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Akumina Modernizes the Employee Experience In and Around the Office

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Akumina is a Nashua, NH-based company that is creating software designed for employees to engage with one another easier and, in turn, create ideal workplace experiences.

We spoke to David Maffei, President and Chief Revenue Officer of Akumina, to learn more about the origins of the company, how they are creating employee experiences for their customers, and how they came up with its name. 

Interested in working here? Check out all of Akumina’s job openings on the list to the right.

To start off, I’d like to learn more about your background. What were you doing leading up to the founding of Akumina?

I am a technology veteran with deep ties to the enterprise software industry, specifically in employee experience management, web content management, business continuity, and enterprise eCommerce. Prior to Akumina, I held positions at Ektron (acquired by Accel-KKR), Bridgeline Digital (NASDAQ: BLIN) and Carbonite (NASDAQ: CARB). 

David Maffei
David Maffei, President and Chief Revenue Officer at Akumina

During my six years at Ektron, I built a global sales organization that grew total company annual revenue from $7 million to $60 million, which was the high point in Ektron's history. At Carbonite, I led the transformation from a personal computer backup provider to a B2B focused disaster recovery and business continuity enterprise and transitioned much of its direct business into the successful channel-first model. 

While at Ektron, I met Ed Rogers, who was Ektron’s COO at the time and with whom I would collaborate to found Akumina. Ed and I made a promise that the next company we worked on was going to be bigger, better, faster and smarter. The product needed to be built, managed and maintained to stand up to the most complex use cases and for the most experienced partners. We agreed to focus on quality above all else. 

Tell me the story of Akumina. What was the “A-ha!” moment?

Employees are an organization’s number one asset – but how often do organizations think about their own employee experience (EX), as much as they do about customer experience (CX)? As senior executives working in the digital experience (DX) space for more than a decade, Ed and I recognized this market opportunity of applying DX best practices to EX. 

Long gone are the days of cluttered intranets that are just a “junk drawer” for unorganized corporate information. Akumina’s business model focuses on bringing personalized, contextual and relevant experiences to every employee, in any department, and in any language, so people can be productive from anywhere, at any time. 

The interaction with technology that employees have in their 9-5 work-life shouldn’t be different from what they experience in their 5-9 life. However, the experience from personal technology, ie. Instagram, SnapChat, or LinkedIn, is light years beyond the archaic technologies many companies employ within their digital workspace. We built Akumina for the modern, mobile-first, and more distributed than ever workforce.

Where did the name come from?

When our CEO, Ed Rogers, and his business partner were brainstorming names for the company, they wanted something that would represent their focus on driving success for their clients and helping them to make smart choices on a day-to-day basis. The word that kept coming to mind was "acumen." As they continued to build on the word, they settled on "Akumina," which is based on "acumina," the Latin plural of "acumen." The name stuck, and here we are years later.

What are some of the core problems Akumina is solving through its offering?

Akumina Screenshot

Employee engagement is the cornerstone of business success, which makes the need to improve work experience and retain top talent critical. Our team has built a world-class solution that solves a real problem in a massive market. 

People have become increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via smartphones and other devices. In a report by Flurry Analytics, usage of enterprise apps and productivity tools for the workplace has increased by 125% with a 2016 forecast predicting that the enterprise app market will reach $287.7B in the next eight years (Source: Global Market Insights). However, the downside of this growth is workers feeling overwhelmed with having to manage too many apps. The reality is that people just want to get their work done.

Akumina provides a ‘single-pane’ enterprise-wide work experience, which makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues effectively, access the right versions of documents without having to check multiple sources, and ultimately, get work done. We believe that employees should be able to open the device of their choice and log in to a digital system, where they can access internal announcements, the company calendar, daily tasks, messages from colleagues, email and other apps from a single source. Akumina supports a work environment that stays with employees throughout the day, no matter where they are. 

We offer an employee experience platform that can meet an organization’s needs now, with fast time-to-value, and also allows for expansion and evolution as the digital workplace transforms and scales. By offering a customizable, brandable, and multilingual platform that seamlessly integrates with leading enterprise cloud applications, we deliver a contextual, collaborative, and engaging workplace experience to every user on any device.

Who are your customers? Any examples you can offer?

