4 Colorado companies using cutting-edge tech to build better businesses

by April Bohnert
May 17, 2018

Technology changes in the blink of an eye. To stay on the cutting edge, businesses must constantly re-evaluate the technology they’re using to build their products. To remain complacent is to become irrelevant, and well, we all know what happens after that.

We asked four Colorado tech companies about the newest technologies they’ve incorporated into their stacks and how they determine what will actually better their businesses — and what’s just hype.
 

Stream cutting-edge technology Colorado
Photo courtesy of Stream.

Stream delivers an API for building, scaling and customizing feeds — similar to those seen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Rather than dedicating in-house resources to develop a feed feature, businesses can integrate the Stream API into their applications and personalize as they see fit. CEO and founder Thierry Schellenbach shed some light on the ways his team incorporates the latest technology.

 

What is your company's approach to evaluating and incorporating new technologies?

Since we power the feeds of over 300 million users, we need to be quite careful when trying out new technologies. For this reason, we have a very extensive test suite that gives us confidence when shipping large changes to the API. That being said, we strive for high performance and, to do that, it's important we regularly try out new technologies.

 

What technologies have you recently adopted and what are you keeping your eye on?

Go, Raft and RocksDB are the most significant new additions to our stack. Smaller additions include OpenTracing and Jaeger. For our example apps and dashboard we use React, including the new version of Winds — our open source RSS reader.

 

How has embracing cutting-edge technologies impacted your business and the products you build?

In particular, Go has had a major impact on our business. While I love using Python, it isn't able to provide the performance we need. I’ve always dreaded the idea of using C++ or Java for our APIs as they tend to be much slower — specifically for API use cases. Go has been a great middle ground for us in that it is performant enough to make our APIs fast and still allows for a productive development environment.

 

Xactly cutting-edge technology Colorado
Photo courtesy of Xactly.

Xactly specializes in sales performance management software, providing a range of cloud solutions that help companies build more effective incentive compensation programs for their teams. Senior director of development Kandarp Desai shared what tech his team is most excited about right now.

 

What is your company's approach to evaluating and incorporating new technologies?

At Xactly, we are very open and receptive to new technologies. We use data, metrics and a customer use case-driven approach when introducing any new technology into the Xactly stack. We also evaluate the maturity stage, usability and future possibilities of a new tech stack. Finally, we create a “total cost of ownership” metric to make a final decision.

 

What technologies have you recently adopted and what are you keeping your eye on?

We have adopted a wide range of technology stacks and frameworks in the last few years. In our big data ecosystem, we are heavily using Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, Hive and Drill. In addition, we have adopted Scala, Maven, Play, Spring Boot, Docker, Kubernetes and many more cutting-edge frameworks on the software development side.

 

How has embracing cutting-edge technologies impacted your business and the products you build?

Embracing cutting-edge technologies has given us the opportunity to leapfrog our competitors and build unique products. It gives us the ability to deliver more features in a faster and more efficient manner, which drives customer satisfaction and retention.  

 

Havenly cutting-edge technology Colorado
Photo courtesy of Havenly.

Interior design and e-commerce startup Havenly utilizes a wide range of technology to make its platform come alive, aggregating millions of products and connecting consumers with designers who understand their unique tastes. Senior software engineer Josh Richard explained how they make it all happen seamlessly while continuing to improve the user experience.

 

What is your company's approach to evaluating and incorporating new technologies?

We want to delight our users, so that's the main focus of any new technology evaluation. Additionally, if there is a new technology that might enable our engineering team to move faster, deliver more features, improve site performance or decrease bugs, then we will take a closer look. Otherwise, the technology is considered a distraction in the current state and is put on the back burner until a time when it makes sense to explore it again.

 

What technologies have you recently adopted and what are you keeping your eye on?

We recently adopted GraphQL as our primary API protocol, which resulted in faster and leaner API interactions for our client applications while simultaneously improving code quality. We will continue to enhance our GraphQL API over time, but this cutting-edge technology has empowered us to build some really cool features faster than we were previously able to.

One technology that is early in the evaluation process is Rancher 2.0. As we look to improve the speed and scale by which we can release features, we are really excited about how Rancher makes it easy to manage infrastructure. We are becoming pretty confident that this will enable another productivity boost to Havenly engineering, which translates to faster delivery of improved experiences for our customers and interior designers.

 

How has embracing cutting-edge technologies impacted your business and the products you build?

Embracing cutting-edge technologies has allowed the business to move quickly toward improving the customer experience. Our shop page has a dizzying amount of cutting-edge technology. We've aggregated millions of products across hundreds of vendors in a way that we think is easy for users to explore and find what they're looking for in a timely manner.

In addition to meeting the bar that's been set in e-commerce with text search — which is no small feat given the size of our product catalog — we've also incorporated computer vision algorithms to find visually similar results.

 

DigitalGlobe cutting-edge technology Colorado
Photo courtesy of DigitalGlobe.

Collecting geospatial satellite imagery and turning it into actionable insights is no easy feat, and it requires a whole lot of sophisticated technology to make it work — both on the ground and in space. We talked to Shay Har-Noy, SVP of DigitalGlobe’s Platform group, to get some insight into his team’s process for evaluating and deploying new technology.

 

What is your company's approach to evaluating and incorporating new technologies?

We have regular hackathons to allow people to explore their passions and build on top of the technology they are creating on a day-to-day basis. A key feature is demos. If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Prototyping, demoing, then iterating is the way to get people excited and projects prioritized.

 

What technologies have you recently adopted and what are you keeping your eye on?

We are hot on artificial intelligence and data science and have been investing in it for the last several years.

 

How has embracing cutting-edge technologies impacted your business and the products you build?

Our biggest growth vector in the company has more to do with cloud computing, fast online dissemination and AI than the traditional geo stack. We have a founder that prioritizes the deployment of new technologies, which — after many iterations — results in some compelling products.

 

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