2017 was a year of growth and success for us, but also challenge. When we were hit by Hurricane Maria in October, we had to face one of the most difficult situations: devastation all over the island, as well as loss of power and spotty Internet and cell coverage for months on end, along with the personal hardships of water and food shortages. Our team rose, and continues to rise to the occasion – to do whatever we need to do so we can continue to deliver the high caliber of work our clients are accustomed to. That meant sharing resources with other businesses and working on site at customer locations in the mainland U.S.- which was easy for us as U.S. citizens. It’s a real credit to the excellence and dedication of our people and their commitment to our customers.
Our AI practice underscores our commitment
On a more positive note, we doubled down on our commitment to artificial intelligence (AI) and built on the momentum of our smart app work by establishing a new AI Practice. Our practice includes the development of AI solutions, such as chatbots, predictive analytics, machine learning and deep learning apps. Headed by Leslie de Jesus, our AI Practice has grown to encompass an experienced team of data scientists working collaboratively with our more than 50 software engineers to develop innovative solutions for industries as diverse as government and manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and more. In addition, we expanded our private crowd and we’re proud that we have one of the largest private crowds available today – anywhere – to identify, label and categorize training data for deep learning algorithms. In addition, we have also invested in the infrastructure to support these efforts, including a new NVIDIA GPU-based server to efficiently process complex algorithms.
Thanks to our AI expertise, we brought several new clients on board last year, and implemented several AI projects with current customers (check out our Claro Case Study). We also expanded our work with existing clients, such as federal agencies, helping them develop deep learning algorithms that teach software how to think and predict patterns and behaviors using data and images.
All of these efforts have resulted in 30 percent year-over-year growth in 2017 from the previous year.
Expanding our thought leadership
Another highlight of the year was when I was invited by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) to testify in Washington D.C. on HUBZone reform. The HUBZone program, run by the Small Business Administration, provides federal contracting opportunities to small businesses in economically distressed areas. I shared my experiences and thoughts about the program’s effectiveness, and the need for reform to make it more beneficial to those who participate.
Additionally, our company CEO Christian González participated in the San Juan Tech Meet-Up this past August and presented a discussion on best practices and experiences exporting technology services from Puerto Rico. We’ve been working hard to spread the word about the benefits of nearshoring and innovations in AI in many articles as well as in my ongoing Infoworld “Under Development” blog.
Continued commitment to the community
Despite these successes, we haven’t forgotten how much people and businesses have lost in Puerto Rico. We’ve been actively involved in helping local charities rebuild Puerto Rico and assist those still affected by the hurricane’s devastation. One of those is ConPRmetidos and a relief fund that has raised more than $2,121,238. We’re so grateful and inspired by everyone who has contributed.
In our 2018 predictions press release we noted upcoming trends, and project this to be the year that AI goes mainstream. One thing for sure, is that AI will certainly be a key focus of our operations this year, as we apply the latest smart technologies to help companies work smarter, better serve their clients, and achieve greater competitive advantage. But we haven’t forgotten about our loyal customers who may not be ready for an AI transformation, so we continue to work closely to understand each individual business’s needs and meet them wherever they may be on their digital transformation journeys.
A few months into the new year and we’re already optimistic and hopeful about what it will bring, so stay tuned for more insights and industry observations in this blog, as we navigate this new software-driven year.