Gaurav Dhillon on Nathan Latka’s “The Top” Podcast

Popular podcast host Nathan Latka has a built a large following getting top CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs to share strategies and tactics that set them up for business success. A data industry veteran and self-described “company-builder,” SnapLogic founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon was recently invited by Nathan to appear as a featured guest on “The Top.”

Nathan is known for his rapid-fire, straight-to-the-point questioning, and Gaurav was more than up to the challenge. In this episode, the two looked back at Gaurav’s founding of Informatica in the ’90s; how he took that company public and helped it grow to become a billion-plus dollar business; why he stepped away from Informatica and decided to start SnapLogic; how data integration fuels digital business and why customers are demanding modern solutions like SnapLogic’s that are easy to use and built for the cloud; and how he’s building a fast-growing, innovative business that also has it’s feet on the ground.

The two also kept it fun, with Gaurav fielding Nathan’s “Famous Five” show-closing questions, including favorite book, most admired CEO, advice to your 20-year-old self, and more.

You can listen to the full podcast above or via the following links:

Case study: Connecting the dots at Box

“Data needs to be delivered to a user in the right place at the right time in the right volume.”

Spoken by veteran SnapLogic user Alan Leung, Senior Enterprise Systems Program Manager at Box, Alan provides insight in this case study for why an analytics cloud-first ecosystem with self-service integration is the right solution for many enterprise companies. Just as Box is on a mission to improve and innovate cloud-based file storage, internally they have moved toward a cloud-centric infrastructure that benefits from a cloud-based integration platform.

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Read the full case study here or take a look at some highlights below:

  • Overall problem: Box needed to more efficiently integrate cloud-based applications, including Salesforce, Zuora, NetSuite, and Tableau, all of which they relied on for daily operations.
  • Challenges: The primary challenge was around APIs – each application’s endpoints for integration purposes behaved differently, limiting abilities to build useful connections quickly and resulting in a series of disjointed silos. Manual upload and download processes caused a strain on resources and a waste of time and effort.
  • Goal: To satisfy the need to aggregate the business data piling up in various applications into a cloud-based warehouse to enable self-service, predictive analytics.
  • Solution needed: A cloud-based integration platform that vastly reduced or eliminated the time-consuming manual processes the users faced.
  • Solution found: With the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Cloud, Alan and his team benefitted from:
    • A platform that did not require sophisticated technical skills
    • The agility to enable quick and efficient integration projects
    • The ability to handle both structured and unstructured data at speed
    • An enhanced ability to quickly analyze and make sense of so much data, allowing the company to “rapidly pivot [our] operations to seize opportunity across every aspects of the business.”

For a quick snapshot, Box currently has 23 applications connected through the platform, resulting in 170 data pipelines processing over 15 billion transactions daily. They also have eliminated the need to build a single interface internally; and an ongoing benefit of Box’s partnership with SnapLogic is that more Snaps are always being created and can be implemented for future integration needs.

Learn more about all of our customers here, and stay tuned for more customer stories.

Igniting data discovery tools: SnapLogic delivers a “quanta” in improvement over Informatica

md_craig-BW-1443725112In my previous blog post, I talked about how a pharmaceutical company uses SnapLogic and Amazon Redshift to capitalize on market and environmental fluctuations, driving sales for its asthma relief medication. In this post, I’ll tell you the path the company took to get there. Hint: It wasn’t a straight one.

An IT organization abandons Informatica

Several months prior to launching its current environment, with data flows powered by SnapLogic, the pharmaceutical company tried, unsuccessfully, to integrate its data warehouses in Redshift using Informatica PowerCenter and Informatica Cloud. The IT team’s original plan was to move data from Salesforce, Veeva, and third-party sources into Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and then integrate the data into Redshift for sales and marketing analytics.

However, the project stalled due to difficulty with Informatica PowerCenter, the IT team’s initial choice for data integration. PowerCenter, which Informatica describes as a “metadata-driven integration platform,” is a data extract, transfer, and load (ETL) product rooted in mid-1990s enterprise architecture. The team found PowerCenter complicated to use and slow to deliver the urgently needed data integration technologies.

Looking for faster results, the pharmaceutical company then attempted to use Informatica Cloud, Informatica’s cloud-based integration solution. The data integration initiative was again derailed, this time by the solution’s lack of maturity and functionality. The pharmaceutical company’s data was forced back on-premises, jeopardizing the entire cloud data warehouse initiative.

Data integration aligned with the cloud

But the IT team kept searching for the right data integration solution. “Cloud was instrumental to our plans, and we needed data integration that aligned with where we were headed,” said the senior business capability manager in charge of the integration project. The pharmaceutical company chose the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud.

