mindbreeze in 2005. Since then we have built a successful information insight company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. We also have a strong global presence and consider ourselves to be an inclusive, progressive international company. I still remember the days back in 2005 when I started building the first version of the product with a good friend from the university days and it has been so interesting to watch and participate in the advances in technology and Artificial Intelligence throughout the evolution of our company and product. Our software helps companies with digital transformation, and we have learned a lot by working with over 2,400 companies that use our solution to help their companies transform from traditional manual processes to new digital methods.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
One of the most exciting moments, in the beginning, was that in 2005 many methods and algorithms for understanding information, such as entity recognition, machine learning, and e.g. latent semantic methods had already been researched, but hardly any customers had these use cases as a high priority on their agenda. For me, the exciting thing was that we as Mindbreeze were years ahead of the market and always had to explain not only our product but also the problem at customer meetings. My learning from this is that every product and every service has its time and its cycle, and this must be understood despite all the euphoria for high technology. Today, we hardly have to explain the challenge to any customer, but customers want to know from us how our product solves their challenges in the long term.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
That’s easy to answer, clearly it was our Mindbreeze team, on the one hand, almost all of our colleagues from the very beginning are still with us at Mindbreeze, and on top of that it’s clearly our customers. I still remember, our first customer had over 100 million documents from many different data sources and over 10,000 users. This customer not only had an incredible variety of “real-world” challenges, which we quickly realized. In other words, we jumped in at the deep end early on, and that did a lot of good for both our standard product and our team cohesion. Many of the lessons learned from our many loyal customers are still a sensational template for major customers and projects today.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
One of the books that have made the biggest impact on me is a book called In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman. I loved the stories about what companies did to go above and beyond to care about their customers and the needs of the people they served. I even today suggest this book to people interested in leadership and outstanding customer engagements and it inspires them to have the right attitude about how to be innovative in delivering something unique and special to customers. It still inspires me after all of these years.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When we first started we were young creative technologists who wanted to build something new with the mission of helping companies to leverage the vast amount of data all around inside and outside of their enterprise, but which is nonetheless important business-critical information. Years later, we have woven this into the fabric of our company culture and we help companies find information and facts that matter so their employees can get things done easier and faster. Every day we are striving to make a difference in the lives of each and every person our products touches. It’s what motivates us to get up every morning and start working with a smile.
Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We have as a customer the United States Food and Drug Administration. Their employees are faced with such overwhelming tasks as companies are working overtime to get new vaccines approved for Covid-19. All submissions for new drugs and vaccines must go through an approval process with the FDA. We help the FDA during the review process and ensure they have the facts they need for consistent decisions at their fingertip. We love that we are part of the solution for our world’s challenges.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is an upgrade in work technology that helps make work more streamlined and communication easier. To put it plainly, many people ask, what did we do before we had cell phones? What did we do before we had Facebook? A digital transformation process helps companies advance their processes similarly. Any time a company adds a solution that involves Artificial Intelligence and they let employees use it, it is a very similar feeling to suddenly having a cell phone for the first time, and suddenly so many aspects of their daily work become easier, different, exciting. Companies have to always improve and success is not always about the position where someone stands, but the direction in which you look and progress.
Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?
Most companies we work with have almost all of their important business materials in a digital form, so the typical association with paper that needs to be digitalized is not an important aspect for our customer. It is now really up to the point where our customers ask themselves how to finally add real value based on the digital information available scattered around in the enterprise.
So, to answer your question, any company and any functional area inside of that company will benefit, as this is the foundation to business process transformation driven by information, facts, and AI.. Companies of all sizes and industries can and are making significant advances from digital transformation initiatives, and we’re only going to see tons of this over the next few months, even further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.
We live and breathe this topic every day at Mindbreeze. Through our product, we’ve helped companies understand and bring meaning to the vast mountains of internal information to find the answers to what they need instantly. This has significant time savings and it also helps employees spend their time on doing more impactful and fulfilling work and less busy work and repetitive tasks. Have you ever called a customer service rep who couldn’t find the right answer to help you? Our product helps those employees find those answers much more quickly without having to search through information in several places.
Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?
Some of the biggest challenges companies have with digital transformation involve really applying technology like data analytics, holistic views, and AI to the heart of how they work, to their workflows, tasks, etc. This is a redesign and rethinking process of how something can be achieved differently but more intelligently and efficiently with applying the new possibilities of tools and products like ours.
I am not talking about a heavy organizational change process, it is about many small puzzle pieces that correctly aligned make a real difference to an organization and its workforce.
We also help companies with this by making sure they have great resources to help them with focusing on the right aspects in the right order and just getting started with their new tools hands-on which is most important. Just get started and start learning hands-on based on your business, your needs, and your data.
Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Companies can use digital transformation to improve their customer service. There is a term called the experience economy, that refers to how important it is to give a good experience to people and organizations companies serve and work with. This can mean customer service reps providing faster solutions, or it can mean more quickly putting together information on a price quote.
- Digital transformation is helping to equip the next generation of workers for remote work. It’s allowing companies to optimize their processes so that they can continue to function at the same level of quality while working from home.
- It’s also helping companies to further strengthen their competitive advantage and see and review information about what is going on in their industry so they can stay ahead with new and innovative business models, disrupt markets, and bring outdated services into the future where they need to be.
- Additionally, companies are using digital transformation to make decisions. This is one of the most exciting advancements in artificial intelligence solutions and what these tools are now capable of. Executives can see patterns in data using intelligent pattern recognition software and use it to predict how best to move forward in their businesses. Equipment can be prevented from breaking down and new industry trends can be rapidly capitalized on.
- And finally, digital transformation is helping to personalize results for employees to get them everything they need just in time for them to complete a task. An artificial intelligence solution can learn a person’s patterns and needs by reviewing their activities, and based on their role, serve up the information, data, and analysis they need to get information and make decisions faster.
In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?
Capturing insight from subject matter experts within a company and scaling those insights quickly to large groups of employees is a great benefit of digital transformation that is making everyone smarter at work.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The first step to getting things done is to get finally started hands-on. This is in general our experience, but this is especially true for companies that want to leverage the power of information insight and AI.
How can our readers further follow your work?
We would love to keep in touch with anyone interested in learning more about the cutting edge of Artificial Intelligence solutions that are transforming the workplace. We explain how all of these things work on our blog that you can follow here.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!