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    More Than Ever, Tech at the Root of Who We Are

    Frank Smadja, EVP of Engineering

    As the consumer insight industry’s technology leader, Toluna has always been solidly rooted in technology. From our very beginnings, we have been an early technology adopter, always employing the most up-to-date technologies to forge the best and most secure route to the consumer insights businesses need.

    But the last few years have seen hyper-acceleration of change in the marketplace. In order to remain competitive in a global economy, customers need deep consumer insight in real time—and they look to us to provide them. So—in this era when technology advances piggyback on one another—we need to couple a legacy of investment in technology with the newest and most advanced tools and streamlined processes.

    Here are some of the ways Toluna is staying one step ahead of change, continuing to evolve as an advanced technology leader.

    Thriving in the Cloud 

    One thing that has dramatically impacted consumer insights—and really every industry—is of course cloud-based technology. The cloud has changed every aspect of business operations by providing access to advanced technologies that businesses can use to build their infrastructures. That means it’s no longer necessary (or optimal) for companies to invest in developing their own hosting infrastructures. Services like Amazon’s AWS are now making top-of-the line technologies available to all within a few clicks; infrastructures can be deployed in multiple geographic regions and can scale up and down based on demand. At Toluna, we are in the middle of a cloud migration in which we are migrating all of our infrastructure to be 100 percent cloud-based.

    Open Source as an Opportunity for New Tech Adoption 

    At Toluna, we recognized the potential of open source technology early on, and continue to take full advantage of its effectiveness in boosting tech agility. For example, by adopting Facebook’s React as the framework for all our frontend developments, we’re able to streamline the process of optimizing our user interfaces (UI). Our team of experienced engineers is in contact with the open source community and is able to dramatically decrease the amount of code generated in development, by re-using existing components and adopting the best methodologies. We use REACT for Web as well as mobile UI development and this is helping us generate more intuitive UI for a much lower cost and at a much faster pace.

    All of this feeds into an increasingly agile and efficient technology organization on every level. 

    Optimal Team Structure to Boost Efficiency,  Security and Agility

    We are also adopting a new team structure to increase efficiency and security and support an agile response to demands in the marketplace. Rather than working through a multitude of product-related teams, we now have teams made up of specialists that are working together in dynamic teams that we call Squads. For example, we have a front-end and a backend team. This creates a highly efficient and transparent environment, eliminating the need to repeat the same development process in multiple product teams. For example, it ensures that critical security measures are adopted across our consumer insights platform. And this configuration ensures that programmers can quickly root out and resolve issues in the development process. 

    Our temporary teams or Squad system, enables us to develop code in a more agile way. These teams bring together staff with key skills, including product management, programming and security. The teams work together on a rapid, iterative basis, toward achieving a specific goal, making security a central concern in every part of the process. That guarantees that security is built into every Toluna product and service.

    We maintain a small number of Squads at any given time, with members occupying the same virtual space, boosting efficiency. When the specified goals have been achieved, members then return to their original teams, bringing with them the invaluable experience they gained as part of the Squad. 

    The End-Result: A Smooth-running Machine 

    In the end, agile technology and streamlined processes have combined to cement Toluna’s reputation as an early technology adopter—a true tech marcom company.  

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