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Thomas uses GenAI to improve workplace collaboration

Databricks Mosaic AI helps democratize access to behavioral insights

SOLUTION: RAG Applications
CLOUD: Azure

“Once we began our journey with the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, we began to harness the full potential of our data.”

— Luke Treglown, Director of Data Science, Thomas

For over 40 years, Thomas’ central ethos has been that companies can elevate job satisfaction and productivity by better understanding how people interact with each other in the workplace. As they sought to expand and deepen their impact in the field of people science, Thomas encountered major roadblocks with traditional data management and utilization approaches. They turned to Databricks for help with improving their data workflows — from ingestion and transformation to analysis and solutions for customers and employees. Plus, the integration of GenAI through Vector Search and retrieval augmented generation (RAG) further improved content searchability and automated content generation.

Bringing employee assessments into the AI era

Thomas’ foundational psychometric assessment model — rooted in paper-based processes and designed for one-on-one interpretations — became increasingly limiting as they grew their customer base. Not only did these traditional methods struggle to scale, but they weren’t connected to the typical applications necessary within a modern work environment.

Recognizing the urgent need to mature and grow as a company, Thomas embarked on a path of digital transformation. One main objective was to transition away from the labor-intensive model of manually training HR directors and hiring managers to understand and implement their psychometric assessments. Thomas wanted to find ways to give more employees access to people science and make their tools easier to use by customers. 

They also recognized the possibility of saving their own employees valuable time when providing personalized feedback and suggestions to customers. According to Director of Data Science Dr. Luke Treglown, this was easier said than done: “Our legacy platform had millions — to the point of billions — of words of content because it included every possible iteration of how the content could be written and personalized to the specific recipient. While you think this would be helpful, translating evergreen content into useful responses for each client became an absolute nightmare.”

Addressing these challenges became a key priority. Because a user profile is completed with Thomas every 90 seconds, it was imperative for them to be able to ingest massive amounts of data more effectively and maintain their leadership in the field of people science. 

Treglown stated, “We were still struggling with how to guide people to the pieces of content that were needed to solve their problem. By adopting Databricks, we transformed our data handling capabilities, enabling us to manage and analyze larger volumes of data more efficiently and extend our reach into new markets.”

Using Databricks to speed time to insight

The Databricks Data Intelligence Platform and Mosaic AI tools enabled Thomas to improve their data workflows — from ingestion to transformation to analysis — all within a secure environment. Plus, the platform’s integration with generative AI tools like retrieval augmented generation (RAG) and natural language processing (NLP) delivered even more benefits in content management, searchability and personalization.

Using RAG techniques to prompt LLMs via Databricks Vector Search gives Thomas the ability to rapidly get insights from their extensive database. Additionally, this GenAI integration enabled their users to propose queries and receive automatically generated, detailed and tailored insights from unstructured data. Treglown explained, “Databricks Vector Search sparked a breakthrough for us. We could give our clients the ability to find the answers they need, rather than throwing a 40- to 50-page report at them. This made our content incredibly more dynamic and interactive.”

Databricks provides a secure environment that allows Thomas to leverage their large datasets and AI capabilities without compromising on their ethical commitments to customers. The platform’s built-in features for managing data access and its ability to seamlessly integrate with existing security protocols mean that sensitive information is always protected, and data integrity is never compromised. Treglown shared, “With Databricks, GenAI is not a black box. We can talk to our customers and take them step-by-step through how we got the insights while ensuring their data is handled with the utmost care.” 

Democratizing access to personalized assessments with GenAI

By automating and personalizing the evaluation process, Mosaic AI tools from Databricks have transformed how Thomas approaches psychometric assessments. Thanks to GenAI, each client receives insights that are most relevant to their specific contexts and needs, enhancing the overall impact of Thomas’ services and forming the foundation of their new “Perform” product. 

Databricks also gives Thomas the ability to integrate their new, AI-driven processes into popular platforms like Microsoft Teams. Now, their services are available within workflows clients already use. This seamless integration helps maintain continuous engagement and ensures that Thomas’ tools are adding value without disrupting the daily operations of businesses.

With AI-driven enhancements, the user experience of the platform has become significantly more interactive, personalized and efficient for locating content and other information. This new iteration has increased user satisfaction and led to deeper engagement. 

During Thomas’ transition from traditional, paper-based methods to a cutting-edge data solution, their organizational culture has quickly embraced innovation and continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in people science. Concluded Treglown, “With Databricks, we were able to go from proof of concept to minimum viable product in weeks. And now that we have a solid, unified foundation, we can go where we want to with AI.” In fact, Thomas has been able to integrate GenAI into three different platforms within the last three months.

Treglown summed up the impact to Thomas: “We needed to transform as a business because doing more of the same wasn’t going to help us grow. How do we shake up and truly innovate what we’re doing? For us, GenAI was the obvious way to do that.”