Len Finkle, CEO, Profisee talks about the significance of Master Data Management and a blend of different technologies for solving complex business problems
1. Tell us about your role at Profisee. How much of your typical day is involved in innovating master data management for your customers?
My time is mostly divided into three major areas. The first is employee engagement and productivity — where the focus is on Organizational Health. The reason this is a top priority is because we believe that our team members are the foundation for accomplishing extraordinary things. When you hire extraordinary people and place them in an environment of trust and accountability, they create fanatically loyal customers and deliver the world’s greatest products.
The next, and equally important area of focus is on customer success, answering the question, “What can we do as a company to make our customers more successful?” Here, the goal is to identify how we can provide our phenomenal team the support and tools they need to help our customers be successful.
My last priority is on product leadership. We look for different challenges in the marketplace within specific industries and work to position our technology as a solution to our customers’ current and future problems. This way, our customers can be confident that our solutions will continue to grow with them and their business goals.
2. What are the applications or rather opportunities you seek to have with your product?
The opportunity we have is to enable all companies to reap the benefits of better data, which can come in many forms, ranging from something straightforward, like a complete, 360-degree view of their customers to harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). All of these get exponentially more difficult in today’s environment where companies are collecting and managing huge volumes of data, spread across disparate applications and databases.
In the context of AI and ML, it is even more critical that companies are working with trusted, accurate data. We want to give these incredibly powerful tools the absolute best data, because companies are using them to make critical business decisions. It stands to reason, the better data we provide these systems, the better business results they can achieve.
3. How did you define the vision of Profisee? How did you approach your first 100 days at the Company?
Other companies in the master data management (MDM) space have tried to increase their market share by entering adjacent markets or blending different technologies together to create a complete solution. We believe that MDM is vital and complex, so the best way for us to provide the most value to our customers is by staying laser-focused in this sole area.
Our single goal is to be the No. 1 pure-play MDM company in the world, and we are going to accomplish that by making our software and master data management easy to deploy for any customer.
I spent my first 100 days listening to our employees. At Profisee, we have almost 1,000 person-years of experience in MDM, and I challenge even the largest companies in the world to match that. I took the time to learn from them to understand how I can help— because if we empower employees, they will make innovative products that make our customers happy and successful.
4. What are some of the industries that Profisee caters to?
One of the fantastic things about data in today’s environment is that any company, in any vertical, can benefit from having better data.At Profisee, we have catered to 20 different verticals throughout our history, but we have decided to put our primary focus on the industries that stand to gain the most benefit: financial services, healthcare and manufacturing.
Additionally, we are focused on Microsoft-centric organizations. We do that because while we can run in any environment — whether that’s AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud (GCP) or on-premises — our product is built on Microsoft technologies. This enables us to provide a seamless experience for companies who are in an Azure environment through integrations with Purview, Synapse, Azure Data Factory, and more.
5. What are some of the unique lessons you have learnt from analyzing your customer behavior?
We often find that our customers have the most success and reap the most value from MDM when they use it to manage multiple domains. Even if someone starts out thinking they only want a Customer 360 or Product 360 solution, we can very quickly make the connection between all those domains. If you think about it, a 360-degree view is extremely beneficial once they can answer questions like, “What are my most profitable products?” or “Which customers present the most beneficial cross-sell or up-sell opportunities?” Those questions require multiple “domains” or types of data.
We pride ourselves on running some of the most sophisticated applications in the world. For example, we have one of the “Big Four” accounting firms using the Profisee platform for real-time, interactive MDM with thousands of users. We also have a major insurance company running billions of records through our system. And that is the real difference with Profisee: We can start quickly, rapidly show business results, and then expand into the most sophisticated challenges that our customers have.
6. What are some of the distinctive features of Profisee’s Platform? And how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
We have several distinctive features of the Profisee Platform, but I will highlight just a couple. In the world of MDM, matching is what enables someone to look at different entities and understand which of them are unique and which may represent the same entity. This is often referred to as creating a golden record.
Our matching engine is consistently recognized by customers and analysts alike for being one of the most sophisticated yet simple to use. It is fully configurable without any coding required, making it easy for business users to customize. It can review attributes on millions of customer records and use machine learning to match them based on our customer’s individual business rules.
