THE BLOG

18
Feb

He solved contract management

The LinkSquares CEO Vishal Sunak‘s conversation with Andrew Warner on Mixergy’s Startup Stories Podcast! https://hubs.li/H0GnN8w0

Teaser: “Imagine this: Your company is getting acquired and the buyers want to know what agreements are inside all of your contracts. How do you figure it out? That’s the problem today’s guest had while working with Backupify.

When he couldn’t find a simple solution, he decided to create one himself.”

01
Feb

Business is Human

Listen to the CEO of Assent Compliance, Andrew Waitman joining Scott Britten on the Business Is Human podcast to discuss when to hire/fire executives, how CEOs can establish a high level of context throughout their leadership team, and why most companies are their own worst enemies.

Listen now on Apple or Spotify by searching “Business Is Human” or just click the links below.

Apple: https://apple.co/3otfkV5
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2Yp1sRl

26
Jan

Leaders Credit Union goes live with Sensibill for digital receipt management


Sensibill’s digital receipt management solution supports Leaders Credit Union’s mission to help members strengthen financial health.

The entire team here at Sensibill is excited to announce that the Jackson, Tenn.-based Leaders Credit Union has launched our digital receipt management solution to help its members better budget and track expenses, supporting the ultimate goal of achieving financial wellness.

The $520 million-asset credit union leads with a digital-first strategy, partnering with fintech providers like Sensibill to offer value and convenience to its members at no additional cost. Leaders CU prioritizes equipping their consumers and business members with the necessary tools to make smarter financial decisions, from within the institution’s NCR-powered mobile banking app.

Leaders Credit Union recognized that Sensibill’s technology could strategically support this strategy, prompting the partnership. Because of the solution’s wide range of use cases, the credit union plans to leverage the technology to engage with members and non-members alike, with both business and retail services in mind.

As Leigh Anne Bentley, Chief Marketing Officer at Leaders CU, says:

“Providing members with digital resources that deliver value and strengthen their financial health has always been our goal, and that mission is especially important today. Not only does Sensibill provide easy-to-use tools to help members with budgeting, warranties and returns, and taxes, but our members also gain greater visibility into their finances, spending habits, and behaviors, empowering them to make better financial decisions. This solution is a strong addition to our financial wellness program and will benefit members throughout the community.”

The Sensibill solution helps members better prepare for tax season by eliminating the need to use multiple products or tedious manual processes to separate business and personal receipts. Instead, receipts are digitized and made easily exportable and searchable, saving time and reducing stress. In addition to providing convenience to members, Sensibill’s technology enables the credit union to strengthen member relationships, drive engagement, and help members with additional financial resources.

In addition to providing convenience to members, Sensibill’s technology enables the credit union to strengthen member relationships, drive engagement, and recommend relevant products and services based on the SKU-level data derived from digital receipts.

Our Co-founder and CEO, Corey Gross reiterated what Sensibill can help Leaders CU achieve:

“The pandemic has proven that members aren’t planning for their financial futures in years or months, but rather in terms of weeks or even days. By leveraging our technology, Leaders members can eliminate the inefficiencies and headaches of organizing and analyzing paper receipts. At the same time, members can easily and proactively manage their expenses and form healthier financial habits. We are proud to partner with institutions like Leaders that recognize the importance of providing modern, digital tools to strengthen engagement while simultaneously helping members achieve financial wellness.”

27
Nov

2020 Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ and Canada’s Most Admired CEO™ Winners Announced

TORONTO, Nov. 26, 2020 – Waterstone Human Capital, Canada’s leading cultural talent management firm, has announced the 2020 winners of the Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ and Canada’s Most Admired CEO™ program. This national program recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations and CEOs for fostering high performance corporate cultures that help sustain a competitive advantage.

