Lennart Backus has been a Web Developer at Squadra Machine Learning Company for about a year now. To get to know more about him and his function he was interviewed. He studied web development and continued his study in bioinformatics: that is when he first came into contact with machine learning, he tells. After an adventure in the academic world, he returned to web development. Then, after working for several years at a software company in the healthcare sector, he was approached by MLC. This was an ideal opportunity to combine his current knowledge of web development with his interest in machine learning.
“We are moving from a project-based company to a scrum-based company,” he says.
“What I found interesting is that it was a company that did a lot of projects for specific customers. Before I started working here, there was a transition to turn certain project-specific services into a generic application, the PowerSuite.” “That’s really a SaaS product,” he continues. To make this product work, however, it requires input from projects. These are in fact wishes of clients that Squadra wants to put into practice: “and if we can then set that up in a generic way, we can offer that same product again to other clients”. But of course this does not mean that a product is set up for every project: this only happens when multiple clients ask for the same service. Since Lennart joined the team, Squadra also works with Scrum, a working structure to make the workflow as smooth as possible. “This is an area where Squadra has grown a lot lately”.
For a customer they have developed a module, which can generate category texts in an automated way. This module falls within Powertext.ai, an application with which product descriptions can be generated. Lennart explains, “a customer wanted to generate category texts based on algorithms. Our algorithms were already capable of generating product texts, and after adapting these algorithms we were able to offer an updated version of the already existing software to our customer.” While this new module can be found within the general Powertext application, it is considered a separate product.
“The company is in the process of transitioning from project-specific services to generic applications.”
This is a familiar phenomenon at Squadra MLC. Where they used to work in a project-oriented way, that is increasingly shifting to a product-oriented way of working. This also applies to Powerenrich.ai: a tool for enriching product data. “Before, we were helping different companies enrich their data. Now we are setting that up in a generic way”. As for his work on the PowerSuite products, he explains that it is mainly a matter of continuous improvement. After all, the product is never completely finished; updates are permanently needed. “Once the software is running you can focus on constantly improving it,” Lennart says. This optimization is essential for the scalability of the application: more customers or larger data sets, which require more attention.
For both the projects and the applications there needs to be continuous contact with the customers. How that contact occurs varies by the product or service being delivered. One product is easy to understand, while another requires a lot of explanation. However, Lennart is not only busy with customers, he also manages the IT infrastructure. “I make sure that an application lands on the Internet in the right way. For this, virtual servers have to be created and they all have to be connected.” So Lennart takes care of the technical background of the processes behind the projects and products.
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