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Nuvalence: Building Intelligent Digital Futures In A Refreshing Way

I had the opportunity to interview Rakesh Malhotra, the Managing Partner of Nuvalence, a next generation AI consulting firm headquartered in NY that specializes in mission-critical intelligent platforms for the world’s most ambitious organizations. With over 100 employees, the company have been solving some interesting AI use cases.

As a former Accenture partner, I always appreciate learning of challenges to current professional service business models and Nuvalence has a refreshing perspective as they are challenging the old ways with lazer-sharp precision on driving value from outcomes versus billable hours. The majority of consulting firms today are often still stuck in a purely “bill by the hour” staff augmentation mindset and employ developers, project managers, and analysts to do narrowly-focused work.

That’s simply not the Nuvalence way.

From day one, their dedicated advisory team engages with key stakeholders on strategy conversations that progress and evolve through the life of the engagement, recalibrating as outcomes are achieved and new goals are identified. Their clients see Nuvalence’s engineers, data scientists, designers, and product managers as an extension of their own team; their problems are Nuvalence’s problems, and their mission is Nuvalence’s mission. From strategy to execution, Nuvalence is fully immersed in their clients’ organizations and fully invested in their long-term success. Rapid impact. Nuvalence doesn’t believe that clients should have to wait for value. Their product-driven, agile approach, domain and technical expertise, and usage of cutting-edge AI technology are a powerful combination that translates to zero gaps between the start of an engagement and realization of ROI. In a matter of days, Nuvalence can build complete, end-to-end running prototypes; in weeks, their accelerators can deliver whole, value-driven solutions.

With the incredible market focus on generative AI and growth of this segment, a segment I have been covering actively, it is very rewarding to learn of Nuvalence’s successful generative AI use case applications and product innovations.

What I really liked about Nuvalence was their focus on the sustainability of AI and building product capabilities of value. They have now built out a generative AI-based platform which acts as a “center of wisdom” to empower their customers to automate, with human-like reasoning, formerly non-automatable tasks, saving time at previously impossible scales. Continuously trained on a vast and growing corpus of knowledge, their platform doesn’t just store knowledge, it relates new knowledge to existing knowledge across dimensions, creating a powerful backdrop for new forms of knowledge worker automation and quality improvements.

The first use case was building and delivering a sophisticated GenAI-powered digital assistant offering a diverse user community experience to access information such as business registration, permitting, and other forms of business support information from a vast and ever-changing knowledge ecosystem.

A second use case was supporting a major healthcare organization which has a massive trove of high-value data that’s inaccessible to their members and network of brokers and providers. In this case, a secure GenAI assistant was also used to enable users to tap into that data to quickly connect to providers and access information and services.

A third use case was a project in collaboration with AWS, where Nuvalence developed an innovative and secure financial wellness platform in months–not years for their customer ADP, a global leader in human capital management solutions. ADP had a vision that they wanted to provide workers across North America with unprecedented flexibility with a modern digital wallet: a product that adapted to the modern way that people manage their money. They needed a partner capable of building a solution that supported high security and privacy standards, facilitated going to market quickly, and offered technology for innovation. Nuvalence delivered a highly resilient and scalable financial wellness platform, powered by AWS Lambda, that offers not only an intuitive, secure mobile user experience while ensuring maximum flexibility and extensibility to support a fast-moving market with many changing variables. Using tokens and oversight powered by Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), the digital wallet meets rigorous compliance-quality standards, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

The fourth AI use case was done with a tier one global automotive company where Nuvalence built out a digital platform that finally understands all their products and data, and answers their questions. For years, the client’s development process involved product teams across multiple divisions building products on separate platforms with siloed data. As a result, customer experiences were disconnected, answering questions was hard, and time-to-market for their revenue-generating services suffered. Nuvalence identified that a foundational digital platform was necessary to accelerate the creation and delivery of their customer experiences at global scale. Together, the client and Nuvalence made it possible for them to break out of their silos and disjointed services. The result was an intelligent digital platform built with domain-driven design that massively lowered their processing cost for receivables, enabled cross-selling and up-selling of associated offerings, and made their cost story plausible.