Organizations and CEOs are recognized as national winners in categories including: Enterprise, Mid-Market, Growth, Emerging, and the Broader Public Sector. This year, for only the second time since the Canada’s Most Admired CEO Award was introduced in 2014, the Board of Governors voted to present the Transformational Leadership Award, recognizing a CEO who has had an extraordinary impact on the growth and evolution of an organization’s corporate culture and overall performance.

“At Waterstone we believe corporate culture drives performance and that it’s your organization’s greatest asset,” says Marty Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waterstone Human Capital and Chair of the Canada’s Most Admired™ program. “This year’s award winners each demonstrate a commitment to culture as competitive advantage. They set a truly admirable example of how cultivating and sustaining great cultures can ultimately drive outstanding growth and performance.”

Canada’s Most Admired™ CEOs of 2020

  • Broader Public Sector: Margaret McNeil, CEO, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice
  • Growth: Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO, Knix
  • Mid-Market: Jack Newton, Co-founder and CEO, Clio
  • Enterprise: Dani Reiss, President and CEO, Canada Goose
  • Transformational Leadership: Michael Medline, President and CEO, Empire Company Limited

Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures of 2020 – Broader Public Sector

  • ALS Society of Canada (Toronto, ON)
  • Covenant Health (Edmonton, AB)
  • Creative Options Regina (Regina, SK)
  • Egg Farmers of Canada (Ottawa, ON)
  • MedicAlert Foundation Canada (Toronto, ON)
  • NorQuest College (Edmonton, AB)
  • Ottawa Community Housing (Ottawa, ON)
  • Standards Council of Canada (Ottawa, ON)
  • The Ottawa Hospital (Ottawa, ON)
  • Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care (Scarborough, ON)

Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures of 2020 – Emerging

  • DPM Energy Inc. (Vaughan, ON)
  • Electromate Inc. (Vaughan, ON)
  • Firmex (Toronto, ON)
  • Harmonic Machine Inc. (Chilliwack, BC)
  • Humanise Collective (Montreal, QC)
  • Loopio Inc. (Toronto, ON)
  • Roma Moulding (Woodbridge, ON)
  • Sleep Therapeutics (Toronto, ON)
  • SureCall (Calgary, AB)
  • The Poirier Group (Toronto, ON)
  • ThinkData Works (Toronto, ON)

Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures of 2020 – Growth

  • Burns & Wilcox Canada (Toronto, ON)
  • Centra Windows (Langley, BC)
  • Det’on Cho Management LP (Yellowknife, NWT)
  • Digital Extremes (London, ON)
  • East Side Games (Vancouver, BC)
  • Flipp (Etobicoke, ON)
  • INVIVO Communications Inc. (Toronto, ON)
  • Jobber (Edmonton, AB)
  • MyHealth Centre (Toronto, ON)
  • Xperigo (Markham, ON)

Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures of 2020 – Mid-Market

  • BentallGreenOak (Toronto, ON)
  • CARFAX (London, ON)
  • Coast Capital Savings (Surrey, BC)
  • D2L Corporation (Kitchener, ON)
  • Geotab (Oakville, ON)
  • Killam Apartment REIT (Halifax, NS)
  • Odlum Brown Limited (Vancouver, BC)
  • PointClickCare (Mississauga, ON)
  • QSL (Quebec City, QC)
  • RSM Canada (Toronto, ON)

Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures of 2020 – Enterprise

  • AstraZeneca Canada Inc. (Mississauga, ON)
  • BMO Financial Group (Toronto, ON)
  • Bruce Power (Tiverton, ON)
  • CWB Financial Group (Edmonton, AB)
  • Loblaw Companies Limited (Brampton, ON)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (Toronto, ON)
  • SAP Canada (Vancouver, BC)
  • Schneider Electric (Mississauga, ON)
  • Scotiabank (Toronto, ON)
  • Sobeys Inc. (Stellarton, NS)

The Canada’s Most Admired™ Corporate Cultures and Canada’s Most Admired™ CEO awards will be presented at an awards gala on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The day also includes a Corporate Culture Summit – a learning event focused on corporate culture that features speakers and breakout sessions with past award winners – and a CEO-only Summit, which brings together some of the most senior executives from across Canada to network and share best practices around how to leverage corporate culture as a competitive advantage.

