Omar Nawaz | SnapLogic Innovation Day 2018

Omar Nawaz, Global Head of Digital Transformation, Quantum sat down with Jeff Frick from theCUBE to discuss his approach to digital transformation.

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>> Announcer: From San Mateo,California, it’s theCUBE, covering SnapLogic Innovation Day 2018. Brought to you by SnapLogic.

>> Welcome back everybody,Jeff Frick here with theCUBE. We’re at the crossroads, it’s 101 and 92 in San Mateo, California. Lot of software companies have developed here. It’s got a long history, a tone point it was really kind of the all the software in Silicon Valley was based here versus chips in the south new media in the north. It’s not quite the same anymore, that’s really the roots of the area, you’re probably stuck in traffic if your here, so look up,you’ll see the SnapLogic sign, that’s where we are,at their new headquarters. And we’re excited to have practitioner, we love getting customers on, it’s Omar Nawaz, he’s the global head of digital transformation and a CISO, so not a small responsibility at Quantum. Great to see you.

>> Well thank you for inviting me, I’m happy to be here.

>> Absolutely. So you are one of these, could be the new unicorn, the head of digital transformation. So you were brought in for that role, you’ve been at the company a little over six months, less than a year. Why did they bring you in and where do you get started?

>> Well, it’s a very interesting role. Digital transformation is about change and we all know that that’s hard, and that’s why I specifically brought into the company, to help change the operating model and the business model for the company. So what I really do there is work with the leadership of the company and understand what their ambitions are. And then the exciting part starts, where my team and I actually help convert an ambition into reality. And so that we can create a measurable way to understand the reality we are creating for the ambition that we want to achieve is it really meaningful for us or not.

>> And who do you report to? Who brought you in?

>> So I actually report to the CFO of the company which

>> CFO

>> So you see the sort of different places where these roles fit in, but in our organization it made a lot of sense because as we’re going through the transformation, it was important for us to sort of be close to the money, because it is investment required and you want to manage the cost as well,so that’s where I’m at.

>> And it’s also very interesting that you’re a CISO as well, Chief Information Security Officer, for those not following me on the acronym world. So security is a really important piece that is not an insignificant job, so how much of your time is transformation and how much of your time is CISO.

>> I think most of my time is to transformation and it’s part of when we look at security, we look at security as part of the transformation because as we evolve the company to a new model, it has ramification on how do we secure the new environment as well, so there’s a split, I have more than one full-time job, I guess you can say that.

>> Welcome to Silicon Valley right?

>> But yeah, I spend most of my time focused around digital transformation but security is a very important aspect of my role and we want to make sure the environment continues to be safe.

>> So there’s somebody out here watching this video, they’re sitting in their office they just got the edict that they’re now in charge of digital transformation at their company and they’re pulling their hair out looking for CUBE interviews to help them out. So where do they go,how do they get started, what sort of resources should they be asking for, should they be leveraging,should they expect to give them some sort of success in this very very difficult role?

>> So I think there’s a lot of places where companies can start and I think of the things you have to understand is how digitally mature you as a company are. One of the key things in this industry is that we all see is that the speed and the rate of innovation is so tremendous and we see these waves of disruptive technology that comes in and there are companies that are adopting and embracing those technologies. And think about mobile or cloud or analytics or social, and those companies that adopt those technologies they can gain a certain level of proficiency and performance improvement, but the cycle is very very fast and now we are seeing yet another wave of technology innovation around IOT, API,artificial intelligence and so if you can quickly jump to that next round of technology and innovation then you can continue to build those efficiencies within the company and gain that competitive advantage or maintain that competitive advantage, and I think it’s important for the companies to realize that they have to engage in this very very quickly and it’s not a one time process either, it’s never going to end, the transformation is never going to end, so you have to continually invest in it and where you start with it and where you go is to make sure that you understand where the company wants to go.

>> Right.

>> And how the technology can help you get there. That’s sort of the hardest part of my job is to really convince the leadership and say this is where we will gain some significant benefit and so when I go to my CEO or CFO or the Board what I’m trying to help them understand is that by investing in technology A, B, C, whichever it is, this is what we achieve or this is sort of the picture, part of the puzzle we’re trying to build.