After a self-evaluation, the IT team was able to quickly build data integrations with SnapLogic; no specialized resources or consultants were required. To accomplish the integrations in Redshift, the pharmaceutical company used:

  • Salesforce Snap
  • Redshift Snap
  • Various RDBMS Snaps
  • ReST/SOAP Snaps
  • Transformation Snaps

With the data integration accomplished in a matter of days, the IT organization was assured that current skills sets could support the company’s future global BI architecture. In addition, the IT team found the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud easy enough for business users, such as the marketing team, to integrate new data into Redshift.

Leveraging Redshift’s nearly infinite availability of low-cost data storage and compute resources, the analytic possibilities are equally limitless – igniting the marketing team’s discovery of new strategies to drive new insights, revenues, and operational efficiencies.

SnapLogic delivers a “quanta” in improvement 

What is quanta? It’s the plural of the word “quantum,” a physics term that describes “a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.” If you’re not a physicist, your closest association is probably “quantum leap” – basically a gigantic leap forward.

Which is exactly what SnapLogic delivers. With regard to Informatica, Gaurav Dhillon, founder and CEO of SnapLogic, says:

“Fundamentally, I believe that SnapLogic is 10 times better than Informatica. That’s a design goal, and it’s also a necessary and sufficient condition for success. If a startup is going to survive, it’s got to have some 10x factor, some quanta of a value proposition.

“The quanta over the state of the art – the best-of-the-best of the incumbents – is vital. SnapLogic can fluently solve enterprise data problems almost as they are happening. That has a ‘wow’ factor people experience when they harness the power of our data integration technology.”

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud is a mature, full-featured Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) built in the cloud, for the cloud. Through its visual, automated approach to integration, the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud uniquely empowers both business and IT users, accelerating cloud data warehouse and analytics initiatives on Redshift and other cloud data warehouses

Unlike on-premises ETL or immature cloud tools, SnapLogic combines ease of use, streaming scalability, on-premises, and cloud integration, and managed connectors. Together, these capabilities present an improvement of up to 10 times over legacy ETL solutions such as Informatica or other “cloud-washed” solutions originally designed for on-premises use, accelerating cloud data warehouse integrations from months to days.

To learn more about how SnapLogic allows citizen data scientists to be productive with Amazon Redshift in days, not months, register for the webcast “Supercharge your Cloud Data Warehouse: 7 ways to achieve 10x improvement in speed and ease of Redshift integration.”

Craig Stewart is Vice President, Product Management at SnapLogic.

Finally viable: Best-of-breed enterprise environments

It’s one of the oldest, most contentious rivalries in the enterprise application arena: What’s better, best-of-breed environments or single-vendor suites? Since the turn of the century, suite vendors have argued that their approach avoids the steep data integration challenges that can be inherent with best-of-breed. On the flip side, point solution vendors say that enterprise suites pack in a lot of “dead wood” but don’t offer the real functionality, or customization potential, that is needed.

However, unlike religion and politics, this is one argument that is headed toward extinction. The biggest barrier to best-of-breed strategies — data integration — is, hands down, easier by an order of magnitude today, thanks to built-for-the-cloud app integration solutions that eliminate previous barriers. As a result, best-of-breed application environments aren’t just viable, they’re readily attainable.

Two dimensions of data integration

There are two ways in which data integration has dramatically improved with native cloud solutions: on the back end, between the applications themselves, and on the front end, from the user experience perspective.

On the back end, one of the first-order implications of a robust data model is the number of connectors a data integration solution provides. SnapLogic has hundreds of Snaps (connectors) and that’s not coincidental. Our library of Snaps proves our suitability to the modern world; it’s an order of magnitude easier to build and support a SnapLogic connector than an Informatica connector — the integration tool of choice for last-century best-of-breed environments — because our data model fits the modern world.

As a result, customers are up and running with SnapLogic in a day or two. In minutes we can show customers what SnapLogic is capable of doing. This is in comparison to Informatica and other legacy integration technologies; here, developers or consultants can work for weeks or months on the same integration project and still have nothing. They can’t deliver quickly due to the limitations of the underlying technology.

The ease of big data integration with SnapLogic has profound implications on the user experience. Instead of having to beg analysts to do ETLs (extract, transfer, and load) to pull the data set they need, SnapLogic users can get whatever data they want, themselves. They can then analyze it and get answers far faster than under previous best-of-breed regimes.

These are not subtle differences.

