Rick Nucci, Guru | Boomi World 2019


>>Narrator: Live from
Washington, D.C., it’s theCUBE covering Boomi World 19. Brought to you by Boomi.>>Welcome back to theCUBE, the leader in live tech coverage. I’m Lisa Martin, John
Furrier is my co-host, and we are at Boomi World
2019 in Washington, D.C. Very pleased to be joined
by the founder of Boomi and the co-founder and
CEO of Guru, Rick Nucci. Hey, Rick.>>Hello.>>Lisa: Welcome to theCUBE.>>Thanks for having me,
this is very cool setup.>>Lisa: Yeah, isn’t it?!>>Rick: Yeah.>>So this is a founder of Boomi. It’s pretty cool to have
a celebrity on our stage.>>Rick: I’m not a celebrity. (laughs)
>>(laughs) Talk to us about all that back in the day back in Philadelphia
when you had this idea for what now has become a company that has 9,000+ customers
in 80+ countries.>>Yeah, I’m beyond proud of this team and just how well they have done and made this business
into what it is today. Yeah, way back in 2007, we were really looking at
the integration market, and back then, cloud was
really an unknown future. It was creeping up the
Hype Cycle of the Gartner. Hype Cycle’s my favorite thing they do. A lot of people were
dismissing it as a fad, and we were early adopters
of cloud internally at Boomi. We were early users of
Salesforce and NetSuite and just thought and made a bet and a lot of this stuff is luck as any founder will tell you, any honest founder will tell you. And recognize that, hey, if the
world were to move to cloud, how would you actually think
about the integration problem? Because it would be very different than how you would think
about it in the on-prem days when you have everything
in your own data center behind your own four walls. In this world, everything’s different. Security’s a huge deal, the way data moves and has to mediate between
firewalls is a big deal. And none of these products
are built like this and so, really wanted as a team, and I remember these early conversations and had the willingness to take a big bet and swing for the fences and what I mean by that
is really build a product from the ground up in this
new paradigm, new cloud, and take a bet and say,
hey, if cloud does take off, this will be awesome for Boomi. If not, well, we’ll be in the
line of all the other startups that have come and gone. And I think we ended up in a good spot.>>Yeah, that’s a great point, Rick, about the founders being honest. And a lot of it is hard work, but having a vision and making
multiple bets and big bets. I remember, when EC2 came out, it was a startup dream, too, by the way. You could just purchase a data center. But it wasn’t fully complete, it was actually growing very fast. More services were coming
on, they were web services, so that was API-based concepts back then. When was the crossover point for you guys going, “okay, we got this,
the bets are coming in. “We’re going to double down, we’re
going to double down on this.” What were some of those moments where you started to get visibility
that was a good bet? And what did you do?>>Yeah, what it really
was was the rise of SaaS, very specifically, and the
rise of business applications that were being
re-architected in the cloud. And everybody knew about Salesforce, but there weren’t a lot
of other things back then. And there was NetSuite
and a handful of others, but then, you started to see
additional business units start to build cloud, and
you had, in the HR space, with success factors in Taleo
and marketing automation space with Eloqua and Marketo. CRM space, we all know that story, e-commerce space procurement, and you start to see these
best-of-breed products rise up which is amazing, but
as that was happening, it was proliferating
the integration problem. And so what became really
clear to us, I think, as we were going through this and finding product market fit for Boomi, again, back in 2007, 2008, that was the pattern
that emerged, like hey, every time someone buys
one of these products, they are going to have to integrate ’cause you’re talking about
employee data, customer data. You have to integrate this
with your other systems and that was going to
create an opportunity for us and that was where we were like, okay, I think we’re onto something.>>You know, to date, we’ve
been doing theCUBE for 10 years. We made a big bet that
people, authentic conversation would be a good bet, turns out it worked. We love it, things going great, but now, we’re living in a world now that’s getting more complex and I want to get your thoughts that Dave Vellante, myself, Stu who have been talking
about how clouds changed and we were goofing on
the Web 2.0 metaphor by saying, Cloud 1.0, Cloud 2.0. But I want to get your thoughts
on how you might see this because, if you say Cloud 1.0 was Amazon, compute storage, AtScale,
cloud NATO, all started there. Pretty straightforward if you’re
going to be born in the cloud, then you could work
with some things there, but to bring multicloud and
for enterprises to adopt with this integration challenge, Cloud 2.0 unveils some new things like, for instance, network
management now is observability. Configuration management is