>> I love this concept, digital maturity, I’ve never heard anyone say that before, so it almost begs the question, is there some type of a checklist that you have to have made a minimum, either acknowledgement, I don’t know if commitment is the right word, obviously you have to be 100 percent on cloud, but it does beg,is there some sort of, have you adopted some cloud, have you adopted some of this, some of that, some of this, to demonstrate A, that you’re digitally mature or you’re heading in that direction, and B, these are kind of necessary conditions to execute the digital transformation that I’m trying to put in place.

>> Yeah, I don’t have a specific measuring stick of where you measure your digital maturity but the things that you talked about, for example, if your organization is still dealing with sort of maintaining some of their own data centers and you’re investing resources to that, you have not adopted cloud, mobile applications, you know your applications cannot be accessed remotely, then you’re certainly not very digitally mature. Right. How much self service is available for your users internally or for your customers. Those are other signs of digital immaturity, another area to look at is,you know, you have a lot of data within the organization. How are you using that data? Is the data sitting in silos? Or is the data being integrated and now you can, you have analytics running on top of it. That’s another measure of your maturity and as you look across the companies,you will see that there are companies who are sitting there in sort of that old traditional model of we’re going to build these long term strategic plans and that’s also a sign of accepting or adopting these technologies because they’re hoping, they’re waiting to really fully understand what the technology is going to be when they get there and they need to know all of those how and what it will look like when they get there andI think also to me that’s also a sign of digital maturity of a company is do they understand what waves of disruption or technology is coming out.

>> Right. So it’s interesting, you said that you’re biggest challenge is going to the Board and and the C suite and telling them how this is going to work. The other hand, they brought you in, not that long ago, with this very specific objective, so clearly you’ve got some great executive support. So how do you convince them and what are some of the things that you found just work, what are the right stories, what are the right examples, what are the right use cases, that even the digitally immature, finally are like ah now I get it.

>> Yeah, so, I mean it helped that they were already thinking about it before they brought me in so that helps a lot, no doubt, I think the things that when I came in and I looked at the company, so there’s many places where you can start, some of the areas you can think about is how do you improve the customer service,that’s a very important aspect of how you become a better organization. So another area is process improvement and the third area is business model improvement, so I came in and I talked more about before we actually start looking at modifying or enhancing our business models, we need to get to a better,higher performance level within the organization and therefore I’m initially more focused on how do we improve our processes internally, right, and for us, based on our situation, and it varies for different companies, for us the first step in that was really to make sure that the people, systems, and the data are more interconnected. So even within that first step for me for the first phase for us was really to make sure that the people are connected, so do we have the right set of collaboration and communication tools,right, do we have the right set of analytics to sit on top of it, so we just finished that phase, we want to make sure that these are tangible,small steps, because you need to show some wins very very quickly so for us the first step was lets get the people connected. So we just did that, now the next step for us is to get our systems connected. So again, as I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of data that’s sitting there,it has to be integrated. There’s tremendous value that you can gain from that. So that’s what we’re getting into, this is our second phase of how do we connect the data together so this way we can start to get the next level of efficiency out of the company.

>> So I am guessing after sitting here all day that the integration of your data, obviously we are at SnapLogic, is going to be easier than getting the people to change their processes and the connected people. What were some of the tricks to get people to adopt these new tools before we even start talking about the data?

>> So I think there is, you have to show them the value obviously, if you talk about communication and collaboration tools I think the first thing is really about awareness. Right, there’s a little bit of sort of top down, sort of mandate, or you may want to call sponsorship, that I think that that helps.

>> Or stick

>> Or stick, you know, so that helps. Because for some companies and for Quantum it was true that we did not have a corporate communication tool. There were multiple, right,so within the groups they were fine because they were able to communicate but between groups they were not able to, so we had to standardize on that, so I think that you kind of have to show these,there’s always skepticism, because everything when people are used to certain things it seems to work for them right?

>> I’ve always done it this way.

