Becky Smith | Denodo Technologies | TechWeek18

Avatar Ben Fower | 20/12/2018

Becky Smith from Denodo Technologies joined us at TechWeek18 to discuss Denodo and what they do as a company. Hosted by Will Spalding

Will: To kick things off. I’m delighted to be joined by our first guest of the Expo, Becky Smith. Becky, you obviously work for Denodo. So, tell us a little bit more about your company and what you guys get up to there.

Becky: Absolutely Will, thank you. So, Denodo we’re all about data virtualization and data virtualization is really about creating an abstract middleware layer to enable you to connect to any data source, then consume that data by modelling it applying security governance and they are making it available for consumers at the top end, whether it’s BI or putting it out there as data services or web services. So, we’re all about really just making data readily available in real-time for user communities and taking all of the complexity of modelling and abstracting that data away.

Will: No, it’s really interesting actually because from when I did a little bit of research on you guys. You do it mainly for a B2B market, don’t you? Is that correct?

Becky: Yes, absolutely and our customers range from large Banks, insurance companies through to universities, medical research, all the way to government bodies. So it’s really the full spectrum of providing services, retailers as well and it might be use cases such as take banking, for example, it could be in financial services. They’re looking to know their customer, so to have that customer 360 View and to do that they need to be able to bring in many different disparate data sources. So, by using the Denodo platform, they’re able to connect all that data and then create the models that allow the business to consume that data as meaningful information. So that’s just one use case for example. It might be, for example, NHS in Scotland use us to collect data in findings around services they provide so they can monitor in a more timely fashion. So, there are very varied and wide use cases.

Will: So the main types of people who you target. I mean are you talking to a lot of CTOs when they go to companies or are you talking to the developers. So, all the way from the bottom line developers for companies?

Becky: Yeah so a little bit of everything so, you know very much the CTO management layer, but also the data architect, the people who are involved in those data integration projects that are looking to find a smarter way of dealing with the big data, you know a lot of companies now have got their data lakes or data swamps almost but are struggling to get that information back out. So, they’re often our audience that we do speak to that will come to us visit our website or actually just go and try Denodo. They can download Denodo and try it for free. So, we’ll get people doing that as well. So, it varies from top level all the way down to even some business analysts as well.

Will: So, do you do that there at Denodo you do free trials initially then is it or is it a consultative conversation that you have?

Becky: So, it will vary so for a number of years now, we’ve had Denodo Express which people can download and can use for free and we’ve got customers out there actually running projects in production using the Denodo Express and then just recently because Denodo is available both in the cloud as well as on premises. We’ve actually got some test drives both on AWS and on Azure wherein two hours someone can just go work through a little use case using Denodo and can get a sense of what it’s all about and then from there they can go on and do a trial and even go into the marketplace if they wanted to so we’ve really got the choice which suits people. A lot of the time with bigger firms, we may engage with them with our proof of concept. Work through a particular use case that they are trying to solve and work through from there. Then we find often that Denodo then expands across the organization into many other areas as well. So, it’s really about the flexibility.

Will: Well just give us a little bit of history about Denodo. How long have you guys been about for?

Becky: So Denodo has been actually around for almost 20 years, 19 years now. Originally founded in Spain up in Northern Spain in Galicia. We’re now headquartered in California in Palo Alto.

Will: There’s no surprise there,  being based in California nowadays.

Becky: Absolutely and you know, our development takes place both in the US, but also, we still have that heartland in Spain. So, I like to say we’re kind of a global company but still with a Spanish heart so we kind of got both. We do have a global presence so, you know, all the way from here in Europe we have a number of offices. In the U.S. of course, and then also in the far east as well.

Will: I mean that’s a real good point. You just raised there, obviously being here at TechWeek in Frankfurt. Are you focusing on a particular market or is it just, you know, quite a wide global audience that you have?

Becky: It’s really a very wide global audience, you know, so we certainly have a lot of traction around the financial services sector and insurance. You know, they are drowning under the big data, but also with things like governance and regulations sovereignty kind of coming into place, you know, here in Europe with the GDPR that came in on the 25th of May. People are looking to find ways to govern so I think regardless of the industry and whether it’s a B2B or B2C as our customer, they need to find ways of governing or perhaps masking sensitive information and again, that’s something our platform can actually do.

Will: I think especially with things like GDPR it can be such a bit of a, well a muddle, for a lot of businesses as well especially the smaller SMEs style businesses. We’ve had a lot of conversation at Disruptive about it before and, you know, that’s something that you guys heavily focus on then is it?

Becky: Yeah, so certainly because within our abstraction layer we have the ability to provide security and governance, we can provide that on top of all the different sources before it’s consumed by the end applications. So, whether that’s different communities of analyst or end-user consumers or going out to third party apps we could make sure that that security governance is in place. So for example if you were working in retail in the marketing side that you couldn’t see any personally sensitive information that can be masked from you in your virtual views that you can consume or if you’re in the medical world, maybe you are involved in a sales aspect you wouldn’t be allowed to see any sensitive data. So, through the security, we can control exactly who sees what but in a single layer as opposed to trying to stitch together multiple. We also have the lineage, so you can see where the information has come from and that’s really important when people looking to make decisions based on data, they need to have trust in that data. So, they need to understand where it’s actually come from.

Will: Very interesting. So, what are your plans then for the rest of the expo? Have you got any particular things that you wanted to come sees here at all?

Becky: So, for us, we’ve got a number of our partners here. So, we’ve got partners that we work with on the BI side particularly such as Click and Tableau. You know, who we do provide feeds and connectors up to. Plus, also the data sources some of the traditional ones but also the cloud data sources again, it’s an opportunity to see those guys. For us, of course, is also evangelizing with the attendees of the show about how data virtualization can really make a difference. Utility and how it can actually save some time compared to traditional warehousing.

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