SalesTechStar Interview with Mark Simon, Vice President, Strategy at Celigo
In this catch-up with SalesTechStar, Mark Simon, Vice President, Strategy at Celigo chats about the growing need for iPaaS solutions and how they can benefit internal processes and teams:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Mark, tell us a little about your journey so far and more about your role at Celigo…
My tech industry journey started nearly 20 years ago at the University of Washington, where I studied computer science and economics. I started my career as a Software Engineer in the wild early days of ecommerce. I was CTO and part of the founding team at an ecommerce startup, Evo. I then moved into consulting where I led the professional services practice at Explore Consulting on mid-market digital transformation and cloud adoption. Today, I serve as the vice president of strategy at Celigo. Our mission is to make automation as simple as possible by enabling those in the enterprise to build or launch custom integrations.
‘’Digital transformation’’ has been the name of the game ever since the start of the Covid19 pandemic, we’d love a few thoughts from you on how you observed industries/businesses revamp internal processes during this time and what technologies you saw come to the forefront more.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed that companies must prepare themselves for unprecedented challenges and that those that focused on agility and speed of delivery, not just efficiency, can thrive when others struggle. Digital transformation provided companies with new tools and systems to survive. We’re now moving into a post-digital era requiring a more complete data-driven automation strategy to compete and scale. This post-digital transformation era focuses on serving customers best, remaining competitive and automating at scale.
While we saw this occur across industries, ecommerce comes to mind as one that stepped up to the plate to meet demand. For example, Titan Brands, an online-based retailer, prioritized post-digital automation. Titan Brands grew from 50 SKUs to more than 3,000 as they expanded their portfolio with additional fitness and outdoor brands, doubling their size. As Titan Brands continued to scale, its leadership needed better insights to manage and analyze data to enhance its business decisions.
They eventually utilized an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) with pre-built integrations between its ERP and multiple online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. The company can now update pricing, inventory, listings, sales, and returns and provide accurate near real-time data to customers.
Celigo recently commissioned a study on the use of advanced iPaaS surrounding this, we’d love an overview of the findings?
The study surveyed 413 global IT and finance decision-makers to gauge their thoughts on using an advanced iPaaS on a business. The study found that mid-market companies that successfully move forward with digital technologies, people and processes utilize advanced iPaaS solutions to win in this new environment against more established and better-funded competitors. The report also found it’s practical to use iPaaS to support B2B and analytics use cases that enable consolidating integration technology.
Organizations without iPaaS struggle with data management. The findings show that 67% of respondents from organizations that don’t have an iPaaS mentioned a lack of visibility into the data needed to make real-time decisions and an absence of data integrity as significant challenges of their company’s current SaaS landscapes.
76% of those surveyed mentioned innovating business processes as their top priority for 2022. Additional priorities include modernizing data warehouses and increasing process automation.
The report highlighted another interesting piece of data: 64% of respondents said an iPaaS solution should give each employee the skills and tools needed to build and ultimately launch business process automation where it’s needed. Another 46% said an advanced iPaaS solution would give their IT and non-IT users the starting point they needed to automate business processes.
When it comes to continued digital transformation efforts, what do you feel B2B teams need to be keeping in mind through 2022 and beyond?
Recent unprecedented challenges — such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis — should remind teams that companies prioritizing automation using modern tools and strategies are far more agile and better prepared to navigate volatility than those opting to keep their legacy systems.
Look no further than businesses who manage their supply chain demand planning with spreadsheets or processes across poorly connected, isolated systems. These outdated processes result in data silos, low visibility, slow business operations and negative customer experiences. Automating demand planning enhances operations and provides a level of data and analytics on which to base key company decisions. Automation also enables/empowers companies of all sizes to improve forecasting agility.
A few thoughts on the top trends you feel will shape online marketplaces through this year…
Soon, we’ll witness the convergence of tech and automation beyond a single tool — a trend Gartner calls hyper-automation, or the intersection of all technologies. This type of automation requires workflow, integration, analytics and business process mapping. The shift to hyper-automation will eventually mandate additional investment for IP, architecture, curated data and integration and development. Companies and their partners must collaborate as they move to hyper-automation — both should bring knowledge and skill sets to the table to benefit each other.
The Celigo platform is a world-class integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that allows IT and line of business teams alike to automate both common and custom business processes, enabling the entire organization to be more agile and innovate faster than competitors.
Mark Simon is VP of Strategy at Celigo. With over two decades of experience in the tech industry, Simon has spent his time leading teams at a number of different companies, such as Explore Consulting and Evo, where he served as Chief Technology Officer. Mark studied economics and computer science at the University of Washington.
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