16
Nov

LinkSquares Named a 2020 Gartner Cool Vendor in Contract Lifecycle Management and Advanced Contract Analytics

BOSTON – November 16th 2020 – LinkSquares, provider of the fastest and most comprehensive AI-powered contract lifecycle management and analysis tool, today announced that it has been named a 2020 Cool Vendor in Contract Lifecycle Management and Advanced Contract Analytics by Gartner. According to the report, “Extreme market volatility has many organizations revisiting their ability to quickly identify, analyze and manage third-party contract risk.”1

Gartner shares, “Our research has shown that the typical legal department causes an additional three days in turnaround time for each contract.” The report also provides guidance for legal teams and application leaders, including the following:

  • “Over 90% of legal departments report that ROI from automation either met or exceeded their expectations, with 43% saying their ROI had exceeded their expectations.”2
  • “However, many of the solutions available on the market take months to get up and running, and require extensive configuration and cost. The solutions highlighted in this research have bucked that trend, providing faster, more nimble options that can help companies address these challenges at a much lower price point and complexity level.”

Beau Sylvester, LinkSquares customer and head of Ubreakifix Strategic Initiatives for Asurion, said, “Two years ago, Asurion struggled with document management utilizing more than 25 different locations to store legal documents. After looking at numerous options, we landed on LinkSquares as the best platform for our document management solution. The partnership with LinkSquares has resulted in lowered risk for lost and breached documents, and better efficiency from our staff on search and retrieval of documents using cutting edge technology empowered through LinkSquares. My favorite characteristic of LinkSquares is how intuitive it is for the end user.”

Hundreds of customers trust LinkSquares to provide insights for millions of executed contracts. DraftKings, Fitbit, Asurion and other high-growth customers rely on LinkSquares to not only automate manual contract processes and provide data analytics, but also to help reposition legal teams and departments away from being a time- and resource-intensive cost center. With the AI-powered insights into existing contracts, customers can rely on outside counsel less, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. LinkSquares also eliminates the extra cycles involved in the manual teaching, data entry, upkeep and lengthy onboarding that other contract management solutions require.

“The pressures that legal teams face to quickly determine and mitigate business risks were amplified during the pandemic,” said Vishal Sunak, CEO and co-founder of LinkSquares. “Now, legal teams, sales, procurement and other strategic arms of the organization are involved in contract lifecycle management in a big way, which means they need a central source of truth to communicate and guide future decisions. To us, being a Gartner Cool Vendor validates our commitment to empower business leaders to streamline a labor-intensive process and easily use artificial intelligence to stay agile.”

Details from the report can be found here. For more information about LinkSquares’ AI-powered contract lifecycle management platform, contact sales@linksquares.com.

1Gartner, “Cool Vendors in CLM and Advanced Contract Analytics,” Patrick Connaughton, Marko Sillanpaa, Kaitlynn Sommers, 12 October 2020.
2Gartner’s 2019 Gartner Legal and Compliance Automation Survey

26
Oct

Assent Clients Achieve Critical European Sustainability Milestone

Supply chain data management firm Assent Compliance first to complete successful automated data submission to the European Union SCIP database.

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 26, 2020 – Assent Compliance is the first supply chain data management firm to successfully complete an automated data submission to the European Union (EU)’s new SCIP database on behalf of a customer.

The EU’s Waste Framework Directive, along with its new SCIP database reporting requirement, is part of Europe’s ongoing prioritization of environmental and economic sustainability.

“We at Assent are pleased to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable economy and help ensure waste is valued as a resource,” said Assent CEO Andrew Waitman. “Enabling our large customer base to meet the SCIP database’s requirements for a circular economy demonstrates that we are on the same journey as Europe’s sustainable future.”

