Today we have the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky, Ellen Rubin on our tech podcast. Ellen built a career on finding people with outrageous ideas and launching companies that help bring those ideas to fruition. Her first entrepreneur endeavor, Netezza, revolutionized data warehousing before it was purchased by IBM in 2010 for nearly $2 billion. Her second company, CloudSwitch, was named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner before being acquired by Verizon. She’s been on an incredible journey, lots of adventures and a wealth of experience in the tech industry.
I invited her onto the show to discusses why, despite the hype, leveraging the cloud for storage does not work for every application. Companies need a single, high-performance, low-latency option, and while it makes sense to store cold or archival data in the cloud, hot data, or data used frequently, must be close to users and applications – enter edge computing.
Ellen also discusses the benefits of edge computing, as well as:
Why Amazon and other cloud vendors shouldn’t predicate their business on huge data centers in the middle of nowhere.
Why IoT applications that require an instantaneous response and user interactivity can’t be in the cloud.
How IT can figure out which data should stay at the edge.
How the balance between enterprise data centers and regional cloud “hubs” is a challenge IT teams are just beginning to face.
Why the edge is needed for successful hybrid models and cloud adoption.
Ellen Rubin is a repeat entrepreneur who enjoys building companies from the earliest stages. Her experience has been focused on enterprise infrastructure, with expertise in the cloud computing, business intelligence, data warehousing, and data center markets. She has also worked with great teams to build companies from concept stage through multiple rounds of funding and growth, with successful outcomes through IPO (Netezza) and acquisition (CloudSwitch).
Ellen loves working on disruptive products that create new market categories and take on the incumbents. Her goal is to create more high-value and successful companies in the Boston area and to be an active member of the exciting entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Here at the Apttus Accelerate conference in San Francisco, I watched Inhi Cho Suh, the GM at IBM Watson Marketing, perform her Quote-to-Cash Innovator session. On stage, she revealed that 92% of purchases today are influenced by social, digital engagement & experience is now the product. But she also warns that although data is the new currency, acting with integrity is a call to action for all businesses
She also told the audience that “Don’t use your competitors as the bar against which you measure yourself. Ask yourself, what was the last best experience your customer had? Regardless where hey had it. That’s your bar.” – This really resonated with me and I invited her onto the podcast to tell me more about how IBM is much more than a tech company and were ranked a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for multichannel marketing hubs last month.
I also wanted to find out more about how Apttus’ intelligent middle office platform will be coming to the IBM Cloud so caught up with her at the event for a quick chat.
Inhi Cho Suh is the General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions. Inhi began her career with IBM in 1998, joining the worldwide customer set strategy team for IBM’s Personal Systems Group. She then went on to hold a variety of leadership and management positions focused on strategic growth, development, and marketing.
Most recently, Inhi was the Vice President for Big Data, Information, Integration, and Governance in IBM Software Group, responsible for all areas of the business. Prior to joining IBM, Inhi was a consultant in the education sector focused on international student teaching and counseling for university and professional institutions. Inhi received a Bachelor of Science from Duke University and a Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is a licensed attorney in the state of North Carolina.
According to a recent study from the biz/tech consulting firm, West Monroe Partners, 1 in 3 millennial HR professionals surveyed said they frequently pass on an IT job candidate if they don’t have strong soft skills. Tech jobs aren’t easy to fill, but you want to make sure your new hire is great both behind and in front of the screen. So, if you’re tired of hiring people who look good on paper but can’t collaborate or write well to save their lives, you should start by hiring a millennial to lead the change.
West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy’s latest study “Closing the Technology Leadership Gap,” investigates the state of soft skills, defined as communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, and leadership in technology and IT hiring decisions. Specifically, it pinpoints the lack of focus on soft skills in today’s workplaces as the cause of productivity, innovation and growth issues.
The report found that, while the importance of soft skills has increased significantly over the past three years, many companies don’t train for these capabilities on technology teams – including IT. The study also found that leadership is technology employees’ most underdeveloped soft skill.
West Monroe surveyed 1,250 individuals across two surveys made up of 600 HR and recruiting professionals, and 650 full-time employees who regularly work with their company’s technology teams. Key highlights include:
HR Leaders Want Soft Skills (But They Don’t Cultivate Them)
98 percent of HR leaders say soft skills are important in landing a technology position – so important that 67 percent say they have withheld a job offer from an otherwise qualified technical candidate solely because they lacked soft skills.
