Collaborative environment for sales prospect generation
Posted: 23 Aug 2018 | 07:41
So, you read the title and thought, ‘What?'
Well maybe it is something you could be interested in using. Perhaps the technology or concepts will interest you. Or maybe you will see how EPCC can help bring your ideas into the world.
Let’s start from the beginning – there is this company called DeepMiner which was set up in August 2017 and they had this idea of using all this new-fangled data science, modelling and machine learning to gather huge amounts of disparate data on company news, business deals, research grants and many other things to help businesses to try and identify new business prospects – hence the 'sales prospect' in the title.
Over the next few months, they developed a prototype system to implement this workflow. It took in news, did some fancy machine learning on it and generated potential prospects – the targets for new business opportunities. Think of all the ways just from English language sources that this would generate and how they should be presented in a meaningful fashion. It’s a daunting task, isn’t it? Could we, as natural language users, say that we could identify such things at these volumes? This is what DeepMiner is trying to do using computers. Now, this has been one of the tasks that researchers and companies have been trying to do for years with varying degrees of success. And here is a company wanting to turn this into an online system for businesses.
So, in Quarter 1 of 2018, DeepMiner received an Innovation Scheme voucher from Interface, which enabled them to engage EPCC to integrate a new interactive network graph view. It wasn’t a large body of work, just ten days, but it was an interesting project for EPCC to undertake. Soon it became apparent that there were some really interesting ideas within the product conceptually and in a software engineering sense – how could this system be turned into a fully operational product? That project was a success, the new view was implemented, and we integrated an additional search mechanism.
So far so good, but as a final exercise, EPCC did a quick review of all the potential things that could have been carried out in those ten days. With the fast-moving plan that DeepMiner was following – quickly moving from concept to prototype to beta – there were many aspects of engineering that would need to be addressed. DeepMiner was aware of this and so further engaged EPCC to carry out more work on the product. The collaboration has been going on for several months now.
Our collaboration is now focusing on creating the whole DeepMiner product using Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure. An EPCC Applications Consultant is assisting the growing DeepMiner development team to help turn its system into a multi-organisation and user-focused product – focusing not only on current technologies but also on how to incorporate alternative and new technologies into the product stack. The goal is to allow organisations to work online from anywhere in a secure and collaborative fashion to share and generate sales opportunities.
EPCC has a long history of working with different types of companies, from start-ups to SMEs to large blue-chip companies. Working with a new company can be very interesting, usually due to the novel application of technology and the ideas being pursued. It can be highly challenging too, as a new company such as DeepMiner is still in the process of defining itself, creating its own culture aimed at success. DeepMiner is led by two driven individuals, Áine Uí Ghiollagáin and Duncan Hart, who have taken the company from its inception to a year in operation to what already looks likely to be a bright future.
Alistair Grant, EPCC