Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to start Odaseva?
I think the initial start of this company was my role as a Software Architect – working to implement Salesforce. Schneider Electric requested a study on how to bring the maturity of the data processes from the on-prem environment to the Cloud, which was a huge challenge, but also an exciting one to address. And at the same time, I realized it is really important for large companies to enhance data protection in the Cloud and address the compliance side at the forefront of data privacy since regulation often moves faster than technology.
What is Odaseva and how does it fit into a modern Technology stack?
Odaseva offers an all-in-one Cloud data governance platform for enterprises running critical business applications in the Cloud, such as Salesforce. Over 10 million Salesforce users from industry-leading companies such as Schneider Electric, Heineken and General Electric, trust Odaseva as the ultimate solution to securely and rapidly address challenges such as data privacy compliance automation, data protection, data lifecycle management, breach detection, and archive retention.
Which Markets and Industry groups are you currently selling to?
Odaseva is currently targeting the enterprise market. Our customers generally come from a wide array of industries from automotive to government to banking who are using Salesforce as a business-critical application.
Tell us about the composition of your Marketing and Sales teams?
Odaseva’s Marketing team is dedicated to awareness, lead generation, product and event marketing as well as sales enablement. Half of Odaseva’s team is based in the United States, and the other half resides in Europe and APAC.
How much have Unified Cloud Services evolved in the past 2-3 years? What is the future of Cloud business around new technologies like IoT, Blockchain and RPA?
The biggest evolution for unified Cloud services is the understanding of the shared responsibility model across vendor and customer – Cloud vendors are responsible for the service and customers are responsible for the data. Now that there is this understanding, a lot of grey areas as it pertains to the roles and responsibilities have been eliminated.
And I would say the second aspect is, CCPA and GDPR have brought the importance of data privacy to light – a topic that the enterprise has perked up and taken notice – and it is so much more than just a legal topic but now an IT one as well. You need to professionalize regulation. And you do that through digitization so that you can automate compliance and not just for manual processes, so that the acceleration of the Cloud, also favors the acceleration of data privacy automation in software.
In the year 2000, the Cloud was born, and technological savvy customers were using the Cloud for business acceleration and innovation. Traditional IT processes that have been applied to the industry for more than 40 years — that sounded boring a few years ago when we were talking about the Cloud — are coming back into the Cloud, now that the Cloud has developed into business-critical application. We will see IT and business work together to make strategic projects a success, and part of it is the security process of IT. With the rising tide of data breaches, companies are becoming more aware about how to protect their data — an enterprise’s most valuable asset.
How much has the Start-up ecosystem inspired you to foray into new tech markets? What other start-up destinations are you willing to explore?
When I left Salesforce back in 2012, I read several books to help provide inspiration in terms of my outlook for Odaseva. I read Marc Benioff’s book about the story of the condition of Salesforce and the Lean Startup book, which were both essential to the development of Odaseva. I learned that innovation was about trying and learning, being customer-centric, and that you should always try to prioritize speed and value and improve along the way. However, some areas will still require 100% quality at the cost of speed, like security. Also, it’s important to improve the model with your business service, so you don’t invest too much on an area that won’t be beneficial for your company in the future.
I don’t consider Odaseva a startup anymore – we started eight years ago, we have millions of users and our customers are Fortune 500 companies. So, I would consider Odaseva as a scale-up company, and with that comes different challenges. As a company, we are thinking less about how we should start and thinking more about how we should scale to another degree. Our particular focus is on being a humble company and improving in a continuous way including our product, our process, our vision and how to better serve our customers.
How do you see new AI ML and Automation tools impacting Cloud and SaaS businesses in the coming months?
Odaseva has already announced a product around AI and Machine Learning, and I think we’re going to continue to see AI and Machine Learning influence the user experience in the Cloud. Initially, Odaseva was more about providing tools to analyze the past and improve the present by correcting data quality issues or recovering from data loss. We now provide AI services that help customers anticipate the problem so they, in turn, can anticipate the solution. This is only the beginning, and these types of services are going to increase.
