There is always a reason to look twice when a large business acquires a small, rising company. When that small company maintains its profile and continues to grow in the work it is supporting, there is reason to look again. We recently spoke with Aaron Cordova, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at Koverse, Inc., An SAIC Company, to learn how a 2012 start-up rooted in problem solving became the go-to technology company for government data, and how “playing well with others” has not only helped them attract top talent, but also win business.
Rooted in Problem Solving
Koverse began from an initiative focused on solving the needs of a single client dealing with varying levels of data sensitivities and access requirements. What the team quickly realized was that the challenge was not unique, and no one else appeared to be working to solve the issue.
“That initial goal was aimed at providing really strong data security guarantees, combined with the ability to logically control who could access each distinct dataset,” said Cordova. “The solution was a game-changer for that client, who was finally able to put all their data into one place and remove the physical barriers to allowing one dataset to interact with another, still within its controlled environment.”
After that first success, the team quickly realized it was recreating the same solution over and over for multiple clients, all facing challenges related to an inability to really utilize data. In time, the team took on the next-level challenge: creating a product that allows organizations to secure their data and grow it to any size, while still maintaining ownership and control of that information to use as they wish.
“Providing the security guarantees that data owners needed to confidently share their data opened up the ability for organizations to not only use that data internally, but also be confident that when they want to analyze that data, they are doing so in full compliance with all their security policies,” explained Cordova.
Small and Agile – and Backed by SAIC
Still a small, agile company, Koverse readily takes on the challenge of punching above its weight, solving the unique and challenging problems faced by government agencies, and continually refining and adapting to meet those needs.
Its 2021 acquisition by SAIC has opened the door to larger agencies and broader challenges. “We have kept our brand and maintained our agility, while providing greater comfort for agencies to build data strategies around our solution with SAIC behind us.”
Aligned in Mission, Attracting Talent
From its roots focused on solving tough data challenges in the best way possible, the Koverse team finds alignment in its government partners – people who are not in their roles for glitz and glamour, but because of a passion to keep people safe, healthy, or otherwise dedicated to serving the nation.
Drawing on a network of professionals that the team has worked with over time – people who care about seeing their customers succeed – Koverse continues to raise the bar, taking on challenges outside of its comfort zone and exploring new and better ways to address a growing list of challenges.
Cordova added: “We compete for talent with some large firms who have tons of money to throw at engineers. We have had people leave and come back, because they find what they really want is the chance to solve some really hard and really inspiring problems. The result is a team that works well together and is not driven by ego or personal gain, but instead by a shared mission.”
The Biggest Challenges
The greatest challenge for many organizations is one that they must solve before they can solve anything else: how to manage their data. A parallel challenge is that people have been constrained for so long that they cannot imagine a world where they can actually do what is necessary and move forward having easy access to all the information they need.
“We find ways to show them, ‘This is what your world is like now, but this is what it could be.’ They need to understand how it will impact their daily lives, to have this new path to optimal data security and access control,” Cordova observed.
With a seamless solution to get data into one place, provide the different levels of security that may be needed, address new Zero Trust requirements, build in scalability, and then ensure any tools they may want to use will be able to work, Koverse is opening a window to new possibilities.
Playing Well with Others
One of the key differentiators of Koverse is its openness in that customers are always in full control of their data and free to engage with others. “We have made sure our technology is easy to use, works well with other tools, and can be adapted to do more, but also that it is easy to walk away from. If a client decides down the road they want to move to another platform, the data is there, it is accessible, and it is theirs to take away and to use elsewhere,” said Cordova.
Built on a fee-for-service cost model without any term commitment, licensing agreement, or penalty for departure, Koverse is focused on ensuring its engagements serve customer missions and that the relationships are mutually beneficial. “We want to help solve customer data problems and then just get out of the way, making it as easy and agile as possible,” Cordova explained. “It’s an approach that has been healthy for us, and for our customers.”
About Koverse, Inc., An SAIC Company
Koverse, Inc., An SAIC Company, empowers customers to use data to gain understanding and drive mission-impacting decisions and actions. Our technology is trusted by government agencies and highly regulated commercial industries such as healthcare, financial services, and more. Founded by former NSA data architects, Koverse offers a security-first platform with unprecedented scale, performance, and flexibility. Koverse provides Zero Trust for data by enforcing attribute-based access controls (ABAC), allowing customers to safely work with their complex and sensitive data to power the most demanding analytics, data science, and AI use cases. Koverse is headquartered in Seattle with hubs in Denver, San Diego, and the Washington, D.C. metro area. For more information, please visit koverse.com
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