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Techstrong

At the recent Snowflake Summit 2023, held last week, Amanda Razani of Techstrong Group had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Prasanna Krishnan, senior director of product at Snowflake Marketplace and Collaboration, about key announcements from the summit, product use-cases and collaborations.

One big topic of focus was the Native App Framework, which has led to many providers publishing native apps on the marketplace that could potentially have a big impact on the enterprise, as displayed in the below interview:

Amanda Razani: I am excited to be here today speaking with you. Can you speak about some of the announcements made this morning? What were some of the top announcements?

Prasanna Krishnan: Absolutely. Overall, we focused on bringing home the message of the data cloud, which is a single global platform, that helps to break down silos between data and drive all workloads on this data. And the workloads range from engineering to ML and AI, data science and building applications on the data cloud.

And so picking up from that, we talked about the three chapters of innovation. The first was continuing to improve our platform capabilities. We talked about the SQL engine, supporting the geospatial, and we talked about the ability to better monitor costs and take actions. And in the second chapter we talked about deploying, distributing and monetizing data and applications. And then we talked about, the Snowflake Native App Framework that is now in public preview, and being able to publish and discover data and applications on the Snowflake Marketplace, and being able to buy them and pay for them using custom billing.

And then, the third chapter of the conversation this morning was all around ML and AI, and we talked about Snowpark Container Services, which allows you to bring Docker containers and host them in the data cloud that can run within the security perimeter of a customer’s account, and enable them to bring these container applications and have them run the data in Snowflake. And we saw examples from a variety of really exciting partners: The Hex notebook that you can get as a Snowpark Container and we also saw LLMs that you can get as a Snowpark Container, and so lots of really exciting announcements all around.

Amanda Razani: Absolutely, very exciting news. Can you speak more specifically about the Native App Framework? I know Snowflake Marketplace, has already over 25 new native apps – I believe? How do you see these apps affecting the enterprise, and how do you think this will affect businesses in the future?

Prasanna Krishnan: Yeah, great question. With the Native App Framework, we now have 25+ providers who have published apps that are discoverable on the marketplace, and we are really excited about this. And feedback from customers has also been that they are really overwhelmingly excited. So I can talk a little bit about sort of what this really means, right? The Native App Framework enables customers to build applications natively for the data cloud, much like an app for the iPhone. And what this allows you to do is build these applications, deploy them and have them execute in a customer’s Snowflake account within the security guard rails of the customer’s Snowflake account where the customer can enable the app to act on data in their account. So they can give the app permissions to right into a table, for example.

And then finally, because these Snowflake Native Apps are packaged and distributed on the data cloud, customers can also leverage our on-platform monetization, to be able to charge for the apps using a variety of usage based monetization models, including custom event billing, which we talked about today, which enables an app to charge for the units of value that it’s going to bring. Maybe it’s per record, maybe it’s per prediction; and then consumers pay for exactly what they use. And so it’s really a win win. And so the use cases that unlocks are many; they range from a use case such as identity resolution with LiveRamp. So if you have marketing campaigns that you’ve run, and you have data from these marketing campaigns, and you want to be able to, let’s say, join it through a clean room with the publishers and advertisers participating in the clean room, one of the important steps you’d need is to be able to identify the same individual that might appear in both the publisher’s and advertiser’s first-party data.

And so, this is where identity resolution from a provider like LiveRamp comes in and LiveRamp has built this natively in Snowflake, so you can do identity resolution in Snowflake, and the key to this is that you’re bringing the logic to the data so you are not shipping around data, especially if it has PII that really makes governance and privacy compliance hard. With the native app from LiveRamp, you’re bringing the logic to the data, not shipping data around, and this unlocks a variety of use cases. Another really good example is the app from Goldman Sachs. The Legend native app, which brings together Goldman’s financial data cloud with their open source Legend platform, and it transforms data into actionable insights that Goldman customers can also now take and combine with their own holdings data that they have in their Snowflake accounts.

So those were a couple of examples. There are several more. Another one is from Matillion, who has a native app that allows me to bring in my Google Sheets data into Snowflake. I use Google Sheets, and it would be great to have that data in Snowflake and Matillion has built this app that can bring this data into a customer’s Snowflake account. Just a few examples.

Amanda Razani: Fantastic. So what I’m hearing is this makes things more efficient, faster, more economical, and really it is just a great positive impact across the board.

Prasanna Krishnan: Yeah, absolutely. And there are really huge benefits for both the provider and the consumer. As a consumer, when you’re typically procuring data or software from outside, you have to go through a long process of getting security approval and making sure that the app is running securely, and also then going through procurement and legal. We want to really simplify all of that for the consumer, and the Native App enables you to do that because the Native App runs in a secure sandbox environment in the consumer’s account. And we know exactly what permissions the Native App has, which enables – you know – really making security approvals much simpler.

And then on the procurement side, again, we talked today about another important announcement which was capacity drawdown, which basically enables a Snowflake customer on the buyer side to be able to pay for the data and applications that they are procuring through the marketplace. But people are using their capacity dollar commitment existing contract with Snowflake, which further reduces the procurement friction. And so those are benefits on the consumer side.

On the provider side, one of the big benefits is the provider can build an application once now. And it can be distributed across clouds. So your customers might have their Snowflake account be on any cloud provider of their choice. Build once and you can have your application distributed to all these customers and ultimately that enables you to drive new revenue streams.

Amanda Razani: Awesome. And one of the things I recall hearing this morning at the keynote, as well, is that some of these apps are specifically designed for different sectors, correct? Some for retail and some, let’s say, for the health industry etc.?

Prasanna Krishnan: Yeah, we see apps in a variety of industries. And I would say we see all kinds of apps: Apps that are sector specific, as well as apps that are horizontal. I think of it as apps that might cater to a specific use case for a specific industry; like we talked about the Goldman Legend app, which is obviously financial services focused, as well as apps that are targeted at a line of business leaders, which is more of a horizontal app that you see across industries. For example, the marketing use cases that could be for any company or CMO.

Amanda Razani: Fantastic. So do you have any other thoughts to leave with us today here at the Snowflake Summit?

Prasanna Krishnan: There’s just so much excitement, all around. I would say maybe what I will leave you with is the possibilities that this unlocks for the data cloud as a whole. There’s so many possibilities for every person, whether you’re a line of business leader who wants to leverage an application to help you manage your marketing spend, for example, and being able to do that on the data cloud; which is possible with the features we talked about, or you’re a much more technical user, like a data engineer and there are graphic abilities now that make it easier for you to do your job. And so there’s really endless possibilities for every person. And it’s all done on the cloud with the security and governance guarantees of the data cloud.

Amanda Razani: Wonderful, thank you so much for coming in and speaking with me today.