Purchasing new enterprise software can be an exciting time. You’re finally moving on from legacy systems that no longer fit your needs, or maybe you’ve never had a tool meant to solve for your specific use case. With the help of the new software, your team will produce better results and work more efficiently. But before you get to the point where your team has reached peak performance, you have to figure out how to install the software and train your staff. We know from talking with hundreds of customers this can be a daunting task. At Visallo, we ease this burden with a tested process for implementing new projects, which we tailor to each customer’s individual needs.
Read on for an interview with Visallo’s engineering team lead, Susan Triantafillou, to learn more about Visallo’s process for getting started with investigative analysis software:
Question: Why do businesses need a better investigative analysis tool?
Susan: Visallo started when a team of software engineers decided to tackle common complaints of investigative analysis tools currently available such as being too expensive, difficult to get data into and out of, and lack of flexibility.
Visallo was designed to give customers the power to customize the product themselves, thereby eliminating many of the customization fees that are standard in the industry. We also heard people’s concerns about owning their own data, and ensured that with Visallo, every customer maintains ownership of all data they add to the system.
Question: Can you describe the customer onboarding process for Visallo?
Susan: Visallo’s Support team schedules a 30-minute kickoff call with the client to introduce their support point of contact, review the implementation plan and answer any questions. The goal is to make sure customers are well-informed about everything that will be happening throughout the implementation process.
Next, customers fill out an implementation survey about what kind of data model, or ontology, is most appropriate. This survey contains a template the customer will use to describe their current ontology and asks some questions about their intended use of Visallo. When approaching the implementation survey, less is better. The implementation survey is meant to create a skeleton ontology as a starting point to build off of. Customers often work hand-in-hand with the support point of contact to complete this template. Once finalized, the point of contact turns the template into a Web Ontology Language (OWL) format for deployment.
Visallo engineers then install and set up an instance of the software in a private hosted environment dedicated to the customer, or within an on-premise infrastructure. Following the installation, customers confirm they are able to successfully login.
Lastly, Visallo hosts a guided tour for new customers where they highlight essential features, point out important settings that can be adjusted and answer any questions.
Once the implementation is complete, the customer is introduced to the customer support team for ongoing maintenance, upgrades, training and other concerns.
Question: Where in the implementation process do customers experience the most friction?
Susan: Determining the ontology can be time consuming depending on the complexity of the customer’s data. However, Visallo’s support point of contact works hand-in-hand with each customer to make sure the ontology is accurate and serves the customer’s specific use case.
Question: How should customers start thinking about what their ontology should look like?
Susan: Visallo uses a graph database, which stores data as entities (people, places, things, etc.), relationships (the links that connect two entities), and properties (information that describes the entities and relationships). For many of our customers, this is a new way of storing data. The easiest way to get started is to think about the most common questions our customers would like Visallo to answer, and then design the ontology around answering those questions.
Question: What can customers do to be better prepared for installation?
Susan: To better prepare for installation, customers should think through the common questions or problems they want to investigate in their data. Another beneficial step is to be prepared to answer questions about how analysts are currently performing investigations. Both of these starting points will allow the Visallo team to help our customers get the maximum benefit of the product.
Susan Triantafillou is the Head of Visallo Engineering at Kensho Technologies and the support point of contact for many of our customers. Prior to her current position, Susan was a Software Engineer on the Visallo team.