However, making the transition to a sustainable economy comes at an immediate cost to industry. Companies across Europe, and globally, are wrestling with the financial, logistical, and enforcement implications imposed by the EU Waste Framework Directive’s SCIP database. Estimates suggest that companies in Europe could spend over €67 billion per year to meet these new reporting requirements, starting in January 2021.

The Assent Compliance Platform — Assent’s software — organizes, simplifies, and automates the highly complex SCIP process via a system-to-system connection. Without this solution, companies must manually input submissions one by one through the database’s interface.

Raj Takhar, Assent’s Senior Subject Matter Expert, Materials Compliance and Chemical Reporting (Europe), is part of an industry working group advising the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on the database.

“A manual approach to data submission is simply not feasible for most companies,” said Takhar. “Each part could require hundreds, if not thousands, of database submissions, and some products have thousands of parts. This is important information to share, but the scale of this can be overwhelming to manage without help.”

Assent’s automated solution will save companies thousands or millions of dollars and countless hours in manual data management, and reduce overall supply chain, operational, and financial risks.

“This is the most broad and detailed centralized database in the world for contributing to the European Union’s sustainability goals toward a toxic-free environment,” said Takhar. “It will enable stronger enforcement from regulatory agencies, while providing investors and non-governmental organizations with a direct lens to scrutinize corporate commitments to the elimination of hazardous substances from their products.”

Critically, Assent’s solution combines expertise and technology to provide a holistic approach to the SCIP database requirement, empowering companies to take meaningful action toward improving their environmental and economic sustainability without compromising their business.

08
Oct

ThinkData Announces Strategic Partnership with the Legal Innovation Data Institute

TORONTO, ON – October 8th, 2020 — ThinkData Works, Inc. (ThinkData), the Toronto tech company behind the end-to-end data management platform Namara, has brokered a partnership agreement with the Legal Innovation Data Institute (LIDI) that aims to make the administration of justice more transparent.

LIDI takes inspiration from the global free access to law community as well as many other public interest legal technology innovators and university research labs. LIDI lowers the barriers and expands the circle of innovation in Canadian legal data beyond the small and closed group of legal publishers that currently possess extensive primary law collections.

The LIDI was founded in September of 2020 through the initiative and support of the following founding members, initial collaborators and advisors:

Founding MembersInitial Research and Development Partners Founding Advisors
 • Compass
 • Justia
 • vLex
 • AltaML
 • BG Communications
 • Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute xAI Lab
 • Legal Technology Lab | uOttawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society
 • The Conflicts Analytics Lab at Queen’s University
 • ThinkData Works
 • Private AI
 • CiteRight
 • Dr. Randy Goebel
 • Meredith Brown
 • Noel Corriveau
 • Sarah Glassmeyer
 • Cory Janssen


“ThinkData had the perfect platform for helping us meet our objective with LIDI,” says the Founder and Executive Director, Colin Lachance. “Building a data trust is complex. We needed a partner who was leading the space and could support our growth in datasets and collaborators. Partnering with ThinkData is very exciting.”

Bryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of ThinkData, says, “At first glance, it seems like offering more data to more people is incompatible with maintaining privacy and security; but transparency in how data is collected, maintained, and shared is key to realizing the value of data. LIDI is moving the chains in a big way, and hopefully setting a precedent not just for the legal world, but for any entity looking to provide fair and transparent access to data.”

LIDI lowers legal data access barriers in Canada and facilitates innovation on an unprecedented scale. Through collaboration, we aim to make the administration of justice and technology more transparent and less costly.