They ranked verbal communication and collaboration the most important soft skills. Once a hired, however, most companies don’t invest in developing their technology professionals’ soft skills further. In fact, around one-quarter of companies provide soft skills training to line-of-business employees, but not to IT.
Technology Professionals Aren’t Seen as Leaders
HR leaders consider leadership to be the least important soft skill for prospective technology hires. Technology employees often don’t ascend the career ladder, with 39 percent of companies lacking a technology background in the c-suite. This absence affects collaboration between business and tech employees.
Lacking Soft Skills Hurts An Organization’s Ability to Innovate
43 percent of full-time employees say soft-skills-related challenges with IT have negatively impacted their work, which is problematic considering that innovative projects increasingly require employees to work alongside each other.
Greg Layok is a managing director with West Monroe. He leads the firm’s Technology practice, integrating technical capabilities by partnering with our firm’s business consultants to solve our clients’ most pressing issues. As a member of the firm’s executive and technology leadership teams, Greg is responsible for West Monroe’s technology strategy to drive innovation and service offerings. Greg has more than 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor to senior executives and delivering value to clients with solutions that leverage his background in business strategy, product development, software engineering, and advanced analytics.
Brain Corporation (Brain Corp) is a San Diego-based AI company that partners with manufacturers of commercial equipment and consumer electronics to convert their manually-operated products into autonomous robots. Brain Corp’s technology represents the next generation of artificial brains for robots. Brain Corporation is funded by the SoftBank Vision Fund and Qualcomm Ventures.
CEO of BrainCorp Dr. Eugene Izhikevich is a world-renowned computational neuroscientist turned tech entrepreneur and robotics innovator. Known for his contributions to the theory of spiking networks, in 2005, Dr. Izhikevich implemented the world’s largest thalamocortical model. It simulated one hundred billion neurons and one quadrillion synapses–the same number as the human brain. His academic career resulted in many peer-reviewed publications and two books on neural networks and artificial intelligence. Dr. Izhikevich’s neuroscience inspired his vision of a world in which robots take care of humans.
In 2009, he founded Brain Corporation with the goal of building artificial brains for robots that were modeled after human brains. Since then, his groundbreaking A.I. research and profound passion for improving the human condition has attracted a team of accomplished scientists, engineers, and innovators from all over the world to help realize his vision.
After nearly 10 successful years, Brain Corp needed a capital partner to expand its capabilities and evolve its proprietary A.I. technology. In June 2017, Brain secured $114 million in Series C funding, allowing the company to further develop its A.I. technology and create “brains” for multiple types of commercial and consumer robots.
I invited the AI and robotics company co-founder onto my tech podcast to share insights in the robotics industry and understand how BrainCorp is building brains for robots, and turning today’s manually-operated machines into tomorrow’s autonomous solutions.
Microsoft VP Hayden Stafford said in his Keynote at Apttus Accelerate that “It’s not industries that are transforming, it’s companies transforming industries. More precisely it’s people transforming those companies.” As sales teams worldwide are increasingly looking to speed up the selling process and do more by leveraging applications like Dynamics 365, Office 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I caught up with Hayden Stafford to find out more about Microsoft’s vision and the partnership with Apttus.
We also discuss how the traditional manufacturing space is changing rapidly with IoT and how together with Apttus and Dynamics 365 integrations, Microsoft is readying the manufacturing industry to digitally transform.
Hayden is a senior IT executive with 25 years of professional experience in consulting, marketing and sales at Ernst & Young LLP, IBM Corporation, Salesforce.com and most recently, Microsoft. Hayden has global experience living overseas as well as managing complex global business/IT consulting and sales organizations. He has extensive industry experiences in Financial Services and Health Care organizations.
Prior to taking his new worldwide enterprise sales leadership role at Microsoft where is he responsible for Global Sales for Microsoft’s Enterprise Business Applications Business Unit – Dynamics 365, Hayden was the head of industry solution sales at Salesforce.com.
In this role, he was charged with building the new Industry Business Unit (IBU) and driving sales execution across the six focus industries the company deemed strategic to the business. Additionally, given his deep understanding of financial services customers, he was also the global head of the Financial Service Industry across all products where he was responsible for driving the overall strategy and growth of the FSI industry agenda.
