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In this Leadership Insights video interview, Amanda Razani speaks with Manish Sood, CEO and founder of Reltio, about accelerating the value of enterprise data with modern data management.



Amanda Razani: Hello, I’m Amanda with Techstrong, and I’m so excited to be here today with Manish Sood. He is the CEO and founder of Reltio. How are you doing today?

Manish Sood: Doing great, Amanda. Thanks for having me on your show. Really appreciate it.

Amanda Razani: Happy to have you on the show. Can you share with our audience what is Reltio, and what services do you provide?

Manish Sood: Amanda, Reltio is a data unification platform built in the cloud, delivered as a software as a service offering to enterprise customers who are struggling with their data fragmentation, data silo problem, given the large number of applications that they have come to use, which continues to make it harder for them to get more value out of their data investments that they have today. So that’s where we fit in, and we help them unify data for customer product supplier type of information across their enterprise landscape.

Amanda Razani: Wonderful. Well, that is a good segue into our topic of discussion today, which is accelerating value of enterprise data with modern data management. So can you share a little bit about… I know it’s all about the data these days, and the type of data is important. So can you share a little bit about data management, and what business leaders should be considering?

Manish Sood: So data management itself is a pretty broad topic, but I would like to focus on the core data that you run your business on. When you think about all the different things that you’re trying to deliver. Let’s take the example of a retail industry. If you’re in the retail industry, if you’re a company that’s selling products to consumers or customers, in that scenario, you are looking at an omnichannel type of a construct where you can have in-store way of selling the products, or an e-commerce front where you’re selling the products on the website. But across all of those different touch points, and also, the various touch points that you will have from a returns, or let’s say support or loyalty aspect, you will think about all the steps that a customer has to take in that journey and try and make it as seamless as possible for that customer.
Both you and I, as consumers, want the Amazon experience where everything is seamless. But not everybody is in Amazon, so they have to think about what systems they can create to provide that kind of a seamless experience across the entire customer experience journey. And that’s where being able to manage that data about the customer or the consumer is essential, so that you are then able to track and understand what the customer is doing at each one of these touch points in the journey. And being able to have a unified view of the customer becomes a key aspect of that. Think about the same concept being applied to various other dimensions of the business, such as supply chain management, understanding supplier information, understanding the supplier’s journey across all of the touch points, or for that matter, even product, how you sell it, who buys it, what different stores do you have it available in.
And all of those aspects are tied to product as the core entity. So for a business to be able to drive to better growth efficiency or risk and compliance outcomes, they have to have a better understanding of these core data entities that their business runs on. And that’s where I believe that the core aspect of data management has to be available, ready, accessible, and really leverage data as a strategic asset across every part of the business.

Amanda Razani: So we’ve been hearing a lot about AI. How can businesses utilize AI to help them with this?

Manish Sood: AI is a very powerful construct, and we have seen the rapid evolution, especially in the last nine to 12 months overall, where the simplification of how you can interact with AI, what kind of ease of use it can be delivered with has come to the fore, which has made AI more accessible to everybody. But at the same time, with that comes the expectation to be able to leverage AI in the enterprise as well. And I’ll take our example at Reltio. When we think about AI, we think about two aspects. One, how can we innovate with AI? So whatever we were doing without the help of AI in building product features and capabilities, can we do the same thing and increase the time to value for our customers by 10x by leveraging AI techniques and methods? That’s for building the features and capabilities inside our platform.
But at the same time, the second aspect that we think about is, how can we leverage AI to make the experience that we deliver to our customers simpler? For example, if they want to understand how should they use a particular feature inside Reltio, then it should be an AI enabled experience where they don’t have to go search for or hunt for that answer. They should be able to simply ask that question and get that response. So we are trying to infuse AI in both of those areas so that it not only allows or gives us the opportunity to deliver value to our customers, but also makes it easier for them to be able to engage and interact with us.

Amanda Razani: How important… So data across the board as much as possible is important, but how important is the real-time data?

