How Sigmoid is solving complex business problems with data engineering and AI

Launched by a team of IIT-Kharagpur alumni, Sigmoid is leveraging data to harness actionable insights for Fortune 1000 companies
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As the world reels under the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, data science is oiling the wheels of business growth for several enterprises across sectors. Even before the pandemic struck, data science and engineering were associated with driving business value by helping companies optimise costs, innovate faster, boost decision-making with actionable insights and staying agile.

The pandemic went on to serve as the final push that led several companies to undergo a digital transformation. The massive shift expanded the availability of data, which can be used for driving powerful insights for businesses, and is drawing data science companies to leverage data to gain a competitive edge.

However, the push for leveraging data science for business resilience won’t go far if there isn’t a skilled workforce led by data engineers and data scientists backing it with a passion for delivering customised big data solutions. With years of experience on its side, Sigmoid is building and managing some of the largest data platforms in the world and helping Fortune 1000 companies align their data strategy with business goals.

From making it to the top 3 startups in TechSparks of 2014 to being named as one of the fastest growing companies in the Americas in 2021 by the Financial Times, Sigmoid has come a long way in justifying its potential. With core specialisation in data engineering and AI solutions, Sigmoid has developed expertise to handle end-to-end artificial intelligence projects, building scalable data pipelines, and deploying machine learning models into production.

The company has built analytics solutions for use cases across industries like consumer packaged goods, pharma, insurance, AdTech, and manufacturing . Sigmoid has been helping businesses across the world scale by leveraging data and building modern data architectures using cloud and open source technologies.

What helps it succeed in solving complex business challenges is a team of exceptional data scientists and data engineers with expertise across areas like data engineering, machine learning, and DataOps. Sigmoid is differentiated from its competitors by its maturity in data engineering processes.

Sigmoid credits much of its success to its team of talented professionals, which are recruited from some of the top-ranking educational institutions of the world. The team focuses on creating customised self-learning systems that can enable businesses to scale in real time to boost productivity. Its three founders — Lokesh Anand, Co-Founder and CEO; Mayur Rustagi, Co-Founder and, CTO and Rahul Kumar Singh, Co-Founder and CAO — were batchmates at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and are committed to lead the team as it innovates to scale.

“Our relentless focus is to ensure that we deliver the highest ROI to our customers in the shortest possible time. We achieve this with our experienced teams, who are experts in solving the biggest data challenges, pre-built accelerators and processes geared towards data solutions. We continuously invest in learning and development through our in-house university, Takshashila, which exposes our data engineers and data scientists to new technologies, domains and best practices and build strong data foundations for global organisations," says Lokesh.

In September 2020, the Sigmoid team partnered with independent advertising technology provider OpenX for a project to standardise internal and external reporting for the latter's partners and employees. The real-time data analytics solution ‘Sigview’ has helped around 40,000 globally connected OpenX users conduct real-time analysis of advertising data, while harnessing hundreds of data sets.

Data-driven insights for business excellence

Along a journey that features several milestones, Sigmoid made strides while working with some of the biggest data producers in the world as its data scientists and engineers leveraged cutting-edge data infrastructure and AI solutions for promoting business growth. Its clientele includes several Fortune 500 companies across sectors.

In 2019, Sigmoid helped a leading global investment bank leverage trade surveillance analytics for enhancing regulatory compliance and achieve 4x faster response times. As part of its efforts, the Sigmoid team streamlined and processed 100 million rows of data daily to reduce processing time, minimise false alerts and boost the performance of overall data pipelines.

Sigmoid is also building analytics accelerators like Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) that enable marketers to continuously measure and optimise marketing tactics at granular levels to improve return on marketing investment (ROMI). In another example, Sigmoid used the MTA to deliver an 11 percent improvement in marketing campaign effectiveness for a multinational consumer goods company. The company has built an adaptive MTA model for in-flight campaign optimisation by working with consumer-level impression data to deliver an efficient channel mix and marketing spend allocation.

These use cases are just a few examples of how Sigmoid has been enabling data producers to unlock business value with its team's expertise in fields like MLOps, cloud data warehouse and supply chain analytics, among others.

Sigmoid's data scientists and data engineers have been behind the first deployment of Apache Spark on Google Cloud Platform in 2020 and the first migration of Pig on Apache Spark in 2014. These deployments can play an important role in helping scalable data pipelines, which is a major business challenge for enterprises.

As the Sigmoid team observed, while there was no dearth of organisations eager to invest in data-driven solutions, what keeps them away are the hurdles in adopting such solutions. The regular methods they rope in for staying agile are not very feasible when it comes to building scalable data pipelines.

To that end, Sigmoid is building large-scale systems that can work in varied production settings with its team. Another area where these organisations tend to go wrong is that they rope in software engineers to do jobs that are outside their area of expertise.

“Data engineering and MLOps are fast emerging fields of software engineering. Our key observation was that data platforms cannot be developed like traditional software. You need new processes , technology, and skillsets to deliver data projects successfully.

We have been focussed on innovating in this space and developing new technology and processes around data. It's Day 1 in data and we are glad to be driving it,” says Mayur.

Nurturing talent for growth

Sigmoid has been building a community of data professionals for knowledge sharing where professionals exchange insights regularly. The members who sign up to be a part of the Sigmoid community get to learn about the best practices that are being deployed in projects involving frontier technologies. The initiative empowers professionals with latest knowledge while exploring new avenues of growth.

Sigmoid's dedication towards ensuring its employees' welfare has helped it build and retain an exceptional team of data experts. Amidst news of rampant layoffs and pay cuts, Sigmoid stepped up to ensure that its employees stayed safe and healthy and launched several initiatives to ensure the same. In fact Sigmoid's workforce has doubled in the past one year owing to its rapid growth. Apart from asking its team to work remotely, the company launched an employee assistance programme where its employees could avail counseling and emotional therapy in case they found it difficult to cope up with the mental stress due to the pandemic.

It is bearing the cost of vaccinating its employees against COVID-19 and has also extended its company insurance policy to cover hospitalisation and treatment related to the disease. In the wake of the uncertainty that surrounds the world, Sigmoid's empathy towards its employees has helped it boost productivity and accountability despite the challenging circumstances that marked the past year. Great Place to Work has recognised Sigmoid CEO, Lokesh Anand as one of 'India's Best Leaders in Times of Crisis 2021' in the mid-sized category.

Over the past four years, Sigmoid’s revenue has grown 10X as it attracted the world’s largest companies in pharmaceuticals, gaming, retail and CPG to work with it. In the process, Sigmoid also raised capital from Sequoia in 2014.

The company’s ability to combine expertise in data engineering and data science to solve complex business problems has led it to build some ground-breaking solutions that are leading it to explore path-breaking avenues.


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