Tell us more about your data-driven solutions. How can CMOs and CIOs optimize their Digital Transformation budget using your products, services, and solutions?
For large organizations that leverage Salesforce as a mission-critical application, Odaseva delivers enterprise-class data governance. Odaseva provides data protection and availability for enterprise Salesforce environments so that organizations can fail-over when Salesforce is down, and backup and recover data. Odaseva also delivers a platform for data compliance and data privacy for Salesforce to meet the requirements of regulations such as GDPR or CCPA, industry (SOX, HIPAA) and many other national and transnational regulations.
The platform allows organizations to reduce financial, regulatory and reputational risk, ensure performance at scale, support business SLAs and reduce data loss impacts. It was engineered for Salesforce by Salesforce experts and is endorsed and funded by Salesforce Ventures. It was designed from the ground up for the enterprise to meet the most stringent requirements of security, privacy, scale, performance, completeness, and flexibility.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Machine Learning technology for 2019-2020?
DeepFakes (human image synthesis based on AI) might become a mass phenomenon and will completely challenge the notions of truth, trust and reality. Technology will need to adapt to provide a guarantee of origin/truth.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
When it comes to data privacy, you want to make sure that the problem AI is trying to solve is relevant and brings value to the customer and in security, that’s about enabling us to have AI be able to read and interpret the data versus a “human” staff member – that ensures the data truly stays private.
At Odaseva, we developed AI solutions/models to process/interpret data. And because our “human” employees do not have access to it, it is therefore nearly impossible for a hacker to steal or have the data breached. If AI is capable of reading private data, this process changes from both a contractual and a security perspective. That’s why several vendors are building AI models that can be processed by AI solutions – ensuring that data that isn’t supposed to be seen by humans isn’t being used for the model’s training. When you have billions or trillions of data, it’s hard to know exactly what’s being sent to the model. The problem is how do you train an AI model while keeping data confidential – a problem that’s going to take years to solve.
This Is How I Work
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I don’t think I would say that we are trying to make our employees excited about using technology, I would say it’s more about using technology to find solutions. For example, if we identify something where the process is slow or manual operation is creating mistakes and frustrating everyone, we inspire our employees to provide a solution. It’s not about enjoying technology, it’s about enjoying the benefits technology brings. Technology is not always the solution. There is a common misconception that technology will fix everything, and sometimes technology can make problems even worse. It’s important to identify if a problem stems from technology or a process within the organization because the technology is just a tool we need to leverage in the right way for our organization.
One word that best describes how you work.
Kaizen (and if I got to pick a second, I would say “trusting”).
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Trust your intuition and prioritize what must get done.
What are you currently reading?
- My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer
- They Told Me It Was Impossible: The Manifesto of the Founder of Criteo by JB Rudelle
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you do something, do it by giving your best and with a smile.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I believe I make an excellent mayonnaise with a touch of basil and pepper.
Thank you, Sovan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Sovan currently serves as CEO of Odaseva, a company he founded in 2012 to answer the need for better data protection and governance in Cloud services.
Sovan spent 6 years at Salesforce leading the architect team in Paris back in 2006-2012 where he was 1st CTA (Certified Technical Architect) in EMEA. Under Sovan’s leadership, the company has emerged as the leading solution for Cloud data protection and governance.
For large organizations that leverage Salesforce as a mission-critical application, Odaseva delivers enterprise-class data governance, providing data protection (backup and recovery, archiving, governor limits monitoring), data compliance for regulation requirements such as GDPR and data operations (Salesforce DX data extensions). It was engineered for Salesforce by Salesforce experts and is endorsed by Salesforce Ventures. 10+ Million Salesforce Enterprise users from industry-leading companies such as Schneider Electric, Heineken and Robert Half trust Odaseva’s data governance platform.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.