About LIDI
Legal Innovation Data Institute (LIDI) in an Ottawa-based and federally incorporated not-for-profit founded in 2020 to overcome the challenge of open courts and closed data. Through the LIDI Data Trust, LIDI operates as a steward of sensitive court and tribunal rulings and other legal data. LIDI Data Trust content is cleaned, normalized and enriched by LIDI and its supporters to accelerate the research, development and innovation efforts of members and collaborators in a manner that places a premium on privacy considerations and advances access to justice in Canada.

07
Oct

Dialogue accelerates virtual care market growth strategy with acquisition of Optima Global Health

MONTREAL, October 7, 2020 – Canadian virtual care leader Dialogue announced the acquisition of renowned Canadian workplace health and wellness service provider Optima Global Health. The transaction is part of Dialogue’s accelerated growth strategy, building on its proprietary healthcare technology to address increasing demands for health and wellness services for employers and their teams across the country.

Founded in 1993, Optima Global Health is a leading Canadian provider of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), vocational rehabilitation and disability management services, with a network of more than 3,000 multi-disciplinary practitioners across the country and more than two million members. The combination of Dialogue’s innovative EAP offering combined with Optima’s 27 years of experience in the field makes it the perfect combination for Canadians to receive the quality experience they deserve.

This year has seen exponential growth in the telemedicine industry, representing an estimated $2 billion market in Canada. The Optima Global Health acquisition represents another step in expanding Dialogue’s market leadership and establishes its virtual care platform as a fully-integrated health and wellness platform for Canadian organizations. 

“Tapping into Optima’s established expertise and leadership is critical to the success of our expansion into Canada’s promising EAP market,” said Cherif Habib, Co-Founder and CEO, Dialogue. “This acquisition places Dialogue among the top EAP providers in the country and puts us in a position to introduce our innovative technology to millions of new users.”

EAPs are funded by employers and provide workers with free and confidential short-term support services, including assessments and counselling to help manage both personal and work-related challenges. With more Canadians feeling the physical and mental impacts of the global pandemic, Dialogue recently announced its intention to transform the EAP experience, with a focus on providing quicker access to virtual multidisciplinary teams of professionals and full continuity of service.

“Optima has always been at the forefront of integrated health and wellness services, and we believe this acquisition is the ultimate way for us to elevate our innovation while continuing to offer the best service to our members,” said François Laflamme, President, Optima Global Health. “We’re excited about Dialogue’s commitment to modernizing EAPs and the opportunity to continue our mission to provide a more streamlined physical and psychological wellness experience for more Canadians.”

In early 2020, Dialogue closed on the acquisition of German Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) services company ARGUMED Consulting Group GmbH, laying the foundation for expansion in European markets. Since its inception, Dialogue has achieved significant operational and technical milestones while securing financial backing from top tier investors. In 2020, Dialogue added hundreds of new employees in 100 days to meet increasing demands for virtual care services in the wake of the global pandemic.

About Dialogue Technologies Inc.

Dialogue is the leading Canadian virtual care provider pioneering online healthcare services dedicated exclusively to organizations who wish to improve the health and well-being of their members and families. Dialogue’s innovative and convenient health and wellness platform provides access to a variety of quality services including primary care, mental health and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources to millions of Canadians, offering a multidisciplinary approach and continuity of care.   

About Optima Global Health

Founded in 1993, Optima Global Health is known for its flagship integrated workplace health and wellness approach. Optima’s innovative programs and services help companies reduce their absenteeism-related costs and improve the health of their employees and their organization.

Through their specialization in prevention, intervention and postvention, Optima helps workers in all fields maintain or recover their health, both physical and psychological.

Optima’s integrated expertise helps them act efficiently at all levels: awareness and training, employee assistance program (EAP), manager support, disability management, disability support, early intervention, rehabilitation, healthy lifestyle habit integration, etc.

24
Sep

Sensibill Launches Smart Technology to Rapidly Extract Receipt Data

TORONTO– September 24th 2020 –Sensibill, the leading provider of SKU-level data and financial tools like digital receipt management that help institutions better know and serve their customers, today announced the launch of its newest product: Receipt Extraction API. The machine learning-based solution rapidly automates and streamlines the transcription of receipts, allowing businesses to deepen customer engagement and loyalty at scale.

