Southpaw Technology: Bridging Departments using Both Sides of your Brain
It is no surprise that lefties are legendary at thinking differently. Strategically, it is an advantage to be left handed in certain sports: baseball pitchers, boxers, martial arts, etc. These people are referred to as Southpaws. A former UCLA associate professor Charlotte Reznick, PhD (a Southpaw herself) explains, that Southpaws see the world through a unique lens. “When we’re left-handed, our right brains are usually dominant, and that’s where creativity and intuition are centered. So it’s often easier for us to be creative than logical. And our brains more easily use both sides of the brain at once, so we have the advantage of also being more flexible in our thinking.”
This is a journey of several southpaw experts coming together to form a next generation digital company, Southpaw Technology. Currently led by a left handed CEO, David Lowe, Southpaw Technology applies its unique southpaw lens to help clients apply the best practices on ‘workflow’ and business process management. Owing to the learnings across various industries and companies, the company’s consulting group, R&D team, and the Southpaw product group achieve high levels of excellence.
A Larger than Life Vision
Prior to founding Southpaw, the two founders had worked extensively in the computer graphics animated film arena. This is an industry with highly complex workflows to ensure a film is delivered on time and on budget. There are often hundreds of people working on the film and often in many locations. Through this understanding, they designed TACTIC – a proprietary technology that optimizes these busy production environments with high traffic volumes of digital content.
The enterprise use case of TACTIC came later on as large companies such as Lockheed Martin and P&G approached Southpaw Technology to help with the inefficient digital asset management operations within these organizations. Historically (and indeed currently) most enterprise operations predominantly utilize shared folders, spreadsheets, and emails as alternatives. It turned out that these organizational structures with complex interdependencies and collaborative functionalities across departments need well-tailored workflows as well. The result was — TACTIC.
TACTIC is a dynamic, open-source platform used for building enterprise solutions. The TACTIC Platform can be used as an overall system for integrating microservices into well-defined, cohesive workflows. This is accomplished by integrating a core Workflow Engine, a robust Digital Asset Management System, and a Content Management system to provide a complete set of tools to create customized enterprise solutions.
With the core Workflow Engine, TACTIC allows users to optimize their own workflows by building customized data management systems tailored to their specific workflow needs. Workflows are organized through pipelines or process command chains that grant users the ability to define discrete processes within a workflow. The system is modular where by components can be plugged in or upgraded as needed using a flexible “microservices” architecture.
Many of TACTIC’s DAM processes are automated for ease of use, including file cataloguing, versioning and event triggering. As you work, TACTIC automatically names, catalogues and tracks your files. Files are organized intuitively using deep metadata commits, so documents are always securely organized and made easily accessible by search.
- Microservice Orchestrator
Microservices are a means of building a modular system by which components can be added as needed. Building a system with microservices enhances the robustness of an entire complex system. A microservice architecture is an ideal way to build and integrate a scalable and flexible system to solve complex real world business problems. TACTIC provides the glue that holds all of the microservices together. It orchestrates when these microservices are needed and what they should be doing. This type of architectures enable continuous delivery and deployment.
TACTIC is a workflow platform where each process node makes use of external services. Each process is set up to communicate to external or internal microservices. The platform orchestrates the flow of information through the various systems. TACTIC itself can also provide microservices as needed.
Either way, a deployed TACTIC ensures that all jobs are completed according to specified workflows. In fact, a fully deployed TACTIC Platform can serve as a central foundation for the creation, maintaining and execution of all workflow in the enterprise operation.
A Trailblazer Leading the Path of Excellence
David always had a passion for science and technology and business. His undergrad degree was in Environmental Sciences from the University of Toronto. He studied climate change, waste management, and energy systems. He admits (with a smile) that was a long time ago but the education gave him a peak at the future. His interest in technology started focusing on media early in his career as the internet unfolded and he had a strong desire to do something important tied to this information-age-disruption that was a game changer.
David never thought he would get so deep into enterprise operations but like many things, things unfold in strange ways and it turned out that enterprise workflow needed some disruption. According to him, most companies have internal operations that are shockingly inefficient and there is a whole world of improvement that can happen in any given company. “The thing is that they often make so much money that they can afford to just bury the inefficiencies; but from a scientific and analytical point of view that is not a good enough excuse!”
The entrepreneurial drive for David comes naturally from his desires to make things work better and better. “Running a company like Southpaw is a big time commitment. It is almost like this living-and breathing-thing stuck in the middle of your life. It can wake you up at strange hours and can jolt you in many ways. It can also provide comfort and satisfaction. It feels very good to watch it grow and help users in many industries and companies,” David said.
“We recently looked at each other and went wow, our vision is really coming through. In a recent quarterly meeting we literally had to step back and just smile when we looked at our client list and our sales pipeline. We are also entering industries that we never know how to crack into. Yet, due to power of our open source community and word of mouth, we found ourselves into industries such as banking and financial services. It turns out that our software is very good in highly regulated environments. It adds layers of security, intelligence and automation that these financial clients greatly need,” David shared. We happen to believe health care is coming next.
Helping Companies Solve Complex Business Process Management Issues
Southpaw’s solutions are quite unique in the market. The company has built its platform with a workflow engine at the core. This is unique in the marketplace and it allows for quick deployment that can solve simple or complex business process management issues in a short amount of time. Southpaw builds close relationships with its clients and through that a deep understanding – of what is causing pain and where Southpaw’s professional services team can help the team identify ways to make their specific workflows work better and better. The benefits of automation and precise delivery are its core drivers that can serve large corporate operations. Hence, over time, the company is looking forward to add larger and larger customers that have complex global requirements to the list.
Southpaw will continue to offer service excellence to its customers and plans to add all sorts of new capabilities through partners for example, in machine learning and AI. The nature of the company’s deployments offer an enormous amount of data collection within these Fortune 500 companies and Machine Learning / AI teams are very excited to help these same companies benefit from their own internal data. Southpaw is growing fast in the US but increasingly so in Europe and South America.