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Cosmos designs, develops, and integrates software that makes your team more productive and reduces customer friction.

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Learn about Workflow Optimization

Increase team productivity and reduce customer friction

Cosmos exists to improve the way people work.

We do that through Workflow Optimization, a service we've developed for businesses and nonprofits to make their teams more productive and to reduce friction with customers and clients.

Cosmos quickly and carefully assimilates into a business to study its teams, customers, clients, and partners. We break that research down into the systems that drive the business: the actors (people), the workflows (processes), and the priorities (measurable business goals). Then we build and integrate software to optimize those workflows. We measure the impact of the software each week and evolve it in response to measurements, feedback from actors, and the needs of the business.

Problems Solved with Workflow Optimization

Tell us about your goals and challenges

We love thinking through problems and solving them. Drop us a line about yours.

 

Problems Solved with Workflow Optimization

Since 2018, we've partnered with clients to tackle various problem spaces.

Certification & Auditing

The sustainability of human life on Earth depends on verification of the work, systems, financials, and climate impact of global infrastructure projects. That work is complex and challenging. For certification companies, it involves the coordination of a geographically distributed set of internal and external actors. Those actors range from corporates and third party auditing boards, to standards bodies, project developers, local governments, and their constituents. Cosmos partners with leading certification companies to digitize standards, surface their problems and form goals for solving them, and to automate and standardize their operations with software.

Continuously Personalized Content Generation

The human factor is a differentiator in every sales equation. But in real estate, where the sale involves a homeowner's largest financial asset—their home—that sale is won based upon a personal connection between the homeowner and the agent in whom they place their trust. In studying agent workflows, Cosmos determined that most homeowners hadn't heard from their agents since the close of their last home purchase/sale. The research led to the development of a novel system for continuously generating hyper-personalized outreach to homeowners from a real estate agent they had worked with. The content was the product of a software-driven content generation system, based on historical-and-ongoing collection of data about homeowners, their homes, and their surrounding areas. The result was a 20%+ homeowner reply rate.

Supply Chains for Apparel Rental

In the Fall of 2019, at over a decade into their business, Rent the Runway paused taking on new customers due to a significant software transformation they were executing in their fulfillment operation. At the same time, Cosmos partnered with a visionary team in New York to develop a sustainability-focused mens-and-streetwear competitor to Rent the Runway. The challenge: research and design the operational workflows that power the app—and business—in 3 months. We worked closely with the management team to map out operational actors, workflows, and software requirements. This covered everything: product procurement and onboarding, inventory management and order fulfillment and returns, and dry cleaning, inspection, and repair workflows. We managed development of the software over an aggressive timeline and launched on schedule, to critical acclaim.

3D Character Production & Animation

Despite the state of animation technology, the development and production of animated characters remains one of the most challenging creative endeavors of our time. The process is labor intensive and mistakes are costly. To do so productively means coordinating a team of actors across continents, from production managers and creative directors, to writers, animators, modelers, and riggers—all the while, maintaining that creative thread of context. Cosmos partnered with a pioneering new entertainment company to take on all of those challenges and more. We are weaving all of their animation tools, calendars, workflows, and media into a central hive of software-based collaboration.

Lead Generation, Outreach, and Conversion

Real estate purchase-and-sale cycles can span months to years. Brokerages have been digitizing their presence over the last decade, but modern brokerages are looking to deliver a seamless, integrated experience to consumers from their first google search and digital advertisement, to their click-through to the site and form submission. Cosmos partnered with a new brokerage to design a fully-integrated digital brokerage, optimized around a consistent consumer experience. The management team was analytical and wanted to perform business experiments, so our workflow and actor definitions included the pricing and placement of digital advertisements across Google and Facebook, and the tracking of revenue, costs, and conversations across each stage of the workflow—from click to closing.

Environmental Asset & Sustainability Tracking, Credit Registry Systems

We live in the age of Climate Action, a hotly debated topic with narratives ranging from Climate Change to Climate Crisis. At the center of this stands a movement to expand the large, liquid market for carbon credits, and more recently, credits for achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Cosmos partnered with one of the largest and most respected organizations in the voluntary markets, that is, markets that exist so that companies and individuals can offset their carbon emissions and make contributions to other sustainability initiatives. We helped them gain control over their future by building them their own credit registry, empowering them to migrate off of a financial system that they could not make improvements to. We continue to work together to optimize the workflows for all of their constituents: Project Developers, Retailers, Wholesalers, Brokers, Consumers, and Corporates.