Sensibill’s Receipt Extraction API solution will benefit a wide range of businesses that need to quickly and accurately extract receipt data at scale. For example, enterprise accounting firms can use the service to reduce costs and maintain profitability, despite economic pressures. Financial services companies like accounting software and PFM providers can gain access to SKU-level data to drive personalization, using the technology to create an innovative edge and differentiate themselves from the competition. And, loyalty and reward companies that need near-perfect extraction capabilities can leverage Receipt Extraction API to help deliver rewards and value back to users more quickly, increasing efficiencies and improving product quality and accuracy.

“There is a new urgency around cost savings, efficiencies, digital engagement and innovation in otherwise mature markets,” explained Corey Gross, CEO of Sensibill. “Our Receipt Extraction API offering uses smart technology to extract receipts in bulk with speed and precision. At Sensibill, we are proven experts in SKU-level data; it’s what we’ve focused on for the past seven years and why leading institutions and digital banking and core providers across the globe have partnered with us. We are excited to help a broader range of organizations as they work to quickly and efficiently unlock the power of SKU-level data to drive deeper digital engagement and loyalty with their customers.”

Sensibill’s combination of deep SKU-level data expertise and leading AI and machine learning technology makes it uniquely positioned to deliver this solution to the market. Receipt Extraction API is powered by multi-brain processing, leveraging multiple OCR engines and machine learning models to maximize accuracy. And, the solution is intuitive and easily deployable, allowing business to quickly and nimbly test and implement. To best position businesses for success, Sensibill offers customers strategic account management support and white glove service for extraction capabilities as needed.

16
Sep

What Role Does External Data Play In A Post-Pandemic Market?

This article original appeared on the Forbes website.

There have been a number of pain points uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Across all sectors, businesses, researchers, governments, and citizens have come face-to-face with a hard reality that when push came to shove the information and resources, they needed in order to function properly weren’t guaranteed.

Data in particular has been a glaring problem. While there was no shortage of data producers who were eager to provide relevant Covid-19 related information to the public (WHO, Johns Hopkins, CDC), the suddenness and rapid evolution of the crisis meant that these data sources were changing daily, sometimes hourly. The WHO, ostensibly the primary source of truth for infection rates, released their information in daily situation reports. These PDFs were critical data points to understand how the pandemic was changing over time, but were released in a way that made it effectively impossible to use – it’s nice to see the information, but you can’t model, spot trends, and predict outcomes with PDFs.

Faced with this problem (lots of data available, very little of it accessible) organizations are making do with what they have, tying into data sources when possible, piecing together spreadsheets when not.

In the first four months of the pandemic, these primary sources of data were important in order to understand where Covid-19 was and where it was going. Now, as organizations look towards returning to “business-as-usual,” many people are considering how they can use external data more generally to help them navigate the uncertain economy. I recently connected with Bryan Smith, CEO of ThinkData Works, about how businesses can streamline their data infrastructure without creating a lot of additional overhead.

Gary Drenik: As we head into the sixth month of working from home, what do you think is the primary business objective for organizations that are trying to get back on track?

Bryan Smith: I think we’re going to see a dramatic shift in business priorities from innovation to optimization. Data science divisions have been overburdened for years and that needs to change, fast. The janitorial work of connecting to external data is a huge problem, and it’s burning 80% of a data scientist’s time. Optimizing this process should be priority one for any business that wants to become “data first.”

Drenik: There’s a lot of data out there. How do you define “external” data?

