Product showcase: Skan"s digital work process monitoring software

Product showcase: Skan

Skan’s aim for its technology is a simple one: to remove bottlenecks in the business process.

Its software does this via employees’ desktops, collecting data about how they work. By using it, the idea is that insurers and other companies can gather relevant data to help along their digital transformations and train employees strategically to maximize process improvements.

Think of it as a form of telematics for work – sensor enabling digital work done at an interface level for all desktop machines in an office or department.

“Skan … [gives] you the true nature of work that is running in the enterprise,” co-founder and CEO Avinash Misra (pictured) explained. “It is software that sits on the desktop of people who are working, and it observes all the actions people do to make a very nuanced map of how work is getting done in that department or business.”

The company’s Skan Process Intelligence Platform uses AI, computer vision and machine learning to accomplish this, creating a tool designed to not interrupt employees while it gathers vital work process information.

Skan (known formally on its website as Skan AI) launched in 2018 and debuted its initial software a year later. The company employs approximately 72 people currently, with headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif, and a presence in Seattle, Bangalore, Boston, Ottawa and elsewhere. Misra claims to have developed significant traction for the technology already, with “some of the largest insurance companies and banks in the world” as clients.

Insurance clients include AXA and Cigna, Misra noted.

No integration required

While it takes time for clients to learn how to use Skan, there is no integration per se into client systems. There is still a process to follow, however, starting with dashboards – visual displays of data.

According to Misra, the company first provides dashboards to interested customers, outlining the kinds of things that can be made visible with Skan software including turnaround time, cycle time, touch time. Then, there’s a brief conversation about how other customers use the software or what clients can achieve from the process. Primarily, however, the focus is on what is possible with the technology.

“It is a look at the capabilities of some of our software and being able to see what kind of dashboards or … illumination can be brought into these business processes should [we] be the process that customers choose,” Misra said.

Skan also explores the amount of applications involved with the prime business processes that it typically studies, and what the company can gain or lose in conjunction with certain guardrails and what regulatory issues are in play.

If all of this comes together, then Skan and the client move forward with the software, which continuously monitors work actions in order to optimize or improve processes.

Next, as Misra describes it, Skan deploys two individual software elements. The first one is a small piece of secure software installed on individual desktops, that connects to a server the customer owns and manages, and Skan doesn’t have access to. This is where data generated from Skan’s desktop monitoring resides under client control. Skan sends its algorithms to client servers to help them bring out the metadata and generate process maps, so clients can look at their data and study the results.

Privacy is key, Misra said.

“This has been specifically designed with the needed privacy and security concerns of the organizations we work in because we are looking at work-related screens [proprietary client data] and we do not want to have access to those,” Misra said.

“Our complete separation between our algorithms and their data... is set up for them,” Misra added. “That is the only setup that they need to do. Everything else is automated, the act of catching streams, bringing out the process maps, looking at the data coming out and seeing how things change. This is all in-built into the software.”

From there, clients receive process maps based on the metadata, and can look at potential opportunities to change their business processes.

Importantly, Skan doesn’t need to integrate its software into client systems.

“We don’t need any integration with any given system to be able to generate the process maps,” Misra said.

In all, the process takes six weeks to two months from contract to implementation.

Expansion planned

Skan so far has raised about $20 million in venture capital, including a seed round and Series A financing.

Misra confirmed the company is “having conversations for a future raise” sometime soon.

Hiring is also on tap through 2022 and beyond, for sales and marketing, customer relations and product engineering. There also is a new in-house recruiter to help manage hiring in what has been a difficult market.

“Based on all projections we will be … well over 100 people by the end of the year,” Misra said.

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