>> Exactly right, so you have to show them new things and you have to create the awareness and then they start to see the value. It’s not a one time thing,it’s continuous effort, so we do lunch and learns, we do webinars, we do support sessions and things like this so this way people are more comfortable taking on the new technology.

>> But it’s so important right because your probability of success if you don’t get the buy in from the participant is not very high, so the fact that you started there on the people before you really dove into the technology I think is pretty insightful and will probably increase your probability of success on the next phase tremendously, versus if you just integrated all the data and integrated all the apps and you still don’t have people talking together, probably not going to be very successful.

>> Exactly, because the data is in all these different business units and different groups and if they’re not talking to each other,connecting the data has little or no value. So to me it’s really about creating that connectivity so for us when you ask me,sort of, how do we start, so we start with connecting,connection is the first sort of phase of it and then the second is to empower people you know to create more self service and create more sort of autonomous units so that they can start to create value for themselves and for the company. So it’s really about enabling the whole organization, sort of the ground swell type of approach, but you’re going to first sortof bring the people to that sort of common place where it’s easy for them to work, you bring the data along with it and then you standardize the environment or simplify it if you can and therefore it’s easy for them to start taking on the services themselves.

>> Right, so you finished the first phase and now the next phase is you’re going to start integrating all the systems.

>> Correct.

>> So obviously, we’re sitting here at SnapLogic, it’s a big piece of what they do, so why did you decide to go with them and how are they helping you in this process?

>> So for us, for this phase of digital transformation, you know there were two things that were really really important for us. One was really about how do we connect these systems together in a simple standardized way, so that was one criteria for us. And I believe SnapLogic doesa great job and we’re going to build it out at sort of the back core of our network. And then the second piece was really can we take this platform and make it available to our end users. So that they can create the connections or access the data that they want, right,and that’s again where SnapLogic was able to demonstrate that this is very easy for them to use. So those were the two sort of very pivotal things for us as part of this phase of our digital transformation as to why we picked SnapLogic.

>> Yeah it was funny ’cause you used the word self-service in your first phase so I think kind of this thing where your over and over and over it’s so important to drive innovation in big companies is demarketerization. Demarketerization of the data, demarketerization of the tools and then let people find out things and then actually be able to execute.

>> Exactly, because you know IT, there’s a constant pressure on IT to cut costs,you know, so we cannot serve the whole company for all the things that needs to happen and the technology and the business is changing at such a rapid pace that unless we have experts who really understand that business unit function that well we are not the best people to build those things for them, they are the ones, but then you have a technology learning barrieror learning curve of do you need to put developers in there, so that’s why to us this SnapLogic technology helps us that we believe that we can extend this ability to those users who really know their business, they can make the changes as they come, and the IT can help make sure that the right sort of infrastructure exists and the right sort of, level of connectivity exists.

>> So I’m just curious, I know you’re still early days in this project, but are there any Luddites that have kind of come around since you’ve been on this journey that suddenly just woke up and said oh okay now I get it now I see the value, now I kind of understand where we’re trying to go, who maybe didn’t think that way at the beginning. Or they all just know that they got to go. (laughs)

>> No I think we are constantly learning along the way, I think that one of the key things that we learned just recently and SnapLogic is going to help us with that particular aspect of it is that we saw that there were a lot of systems that work fine, we don’t use them, it’s not a daily use type of thing, they get used quarterly, or annually, but we realized that if we can just bring more automation into those processes and we can tie it back to longer more historical data, then we can build more insights around it, so I think that when we show this to the users and especially the CFO nowyou all of a sudden sort of the light bulbs go on and it’s like oh this is great. Right, that I don’t have to rely on only a small window of information, now I have a much broader window.

>> Alright then, Omar thank you for spending a few minutes with us and sharing your story with us. I wish you nothing but success on this.

>> Thank you very much.

>> I’m sure it will be long and exciting with twists and turns and highs and lows. So good luck.

>> We’re looking forward to that.

>> Alright, he’s Omar, I’m Jeff Frick. We’re at SnapLogic in San Mateo, California. Thanks for watching. (bright music)


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