Akumina has deployed hundreds of intranets, extranets, and websites for our clients. One notable customer for VentureFizz readers is the World Champion Boston Red Sox. The organization used Akumina’s software to create a mobile-friendly digital employee hub called Home Plate that enables the organization to communicate with its employees, including 1,000-plus seasonal workers, that helm security and take tickets, as well as concession stand workers outsourced by Aramark, and other temporary positions. 

Akumina helped The Boston Red Sox create a digital experience platform that:

  • Ensures the freshest and most relevant content is at employees’ fingertips at all times – regardless of their device, language or location.

  • Speeds up the access to the right data, which also supports everything from third-party integration to content modeling, identity and access management, and everything in-between.

  • Enables the team to communicate with a diverse and frequently mobile staff, that is growing yet continually fluctuating depending on the season.

Other Akumina’s noteworthy customers include GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, and the United States Department of Defense. 

What are some of the cool things you’ve been working on?

We recently unveiled dramatic enhancements to our Employee Experience Platform (EXP) that will revolutionize the way organizations create and deliver personalized, enterprise-level digital workplaces and modern intranets.

Version 4.5 of the Akumina platform focuses on driving personalized experiences on a one-to-one basis with every employee. The release includes Akumina’s new Experience Builder, Persona Builder, and Impersonation Engine while delivering enhancements to its “headless” runtime support:

  • Experience Builder
    Akumina’s original Page Builder allows IT and developers to create new customized employee “experiences” consisting of pages, series of pages, websites, collaboration spaces and more. The new Experience Builder extends this capability to business users at any level, regardless of technical experience. 

  • Persona Builder
    Persona Builder provides the framework for establishing various roles in an organization, enabling businesses to develop customized user personas based on job title, job function, language, location and other key factors that define users within their organization. With Persona Builder, IT teams can configure which properties are available to each persona, enabling users to create or hide widgets and pages based on the needs of the employee or team with that profile. 

  • Impersonation Engine
    As new experiences and personas are created and defined, this, in turn, creates several different spaces that are experienced in various ways depending on an individual’s unique role. The Impersonation Engine lets administrators traverse the experience they’ve created through the eyes of different users, verifying that those users are consuming it in an intended way.

  • Headless 2.0
    These new features are also available for “headless,” or decoupled, development (outside the SharePoint platform). Teams can now create best-of-breed digital experiences quickly, employing an industry-standard development-staging-production workflow model locally, and then deploying to their sites. This gives developers an agile and unrestricted path to better performance and faster innovation.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your partnership with Avanade?

We launched FLIGHT, a new offering with Avanade that makes it easy for large organizations to take the first steps in launching a branded digital workplace experience to advance their modern digital workplace transformation program. 

In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, business leaders understand the value of delivering employee experiences that create competitive advantage, but a lack of consensus, fragmented budgets, and limited expertise prevent many companies from executing their vision. FLIGHT leverages Avanade’s global network of Digital Innovation Studios to help businesses quickly set up Akumina’s innovative employee experience platform. FLIGHT balances strategy with time-sensitive execution, quickly adapting to evolving user needs and creating a value map to guide the next innovation in just seven weeks.

Any (non-specific) growth numbers you can share?

Akumina had a banner year in 2018 with 191 percent year-over-year annual recurring revenue growth spurred by our digital workplace platform’s ability to unify technology and drive employee engagement with large enterprises across a litany of verticals such as telecom, life sciences, retail and financial services. Akumina’s achievements recently earned it recognition as Intranet Choice for the Digital Workplace in ClearBox Consulting’s 2019 report. Also, for the second year in a row, Akumina was included in The Tech Tribune’s list of Best Tech Startups in Nashua.

What comes next for Akumina?

The workspace is constantly evolving, particularly as new generations move into professional roles. We recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 mid- to executive-level managers between the ages of 18-36 years old to gain insights into the realities of millennial managers’ career journeys, workplace needs, and technology preferences. Some of the insights will be important as we continue to develop our employee experience platform including:

  • Remote work is becoming a bigger part of the modern workplace

  • Millennials are using technology to achieve better work/life balance

  • Workplace technology must facilitate meaningful interactions between employees to be viewed as a positive by millennials

We have to make sure we are adapting our technology to an ever-changing workplace. Millennials are moving into more senior positions now but Gen Z has started to graduate from college and will leave as big a mark as their predecessors. Akumina will be sure to offer effective employee experience tools in whatever form most benefits businesses. 

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.

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The employee experience platform that empowers global enterprises — love the way you work.

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