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AiThority Interview With Jitesh Ghai, SVP and GM, Data Management at Informatica

AiThority Interview With Jitesh Ghai, SVP and GM, Data Management at Informatica

Fall Launch Questions

Hi Jitesh, please tell us about your journey into data management technology and how you started at Informatica.

I began my career at Informatica as vice president of product management for the real-time product lines, defining the overall vision and strategy, as well as for the product lines supporting operational data integration, big data, and IoT use cases. I then led Informatica’s strategy and operations group, where I was responsible for the overall definition and governance of Informatica’s multi-year organic and in-organic portfolio strategy. In my current role as senior vice president and general manager for Informatica’s data management portfolio, I am responsible for the portfolio vision, cross-functional strategy, and product road map. The portfolio I oversee includes Data Integration, iPaaS, Data Quality and Governance, Data Privacy, and Metadata Management. Before joining Informatica, I worked in a variety of leadership roles in engineering, sales, and management at 29West, Solace, and Cisco.

Please tell us more about your recent advancements in the Cloud Data management offering. Which factors / industry trends inspired your product development team to offer these new advanced capabilities?

As the cloud data management provider to 9,500 large organizations – including 85 of the Fortune 100 – we’ve seen firsthand the hurdles companies face thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid shift to remote work and sudden change in consumer behaviors led many companies to realize they weren’t as far along as they would like to be on digital transformation progress. To be truly agile and innovative in today’s business environment, companies need their data to be unified, high quality, and easily accessible, and this is only possible in the cloud and with the power of AI and automation.

With our Fall launch, Informatica delivered new enterprise cloud data management capabilities that are designed to help businesses swiftly transform in the cloud. For example, we are helping enterprises with AI-powered serverless data management, business continuity, application management, and achieving a 360-degree view of the business through master data management (MDM). This release also includes an intelligent data marketplace and data fabric that will help our customers easily find, manage, and maximize the value of their data.

New AI and automation functionality in our Customer 360 MDM solution includes a self-service customer portal and richer views into customer behaviors and patterns for more precise and granular segmentation and personalization. With these capabilities, enterprises can use trusted data to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Additionally, new data privacy management capabilities enable our customers to accelerate compliance with emerging regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) via AI and automation.

Also Read: Informatica Named a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for EiPaaS for Seven Years in a Row

Which industries would benefit from the new launch? How would it enable these customers to better prepare in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis or other unforeseeable challenges?

Informatica’s platform helps global corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits manage, protect, and strategically leverage large volumes of data. While all industries today benefit from being data-driven, there are some sectors – including retail, travel, healthcare, and government – that have been especially hit hard by the pandemic.

These industries have seen incredible demand shocks: the shutdown of international travel and physical stores, a rush on groceries, a surge in e-commerce orders, and dramatic drops in elective surgeries. They had to throw their old business continuity and scenario planning playbooks out the window and start from scratch, which couldn’t be done quickly if their data were stuck in siloes, low quality, or outdated.

For those industries hit hard, now is not the time to scale back investment in digital transformation. There’s broad-based acknowledgement that the only way to remain resilient in the face of shocks like we’ve seen in 2020 is through fact-based, trusted insights.

For example, we recently began working with a major North American airline on data governance, cataloging, and metadata management. While the organization is under tremendous strain, they recognize the power of data in maintaining resilience—and eventually, accelerating recovery.

Informatica provides industry-focused AI-powered auto-scaling capabilities. Tell us more about this unique offering and how it syncs with multi-cloud enhancements for Azure, AWS, Snowflake, and Google.

Informatica integrates with every system our customers operate, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Snowflake. In fact, this year both Microsoft and Snowflake named us Partner of the Year.

AI-powered data management, integrated with these cloud providers, frees up an organization’s data team from manual, repetitive tasks so they can focus more strategic work. Our AI engine, CLAIRE, is embedded across most products and provides unified metadata intelligence using machine learning and other AI techniques to accelerate and automate data management and governance processes.

With CLAIRE-powered auto-scaling, Informatica’s platform allows companies to automatically adjust the number of servers they’re using to run data workloads. This can lead to increased uptime and cost savings, since cloud providers tend to charge on total usage rather than maximum capacity.

COVID-19 Insights

What unique lessons in about data and customer experience did your customers learn during COVID-19? How can companies leverage customer data to stay resilient and competitive during a pandemic?  

Two years on from GDPR and with the CCPA coming into enforcement earlier this year, data governance and management were already on the C-suite agenda. When the pandemic began to shutter businesses and push the customer experience even further into the digital sphere, it quickly became clear that having a firm handle on your data was the key to speeding up digital transformation and being able to serve customers in the new normal.

