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3Pillar Global: Solving Development Challenges with a Product Mindset

Scott Varho,SVP- Product Development

Scott Varho

SVP- Product Development

3Pillar Global is a digital product development company borne from the world of hands-on software engineering. With a Product Mindset, 3Pillar has been assisting clients throughout their product development journey. In a rendezvous with the Senior Vice President of Product Development, Scott Varho, we try to understand what really upholds 3Pillars Global

In conversation with Scott Varho, SVP- Product Development, 3Pillar Global

Software development is constantly changing with new technology and methods of implementation. As a software technology domain player, how has 3Pillar Global grown and adapted to the changes?
The capabilities of technology are rapidly changing, both at a macro, headline-grabbing level and a micro level, smaller developments within existing frameworks. One of the ways we stay relevant in this environment is to focus on the big picture – principles, patterns and trend recognition – over checklists and hard-and-fast prescriptions about how to use specific technology tools. By way of example, we’ve developed an Engineering Health Index that allows every team to regularly assess their projects and recommend improvements to clients in line with leading edge techniques, libraries, tools, process innovations and the client’s environment. This means keeping the focus not on whether a technology is new or old, but which technology is most relevant for each client’s needs. AI, for example, is an exciting development, but creating an AI Lab without really solving a problem is not a good use of resources.

How does 3Pillar Global keep up with the latest technology trends and provide the same to customers?
We believe that the best technology is technology that serves value creation. Utilizing blockchain for blockchain’s sake isn’t a smart tactic unless it can uniquely contribute to a valuable product. You can build many things on blockchain, but should you? Our high-calibre technologists are committed to producing products for our clients that provide value, not just products that use the coolest, cutting-edge technology. A company might be exceptionally knowledgeable about machine learning, for example, but if they can’t use that knowledge to solve a particular problem, then they probably aren’t the right partner for a client.

Our high-calibre technologists are committed to producing products for our clients that provide value, not just products that use the coolest, cutting-edge technology

From retail to healthcare, the future of software development — and the future of technology lies within algorithms, big data and sophisticated AI tools to draw new and fascinating conclusions. In what ways do 3Pillar Global products provide success to digital business?
First, we make sure we’re characterizing the problem the right way. Does a company really have a big data problem, or do they just think they do? This means untangling buzzwords from the actual job that has to be done. It’s also important to separate the writing of algorithms – which involves data scientists – from the execution of algorithms to build a product – which is the work of engineers. For example, if you consider radio stations today, they are using products built around overly simplistic structures to determine how often an artist’s songs are played and how much revenue that artist receives. The challenge is making multiple

divergent and low quality data sets into a high quality data set to make very real financial decisions. In our work with PBS, we used many different technology tools to grow the station’s digital presence, including building platforms around hosting and video streaming as well as apps that allow users to play content on devices ranging from laptops to Roku. The shape of these data challenges and the tools you apply to them are very different.

Years of delivering transformation would have admitted a number of triumphant success stories. Share one with us.
We’ve helped CARFAX leverage their data to fuel their digital offerings. Initially, CARFAX’s business model was based on faxing consumers a vehicle history report. They sought to break into the business-to-business (B2B) market targeting dealerships, but didn’t know where to start and turned to us for help. We dispatched people to observe dealerships and one day they followed the buyer to auction. We identified a huge opportunity in the cars that the buyer was bidding on mostly on instincts and with no information about the actual vehicles on auction. We developed a mobile app that allowed the buyer to scan the VIN and pull up a full report on that vehicle and a recommended bid price. Revenue from the B2B business now exceeds the B2C products. New value created from the same data asset.

What further innovation do you plan to include in your software technology offerings?
We produce products that matter to our clients and their customers. The innovation we are focusing on is that which connects the work of product teams back to the greater product mission in the most efficient way possible, by minimizing the gap between technology and business needs. In the digital economy, for example, cycle time and throughput equate to massive competitive advantage. A company has to be able to respond faster than its competitors, and we help them do that by reducing cycle time and being able to go from decision to deployed code in the fastest way possible.

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