Elie Melois, CTO at Lum Apps AI-based Employee Communication System discusses how SaaS and AI-based apps are aiding employee productivity during COVID
1. Tell us about your role at LumApps.
I’m the co-Founder of LumApps, and serve as the CTO to lead our product and engineering team in the planning, strategy and execution of our technology roadmap. Our team is continually focused on developing news ways to enhance our platform and make it more impactful for our customers. I also lead the research around the latest global technology trends and their applicability with our capabilities.
2. How did you come to adopt this career path?
My co-founders and I come from an enterprise technology background. I’m committed to helping enterprises with their digital transformation efforts through improved communications and deploying collaboration technologies. We launched LumApps in 2012, because we identified a market need for centralized communications and workflows. It was right around the same time when SaaS applications like G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and others started to catch on in the enterprise.
We saw that companies were building out their technology stacks and gaining significant productivity boosts in the process, but simultaneously it was also creating major challenges because of a profound increase in data and communications volume. To address those challenges, we launched our flagship product – a social intranet based at the core of a company’s communications and workflows to support their efforts to connect, inform, and engage with their team.
Today, we work with hundreds of global enterprises including Finish Line, Valeo, Motorola, Global Payments, CityMD, John Lewis Partnership, Schibsted, Toto, and Japan Airlines to provide them with a digital workplace. So far we’ve raised more than $100 million with support from Goldman Sachs, Idinvest Partners, Iris Capital, and other major investors.
3. How do you think AI tech, especially SaaS-based, is disrupting the employee communication and collaboration areas?
The shift to the cloud, the ease that AI tech is bringing to employee productivity and employees having to deal with so many new products and information including SaaS applications is definitely a major disruption. It’s critical for companies to help their employees make that transition as smoothly as possible, because employees are now accustomed to an easy user experience with their consumer products. They’ve come to expect the same user-friendly experience and tools in the workplace.
SaaS is ubiquitous and you can access it on all and any devices. It’s also a highly flexible technology and requires far less resources to maintain than on-premise. Using SaaS and AI tech applications in the cloud is also more efficient than hiring / adding internal resources to develop and maintain certain platforms. This allows internal teams to focus on their core missions. SaaS applications and products also have far shorter innovation cycles than on-premise models, allowing companies to benefit from the latest technology updates much faster. SaaS is also more secure, thanks to significant security investments from key players like Google, Amazon, and others versus maintaining on-premise VPNs.
4. How has the cloud intranet assisted businesses to sustain during the COVID-19 pandemic? Have SaaS and AI applications helped too?
No question. Social intranets have undoubtedly played a leading role in helping employees working from home feel more connected to their companies and co-workers. They have also made it easier to share information and timely updates. Being connected on your social intranet is critical for any company that wants to work through the pandemic and reduce any negative impact on the bottom line and employee morale.
As companies navigate through the pandemic with more people working from home, the advantages of using SaaS and AI applications have also become abundantly clear. It is undeniable this will be true well beyond the crisis. The reasons are simple. SaaS is easy to install, set up and launch.
Once launched, using SaaS is a lot like using Netflix or any streaming service on the consumer side in terms of content access. There’s no complicated installation required, which is particularly great for companies with a limited IT team and resources to provide end-user support.
5. How far will be the reach of AI Assistants in different workflows in the organization?
Right now there is tremendous potential for technologies like AI Assistants to become a part of everyday life within an organization. Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic emergence of comprehensive, AI-driven technology platforms, including AI Assistants, which deliver mobile, intuitive, collaborative, secure, automated, and smart digital workplace solutions. ML/AI solutions have undoubtedly made day-to-day tasks and workflows more efficient for working professionals by reducing training and overhead costs for their companies. In the process, these AI technologies are also increasing productivity and empowering companies to be even more creative.
6. What impact do you think Employee Social Advocacy has on boosting the social reach of the company?
There’s no question in my mind that it’s made a quantifiable impact.
Employees sharing company information across their personal social media channels undoubtedly helps to boost a company’s reputation and raise brand awareness in ways that could never have been done before.
7. What advice would you give to new entrants in the employee communication system space?
Building a platform that fully addresses what your customers need should always be top of mind – not just adding new bells and whistles for the sake of it. Spend time with your customers, embrace if they challenge your vision, and build your product alongside them to better cater to their needs. It’s about striking a perfect balance between being forward-thinking and carefully listening to your customers.
8. How does LumApps keep up with the rapidly evolving tech landscape?
By keeping a close eye on new global technology trends and continually forging strategic partnerships with best-in-class providers like Google, MSFT and others that will enhance our platform. We are fortunate to have a world-class engineering team that is always thinking one step ahead and formulating new products and services that ensure our platform is always cutting edge.
9. What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and I highly recommend it.
Elie Mélois, co-founder and CTO at LumApps, the digital workplace employee communication system housing all corporate content and enterprise tools in one place, helps focus the company on upgrading their platform to streamline collaboration tools by opening social channels, applying search function to company materials, and serving targeted information to each user on a central dashboard.