Smith: It’s a good question. Our company started out in the open data space, and over the years we’ve watched the conversation shift a lot. To us, external data is anything you didn’t create, whether it’s coming from government sources, other businesses, or Joan in accounting. If you didn’t make the data, it’s external, and you’re probably working harder than you should to get it. There’s an assumption that the enterprise has this figured out, but if you scratch the surface of most data pipelines, there’s a lot of painstaking and manual work being done to use even just a fraction of what’s available. That’s why we have teamed up with Prosper to bring a fresh perspective on high quality external data that goes beyond stats of past behaviors and provides factual insights and data about how consumers are feeling, what they are doing , why they are doing it and what they plan on doing in the future. This is especially timely for today’s world where disruption seems to be the norm and left many wondering about what the future now being shaped by new consumer behaviors will look like.

Prosper Consumer Spending Forecast
Prosper Consumer Spending Forecast PROSPER INSIGHTS & ANALYTICS

Drenik: What role do you think external data plays for businesses that are trying to map out their game plan for next year?

Smith: Traditional models are going to have to be enhanced with new information. For many companies, finding these sources of data is still a big headache. For us, partnering with organizations like Prosper gives us and our network the ability to find new sources of data from a central clearinghouse, which lets them plug into analysis-ready consumer data for economic forecasting and predictive intelligence. We used to assume that most organizations had figured out a way to pull in data from statistical agencies like the Census Bureau and Statistics Canada, but what we’re hearing these days is that there’s a lot more manual work being done to gather this data than we previously thought. If you’re down in the mines trying to get basic demographic indicators from government sources, you probably don’t have the bandwidth to pull in signal-rich data from third-party data providers. The problem is that these days you really need both. Figuring out a scalable way to automate the flow of public data and connect to new sources of data should be top of mind for anyone who’s trying to get predictive.

Drenik: What do you say to a company that’s invested in data management solutions but isn’t seeing a big lift in overall analysis and insight?

Smith: You’ve solved one piece of the puzzle. Figuring out a way to get data into your environment is a big hurdle. A good ETL gives you a pipeline of raw information, but at the end of the day your data scientists are still managing a raw resource, and it’s a misuse of their time. Refining this data into decision-grade products lets them perform actual data science.

Drenik: What do you think is the biggest blind spot facing businesses that use external data? How should they overcome it?

Smith: I think there’s a big disconnect between business priorities and data science realities. At the end of the day organizations need to stream more data, reduce overhead, and add confidence to the entire process. To do this, the first step is to understand where you’re at. Now is the right time to perform a data audit across all divisions to see what data you’re pulling in from where and eliminate as much overhead as possible. A lot of data providers have made a lot of money selling the same product to different divisions within the same company. As businesses tighten their budgets the best way to free up some spend on new data is to eliminate the redundancies that have cropped up over time.

Drenik: How should businesses change their economic models to manage the fluctuations we’re seeing in the market?

Smith: It’s not about starting from square one but adding to what you already have. Obviously, data from the OECD and World Bank is still going to be useful, but what a lot of people are struggling with right now is the latency of these traditional sources. Getting GDP stats from July in September is fine as a baseline, but you need to also grab data that’s up to date. This is where getting data from third-party providers can give you a better overall picture of the economy. Products like the ones you’ve designed at Prosper – which help you understand behavioral trends, consumer sentiment, impulsivity – aren’t necessarily traditional signals, but they’re increasingly important right now.

Prosper Impulsivity Score
Prosper Impulsivity Score PROSPER INSIGHTS & ANALYTICS

Drenik: Between CCPA and GDPR there’s a lot of new regulations around data use. How can businesses ensure they’re being compliant when the landscape is changing?

Smith: Flexibility is important. Companies need to develop a strategy to manage and audit the flow of data through their environment, and this strategy needs to accommodate new regulations as they’re passed down. It’s not enough to have a good policy framework, you also need to back that up with infrastructure that supports the rules you’ve set up. Having mechanisms in place that monitor who’s accessing data, how it’s changing over time, and how it’s shared are all technical requirements wrapped in policy questions.

Drenik: What’s the future of data in the enterprise?