The economics of cloud-based integration

The subscription-based pricing model of cloud-based integration services further democratizes data access. Instead of putting the burden on IT to buy and implement an integrated application suite — which can cost upwards of $100 million in a large enterprise — cloud-based integration technology can be acquired at a nominal per-user fee, charged to a corporate credit card. Lines of business have taken advantage of this ease of access, making their own cloud big data technology moves with the full knowledge and support of IT.

For IT organizations that have embraced their new mission of enablement, the appeal of cloud-based data integration is clear. In addition to allowing business users to work the way they want to, the cloud-based solution is infinitely easier to customize, and deploy and support globally. And it offers an obvious answer to the question, “Do I want to continue feeling the pain of using integrated app suites or do I want to join the new century?”

Find out more about how and why SnapLogic puts best-of-breed integration within every organization’s grasp. Register for this upcoming webinar featuring a conversation with myself, industry analyst and data integration expert David Linthicum, and Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic’s CEO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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James Markarian is CTO at SnapLogic. Follow him on Twitter @jamesmarkarian.

From helicopter to enabler: The new face of enterprise IT

Can an IT organization effectively run a 2017 business on 25-year-old technology? As someone who played a large hand in developing the data integration technology in question — at Informatica, where I was CTO for nearly two decades — I can tell you that the answer is simple: “No.”

A vastly different primordial landscape

That said, I know that when Informatica was created, it was the best technology for data integration at the time. The world was a lot simpler in 1992: there were five databases that mattered, and they were all pretty similar. There were just a few ERP systems: Oracle, SAP and a young PeopleSoft. Informatica was ideally suited to that software baseline, and the scale-up UNIX platforms of that era. The web, obviously, was not in the picture.

IT organizations were also a lot simpler in 1992. If any business person wanted new tech functionality — a new workstation added to a network, or a new report from a client/server system — they put their request into the IT queue, because that was the only way to get it.

IT is still important; it’s just different

Fast-forward 25 years to 2017. Almost everything about that primordial technology landscape, when Informatica roamed the world, is different. For example, now there’s the web, the cloud, NoSQL databases, and best of breed application strategies that are actually viable. None of these existed when Informatica started. Every assumption from that time — the compute platform, scale-up/scale-out, data types, data volumes and data formats — is different.

IT organizations are radically different, too. The command-and-control IT organization of the past has transformed into a critical enablement function. IT still enables core operations by securing the enterprise and establishing a multitude of technology governance frameworks. But the actual procurement of end-user technology, such as analyzing data aggregated from across systems and across the enterprise, is increasingly in the hands of business users.

In other words, the role of IT is changing, but the importance of IT isn’t. It’s like parenting; as your kids grow your role changes. It’s less about helicoptering and more about enabling. Parents don’t become less important, but how we deliver value evolves.

This is a good analog to the changes in enterprise IT. The IT organization wants to enable users because it’s pretty impossible to keep up with the blistering pace of business growth and change. If the IT organization tries to control too much, at some point it starts holding the business back.

Smart IT organizations have realized their role in the modern enterprise is to help their business partners become more successful. SnapLogic delivers a vital piece of required technology; we help IT organizations to give their users the self-service data integration services they need, instead of waiting for analysts to run an ETL through Informatica to pull the requested data together. By enabling self-service, SnapLogic is helping lines of business — most companies’ biggest growth drivers — to reach their full potential. If you’re a parent reading this, I know it will sound familiar.

Here’s another way to find out more about why IT organizations are embracing SnapLogic as a critical enabler: readSnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic’s CEO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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Why enterprises must meet millennials’ expectations

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Millennials’ attitudes in the workplace have gotten a bad rap, the roots of which are explored in this extremely popular video by author and speaker Simon Sinek. But this blog isn’t a slam on millennials’ expectations for job fulfillment. It’s about meeting their expectations of how easy it should be to use enterprise technology — and that’s a good thing.

A very vocal majority

Since 2015, millennials have been the largest demographic group in the US workforce, numbering 53.5 million. They are now mainstream enterprise tech consumers, and there’s a thing or two we can learn. For example, millennials came of age using smartphones. In fact, 97% of millennials aged 25-34 own a smartphone. And I doubt that a single one would want to give up their smartphone for a separate flip phone, music player and camera.

The reality is, we live in an age where people expect multiple utility from technology, a driving force in innovation. How about a washer that also dries your clothes, that’s pretty rad. Or the motorcycle helmet that puts an entire dashboard of information right in front of your eyes, that’s radder still.

Expectations for multiple utility are similarly all over the workplace, and millennials are approaching the data consumption challenge with a clean slate. They say it should be easy, like a smartphone, and be self-service. Once again, millennials are clamoring for multiple utility.

