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Every company that exists wants to be data-driven today: Vimal Venkatram, Managing Director - India, Snowflake

Vimal Venkatram, Managing Director - India, Snowflake spoke to Dataquest about where organisations in India in stand

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Supriya Rai
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Vimal Venkatram

Data-driven transformation is the latest force to reckon with in the IT industry. Organisations now seem to want to make the most of their transactional and organisational data to deliver superior experience, and ensure their institutional growth. Recently, on the sidelines of the Snowflake Data Cloud World Tour, Vimal Venkatram, Managing Director - India, Snowflake spoke to Dataquest about where organisations in India stand as far as data analytics is concerned, the challenges involved, and how Snowflake is helping them navigate through this.

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DQ: How aware are organisations in India about the power that data analytics holds?

Vimal Venkatram: Whether it's a digital native business, or a traditional enterprise, everyone wants to be data driven today. This is a huge shift that I've witnessed, in my personal journey, at Snowflake for three and a half years. Initially, there were conversations about should we should we or shouldn't we embark on this data analytics journey. However, the pandemic really disrupted and accelerated digital transformation across many sectors, even the uninitiated sectors that we didn’t expect to get activated so quickly. Everyone needs access to information, and make data-driven decisions. In addition to that, it’s not just a data-driven organization, but it's really changed the culture of the organization. It starts from the top, right on the board,  to the CFO, CIO and then to the entire organization. We have witnessed this across cities, and organisations in varied stages of growth. This is really a testament of the power of data.

DQ: What are the challenges that organisations face while leveraging the massive volumes of data that is generated everyday? How are you helping them navigate through this?

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Vimal Venkatram: One of the key solutions to this is having a single source of “truth”. That single source of truth or a single platform for all the data that is being generated, is a starting point. Without that, for instance, your marketing, finance and human resources as a function, have individual data, silos, they are all making decisions on different sets of data. This leads to chances of them not being synchronized, so they end up spending a lot of time and effort managing the synchronization of the data. So putting data in a single source of truth is the first step. When you set up a single platform, for all your data, it doesn't really matter how much data volumes you are ingesting because it's coming to a single platform. Everybody in your organization is making decisions based on one set of data or a single copy. You should not be adding multiple sets of truth values at work. And that is the starting point for solving this complex challenge of the vast proliferation of data.

DQ: How should organizations leverage their transactional or organizational data?

Vimal Venkatram: I'll repeat what I said earlier, have a single source of truth, definitely. In addition to that, also really creating a culture for an organization to use the data as well. It's one thing to have data. That's a technology challenge, which will obviously be sorted out. But there's also a cultural aspect within the organization. Once the data is in a single source of truth, how am I now democratising data within my organization? Is it being driven from a transformative agenda by the board? It's the top down approach, which works most efficiently. It's a culture that the leaders are setting for the organization. And that's where digital transformation occurs! When technology and culture really go hand in hand.

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DQ: How do you view the performance of artificial intelligence and machine learning models?

Vimal Venkatram: Again, AI models really work best when they can work on the single source of truth, or the single copy of data. We've seen, in our experience, that many customers, not only locally, but globally, sometimes have different data sets for training models. When you're making data driven decisions, and want to run any model and train your model, it should be on that same copy of data. So, again, I’ll say that it is important to have a single platform to address this.

DQ: Data privacy compliances and rules are evolving every single day. How are you helping organisations keep up with this?

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Vimal Venkatram: This is a conversation I have, with so many customers day in and day out. So we're helping some of the most regulated and sensitive industries that really use data as a differentiator asset. Now we have customers across healthcare, financial services, FinTech and others. So irrespective of the sensitivity of the industry and regulation, we believe we have a very secure platform. We have had many references from financial services industries globally. Our largest clients are in the financial services space, and healthcare. These are industries where security privacy compliance now is not an afterthought, and instead it really starts with that.

DQ: Any final comments that you would like to make?

Vimal Venkatram: India is an extremely important market for us. We have now expanded to three cities in India where we have some amazing customer representation, a lot of partners and we are witnessing a growth of the ecosystem on the whole. It's extraordinarily heartwarming. It's an overwhelming feeling for me personally. We've had amazing success in multiple sectors such as financial services, retail, consumer products, digital native businesses, edtech and so on. We intend to focus on the market very strategically, and that's a key part of our global GTM.

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