Smith: Every company needs to become data first in order to survive. If you look at Amazon and Apple, who have always focused on data as a core feature of how they do business, it’s clear that the market will be defined by the organizations that figure out how to streamline the flow of data into their everyday processes. Optimizing external data use doesn’t sound as sexy as innovation, but it’s the prerequisite for unlocking the value of data for your business.

Drenik: Thanks Bryan for your astute insights on the value of quality external data in today’s data centric world and the need for businesses to sync data science with business priorities in order to achieve organizational data success.

Complimentary Coronavirus/Covid-19 findings are available at AWS Data Exchange. To learn more, click here: Strategic Insights: Coronavirus Covid-19 Consumer

 

AI STARTUP RUBIKLOUD TO BE ACQUIRED BY OTTAWA-BASED KINAXIS FOR $81.4 MILLION CAD

OTTAWA, ON, June 15, 2020 – Kinaxis® Inc. (TSX: KXS), the authority in driving agility for fast, confident decision-making in an unpredictable world, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Rubikloud, a disruptive, emerging provider of AI solutions that automate supply chain prescriptive analytics and decision-making in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries.

Globally-recognized retailers and CPG manufacturers in the health and beauty, household and grocery segments use Rubikloud’s AI-based products today. Their offerings include demand forecasting and automation to manage and optimize trade promotions, pricing and assortment to drive product demand and dramatically improve financial results. Kinaxis will enhance RapidResponse’s demand planning capabilities with the Rubikloud offerings, anticipating initial opportunities in the company’s rapidly-growing CPG customer base and over time for other industries such as life sciences. The acquisition also offers Kinaxis a springboard into the enterprise retail industry.

“Rubikloud has capabilities and value that we can offer our CPG customers today, leads us into the retail industry with some bellwether accounts, and adds a group of approximately 80 people to an already-impressive AI and machine learning (ML) team here at Kinaxis. Over time, this enhanced group will contribute to new and existing AI-powered capabilities across the full Kinaxis RapidResponse® platform and applications,” said John Sicard, President and CEO of Kinaxis. “This acquisition reflects the growing importance of AI and ML to power intelligent automation and augment human decision-making to better deliver on customer promises, remove waste and increase resiliency for effective risk management.”

Rubikloud’s SaaS-based ML offerings empower retail and CPG manufacturers to transform their core operations by improving and automating complex, profit-generating decisions. Rubikloud’s proven AI capabilities and intuitive tools enable users to leverage disparate data sources to improve forecast accuracy, site-level allocations, inventory availability and promotion plans by allowing users to run boundless simulations in real time.

“We founded Rubikloud with the belief that purpose-built AI could be used to solve some of the most complex industry problems and we have spent the last seven years building a fantastic product that receives validation from global customers every day,” said Kerry Liu, CEO, Rubikloud. “We’re excited at the prospect of joining Kinaxis, which helps us bring our innovations to a much broader customer base at a faster pace than on our own. Not only that, being two strong Canadian companies we see great cultural synergy and look forward to working on the complex problems we know RapidResponse and concurrent planning can solve for customers.”

Terms of Agreement
Kinaxis will acquire Rubikloud for US$60 million in an all-cash transaction that is expected to close within 60 days. Based on Rubikloud’s current revenue and expense profile, the company’s fiscal 2020 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance, as reiterated in its May 6, 2020 news release, remains unchanged. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

About Kinaxis Inc. 
Everyday volatility and uncertainty demand quick action. Kinaxis® delivers the agility to make fast, confident decisions across integrated business planning and the digital supply chain. People can plan better, live better and change the world. Trusted by innovative brands, we combine human intelligence with AI and concurrent planning to help companies plan for any future, monitor risks and opportunities and respond at the pace of change. Powered by an extensible, cloud-based platform, Kinaxis delivers industry-proven applications so everyone can know sooner, act faster and remove waste. For more Kinaxis news, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.