A fifth use case was with the New York State’s Department of Labor partners where Nuvalence built a modern cloud-native platform that delivers $2.1B in pandemic relief to eligible workers in need–in just 12 weeks. The $2.1B Excluded Workers Fund, a first-of-its-kind program in the United States, was created to provide financial relief to eligible workers who experienced pandemic-related income loss. As administrators of the EWF, NYSDOL urgently needed a modern, scalable, secure platform that would enable New Yorkers to apply for and receive relief, and NYSDOL staff to safely and efficiently disburse the funds while minimizing the risk of fraud. Nuvalence built two modern, scalable applications that offered a comprehensive 360-degree customer experience: the mobile-first Customer Digital Intake experience for claimants, and Agency Digital Adjudication for agency staff. Integrations with interagency systems, payment providers, and cutting-edge products (such as Google’s Document AI and Contact Center AI) power a cloud-native secure workflow with innovative features like AI-based document review, fraud analysis, and customer support.

Like in every business model there are competitors but Rakesh did believe they did not have any quite like them. From my market knowledge I would still see Accenture, and Deloitte just given their shere size in tackling most AI projects. But what is different is their cultural DNA where they agility and ease of being more nimble to embed into their customer’s businesses. They have a strong cultural value – felt like a hunger to help their customers grow faster and ensure outcomes are positioned from the get go was indeed a refreshing positioning vs often the “stack the resources strategy” often driven by the larger professional services market vs more boutique organizations.

Rakesh was quick to share with me that although lots of companies build custom apps, but for Nuvalence’s clients, success requires much more than just an app. They deserve the most scalable, feature-rich, future-proof solutions imaginable – and that requires a platform approach deeply embedded with sophisticated intelligence. Nuvalence’s clients come to them because they have platforms in their DNA and an AI mindset, as well as a proven track record of moving fast and delivering with exceptional quality. Winners in this space must move quickly and be able to adapt to the landscape. As a nimble, smaller firm, Nuvalence is able to embrace new challenges rapidly and pass their expertise directly to their clients. Nuvalence doesn’t deliver software, they deliver outcomes.

As you all know in reading my columns, I am most interested in learning about founders lessons learned. Below is a summary of insights from Nuvalence’s Managing Partner’s, Rakesh Malhotra and Sinclair Schuller, over their 15 years of building companies had two remarkable learning experiences.

1. Being even keel even in the face of the most tumultuous of circumstances – building a company is a high-stakes, high-pressure, high-reward endeavour. It’s natural to react with an intensity equal to that of the decision you’re required to make. Unfortunately, nature is misguided in these circumstances. High-intensity decisions and situations require lucid, rational thinking. Taming nature and remaining calm generally lead to clear thinking, which, in turn, leads to better decisions.

2. Experimenting with the intent to fail small and often – unless you have some sort of Nostradamus-like ability to peer into the future, you’ll likely make mistakes as you experiment with your business. If you view building a business as a series of parallel experiments and you’re not Nostradamus, then it’s fair to posit that the average positive result is at the end of a chain of failed experiments that yield negative results. If that’s true, then the best way to reach a positive outcome is to make it through the chain of failed experiments quickly and with minimum damage/cost. Once you achieve a positive outcome, you’ve also ruled out a number of negative paths, allowing you to be more confident in the fidelity of the positive path. The most important lesson to share is to spend effort building a team of disciplined, hard-working individuals with whom you can establish a “fabric of trust.” What’s a “fabric of trust”? It’s the idea that the individuals you bring aboard can trust you, that you can trust them, and most importantly, that they trust each other. If you can build a team with these core characteristics, all else will fall into place.

Nuvalence has a true north opportunity to grow a distinctive brand that further disrupts the professional services landscale. They value inter-operability in diverse stacks and hence they use all the leading technology titans: Microsoft, Google, AWS, OpenAI and of course open source solutions as well. Having valid results is key for Nuvalence’s customers in their journey to design and build Trusted AI solutions. They clearly have demonstrated their expertise in generative AI with proven use cases, and are focused on building a corporate culture that is agile with a tight focus on data bias risk is a strong heart beat at Nuvalence.

Research Sources:

Interview by Dr. Cindy Gordon, with Rakesh Malhotra, January 11, 2024

YouTube Video of Interview. See Episode 27 here.

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