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AiThority Interview With Elie Melois, CTO and Co-founder at LumApps

AiThority Interview With Elie Melois, CTO and Co-founder at LumApps
Tell us about your journey. What led you to start LumApps?

My Co-founders all come from Enterprise technology backgrounds. We’re deeply passionate about helping large companies undergo digital transformation through communication and collaboration technologies. We launched LumApps in 2012 because we saw a need for companies to centralize communications and workflows. This came at a time when SaaS applications like G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and others were starting to take hold in the enterprise.

Companies were growing their tech stacks and experiencing a productivity boost, but also faced challenges due to a dramatic increase in the volume of data and communications. And, so we introduced our flagship product, a social intranet that sits at the core of a company’s communications and workflows to help them connect, inform, and engage with their employees.

We later saw an opportunity to expand our platform to include a number of new solutions, most notably, our social advocacy suite that enables employees to share relevant branded content — e.g., news articles, corporate events, customer stories, and job offers — externally. This was born out of a need for companies to leverage their best brand advocates, their employees, to spread the good word about their organizations.

Today, we provided hundreds of global enterprises including Airbus, Veolia, Valeo, Air Liquide, Colgate-Palmolive, The Economist, Schibsted, EA, Toto, and Japan Airlines with a digital workplace. We’ve also raised more than $100M with backing from Goldman Sachs, Idinvest Partners, Iris Capital, and other major investors.

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How have digital workplace/productivity solutions evolved in the last few years, and what challenges does that present for companies?

Our customers have a difficult time establishing “strategic alignment” with their employees. This means giving them access to the data they need to perform their jobs while also understanding the bigger company picture — strategy, growth plans, and more. Employees must know the framework in which they can operate to be proactive achievers and remain actively engaged with the company.

Another major challenge is the shift to the Cloud and having to deal with lots of new products and information. Companies need to help their employees make that transition as easy as possible. It’s critical because employees are now accustomed to easy user experience with their consumer products. Consequently, they now expect the same user-friendly experience and tools in the workplace.

Lastly, companies are currently trying to navigate “infobesity” — the growing mountain of data and knowledge that’s flowing from within their companies. They are trying to make sense of it all and make information actionable. There are way too many communications systems in place at most organizations.

The complex communications systems make it especially complicated for employees to extract useful knowledge from the information that’s circulating inside the company. That’s why companies need to put the right systems in place to organize all of that information and make it easy to access.

ML/AI has impacted virtually every industry. How is it specifically impacting workplace solutions?

It really started with the digital workplace transformation that began to take hold back in 2018. That’s really when people started to expect – if not demand – smart capabilities from their workplace solutions driven by what Google, Facebook, and Amazon delivered to consumers.

There was some initial resistance from companies to these demands along with some difficulties delivering similar technological capabilities. Eventually, there was a massive emergence of comprehensive, AI-driven technology platforms that delivered mobile, intuitive, collaborative, secure, automated, and smart digital workplaces.

ML/AI solutions have undoubtedly made working professionals’ day-to-day tasks easier by reducing training and other costs for firms, in turn, increasing productivity and empowering them to be more creative.

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Employees want tools that make them more productive, yet many feel bogged down by the sheer number of applications. What are you hearing from customers? And what can be done about it?

There’s no question that “app fatigue” at work is killing employee productivity. Shockingly, most workers toggle between apps up to 10 times every hour, which means that companies are losing up to 32 days of productive work per employee every year.

Besides hurting overall productivity, app fatigue also damages employee engagement, leaving workers feeling overwhelmed, aggravated, and worn out. To further complicate matters, most workers are expected to respond to new communications and notifications on workplace apps in real-time, which creates more confusion and interruptions throughout the day on top of the existing app fatigue.

Recent studies have shown that using a single platform for all workplace communications would help employees achieve a better workflow, increase their productivity, and reduce feelings of chaos at work. These reinforce what we do here at LumApps for our customers.

Aside from centralizing applications under one solution like LumApps, we counsel clients’ IT and HR departments to get a grasp on what applications their employees actually use. That helps them figure out which ones they don’t need so they could thin out the stack.

What’s LumApps’ role in all of this? How would a company use your technology?

LumApps is a truly digital workplace solution where employees access all the enterprise resources they need to do their job.

Employees are provided with an employee dashboard where they can see their emails, tasks, meetings, links, favorite Teams or Slack channels, and more. LumApps also provides a powerful global search engine that is able to find news, communities, people, documents across the enterprise.

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What industries are most likely to adopt a digital workplace solution such as LumApps?

We believe our social intranet solution is critical for any large business or enterprise-level company with many employees and access to a huge amount of data. We launched LumApps to help these companies centralize all of their corporate content, business applications, and social features under a single platform.

Today our client roster spans many different industries and includes major brands such as Colgate-Palmolive, The Economist, Electronic Arts, and so on.

What are some related technologies out in the market that you are excited about?

Not a technology per se, but mindfulness intrigues me. It’s definitely gaining a lot of traction inside companies these days. Mindfulness is a concept that helps employees cope with information overload and too much noise. The combination makes it hard to focus on what truly matters the most and focus on what is truly important.

I believe that the combination of mindfulness and the right technology can make employees more efficient and focused, which in turn, will make them more productive.

Looking at some consumer products today, they seem to encourage the opposite of mindfulness. In the enterprise, the amount of information, emails, requests thrown at employees each day is simply overwhelming.

The key is to free employees’ brains of too much noise and distractions. We don’t want them to waste time searching for information or having discussions that aren’t relevant or productive — we want to provide them with the information that makes them more efficient.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Paul Buchheit, the Engineer who created the Gmail!

Thank you, Elie! That was fun and hope to see you back on soon.

Elie Melois is the Co-Founder & CTO at LumApps.

LumApps is a SaaS company operating since 2012 and serving organizations on a global scale. LumApps Digital Workplace is a category leader that integrates with collaborative suites such as Office 365 and G Suite. At LumApps, we help organizations transform the way they communicate, collaborate, and engage with their customers, partners, and most importantly, their employees.

Our solutions help companies in Forbes 2000 and Fortune 500 to develop strong cultures and share knowledge across communities.

With a worldwide team of over two hundred people and seven global offices – Lyon, Paris, London, New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Tokyo – LumApps serves prominent companies around the world like Valeo, Air Liquide, Colgate-Palmolive, The Economist, Schibsted, EA and Galeries LaFayette.

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