Driving the Digital Dumpster

Daniel Fallmann klein jpgSecret treasure troves lie buried in every organization, and Daniel Fallmann is here to salvage them. “The problem is that everybody has lots of digital data they can’t use because nobody can find the relevant pieces when they need them. We want to illuminate what your company knows”, he maintains. And in 2005, he set out with his Austrian start-up which he names “Mindbreeze” to fix the problem.

While some data is available in codes form and thus is easy to store in searchable data bases, most is not. E-Mails, Word and Excel files, audio and video recordings: All these are valuable company assets, at least theoretically, but unfortunately the only way to find and use them is by mind-numbing manual search. “Digital landfill”, Fallmann calls these data, and his goal in life is to set them free.

“You could say we are part of the next generation information recycling industry”, Fallmann says. After all, poking around in other people’s digital garbage bins isn’t everybody’s idea of fun. But he believes his company can provide an essential service as enterprises move into the age of Digital Transformation. Companies like Lufthansa, IKEA, Deutsche Telekom, TelMex, s.Oliver and many others rely on Mindbreeze.

After all, what use are data that are essentially hidden from view? To solve the problem, Fallmann and his team have created what one might call a “Google for companies”; a black box that connects to each and every digital system within the enterprise and launches software “crawlers”, similar to the ones Google uses to catalog the World Wide Web. The device then creates a network of every bit and piece of information it finds and stores it in a central knowledge base, regardless of the data’s format. By simply clicking on the information, employees can launch the appropriate application that enables them to view, watch or listen to whatever the data contains and even interact with the data directly. Moreover it uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to understand the information and give the most accurate answers to questions.

This is especially important for voice recordings, Fallmann maintains, because every company deals with customers on the phone. In call centers, these conversations are recorded and stored for later review, as we are all constantly being reminded every time we dial our supplier to complain, ask for help or order an item. Because the review process is so tedious, most companies restrict themselves to random spot checks. As for the rest – often thousands and thousands of hours of direct one-on-one interaction with clients and customers – they land in the digital dumpster.

Based in Linz on the Danube, Mindbreeze launched its first “search appliance” it calls InSpire. In 2013, Gartner, an analyst group, raised them to the status of “Challenger” in its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search, especially praising the company’s ability to execute. “Mindbreeze makes excellent use of its search capabilities to promote application use cases beyond ordinary enterprise search, such as autoclassification during the capture process and industry use cases, such as ones for the healthcare sector”, Gartner writes.

Daniel Fallmann admits to a weakness for science fiction novels, but in business he stays down to earth. “I was always fascinated by the ability of computers to understand information and connections – a concept that has not ceased to captivate me to this very day,” he gushes while enjoying a glass of white wine from the surrounding vineyards of his native Upper Austria, the place where he was born and raised and which he is passionately attached to. “Isn’t this the most wonderful place in the world to change it?” he says.

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