Hrvoje Smolic, CEO, Graphite Note
Gavin Allen: Give us a quick explanation of your company, Graphite Note. What does it do?
Hrvoje Smolic: The digital revolution means there is a lot of data out there. But to pull insights from it, we need data scientists doing their magic with machine learning and AI – a time-consuming, expensive process.
We are building SaaS [software as a service] products that help normal, "non-techie" business people run advanced data models just by clicking a few buttons. It's no-code, predictive analytics software.
Gavin Allen: So it frees people from having to learn technical skills?
Hrvoje Smolic: Exactly. During different data science projects over the past 10 years, I realized I can generalize things. So I SaaS-ified my knowledge, and I generalized stuff so non-techies can take a shortcut. They don't need to write a single line of code. They are just pressing a few buttons. Press the magic button, run the model, and they get different predictive powers and insights based on their data.
Gavin Allen: Once they hit the magic button, what does that do for SMEs?
Hrvoje Smolic: Amazing things. For example, many SMEs are digitalized. They’re doing e-commerce and suddenly, they have tons of data. But if you're not a technical expert, you don't know what to do with it. With our software, you’ll know exactly what to offer, to which customer, at what time, in order to increase the odds that they’ll buy something. If you provide a service, you can predict who might cancel, so you can reach out to them before they do.
So, predicting future outcomes based on historical data.
Gavin Allen: You're making it easier for SMEs to digitalize. But how do we get more businesses to go that route?
Hrvoje Smolic: When someone is skeptical or scared of change – or costs – you present them with a Before and After version of their world. You tell them a true story about the benefits they will enjoy.
If they're struggling with Problem X, you say, “Okay, but I can solve your problem with these elements, and the cost is not as extreme as you are expecting. And afterwards, you will be able to do many more things.”
Gavin Allen: Does that potentially kick-start innovation? If you're removing burdens from a company, you're giving it more time to innovate – or to develop the skills needed to do so?
Hrvoje Smolic: Good question. Yes, people are very curious, and usually, like we said, scared. But if you remove the fear, the curiosity will remain.
For example, you don’t need to know number theory to do basic arithmetic. With our software, you don't need to know everything that's under the hood, but you’ll be able to have a conversation about predictive analytics. You’ll be able to say, “I can predict such-and-such a future outcome, based on historical data.” I mean, that kind of conversation is not hard to have. So people will remain very curious when you remove the scary part, and will become more knowledgeable.
Gavin Allen: What role can companies like Huawei play in enabling digitalization?
Hrvoje Smolic: To encourage SMEs that aren’t ready to make the digitalization leap, big companies can first provide digital access, and then training and education.
Companies like Huawei provide access to the digital world: the infrastructure, know-how, technology, software, and cloud. But that's not always enough. They also can (and should) provide education and training, to remove that "I'm scared of my new transformation" feeling. You can show them how easy it can be. That's essential.
Gavin Allen: Are you positive about the growth of digitalization amongst SMEs, such a critical sector to any economy?
Hrvoje Smolic: Very positive. Over the past five years, I've often had to explain to people what Graphite Note is trying to do. Today, they are asking me, "Hey, Hrvoje, can you predict my sales?” So they know about what's out there. They're reading about it. It's like a rising tide for all of them, and all of us.
Gavin Allen: So five years from now, what will Graphite Note look like? What's your dream scenario?
Hrvoje Smolic: We are on the forefront to provide no-code machine learning or predictive analytic solutions. I think five years from now, basically every company, just like they have Excel or Power Point today, will have some form of no-code predictive analytics.
It's really not enough to know what has happened in the past, like, “What are my best-selling products?You've got to know, What are we going to sell based on historical data?” You’re predicting future outcomes.
When everyone starts doing that, there will be a huge rise in demand for the software Graphite Note is building.
So I see a bright future for us.
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