First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Francisco Marin: Fortunately, we are all doing fine. Thank you for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Cognitive Talent Solutions
Francisco Marin: I come from Cordoba, Spain, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Loyola Andalusia University. Then I moved to Slovakia, where I worked at a Fortune 500 company in the IT sector for 5 years, first as a Bid Manager, then as a Project Manager and finally as Business Analytics Leader. During that time, I got certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and worked with various technologies related to AI and Business Analytics. Most importantly, I got exposed to how large companies operate and the challenges they face when implementing large-scale transformation processes. I co-founded Cognitive Talent Solutions along with two colleagues and moved to the US, where we completed two acceleration programs and raised seed funding from Starta Ventures and several angel investors.
How does Cognitive Talent Solutions innovate?
Francisco Marin: Cognitive Talent Solutions is a global vendor of organizational network analysis (ONA), a People Analytics method that allows companies to visualize and analyze how employees interact with each other. We have been recognized among the global top 12 vendors shaping the ONA space, being one of the only two vendors that analyze both active and passive data sources. Our clients use our cloud-based platform in a variety of use cases, including leadership development, organizational design, change management, and onboarding, among others.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Francisco Marin: I would say the overall impact has been positive. Although some projects were initially delayed, companies have realized that organizational network analysis is a powerful tool to help them navigate the pandemic across multiple use cases, e.g., identifying informal leaders to accelerate the adoption of strategic changes or monitoring employee productivity during remote working.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Francisco Marin: We decided to invest significant time and resources in building strategic partnerships to help us scale up our operations and increase our presence in the ONA market. It was a risky decision, but it has paid off. The lesson learned for us is that there is an opportunity in every crisis and building strategic alliances is critical to success.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Cognitive Talent Solutions in the future?
Francisco Marin: From a physical perspective, I exercise every day and do intermittent fasting, which helps a lot. From an emotional perspective, I am lucky to have a strong support system in my family and friends. I am really passionate about what I do and would love to continue working at Cognitive Talent Solutions in the future, helping it become the leading provider in the ONA space.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Francisco Marin: Some of our competitors are TrustSphere, Innovisor, and Polinode. We plan to stay in the game by understanding our customers’ pressing needs and constantly enhancing our value proposition to achieve a competitive advantage.
Your final thoughts?
Francisco Marin: As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, effectively managing employee interactions has become a matter of critical importance for companies. In this context, ONA can no longer be considered as a nice-to-have capability, but rather should be viewed as a must-have. If you are a small or large company wondering how technology can help you navigate the COVID-19 pandemic in a more effective manner, this is a great time to learn more about ONA and its capabilities.