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SnapLogic meets millennial expectations of modern business

This is an area where SnapLogic trumps legacy technologies. On its best day, the 25-year-old data integration technology offered by Informatica creates ETLs (extract, transfer, loads) and has some other capabilities added on. But at its core, Informatica was designed to deal with batch, relational, ETL-like kinds of problems. Unfortunately, no one in the working world, not even retiring Boomers, lives in batch mode. Business change happens in real-time, and our data and analytics need to support that.

From day one, SnapLogic’s integration platform has been designed to solve all kinds of data-in-flight problems in the enterprise. These include, as we called them in the last century, application integration problems like connecting Salesforce with SAP, or data integration problems, providing information feeds to solve modern analytic sorts of questions. We can use SnapLogic’s application integration architecture to solve problems with technologies that weren’t widely available in the last century like predictive analytics, machine learning, or wiring up large industrial enterprises with IoT sensors, to give you new profit pools and help do a better job of building products.

That’s the kind of multiple utility that people expect from their technology — it’s not about feeds or speeds, it’s about having a smart phone versus having a separate phone, camera and music player. That’s just so 1992, you know?

This is the “match point” that SnapLogic can defend into eternity. Hundreds of our customers around the globe testify to that. Almost all of these companies had some flavor of Informatica or its competitor, and they have made the choice to move to SnapLogic. Some have moved completely, in a big bang, and others have side-by-side projects and will migrate completely to SnapLogic over time.

Want to learn more about meeting today’s lofty expectations for enterprise tech? Read SnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with James Markarian, SnapLogic’s CTO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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The need for speed: Why I left Informatica (and you should, too)

guarav_blog_headshotInformatica is one of the biggest, oldest names in enterprise technology. It’s a company I co-founded in 1992 and left over 10 years ago. Although the reasons why I left can be most easily summarized as “disagreements with the board over the direction of the company,” it all boils down to this: aging enterprise technology doesn’t move fast enough to keep up with the speed of today’s business.

About a year after I left, I founded SnapLogic, a company that has re-invented data integration for the modern enterprise — an enterprise that is increasingly living, working and innovating in the cloud. The pace at which enterprises are shifting operations to the cloud is reflected in stats like this: According to Forrester Research, the global public cloud market will top $146 billion in 2017, up from $87 billion in 2015.

Should you ride a horse to the office?

need-for-speedGiven the tidal wave of movement to the cloud, why would a company stick with Informatica? Often, it’s based on decisions made in the last century, when CIOs made strategic commitments to this legacy platform. If you’re the CIO of that shop today, you may or may not have been the person who made that decision, but here you are, running Informatica.

Going forward, does it make sense to keep running the company on Informatica? The truthful answer is it can, just as you can run a modern company on a mainframe. You can also ride a horse to the office. But is it something you should do? That’s where I say “no.” The direct path between a problem and a solution is to use appropriate technologies that are in synch with the problems being solved, in the times and the budget that are available today. That is really the crux of Informatica inheritance versus the SnapLogic future.

It’s true that the core guts of what is still Informatica — the underlying engine, the metadata, the user interface and so on — have to some extent been replenished. But they are fundamentally still fixed in the past. It’s like a mainframe; you can go from water cooling to air cooling, but fundamentally it’s still a mainframe.

The high price of opportunity cost

IT and business people always think about sunk costs, and they don’t want to give up on sunk costs. Informatica shops have invested heavily in the application, and the people, processes, iron and data centers required to run it; these are sunk costs.

But IT and business leaders need to think about sunk opportunity, and the high price their companies pay for missing out because their antiquated infrastructure — of which Informatica is emblematic — doesn’t allow them to move fast enough to seize opportunity when they see it.

Today, most enterprises are making a conscious decision to stop throwing good money after bad on their application portfolios. They recognize they can’t lose out on more opportunities. They are switching to cloud computing and modern enterprise SaaS. As a result, there’s been a huge shift toward solutions like Salesforce, Workday and Service Now; companies that swore they would never give up on-premise software are moving their application computing to the cloud.

Game, set, match point

In light of that, in a world that offers new, ultra-modern technology at commodity prices, you start to realize, “We ought to modernize. We should give up on the sunk costs and instead think of the sunk opportunity of persisting with clunky old technology.”

This is the “match point” that SnapLogic can defend into eternity. Hundreds of our customers around the globe testify to that. Almost all of these companies had some flavor of Informatica or its competitor, and they have made the choice to move to SnapLogic. Some have moved completely, in a big bang, and others have side-by-side projects and will migrate completely to SnapLogic over time.

Need more reasons to move fast? Read SnapLogic’s new whitepaper that captures my conversation with James Markarian, SnapLogic’s CTO and also an Informatica alumnus: “We left Informatica. Now you can, too.”

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