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Meet Sandra Serkes of Valora Technologies in Bedford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Serkes.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Valora started when its founders realized there was not a good way to “link” data form one area to another, even when the associations were readily apparent. We built a software engine to identify patterns in files and associate related information. There was an immediate need in the legal community where large document populations are the norm and there is an unending need to discover “who knew what when.”

Today we would call such terms “metadata” and the technology that identifies them “AutoClassification.” Originally providing our technological capabilities as an outsourced service, Valora today supports SaaS and cloud-based options in addition to outsourced services, as well as on premises product installations of PowerHouse and BlackCat, our flagship products.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road, but what is? Some obstacles we faced were erratic, project-based revenues, and the rise of competition. Any purely services-oriented company will face days of feast and days of famine, as the project work ebbs and flows.

That was one of the driving decisions towards productizing our capabilities and offering more round-the-clock and round-the-world offerings – to even out the demand and utilization. Today about 70% of our work is recurring in nature (rather than one-off), and that has made an incredible difference in our stability and ability to invest in our future.

The second obstacle that we were bound to face eventually was competition. Even the best technologies will eventually come under attack. First, we were hit with low-cost offshore labor as a potential competitive approach and later, other competing technologies. The solution to both was (and continues to be) to keep investing in the technology to make is stronger and more and more capable. Also, today our longstanding reputation has become a strong factor as we have “seen it all” when some newer entrants really haven’t.

Valora Technologies – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Valora is a technology-based provider of automated document analytics, classification and management services for the legal, records management & information governance markets. We offer data mining, analytics, coding and review, document intake and visualization, and hosted solutions for corporations & government agencies, as well as their advisory, inside & outside counsel organizations around the world.

Valora has developed a strong expertise in the processing, management & analysis of large and small matters with complex requirements, such as short deadlines, sensitive material & mixed languages. Our specialty is providing efficiency, organization and cost control.

It would be easy to say we are most proud of our technology, but that is really only part of the total Valora picture.

Indeed, we are most proud of our 16 year longevity in the industry and with our clients, some of whom has been with us almost the entire time!

What sets us apart from others is our commitment to using technology to create clever, efficient and highly functional solutions for our clients. We are known for our ability to problem-solve and our professionalism, and that is the highest compliment a company can get!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I have a lot of personal measures for success, and they change a bit over time. Originally, I thought success equaled revenue growth, and then profit, and then stability. Today I would add a personal element to all of that, such as happiness and pride in your work and your accomplishments. Over the years I have become an industry expert and mentor to others and that has been extremely rewarding.

Going forward, my success markers will be an ability to fully realize the potential of our product base and take the company global.

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