SHIFT is a management consultancy based in Baltimore, MD, specializing in performance, strategy, employee engagement, and innovation. They acquired a tech platform in 2020 called Latch that creates a closed-loop listening system between leaders and employees through weekly pulse surveys, video messages, and data insights drawn from reflect and act statements. Through Latch, companies can create clarity, drive alignment, and ignite action with their teams.
After acquiring the platform and its initial use with clients, SHIFT recognized the need to rebuild the platform both from the technical side and with a different client experience in mind. Its users and admins were struggling with several issues that made the platform unstable, hard to work with, difficult to modify, and completely unscalable. Our goal was to change that. Together, we wanted to make Latch a premier engagement and communication tool with a personal, authentic feel.
To improve its usability and general look & feel, we designed a completely new UI for the application.
Using React, Typescript, NestJS, AWS, and Terraform, we developed the new Latch platform from scratch.
To streamline internal processes, we implemented 3rd party tools for intelligent sentiment analysis, product analytics, and message automation.
The biggest problem with the acquired platform was that it was technically unstable. Disruptions occurred frequently, making the platform onerous to use. Moreover, the high-level flow of the admin panel required users to go through many steps to perform their tasks. It was causing a lot of frustration for the admins. And it was our highest priority to change it.
The additional challenge was to redesign the platform’s architecture in a way that would allow its future growth. An admin panel needed to be redesigned to give Latch the ability to scale their service independently from the number of employees and ensure it was stable enough to handle large volumes of users at one time.
Originally, many tasks within the platform needed to be performed manually. It had a severe impact on its scalability but also limited the possibilities of developing the platform. Without automating these tasks, it would not be possible to provide users with extra features and grow the product.
Working closely with UX Design Collective, a design agency from New York specializing in creating exceptional user experiences, our design team worked on the general look and feel of the platform. We wanted it to be simple, easy to use – both for the admins and the end-users – and super engaging. The engagement was particularly important as it would have a direct impact on the number and the quality of insights gathered through the platform – and insights are the core of it.
Apart from changing the visual side of the platform, we helped SHIFT modify the whole business logic behind it and restructured the high-level flow of the admin panel. Thanks to that, we were able to reduce the number of steps needed for each user to perform their tasks and made it easier for non-technical admins to manage the campaigns and analyze the data.
Serverless architecture made it easy to manage and maintain the platform without engaging extra server engineers. It promised a short response time and a higher platform capacity, as it was able to handle many active users at the same time. In addition, it could scale up and down automatically based on the current traffic, lowering maintenance costs.
To automate the tasks that were previously performed manually (or half-manually), we implemented 3rd party tools in the Latch platform:
Expert.ai uses NLP to transform text data into knowledge and insights. It helps users analyze complex documents, understand market risks & opportunities, and extract data needed to automate language-intensive processes. Previously, to utilize this service, admins had to export messages and upload them into the Expert.ai portal. Now, thanks to automation, the results are delivered every day throughout the campaign and allow admins to adjust messages based on the insights they get.
Amplitude is a digital analytics platform that helps software product developers monitor the entire customer journey and better understand the behavior of their users. It helps the Latch team measure actions taken by its users, detect problems early, and use these insights to improve the platform.
Klaviyo is a marketing automation platform that helps businesses understand their audiences better, deliver personalized experiences, and make their businesses smarter. In Latch, it replaced SendGrid, making the process of creating pipelines for email messaging easier, more adjustable, and more efficient – especially for non-technical users. Basically, it helps admins set the flow, send messages to users, track the campaign results (such as the open rate or click-through rate), and take proper actions based on these results.
When thinking about the platform’s usability and scalability, we could not omit implementing filters. The admins can filter the results of the campaigns based on different criteria, such as location, assigned manager, custom user groups, etc. Thanks to that, they are able to get deeper insights, easily analyze the campaigns’ results, and improve the communication flow within the organization – all regardless of the size of the organization or the number of campaigns run on the platform.
To foster user engagement and encourage users to use the platform on a regular basis, we introduced several social features, such as the Community Activity feed and reactions. Users can now add comments to the messages & videos sent by admins and react to the comments of other users, interacting with each other. Every time someone reacts to their message, they get a notification – just like on social media channels.
“We are seeing up to 70% participation across organizations, ensuring that their employees have heard important business updates, including those surrounding strategic direction, celebrating success, and identifying gaps. Additionally, clients are identifying actions their employees are committing to and have a means of following up on them through the interactive Community Activity feed. This has been made even easier by the recent release of tagging on the platform and the ability to reply to a reply.”
“Our clients are also using Latch for onboarding, eliminating the need for lengthy onboarding processes run by an individual on the team. Instead, the new employee goes through onboarding on Latch, significantly reducing the resource cost of adding new individuals to the team and the time it takes to get them up to speed on culture and process.”
“We’ve been able to effectively add over 1,000 users to the platform with no impact on user experience. This would not have been possible on the old platform.”