Prior to Salesforce, Hayden was a Vice President and Managing Director at IBM. While at IBM, he was responsible for key Financial Markets and Retail Banking customers based in New York City with overall responsibility for global profit, revenue, signings, services delivery and client satisfaction. Key customer locations and business experience included NYC, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Apttus is a Silicon Valley-based global provider of the Intelligent Middle Office platform allowing enterprises to automate and optimize their most critical revenue and commercial relationship management processes. Apttus is powered by the Apttus Intelligent Cloud, a hybrid-cloud platform utilizing the most advanced technologies from Salesforce, Microsoft and IBM. Analysts rank Apttus as the global gold standard for Quote-to-Cash (QTC) and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions.
Apttus’ innovations include Max, the company’s Applied Artificial Intelligence that enables enterprises to achieve superior business outcomes. Apttus partners with a world-class ecosystem. Apttus customers include hundreds of the world’s mid-sized organizations and the who’s who of the Global 1000.
Raj Verma is the Chief Operating Officer at Apttus. He is an accomplished executive with experience growing companies at scale. Raj is chartered with growing Apttus’ business while ensuring operational excellence across the company. He is responsible for Apttus’ go-to-market strategy, sales, marketing and customer success operations.
Throughout his career, Raj has helped companies scale their operations. Most notably, Raj spent more than 12 years at Tibco Software, where he held various senior executive roles, including COO, Head of Worldwide Sales and CMO. Raj was part of the executive team instrumental in Tibco’s rapid growth to over $1 billion in revenue. He served as President and COO at Hortonworks, and earlier in his career, he held senior sales positions at Parametric Technology Corporation.
I wanted to chat with him about the big themes at the Apptus Accelerate event this year in San Francisco. What are the big takeaways? What role is AI playing in their future especially after leading the way by revealing their AI Assistant MAX last year? And of course, there is the big IB announcements and the Middle Office solution Omni.
We discuss how Apptus is a hybrid cloud platform and by working alongside, Salesforce, Microsoft, and IBM they are truly cloud agnostic. We also talk about Apttus’ Max, the company’s Applied Artificial Intelligence that enables enterprises to achieve superior business outcomes and the lessons learned over the last 12 months.
R2integrated is a national full-service agency that guides companies through a complex marketing landscape and builds integrated solutions that accelerate success. R2i’s unique alignment between marketing technology, brand expression, and demand generation results in compelling creative campaigns, better user experiences, and deeper customer connections.
Through focused areas of purpose such as web development and technology, multi-channel campaigns, media, loyalty and retention, brand strategy, and content marketing, R2i has consistently delivered on the new promise of marketing integration today for its clients. R2i clients include Microsoft, Chevron, Ultra Mobile, Cal Ripken Foundation, American Cancer Society, Atlantic Health System, Milo Wifi, and ServiceNow.
Jennifer Quinlan discusses the future of marketing personalization in the Adobe Think Tank. She’s passionate that brands should be building more customized experienced, tailored to specific needs, but without crossing the line that makes customers feel uncomfortable.
Jennifer is a results-driven, entrepreneurial senior executive with extensive multi-disciplinary experience in digital marketing strategy and technology enablement. Deep capabilities in analytic and cognitive insights, digitally enabled customer experience strategies, omni-channel digital marketing, organization and financial leadership. Highly sought-after leader to develop emerging business areas or, to re-engineer challenging business environments for growth. Skilled change agent with a demonstrated ability to drive consensus in highly complex environments, build collaborative executive relationships, and navigate seamlessly through a variety of industries and business challenges.
Most recently Jennifer served as North American Digital Practice leader for IBM Global Business Services, Distribution Sector. She led a multi-disciplinary team of digital consultants and practitioners serving consumer products, retail, travel, transportation, and life sciences industries as well as the Digital Commerce practice for NA. Working with leading organizations, Jennifer and her team designed and led digital transformation initiatives in marketing and customer experience, employee experience, and supply chain manufacturing transformation.
Prior to IBM, Jennifer was Senior Vice President at Merkle, a premier digital performance management agency. Over almost a two-decade tenure with Merkle, Jennifer was a key member of the leadership team responsible for growing Merkle into the international enterprise agency it is today.
Omni first appeared on my radar when Ripple, the FinTech startup behind the controversial XRP token, revealed its first investment after it backed the U.S.-based storage startup through a $25 million round.
Have you accumulated too much stuff over the years and wish you could manage your life like dropbox? Where you could upload the stuff you use once in a blue moon to the cloud and then just get hold of it when you need it? You don’t want a surfboard in your home in Birmingham here in the UK or New York in Feb, right?
At Omni, they are fundamentally changing the way people think about ownership. When you keep your things in Omni instead of your closet, they’re everywhere you want them to be: Access anything you need – whenever, wherever – with just a few taps, and Omni will deliver. Rent items you need or want to try from other members of the Omni community and earn extra money by renting out your unused items, all without ever leaving home.