Manish Sood: Real-time data is extremely critical. Think about the way we use to operate before, where if you ran a report, after you had… Let’s say I’m the enterprise that is servicing you as a customer. Would I like to know and understand things about how to engage and interact with you as the customer two weeks later after I have run my report, or should I be able to do it right now at this point in time when I am engaging with you? I think this is where the speed to action, everybody wants to get to a faster turnaround time. And now, we are finally at a point in time where the real time engagement is possible. The real time paradigm of being able to tailor the experience for you as a consumer of the capabilities is possible.
And that’s where the real-time access and availability of data becomes extremely critical because you can’t really inform the next best action that I, as a supplier of capabilities, should be providing to you as the customer if I don’t have access to your information or the type of product that you’re trying to buy or the method that you’re trying to use at this point in time. And that’s where the availability of data as a real time asset becomes extremely important.

Amanda Razani: As business leaders try to harness this data, how can they ensure the most accurate data possible so that they can make the best decisions?

Manish Sood: Well, it’s an investment. You cannot get to accurate, trusted data that you are going to use in your real time decision-making process without an investment associated with it. And that’s why we at Reltio created the capability for constant curation and unification of data that would make sure that all the inputs that are being received from multiple touch points, multiple applications can be stitched into a unified construct that is trusted and verified, so that it can be leveraged in that real-time decisioning process is an extremely important investment for every organization to think about. And this is how our systems are going to be wired for commerce, for engagement as we move forward. Because that method of looking at the rear view mirror or looking at reports that can come out 24 hours later or seven days later is no longer the way in which we can continue to operate. Every experience has to be informed with data, with trusted data at the point of experience, or at the point of engagement.
And the only way to get to that outcome is to make sure that we are investing in the unification and the constant curation of data that can be deemed trustworthy.

Amanda Razani: So as business leaders try to digitally transform and better harness this data, what advice do you have for them as far as what roadblocks do you see businesses encounter? And how can they best move forward past those?

Manish Sood: I think it’s a paradigm shift where everybody has to look at and embrace the current state of the enterprise. For example, in the past, everything was focused on how can we control the creation of data through a single source where it can be created, and then disseminated to the rest of the organization. That is no longer possible. Unfortunately, we are past the point where it can be controlled in that manner. Now, you have several applications. When you think about any business, you have the CRM system for managing some of the customer interactions. You may have an e-commerce system. You may also have a service and loyalty type of a program where you have a different system for managing that information. And each one of these systems or applications is acting as a data creation or a data capture point. So that is the current state of the enterprise.
And just thinking about it, looking at the historical progression, when in early 2000s, I used to engage with large enterprise customers, they would look at their environment and say that if they have six different systems, their life is extremely complicated and they need to govern it better. Now, those same customers are talking about 600 plus different systems that they have to work with every day. And each one of those systems is a point of data capture and data creation. So with that in mind, the sprawl of the enterprise is here to stay. We are no longer going to go back to one single application that will run our entire business. There will be multiple applications, best of breed applications that we will use for each and every function. But if that is the current state, then how do we harness the information into a unified asset that can then be used for informing any decision, any business process, any analytics type of outcome?
That is the way we have to think about it and get to a place where we can start to leverage the benefit of having that kind of environment available to us where we are able to capture data from multiple places, but then able to harness it into a refined, trusted view of information that informs every decision.

Amanda Razani: So looking toward the future, if there is one key takeaway that you can leave our business leaders with today, what would that be?

Manish Sood: Well, don’t shy away from the complexity that you already have surrounding you. Think about ways in which you can harness the value out of it. So for example, again, going back to the concept of unifying and creating a trustworthy set of information, that’s the focal point that we have to look at because that becomes the value driver for every growth investment that you’re going to look at, or every efficiency that you’re trying to drive in your existing business. Or even meeting compliance and risk type of outcomes, you have to have that unified view across your business of the core data that your business runs on.

Amanda Razani: Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today.

Manish Sood: Well, thank you so much, Amanda, for having me on your show. Really appreciate the opportunity.

Amanda Razani: Look forward to speaking with you again soon.

Manish Sood: Thank you.