Interning at Alloy: Thoughts from an industry insider

Aug 8, 2018  |  4 min read

Volunteering with AlloyHi! My name is Andrew and I’ve been interning for the last month at Alloy on the Client Solutions team. I’ll be heading off to Columbia for my MBA in a few short weeks and wanted to share my thoughts on the product and company, now that I’ve gotten to know both better.

But first, a bit of background about myself. I’ve spent my entire career so far in retail and consumer goods, in brick-and-mortar (Dick’s Sporting Goods), e-commerce (Amazon), and, most recently, on the supplier side (Memebox), in capacities ranging from marketing analytics to supply chain to sales associate. Alloy was a great fit for a pre-MBA internship because it allowed me to leverage my retail, supply chain, and analytics background while also getting to learn about a SaaS business model.

In my mind, the three major points of differentiation for Alloy are 1) Ease of Use, 2) Exceptional Team, and 3) Innovation. I’ll touch on each of these three points in detail below.

1. Ease of Use

I came to Alloy having previously implemented a competitive POS analytics software at my prior company. In my previous role, it took me around two weeks of testing to gain what I would consider “basic competency” in building reports in the competitive tool, even with an extensive background in reporting and analytics. The tool was not intuitive to use, reminded me of software made in the 90s, and frequently broke, despite our dataset being relatively small. But with Alloy, I was up and sprinting within my first day, building reports that would have taken me hours in my old role in just a few minutes.

The Alloy UX is fast, responsive, modern, and can be used by anyone, not just data analysts. All the retail metrics that you could possibly imagine are there with a mere click of a button; there is no need to get dirty with formulas like you would in a tool such as Tableau. Working in Alloy was a joy, not a pain. It just works.

2. Exceptional Team

One of the greatest features of Alloy is not even directly related to the product itself, but is actually the team. Everyone is passionate about helping their customers succeed, from implementation to ongoing support. Not only that, they are all excited about metrics, which can often be a dreary topic.

A great example of this passion is when a client came to us with a request for a new way to look at sales that he wanted for an important meeting. Roby, a co-founder, jumped in immediately to figure out how to create the view. The energy and excitement he had while he was slicing and dicing numbers in Alloy was astounding. But it’s not just the founders — the passion trickles down to everyone here, and everyone is deeply committed to solving problems for clients.

3. Innovation

Alloy is always innovating, both on a micro perspective and a macro perspective. On the micro perspective, it seemed like every week I discovered a new feature that made my life easier. The product and engineering teams are iterating every week, and the product continues to get better and better. To be honest, there are certain features in other BI tools that I wish Alloy had, but the gap is closing rapidly, and I’m confident that the team will get there very soon.

But even more impactful is that the team at Alloy is thinking beyond POS analytics and into the broader realm of supply chain. They’re not satisfied with what the product can do now, but have a grander vision of what they want to accomplish. One of the things I’m looking forward to that’s currently in its infancy at Alloy is accessing more upstream supply chain data points to gain a complete picture of inventory.

In my last role, I used a giant Excel spreadsheet that took me hours to pull all the data for, trying to find out how many units of each product I had in my factories, 3PLs, in-transit on planes and boats, at retailers’ DCs, and in-store so that I could figure out how many widgets to produce. It was a broken process and occasionally led to mistakes in production. While Alloy in its current state is primarily a POS analytics tool, what is in the development pipeline seeks to integrate the upstream parts of the supply chain, so that folks like me can make smarter inventory decisions.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend my summer at Alloy and look forward to seeing the continued success of Alloy from afar in New York City!

This post originally appeared on Medium.

Posted by Andrew Shi