Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a C-suite technology industry interviewee. Today we’re pleased to be joined by SnapLogic CEO, Gaurav Dhillon.
Biggest Challenge for your Clients
It’s amazing to me that in 2019 many enterprises are still not getting the full benefits of the cloud. Between legacy systems, data silos, unconnected applications — too many organisations are being held back, unable to achieve their data-driven ambitions. This is shocking to me. Forget about flying cars, what about the connected enterprise? It’s time we make that a reality for all companies.
So that’s our mission at SnapLogic. To help enterprises around the world modernise, connect, and automate their complex app and data landscape so they can reap the benefits of the cloud, put their rich data assets to work, and accelerate their success.
Technology that Excites You Most?
The age of automation has arrived. From AI, to machine learning, to robotic process automation, to natural language processing, and so much more, an impressive array of intelligent automation technologies are now being applied to a range of processes and activities that will change how we live and work.
In our personal lives, AI recognises our faces, it will soon do our taxes, and so on. In business, it will have an equally profound impact, and this gets me very excited. These technologies are already automating repetitive business processes, driving user productivity, and freeing up workers to focus on innovation and strategic pursuits that propel their business forward.
When I started out, it was the advent of the microprocessor that got me interested in a career in tech. The advancement of AI and intelligent automation technologies is potentially even more impactful. It inspires me every day, and no doubt will inspire the next generation of innovators to jump in and apply these technologies in new ways we haven’t even begun to imagine.
It has always been important to me to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, to bring innovation to our products every day, and to lead our customers into the future. I’m fortunate, more than two decades into my career, that my greatest success is taking place in the present. I am most proud of the SnapLogic integration platform that our teams have built, and continue to build, for our hundreds of enterprise customers around the world.
We delivered the first born-in-the-cloud integration platform to help connect and manage the hybrid enterprise. When we add new features, every one of our customers are on the same, new version and can take advantage of the latest capabilities right away.
We were also the first to make our platform truly intuitive, self-service, and easy to use, effectively democratizing integration. Gone are the days when you had to rely on the high priesthood — the Brahmins of Integration — in central IT to connect your apps and data. Today, users of all skill levels are empowered to create self-serve integrations with our platform.
And, we were the first to bring AI to integration. Two years ago we shipped Iris, our AI-enabled, self-service integration platform to eliminate mundane, repetitive, laborious tasks. “AI-powered anything” seems obvious today but back then it was revolutionary, and we continue to build out these capabilities to drive productivity and accelerate results for our customers.
I am confident, years from now when I look back on my career, that my greatest success will be the SnapLogic integration platform.
In my 12 years as co-founder and CEO of Informatica we got a lot of things right — data marts, relational ETL, and metadata, to name a few. And then, as we were looking for new ways to expand and grow the business we felt customers would go from building to buying pre-packaged data warehouses. So we set off to build and launch a new analytics offering – it didn’t work well – and it was a huge setback.
For starters, getting a second product line off the ground is incredibly difficult. In most cases, you’re better off buying an existing technology that is already winning in the marketplace. There’s a reason why you saw Oracle build on its successful database business by buying application leaders like PeopleSoft back in the day, or NetSuite more recently.
Secondly, our sales team had great success selling integration to IT, but asking them to sell analytics to business people required an entirely different skill set and business network. Crossing that rubicon is not easy and I underestimated what it would take to get this new product to our customers.
Lesson-learned: when building product, you’ve got to stay focused on your core value proposition and consider acquiring new products where it makes sense. And go-to-market is equally important to success, so you must ensure your teams are equipped to successfully get the product into the hands of your customers.
In Another Life, I’d Be…
… a photographer. I’ve got an array of cameras at home, and it brings me great joy. I love the combination of creativity and technology that comes alive with old-fashioned black and white photography. Digital photography is just too close to my work, highly compute-oriented — “one click and you’re done.”
They say, anybody can take a picture but creating a photograph is quite another thing. I love the challenge of the end-to-end process, workflow, and decision-making that traditional black and white photography requires, and watching everything come together into a beautiful photograph in the end makes me very happy.