Omni enables everyone to reclaim their space AND keep their stuff. We seek to help everyone live lighter – that is, to live the life they want and have access to all the things they need – no matter the size of the apartment, house, loft, trailer, boat, yurt, or teepee they find themselves calling home. To date, Omni has raised more than $40MM in venture capital and through strategic partnerships.
Tom McLeod is Founder and CEO of Omni, the on-demand personal storage concierge based in San Francisco. With over 10 year’s experience growing innovative companies, he previously co-founded Pagelime, a SaaS CMS used by over 30,000 designers worldwide, and the mobile app lab Imaginary Feet, launching and marketing 15+ apps to over 10 million users. With a degree in audio engineering from American University, Tom’s first venture was the “successful-til-it-wasn’t” recording studio Heavy Syndication, which quickly transitioned to become a web design firm with the changing music industry. Having recorded over 500 songs, he still consults on the occasional music project.
This story about accessing things rather than owning everything has it all and an inspiring tech startup journey. From a fantastic idea, Stefan Thomas at Ripple, the Fintech startup behind the XRP token, backing Omni through a $25 million round, to turning to Amazon exec, Brandon Rowan to scale the business.
The tech startup story behind MindTickle raising $27 million in Series B funding to accelerate product innovation.
When someone hears the word “sales,” it certainly doesn’t inspire the thought of “fun”. Krishna Depura, co-founder, and CEO of MindTickle, aimed to address this when he launched the company in 2012: to have fun at work while learning and solving real-world problems. He and his co-founders wanted to create something that provided the flexibility for creativity, continuous challenges for growth and solved hard problems.
MindTickle focused on this avenue after they realized they were able to make the greatest impact on sales and enterprises. When a salesperson joins a team, they need to gain new skills and product, industry and competitor knowledge. In fact, over the last 15 years, 52% of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared; the ones who survive recognize the importance of shifting the conversation from product to relationships – essentially, reinventing their sales behavior.
Today, MindTickle offers the industry’s most comprehensive sales readiness solution for closing the knowledge and skill gaps found in customer-facing teams. They make learning fun through on-demand online training, bite-sized mobile content, gamification, coaching and role-play with a data-driven approach, reaching enterprise customers such as Forescout, HPE, and AppDynamics, resulting in a 75% reduction in representatives’ time-to-productivity.
Krishna, as the CEO and co-founder, has been setting the vision and direction for the company. Prior to founding MindTickle, Krishna most recently was the Director of Product Management at PubMatic. Additionally, Krishna has also worked with leading companies and startups, including Microsoft, Tejas Networks, and Infinera. Knowing MindTickle’s customers are successful and satisfied is one of his greatest joys.
I speak with Krishna regarding his inspiration for MindTickle and how it’s evolved with time to make sales fun and interactive for sales teams using technology and data-driven decisions.
We hear about cyber breaches on a regular basis and how it affects businesses, but many seldom stop to think about the cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure. Try and imagine the cyber vulnerabilities at power grids across five continents, these are areas that we all take for granted. We assume somebody, somewhere will make sure everything is always working so that your city and your home have lighting, heat, gas, electric and of course the most important utility of them all, the internet.
Imagine if an attack on the critical infrastructure of a city or a power grid. You could effectively switch off an entire community. So I wanted to find out more about the solutions that are protecting everything we take for granted.
Nozomi Networks is leading Industrial Control System (ICS) cybersecurity with the most comprehensive platform to deliver real-time cybersecurity and operational visibility. Since 2013 the company has innovated the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to secure critical infrastructure operations.
Deployed across five continents, in hundreds of the world’s largest industrial installations, customers benefit from advanced cybersecurity, improved operational reliability and easy IT/OT integration. Amid escalating threats targeting ICS, Nozomi Networks delivers one solution with real-time ICS monitoring, hybrid threat detection, industrial network visualization, asset inventory, and vulnerability assessment.
Edgard Capdevielle brings an extensive background in successfully managing and expanding markets for both start-ups and established technology companies to his role as CEO. Previously he was Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Imperva, where he led teams that made the company’s web and data security products leaders in their space. Prior to that he was a key executive at storage companies Data Domain and EMC.
Focused on developing Nozomi’s global business, Edgard’s tremendous passion, energy, vision and drive-to-win is being brought to bear on guiding Nozomi to its next stage of development. Edgard has a MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.