Ready to solve some problems?

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Tell us about your Project Learn about our Approach

Workflows Simplify Complex Systems

Workflow Optimization marries systems thinking and design thinking with computer science and software engineering to solve a wide array of business problems with software.

The heart of what we do is simplifying workflows within businesses by clearly defining their inputs, their outputs, and the roles that perform them. We remove ambiguity, get agreement on goals, and develop software to make everyone's work easier and more organized.

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Approach to Workflow Optimization Projects

Project Overview

Our engagements range from research-and-design focused projects that deliver solution specifications to guide existing teams, to new products or companies for which we must develop and integrate software against aggressive launch schedules. Our highest value engagements involve partnerships with operations leaders. Cosmos manages a continuous cycle of research, design, and development of software to optimize whatever parts of the business are most critical to its success.

Phases & Deliverables

All projects receive the rigorous implementation of our method, as well as our commitment to transparency and precision. Each contain some subset of the following phases:


Discovery

We research and define the problem space and create a shared language for your team and Cosmos to communicate about it. Actors, roles, and workflows coalesce into the goals & supporting objectives, which we meet to establish consensus on before creating the roadmap priorities that drive development.

Standard Outputs
  • Actors — the specific people and organizations that make up the systems we research.
  • Roles — the duties that actors take on inside the system (e.g. an Airline Pilot is a role that a specific actor can play). Actors can perform many roles, and a role can have many actors.
  • Workflows — the discrete processes that actors perform to do work and to interact with other actors and the system.
  • Goals & Supporting Objectives — a set of goals and measurable objectives that will guide the design, development, and delivery of the system's product features.
  • Roadmap Priorities — prioritized scopes of work, which represent the rough order of capabilities we’ll develop to deliver the system in the context of the goals.

Optimization

Cosmos executes upon the Roadmap Priorities agreed upon in the previous phase. The goal is to incrementally design, develop, and deliver features while continuously measuring their impact on the Goals.

Standard Outputs
  • Timeline — we create accurate forecasts for a couple of weeks of work activities in each stage of our service. But, much like the fog of war, anything beyond that 2-week horizon becomes murky because our weekly learnings inform our next activities. The historic horizon is always available, with links to the resources we have created.
  • Interviews, Research, Designs, & Assorted Assets — all of our work assets are always available to partners. They are organized in a shared drive and are linked to from our weekly plans.
  • Weekly Plan — each week we produce a weekly work plan with a work horizon (snapshot of the timeline) that indicates our deliveries last week, any changes in the plan, our focus this week, and our predictions for the next week. We queue topics for our status call at the top of the plan.
  • Weekly Status Call — we review our weekly work plan each week and discuss topics, risks, and progress toward the project's current goals. We also record notes from the call and any decisions we made or action items assigned.
  • Software Products, Features, & Integrations — we continuously ship software to actors and aim to have a weekly delivery cadence (as feature scope and complexity allows). So, we try to break roadmap priorities into the most atomic functional chunks possible so that we can quickly get measurable feedback.

Maintenance

Software and systems are living things—we treat each system as mission critical and keep them healthy with flexible support agreements.

Standard Outputs
  • Triaged Issues and Bug List - we maintain a list of any reported issues and determine if they are bugs (software not functioning as designed).
  • Bug Fixes — we fix bugs.
  • Weekly Status Call — we are available for the weekly status call to discuss any issues that have been reported, triaged, and determined to be (or not to be) bugs, as well as the status of any efforts to resolve bugs, and approval of any time beyond support hours.
  • Infrastructure Monitoring — we monitor the infrastructure, primarily to assure that the infrastructure is appropriate for the application's needs over time.
  • Software & Infrastructure Upgrades — software is a living thing, and there are frequent (almost monthly) software patches and upgrades to the many tools, dependencies, and infrastructure components that power and host the application. Delivering these upgrades sometimes means managing and communicating scheduled outages.

What phase is your project in?

Whether it's in flight or in vitro, we can help.

Tell us about your Project Learn about our Methodology
 

RD4M — The Cosmos Method

Cosmos approaches problem solving with a workflow that we've been designing and improving for years. We call it RD4M, short for Research, Define, Design, Develop, Deliver, Measure. It's not some mumbojumbo acronym we put on our marketing site, rather it's integral to the way we think and work.