What is your role at Apliqo and how does your work impact the development of Apliqo’s products?
My role is Chief Technical Officer CTO. I’m responsible for our technology stack and making sure that we have the right product architecture so all the technologies can talk to each other and moreover that our developers all have a common understanding and a product and user focus. I would say my work impacts our products quite a lot. I still get my hands dirty architecting our planning models, right down to writing the backend code. Since our core technology is IBM Planning Analytics, sometimes I feel I have an alternate title of Chief TM1 Officer.
You have been involved in Performance Management and Business Intelligence for a long time. What do you find interesting about the industry?
That’s right. 15 years, even longer if you include the business modelling aspects of my first career in strategy consulting. Our industry has a lot of jargon – big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, or even the term business intelligence itself. However, at the core the value proposition of the industry hasn’t changed and revolves around enabling people to spend less time doing mundane tasks preparing data and more time on doing the job they are actually paid to do performing analysis and making decisions. Despite there being so much competition in the market the fact that there is still so much opportunity never ceases to surprise me and this provides an almost continuous stream of challenging problems to solve which always keeps things interesting.
Apliqo was founded in 2013 and you have been there from the start. Which milestones are you particularly proud of?
In terms of product there are a few that come to my mind. Getting from the whiteboard to our first product or the release of our second generation FPM model. But the milestones I’m most proud of aren’t about products or releases but customers and people. The moments that stand out for me are adding our 10th employee, expanding our development and support capability with our office in India and the first time we ran two Apliqo implementations in parallel with customers on different continents.
As CTO your focus is on new innovations and ideas. What are the biggest technological challenges to overcome for Apliqo’s continued successful development?
As businesses move more and more core applications to the cloud the major challenges are to handle data security. Our applications often contain budget and mid- or long-term strategic planning figures which can often be just as market sensitive as actuals or even more so. Integrating data flows securely into cloud and on-premise systems like ERP, CRM and payroll while keeping planning data confidential in the cloud will remain a challenge. And as always, the major issues to solve are not purely technical but have primarily to do with human behaviour.
What does Apliqo have to do to keep on actively shaping the future of Enterprise Performance Management?
Our key differentiator has always been and remains domain knowledge. We strongly believe that we have chosen the right technology for enabling unified performance management. But it isn’t about technology, it’s about truly understanding the needs of FP&A professionals and the CFO. Building products with a clear purpose and a clear audience in mind, listening to our customers and repeating the cycle.