We caught up with Unravel Data’s, International Area VP, Justyn Goodenough, to find out what makes him tick…
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
In the world of business, I’m most proud of helping a number of SMEs to becoming enterprise class businesses. For example, at Pentaho the average deal size went from 25,000 in 18 months to one million deal sizes. That was a great feeling for the whole business. It’s partly the thrill of success, partly the joy from growing and helping collaboratively – but working together to make big things happen is a real reward in itself.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
Technology enables so much change across different industries and within all sectors of society, and it’s a fascinating exercise to see the impact that technology evolution can have. The whole world changes around it and yet most people don’t even notice the most momentous changes after a short while. Technology is reshaping every facet of life – it’s simply where the most interesting developments in the world are taking place.
Hopefully a whole new generation will be enthused and interested enough to want to shape and direct new generations of technology and not just consume it.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
Work on the basis of trust, empowerment and feedback – these should be core principles for every leader. Beyond this, one should always lead from the front and be prepared to do anything that you ask your subordinates to do. You should show willing, understanding and a measure of ability to inspire trust.
It’s a hands-on practicality, so I’m not sure if you can call it a philosophy, but if it works and does no harm, then it’s fit for purpose.
What do you think will emerge as the technology trend of 2019 and why?
The transition of core business processes to the cloud will be the key trend. CRM moving to the cloud, HR moving to the cloud – everything delivered as a service. It’s the way of the future and if the experience of the past couple of years shows, the pace will only increase. The signs are all there and as long as the world does not go topsy-turvy, this is one trend that can be counted on to continue.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
We’re seeing the migration to cloud and the process of making it successful is currently the main area being invested in. People aren’t just talking about cloud migration, now it’s all about doing it. It’s still a complex and challenging area, so efforts are sometimes cautious, halting – and mistakes are made.
Mind you, on-premise investments are still being maintained and new ones made – but the balance is really now tipping to cloud. Data and the cloud are the best of friends – but only when well understood, optimised and maintained. It’s only recently that the right kind of solutions, mainly automation, have allowed organisations to break through from data swamps, slow data pipelines and excruciating troubleshooting, on-premise. There are whole new futures now, whether in a much better place on-premise, or in a smoothly-running cloud environment.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
So far, pretty standardly! I enjoy a social drink, try and get my exercise in the day and spend quality time with my family. I like a nice glass of Tanqueray gin of an evening and then I usually burn it off through my favourite sport; cycling. Sadly, I’m too old now to do martial arts, but that would be my absolute favourite activity, if it was possible.
It is important to have passions outside of work – they recharge you and help you get your head back in the game. You can’t concentrate on one thing all day and you shouldn’t give 100% of your daily energy just to work, because then tomorrow you’ll have far less to offer, and less the day after that. Spending your energy on many pursuits means you can bring the most amount to bear on each.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
With a time machine I would go back and convince my younger self to have stayed at Pentaho for another year – there were opportunities down the line that I could not know were coming…
But it’s silly to live life with regrets, they only slow you down. The future is unwritten, its thread yet to be unravelled.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?
Europe is a bit more reserved. There is generally a greater level of due diligence and scepticism with the adoption of any new technologies than there tends to be in North America. Slower and steadier is the watchword of the European market. It doesn’t mean they are any less forward thinking, but the continent seems to run to a different timescale as they have a different culture and manner of doing business.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
I have taken on a much greater responsibility for the end-to-end customer journey. This is crucial in the complex and often challenging world of Big Data. Often, Unravel Data will come in to help fix a mess that new customers have gotten into under their own efforts to master the Big Data toolset. That’s when customers need the most support and attention as they begin to take control of their own data destinies and unravel the challenges they have discovered are all too easy to fall into.
I see the future as the present – just more so. All of today’s challenges will be magnified, until some new technology transforms things into a kaleidoscopic new paradigm. Once all the elements have settled, people will still be people and will want the same basic things from their technologies, their businesses and their lives. But the way they go about doing it may be nothing like the way we do it now, in a few years.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
Primarily, just don’t forget the basics as you rise. Focus on simple solutions to complicated problems and always, always, leave the ego at home. Technology is still a people industry and we’re here to help people run their businesses better. They need help at critical times, not whatever ego or problems industry vendors might be having in their own personal or professional lives.
Never get so focused on the technology that you forget that technology was invented to serve people. Humans are better with technology and they need the best technology to be the best people they can be.
Be the best people-person you can be and everything else will follow.