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August Monthly Special 2023

SPAN Digital Innovation – Leveraging Technical Strategy & Software Engineering for Elite Businesses


Imagine it’s 2035. All of us have become increasingly dependent on ever larger and more complex software-reliant systems. How confident are we that these systems are going to function in the ways that we want? We’re entrusting them with our lives. Will they be predictable, maintainable, and safe? These kinds of questions are critical because we live in an age of software-enabled transformation. Software, and all the software engineering processes, practices, technologies and the scientific domains that support it, increasingly make everything in our world possible. Yet, as we ask more and more from these software systems and stack them with more and more capabilities, we may be creating an increasingly fragile infrastructure that will not be able to support the demands that come with future systems.

SPAN Digital Innovation is a technical strategy and software engineering firm. It conceptualizes, develops, and deploys successful SaaS solutions. It synthesizes insights from widespread market challenges into powerful software product offerings. For a decade, the team of polyglot software engineers, strategists, and program managers has been on the leading edge of software development solving tough technical problems for both scaling start-ups and some of the world’s largest companies.

At SPAN, it loves a challenge—where the company gets to be inventive and tenacious. Based in San Francisco, Guadalajara, and Cape Town, it is a fast-paced, action-oriented team that thrives on collaboration. The company weaves design, development, and strategy together in iterative, interdisciplinary ways enabling its clients to overcome the complexity of accelerating technological change.

Q. Why SPAN Digital Innovation?

They are architects, product designers, and engineers collaborating daily to build and operate powerful digital services on mobile, across the web, and in the enterprise. They are passionate about creating compelling capabilities wrapped in transformative experiences. From category-defining global brands to startups looking to scale, they work nimbly across organizational boundaries, industries, devices and international borders to deliver powerful new capabilities.

The company designs solutions that strike a balance between competing objectives, delivering the features, functions and capabilities needed to meet current needs and to evolve to face future challenges. They develop feature-rich, cross-platform applications and product frameworks, with emphasis on delivering the operational capabilities required by superior SaaS solutions. Depending on the opportunity at hand, SPAN may escort an idea from inception, through proof of concept, to prototype, into production and in-market evolution.

SPAN operates equally well at all stages of the product lifecycle. Integrated into a startup’s team, they can assist with anything, including product- and technical-strategy co-creation, even leadership engineering-team augmentation, and use of their robust microservices suite. Working closely with the clients, SPAN defines readily-executable technical strategies that align tightly with clients’ business objectives.

AI-Augmented Software Development: At almost every stage of the software development process, AI holds the promise of assisting humans. By relieving humans of tedious tasks, they will be better able to focus on tasks that require the creativity and innovation that only humans can provide. To reach this important goal, they need to re-envision the entire software development process with increased AI and automation tool support for developers. A key challenge will be taking advantage of the data generated throughout the lifecycle. SPAN on what AI-augmented software development will look like at each stage of the development process and during continuous evolution, where AI will be particularly useful in taking on routine tasks.

Assuring Continuously Evolving Software Systems: When they consider the software-reliant systems of today, they see that they are not static (or even infrequently updated) engineering artifacts. Instead, they are fluid—meaning that they are expected to undergo almost continuous updates and improvements and be shown to still work. The goal of this research area is therefore to develop a theory and practice of rapid and assured software evolution that enables efficient and bounded re-assurance of continuously evolving systems.

Engineering AI-enabled Software Systems: AI-enabled systems that include AI and non-AI components, have some inherently different characteristics than those without AI. However, AI-enabled systems are, above all, a type of software system. SPAN’s systems share many parallels with the development and sustainment of more conventional software-reliant systems.

Engineering Socio-Technical Systems: Societal-scale software systems, such as today’s commercial social media systems, are designed to keep users engaged and often to influence them. A key challenge in engineering societal-scale systems is predicting outcomes of the socially inspired quality attributes that arise when humans are integral components of the system. SPAN’s goal is to leverage insights from the social sciences to build and evolve societal-scale software systems that consider these attributes.

Chris Lyon | CEO

Chris made his name as co-founder of Gravity Mobile, where he pioneered audio-recognition application development with their partners Shazam. Before acquisition by Gracenote/Sony America, Gravity created mobile applications for Verizon, AT&T, Pandora, Major League Baseball, Nielsen and more.

“We help our clients to determine the capabilities they need to compete, we develop, and often operate, the systems they need to grow, and we build the digital products they need to win.”