Top Highlights from Data Company Conference 2021

Here’s a look at key takeaways from our flagship virtual event.

This summer, we hosted the second annual Data Company Conference, where technology leaders from some of the world’s largest companies came together virtually for a gathering of ideas and insights around responsible innovation. 

We’ve compiled the top takeaways from the event. If you weren’t able to join us, you can view the recordings here

Transformational Automation is Key to Closing the Innovation Gap

The day kicked off with our CEO Jedidiah Yueh, who set the stage of this year’s event by examining the growing imbalance between digital natives and digital laggards—what he refers to as the innovation deficit—and ways in which to overcome that to drive business growth. 

Twenty years ago, Yueh said, one in five of the world’s largest companies was a technology company. A decade later, two out of five were technology companies. Fast forward to today, the world’s top five companies in the S&P 500 are tech companies. Their valuations have ballooned by more than 6x from $1.3 trillion combined to more than $8 trillion combined, with companies like Apple worth more than $2 trillion. 

The secret engine powering the tech divide, Yueh explained, lies in productivity investments and transformational automation. The most successful companies today, like Microsoft and Apple, outshine large enterprises in three areas: speed, quality, and security. They’re automating the process of innovation, rather than automating a business process or just a few activities. 

Listen to the full presentation here

Forward-thinking CXOs View Compliance as an Opportunity

In the financial services industry, the opposing dynamics of fintech companies and banking organizations create the perfect storm of risk. Fintechs have very little experience dealing with regulations, whereas traditional banks aren’t accustomed to the fast-paced, changing environment in which fintech startups operate. 

During a fireside chat with Delphix’s President of Worldwide Field Operations Steven Chung, First Foundation Inc.’s EVP/COO Lindsay Lawrence shared: “We’re first and foremost in the risk business, so I don’t care how cool the idea is,” Lawrence stated. “If we can’t get it past [regulators], if our security is not where it needs to be, game over.”

“The reality is that a lot of [fintechs] don’t understand those hurdles that we have to go through. We’re educating them, which is allowing us to have great partnerships and then deliver a better client experience to our customers. I think our biggest partnership is truly with our regulators to help us get there and stay competitive.”

Bank of the West CIO Jacob Sorenson added, “You don’t really get to be a bank without tending to your regulatory, your compliance, and your data security, data privacy, and cybersecurity concerns.” 

In a similar vein, while banks are striving to continuously deliver new and enhanced digital experiences, human interaction still matters.

During the pandemic “a lot of these digital only banks, the Marcus’ of the world, weren’t offering PPP loans, yet that’s where everybody was banking,” Lawrence said. “So when [consumers] tried to get help, they couldn’t talk to a human being over there. It really highlighted that relationships and human interaction matters in those members that matter most.” 

Sorenson shared the same sentiment:

“Every new bank that starts today is a digital bank. I don't think we've completely gotten to a place where a 100% digital will completely win. We've seen an uptake of millennials wanting to come in, wanting to talk to someone, a person about financial advice. I think how we can marry digital and human is really front and center with our strategy.”

Replay the fireside chat here

Sustainability is Now a Key Driver of Innovation

Smart companies today, like Natura &Co and Bank of the West, are treating sustainability as innovation’s new frontier. It’s forcing organizations to change the way they think about products, technologies, and business practices. 

The world’s fourth largest beauty company Natura &Co is committed to generating positive economic, social, and environmental impact around the globe. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company looked to drive digital innovation to meet the changing market needs and customer expectations by embracing DevOps principles and embracing green data automation capabilities. 

“At Natura, we have a longstanding commitment to produce a positive impact on the world,” said Renzo Petri, head of cloud platform engineering at Natura &Co. “Our journey of digital transformation is a strategic enabler for all of our commitments with regards to the positive social impact we want to create. Technology is the level to promote the development of both social inclusion with the financial benefits. We want to be the best beauty group for the world, not just in the world.”

Through their digitization and modernization efforts, combined sales for e-commerce and social selling in the group grew 80 percent in the fourth quarter. The group was able to reach the highest level of digital sales in history. Read more about Natura &Co’s Sustainability Vision 2030 here.

Bank of the West, a leading sustainable bank in the U.S.,  is taking action to support activities that help protect the planet, improve people’s lives, and strengthen communities. 

“Most people don't actually realize that when they deposit money in a bank that their money gets put to work,” Jacob Sorenson shared. “We're starting to find out that people do care.”

“As a bank, we don't give loans to anyone in the fossil fuel industry. We don't do anything with tobacco. That's a big part of our go-to-market right now from the consumer side all the way up to large corporations. I think you're going to see some pretty big organizations publicly break up with their banks today in favor of a bank like ours.”

In just a few weeks, Bank of the West issued more than $3 billion in loans for 12 months that saved nearly 300,000 jobs in the community with its PPP work alone. 

Access Natura &Co: DevOps for Beauty and the Planet here

Data for DevOps Can Empower Dev Teams to Move Faster and Ship Better Digital Experiences 

Legendary DevOps researcher Gene Kim joined us this year as our guest keynote speaker. He drew insights from what he’s learned studying technology leaders adopting DevOps principles and patterns in large, complex organizations. He explains the role of data management in DevOps and what it means to build a world-class engineering culture. 

“I love the phrase data is the new oil, but I love this phrase even more: Data is the new soil,” Kim said. “Data is a software game. I have seen so many instances where leaders leading $50 million software projects don't actually have a software technology background, so they're not even doing things like version control, right? And these are absolutely critical to not screw things up but more importantly to achieve the mission.”

Check out Gene’s presentation here.  

He concluded his presentation with an inspirational quote: 

“It is fast beating the much value as the tech giants have created, that will be dwarfed when every organization across every industry vertical of which employs over 17 million developers. If we can get them as productive as if they were out of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft, that will, without doubt, add trillions of dollars to our economy every year. When that happens, suddenly the impossible becomes possible.”

Meet This Year’s Standout Innovators Recognized During the Awards Ceremony at the Conference 

Chosen from more than 50 nominees across verticals, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), Unisys, Choice Hotels International, and Sky Italia were recognized for their innovative use of DevOps and data automation to transform digitally and drive business growth. 

“We are proud to partner with UKG, Unisys, Choice Hotels International, and Sky Italia on their digital transformation journeys. Their success is proof that every company is a data company and that DevOps plus data is the backbone of transformation in the digital world,” said Alex Hesterberg, Chief Customer Officer at Delphix.

Read the full announcement here

We look forward to a more incredible and in-person event in 2022! In the meantime, tune into all on-demand Data Company Conference content here

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