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Anish Verma, Mintmesh: “digital transformation is a journey and not necessarily a destination”

Engineers are under constant pressure to test out and configure new tools to make modernization as smooth as possible.

The accessibility to AI solutions has opened doors to new, unexplored avenues and production methods. Most importantly, some innovations have already become the new norm.

Cybernews team reached out to Anish A. Verma, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Mintmesh – a leading provider of Micro AI Solutions for Engineers – to find out more about ways AI and automation can help the field of engineering, and therefore, the whole society.

Would you like to share what has the journey been like for Mintmesh?

Since the inception of Mintmesh 7 years ago, the main focus was to create leading-edge software products that provide value to our clients. Using AI as the foundational building block, we aspired to create products that would help our users eliminate mundane tasks and help focus on tasks that needed either more face time with clients, creative thinking or avoiding pitfalls down the line in the process.

Inspired by Facebook and LinkedIn we set out to create the world's largest referral network. We launched Rudy for Recruitment, our first flagship product helping the HR organization of our clients to hire smarter and better.

When Covid struck, we faced cash flow challenges. With growth stalling, we had a choice to make, either fold or transform. All three co-founders made the decision to transform Mintmesh. We decided to launch a new product in the market focused on the engineering community. As engineers ourselves, we believed it was our responsibility to help engineers in the Oil & Gas space.

We reached out to our network in the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) space and started working on a product to automate Technical Bid Evaluations. A few months later, we launched Rudy for Engineers.

We learned a lot from our experiences with the previous product and reused the basic capability and pivoted into the engineering, procurement, and construction domain. RUDY which stands for “Reading and Understanding Documents for You” had a new avatar and Mintmesh successfully transformed itself and went where no company has gone before.

Our sheer determination and will to move forward and overcome all challenges attracted several investors and we closed a major investment from a PE firm to take this forward.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What methods do you use to make technical evaluations easier?

Rudy for Engineers is an AI digital platform that helps engineers with augmented decision-making capabilities for Technical Bid Evaluation (TBE) process. RUDY is created for any engineering community that spends long hours and creates manual excel spreadsheets (bid tabs) to compare suppliers for equipment and bulk items to be bought.

Our design principle is simple.

  • Eliminate duplicate data entry. RUDY consumes multi-tag technical requirements either by upload of documents or by integration with process simulation software.
  • Template agnostic supplier offers. Supplier responses can be simply uploaded as received and RUDY's technology analyzes, compiles, and populates supplier columns in the bid tabs.
  • Information traceability. It will always show the source from where the information was gathered text’s location, page number, and document name. RUDY also shows a snapshot of the page from where the information came.
  • Transparent Collaboration. Technical queries can be raised at an attribute level, or as a general query. All responses and decisions are timestamped and have historical information for audit and analysis.
  • Actionable insights. Embedded analytics is designed to provide project managers and engineers with the ability to measure supplier response quality. First-time suppliers offer quality, number of queries, and display the time taken to complete bid tabs, etc.

Bottom line is that Rudy is an engineer’s Single System of Record (SSOR) for all assets, metadata, and knowledge. It has the capability to learn continuously from users interacting with the system.

Our clients experience operational effectiveness improvements and process improvements that come from features like ease of reuse and predictive analytics. But the most important use of Rudy is for Risk and Compliance management in the technical bidding function.

What would you consider to be the most difficult issues that engineers run into today?

In general, engineers are time constrained for their activities given the amount of work that needs their attention. There are several tools available to them but even then, some of their activities are completely manual.

This not only sucks away a lot of time and energy but also leads to errors that become costlier the later they are found in the process. Repetitive and mundane activities lead to human limitations as compared to creative and purposeful activities that help them unlock their potential.

Given the amount of progress artificial intelligence has made over the last few years, it can certainly help engineers reduce and even eliminate some of the repetitive and mundane activities.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work? Were there any new challenges you had to adapt to?

Every challenge is an opportunity for those who seek it. We used global events to transform ourselves and launched a new product in the market. It was certainly challenging to get our product in front of our prospective clients. Our industry is traditionally conventional and believes in face-to-face interactions. Everyone had to adapt to working remotely and via video conferencing tools.

We found creative ways to get in front of our clients by going to places where they congregated online. Given our unique value proposition, we got a lot of attention and we subsequently confirmed that we are the only ones in the world with such an offering.

Being the only one in the world with a new offering is a competitive advantage, but also becomes a marketing challenge, especially when dealing with traditional decision-makers.

What would you consider the main problems that companies run into on their digital transformation journey?

As you rightly ask, digital transformation is a journey and not necessarily a destination. A lot of companies are great at scouting solutions and doing pilots to prove the value and ROI. But that is just the first step.

Every digital transformation initiative needs an executive sponsor and several evangelists to push to adopt the solution, seek feedback, and measure results. This is a big challenge for all companies. Most of them struggle with organizational change management and offering the right incentives and relentless education is an effective way to enable change.

It is always wise to visibly demonstrate the value proposition and the top leadership's commitment to take people along on the journey as opposed to enforcing change top-down. Any company that can deal with adoption will always be more successful in its digital transformation journey.

What other company processes do you hope to see automated in the next few years?

Any repetitive activity that can be mapped and broken down into smaller steps can be automated. People need to have a will to give up control over smaller activities in the interest of the big picture and have more control over the outcome.

As explained before, our simple design principles will help us and others identify more use cases, that can be bolted up on our ELP platform.

In the next process, we are focusing on commercial evaluations like no one is thinking about it. We also plan to bring in transparency and analytics for the Supplier community. Today it is challenging to do this if the process continues to be manual or partially automated.

What predictions do you have for the future of AI technology?

AI will continue to bring disruptions in the market. However, a lot of people have a doomsday misconception about AI as seen in Terminator-like movies. We have several years ahead of us before machines can do anything even remotely complex as a human could.

Any company that leverages AI to augment decision-making for humans will be more successful than others.

In this age of ever-evolving technology, what do you think are the key security practices both businesses and individuals should adopt?

Cybersecurity will continue to be strengthened as bad actors evolve to use new techniques for cyber intrusions. This omnipresent threat will co-exist as we adopt increased technology in our daily lives.

Having said that, companies that offer software will start presenting aggressive security postures to deter, monitor, and fight back against such activity. Multi-factor authentications, biometrics, layered security, need-to-know access protocols, and third-party certifications will play a key role in ensuring superior cyber security.

Cybersecurity is also a journey, and all software providers will have to embrace it that way and be many steps ahead, to protect the privacy and data of their clients and users.

Would you like to share what’s next for Mintmesh?

Mintmesh seeks joy in pioneering initiatives and being the first of a kind in the industry to provide value to our clients. We pride ourselves on providing value at high speed, and at a high ROI so that we as a start-up can continue to thrive and be several steps ahead of our competition.

We have several modules in our roadmap that will continue to add more and more value to the EPC supply chain when it comes to measuring, evaluating, and making key decisions. We will continue to close the gap between digital and physical reality as products move from “As Required” to “As Designed” to “As Built’ to “As commissioned” stages in the world.

Expect a lot more from Mintmesh a company of engineers that builds products for engineers!

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