Informatica’s platform empowers companies to truly leverage data as a competitive advantage during challenging times, with the power of a metadata-driven, modular platform that enables full control, access, and use of information from across the enterprise.

Additionally, a comprehensive business continuity strategy considers everything from processes and people to platforms and IT systems. The platforms aspect – especially data and application integration platforms – is especially critical since an integrated enterprise is critical to your digital customer experience.

Informatica works closely with enterprises to future-proof their application and data integration strategy so that issues never make their way to the customer experience. This year, our customers have placed an emphasis on employing AI and automation that ensure 24/7 operations, building resilient integrations that keep them safe from bottlenecks, and designing their data infrastructure to be resilient, reliable, and highly available.

Has the pandemic affected demand for cloud data management solutions, and if so, how have you had to adjust strategy?

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand for cloud data management products during the pandemic. Fortunately, Informatica was well-prepared for this shift.

In 2013, we embarked on a strategic pivot to evolve our products from on-premises tools to a broader range of cloud-based and hybrid data management solutions. By the end of FY19, we’d already succeeded in converting around 85 percent of our customers to a subscription, and today, our Intelligent Data Platform processes 15 trillion cloud transactions monthly – up from 1 trillion in May 2017.

Our long-term leadership in data management and industry credibility – Informatica leads in all five of its Gartner Magic Quadrants – have led many of the world’s largest organizations to trust us with their most valuable asset during these unprecedented times: data.

Informatica is uniquely positioned to help companies as they accelerate their cloud transformations and invest in migrating their data to cloud data warehouses. Our hybrid cloud data management offerings are especially critical for larger companies, and organizations in highly regulated industries, where some data remains on-premises.

Organizations were already embracing a massive migration to cloud data warehouses, and Informatica empowers them to see faster time to value from those investments with AI-powered capabilities and automation, as well as a comprehensive product suite inclusive of both a cloud first, cloud native platform and hybrid solutions.

Also Read: AiThority Interview With Krista Glantschnig, COO At SAP Litmos

What does your remote workplace collaboration technology suite look like?

At Informatica, we use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Onedrive to enable virtual collaboration.

Professional Advice

Hear it from the pro: How does Informatica make BI / BA teams more powerful in the current context of business continuity?

Data governance is crucial to creating value in a modern organization. With Informatica’s platform, organizations can build more resilient and reliable integrations to manage their data in the cloud, providing 24/7 operations for business continuity. Additionally, our AI and automation capabilities around tasks like privacy compliance free up an organization’s data team from manual work – in a crisis, this means they can quickly pivot to solutions.

Additionally, our multi-cloud MDM solutions enable business to master all of their mission-critical data to increase customer retention and loyalty, manage supply chain risk, drive digital commerce, and boost operational efficiency.

What are your predictions for the business skillsets that the next phase of digital transformation will demand?

We call today’s phase of digital transformation Data 4.0, and cloud, AI, and machine learning are integral to this era. In the past, we saw companies simply modernize many of their legacy applications and move them to the cloud. With Data 4.0, many organizations are truly “transforming” for the first time.

But for digital transformation to succeed, it needs to be the strategic focus of an organization, and it must be data-led. This means that we need more employees to be able to understand data, access it, and use it broadly and consistency.

It’s critical that companies upskill their workforces to be data literate. But the key distinguishing factor of Data 4.0 is AI and machine learning. The scale, automation, and trust required to achieve the next level of transformation can only be achieved through AI and ML, and these competencies will likely be the difference between success and failure. 

One podcast or webinar you would recommend to all data professionals.

MIT Technology Review’s “In Machines We Trust,” which dives into how automation impacts nearly everything in today’s world while touching on important areas of discussion, like ethics and bias.

Also Read: AiThority Interview With Greg Bennett, Conversation Design Lead At Salesforce

Thank you, Jitesh! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Jitesh Ghai, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Data Management Portfolio, including iPaaS, Data Integration, Data Quality, Data Privacy, Data Catalog, Data Governance and the core intelligent metadata driven platform, Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS). Previously Jitesh led Informatica’s Strategy and Operations group where he was responsible for the overall definition and governance of Informatica’s multi-year organic and in-organic portfolio strategy.

Jitesh began his career at Informatica as head of product management for the real-time product lines, defining the overall product vision and strategy for the product lines supporting operational data integration, big data and IoT use cases.

Informatica Logo

Informatica, the Enterprise Cloud Data Management leader, accelerates data-driven digital transformation.

Informatica enables companies to fuel innovation, become more agile, and realize new growth opportunities, resulting in intelligent market disruptions. Over the last 25 years, Informatica has helped more than 9,000 customers unleash the power of data.

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