Also, our Microsoft integration is a huge differentiator. None of our competitors integrate as closely with Microsoft as we do. For example, if a customer uses Microsoft Purview for data governance, we can take all the rules, glossary items, and data discovery from Purview and pull them into Profisee MDM. This not only saves our customers time but also gives them immediate access to the information that has already been collected from another application, giving them a holistic view of both their data governance strategy and how it is enforced with MDM.
7. Profisee was recently recognized as a Challenger in the 2021 Gartner Master Data Management Magic Quadrant. Can you elaborate more on the same?
This Gartner recognition is tremendous because they are the leading third-party analyst firm and are extremely thorough in how they review and rank all the vendors. We are currently a Challenger in the top-left of the Magic Quadrant and are also the highest-ranked vendor in terms of execution.
Gartner acknowledged us for having more implementations in under 90 days than any other vendor, which speaks to our vision of making MDM as fast and easy to implement as possible. We are proud of being recognized for having so many customers on multiple domains because one of our primary value propositions is that customers can quickly demonstrate the success of their programs and expand into additional use cases.
Gartner praises our Business Impact Roadmap as well. This comprehensive framework helps customers understand the value of MDM and build a plan based on what will have the most significant impact on their business. We aim to be a strategic partner and are committed to helping our customers approach MDM from a strategic business perspective to maximize their success.
8. What are some of the common pain points that your customers approach you with?
Customers often tell us that having incorrect or missing information makes it hard to run their business. While that sounds extremely broad, poor data quality is a huge pain point and understanding how it manifests itself is key to solving the problem.
For example, a manufacturer may be intently focused on inventory to better manage their supply chain costs. But if a certain part is listed under different item codes across regions, they will not be able to fully understand their inventory on hand when sourcing raw materials and fulfilling customer orders.
This presents an opportunity to use MDM to collect data from disparate ERP systems and cleanse, merge, and de-duplicate it into a single golden record. That enables them to make informed business decisions that help streamline their operations, reduce procurement costs, and maximize customer value.
9. What advice would you like to give to the upcoming Data driven tech start-ups?
Start-ups need to immediately develop clarity around their vision. While that is critical for any company, it is especially magnified in a start-up where there are often fewer resources. They can start by answering questions like, “Who are we? What is our purpose? Which problems do we best solve? What differentiates us from the competition?” By answering these questions at the outset, a start-up is then able to invest in the core areas that matter most and then build out their business strategy.
10. Can you give us a sneak peek into some of the upcoming product upgrades that your customers can look forward to?
- Relationship Viewer: Provides a graphical visualization of a customer’s data and relationships, providing a more engaging experience for browsing and managing their data.
- Workflow Templates: Allows customers to define a workflow process and re-use it across multiple data sets. This also allows us to now provide out-of-the-box workflow templates that enable our customers to implement common workflow patterns even faster.
- Purview Integration: The Profisee Platform can also now integrate with Microsoft’s Azure Purview as its data governance tool. Purview offers a combination of data discovery and classification, lineage, metadata search and discovery and analytics that identify data usage across the enterprise.
11. Which is the one data-driven breakthrough you will be on the lookout for in the coming year?
Profisee has made great strides in machine learning, helping our customers determine where their data errors are without the direct supervision of data stewards. It starts with anomaly detection and machine-assisted data correction, evolving into completely automated data correction based on the customer’s past preferences actions and comfort levels.
Another exciting trend in ML and AI is robotics process automation (RPA) functionality. While the focus has initially been on automating redundant tasks, our product will reduce or eliminate the amount of time that more highly paid and skilled workers do on our customers’ most important projects. For example, a highly paid data scientist can spend over 80 percent of their time collecting or cleansing data and only 20 percent analyzing it.
There is certainly a significant benefit in having RPA automate the invoicing process, but there is exponentially more value in using ML technologies to help automate the tasks of some of the most highly paid people in an organization. This is one data-driven breakthrough where Profisee will have a direct impact.
12. What is the one quote that has stayed with you throughout your professional life?
One quote that has stayed with me throughout my career is from NFL great Jerry Rice: I will do today what others won’t so I can do tomorrow what others can’t.
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Profisee CEO Len Finkle has over 30 years of software sector experience. His background includes senior executive roles with a wide range of companies from start-ups to the largest software companies in the world such as SAP, Dun & Bradstreet, and PeopleSoft. He has experienced key learnings in world-class operational processes, best practices penetrating new markets, gaining market share, achieving extraordinary growth rates, creating best-in-class cultures and driving top-quartile customer satisfaction.