Beyond If Beyond If
Q&A May 20, 2022

Easily and Securely Sharing Data Insights with Clients: Introducing Alluvial

We sat down with Alluvial Product Manager Alex Mahrou to talk about Alluvial, its benefits and applications, and the future of digital solutions.

Alex Mahrou headshot in Q&A Banner

Analyzing data brings insights, and insights help us make better decisions. But how do we share these insights with our clients in a seamless, timely and secure way? Enter Alluvial and its founder, Alex Mahrou, who leads a team that created this innovative tool to easily and securely share data insights with clients.

We sat down with Alex to talk about Alluvial, its benefits and applications, and the future of digital solutions.

Congratulations on the launch of Alluvial! Can you tell us about the product?

Alluvial was born out of the need to share insights with our customers. Our data analysts, as well as engineers and scientists, were starting to use more data & analytics tools like Power BI or RShiny but didn’t have a way to share insights from those tools with customers. With Alluvial, our publishers don’t have to worry about hosting a website, security, or identity management – they can just publish insights to Alluvial and share the dashboard with their clients. It’s an easy, secure way to share data insights with customers.

What are some of the applications for the product? Can you give us an example?

Let’s say you’re working on an environmental remediation project and you want to track trends in contaminants of concern. Jacobs teams go to the field quarterly or semiannually and monitor for certain criteria in the soil, water or groundwater. Those results go into a massive time series database. Then we track the sites, much like a doctor would monitor a patient through bloodwork. Alluvial has an interface for dashboards that allows our clients to see that progress over time and gain insights. Ultimately, with reports from Alluvial, clients can make data-informed decisions to drive efficiencies on the ground.

Another application is simple project management and project controls. Alluvial integrates with some systems we use for project accounting with scope, schedule and budget. Blending this with operational data generated on a project provides a comprehensive canvas to measure project performance in ways that matter most to our clients.

“Digital solutions increase convenience. There will be a time when automated decisions become increasingly more commoditized, but we still want to fall back on human reasoning to make executive decisions. Digital solutions like Alluvial can inform us and help us test hypotheses to make us more productive – but I don’t believe we’ll be replaced by robots anytime soon. ”

Alex Mahrou headshot

Alex Mahrou

Alluvial Project Manager

What makes Alluvial unique from other products?

Alluvial solves a need right away for its users – publisher and end user. The publisher wants to get insights to users right away, and the end users need to access the analytics and insights. Speed – or as we say in data science, “time to insight” – is the key. Alluvial greatly accelerates time to insight from publisher to the one who wants to see the insights.

Our team is also a unique differentiator. I wouldn’t have been able to build this without our head of development, David Yardy, and our extended team across global geographies and corporate functions. Building this has been a team sport that I’m proud to be a part of.

What was the most challenging about developing the product?

Integration with security and making sure user management was as easy and seamless as possible.

What was most rewarding about developing the product?

Every week we have people coming to us proactively – just through word of mouth. The fact that we developed this “home grown” solution organically is rewarding. When people are saying “this product is too good to be true,” then it feels pretty rewarding!

Jacobs Alluvial Demo
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Alex gives a quick look at Alluvial in action

Can you give us a picture of what the future of digital solutions looks like?

Digital solutions increase convenience. There will be a time when automated decisions become increasingly more commoditized, but we still want to fall back on human reasoning to make executive decisions. Digital solutions like Alluvial can inform us and help us test hypotheses to make us more productive – but I don’t believe we’ll be replaced by robots anytime soon.

What’s your favorite part about being part of the Jacobs team?

I’m really excited about our new strategy. I work in consulting in environmental solutions and in environmental data science – and both are aligned with all three of our new strategy accelerators: Climate Response, Consulting & Advisory, and Data Solutions. Where we’re heading is directly in line with what the world needs. It’s a great time to work at Jacobs – it’s fun.

About the interviewee

Alex Mahrou headshot

Alex Mahrou is currently standing up and managing Jacob's first Open Source Management Office, leading a Community of Practice for Data Science in the Energy & Environment market, growing organic data and analytics capabilities and managing Alluvial for data and analytics delivery. Alex is a self-professed data and analytics geek with a passion for open source technology and growing data and analytics talent organically at Jacobs. He lives in the Denver area and loves to hike, ski, practice yoga, cook, play Minecraft, build Lego and roam around the U.S. in his RV with his family in the summertime.

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