Decision-Making Software Leads Company to Call Ballston Home

Decision Lens weighed access, amenities and other factors in Ballston against those in Clarendon, Rosslyn and other Arlington County locations.

A Ballston-based business that develops decision-making software turned its product on itself in recent years when looking for the best place to relocate — and ended up deciding on Ballston.

Decision Lens' collaborative software virtually brings together people and information so that every stakeholder has a say in developing criteria for a decision and determining priorities, said John Saaty, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the company.

"Everybody in the company can get involved and have a voice," he said.

Saaty and his brother founded Decision Lens in Falls Church in 2005. The business moved to a small office in Ballston a couple years later. Soon, it had grown to about 50 employees and needed bigger space.

The company looked at seven locations around Arlington, including Rosslyn and Clarendon, Saaty said.

And then they put their product to the test. Saaty and others in the company determined what was important to them — access, amenities, office space features, contract terms and building features, among other things — and then voted on each. The voting process allowed each individual to weigh what was most important to them.

The program then was able to compare the various locations under consideration based on the priorities set by the group. Office space features, which was given the highest priority, was weighted the most, followed by access and so on.

And in December 2010, Decision Lens moved into its current location on the top floor of the Qwest building at 4250 N. Fairfax Drive.

Saaty said his employees were happy with their choice.

"They love it," he said. "In fact, they love it so much, we're negotiating to take the other half of the top floor. Our space has become part of our brand."

Decision Lens software has been used quite broadly, Saaty said.

He cited a handful of examples:

  • NASA has used it to help design a deep space antenna.
  • The U.S. Navy uses it to help determine which bases to open, which to maintain and which to close.
  • Professional sports teams use it in player selection.
  • Major pharmaceutical companies use it to determine which products to bring to market.

The company just landed a variety of new clients, including the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Air Force and the General Services Administration, he said.

Decision Lens as a business is growing at 40 percent to 50 percent a year, he said.

Sandra Murillo September 28, 2012 at 06:23 PM


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