now automation (chuckles). So you start to see
things emerge differently in this Cloud 2.0 operating model. How do you see Cloud 2.0? Do you believe that,
one, there’s a Cloud 2.0 the way I said it, and if so, what is your version of what
Cloud 2.0 would look like?>>Yeah, I think, yes, definitely
think things are changing and the way that I think about it is that we’re continuing to unbundle, and what I mean by unbundle is we’re continuing to proliferate… Buyers are willing to buy and, therefore, we’re
continuing to proliferate relatively narrower and narrower and deeper and deeper
capabilities and functionalities. And one big driver of that is AI, specifically, machine learning, and not the hypey stuff,
but the real stuff. It’s funny, man, when
you compare, right now, AI, and what I was just talking about, it’s the same thing all over again. It’s Hype Cycle crawling
up the thing, okay. But now, I think the
recipe for good AI products that really do solve problems is that they’re very intentionally narrow and they’re very deep
because they’re gathering good training data and they’re built to solve a very specific problem. So I think–>>Like domain expertise,
domain-specific–>>Exactly, industry expertise, domain expertise, use case. If you’re gathering training
data about a knowledge worker, the data you’ll gather is very different if you’re a salesperson or an HR professional or an engineer. And I think the AI companies
that are getting it right, are really dialed in and focused on that, so as a result, you see
this proliferation of things that might be layered on top
of big platforms like CRM’s and technologies like Slack, which is creating a place for
all this to come together, but you’re seeing this unbundling where you’re getting more and more kind of almost microservices, not quite, but very fine-tuned, specific
things coming together.>>So machine learning,
I totally agree with you, it’s definitely hype, but
the hardcore machine learning has a math side to it
and a cognition side, cognitive learning thing. But, also, data is a common thread here. I mentioned domain-specific.
>>Rick: All about the data.>>So, if data’s super important, you want domain expertise
which I agree with, but also there’s now a
horizontal scalability with observation data. The more data you have, the
better at machine learning. It may or may not, depending
on what the context is, so you have contextual data, this is a (chuckles) hard thing. What’s your view on this
because this is where people maybe get caught around the
axis of machine learning hype and not nearly narrowing on
what their data thinking is.>>Rick: 100%.
>>What’s your–?>>100%, I think people will
tend to fall in the trap of focusing on the algorithms
that they’re building and not recognizing
that, without the data, the algorithms are useless. Right?
>>Lisa: Right.>>And that it’s really about how, as a ML problem that
you’re trying to tackle. Are you gathering data that’s good, high-quality, scalable, accurate, protected, and safe? Because now, for different reasons, but again, just like when
we were moving to cloud, security and privacy are utmost important because, for any AI to do its job well, it has to gather a lot of
data out of the enterprise and store it and train off of that.>>It’s interesting a
lot of the cloud play. I mean sales was just a
unicorn right out of the gate and they were a pioneer,
that’s what it is. They were cloud before cloud
was cloud as we know it today. But you see a lot of things like the marketing
automation cloud platform. It’s a marketing cloud,
I got a sales cloud. Almost seem too monolithic and you see people
trying to unbundle that. I think you’re right. Or break it apart ’cause the data is stuck in this full-stack model because, if you agree with your sets, horizontal scalability
and vertical integration is the architecture. Technically, that’s half-stack. (chuckles)
>>Yes, yes.>>John: So half-stack
developers are evaluable now.>>Totally, and yes, I like that term. The other problem that I
think you’re getting at is tendency isolation of that data. A lot of things were
built with that in mind, meaning that the best
AI you’re going to build is only going to be what you can derive from one customer’s set of data. Whereas, now, people are
designing things intentionally such that the more customers
that are using the thing, the better and smarter it gets. And so, to your point
about monolithic, I think the opportunity that the
next wave of startups have is that they can design in that world and that just means that their technology will get better faster ’cause it’ll be able to
learn from more data and–>>This hasn’t been
changing a lot in cloud. I want to get your thoughts
because you guys at Boomi here are on a single-tenant instance model because the collective
intelligence of the data benefits everybody as more people come in. That’s a beautiful fly, we’ll feel a lot like Amazon model to me. But the old days, multi-tenancy
was the holy grail. Maybe that came from the telcos
or whatever, hosting world. What’s your view on single-tenant instance on a SaaS business
versus, say, multiten… There’s trade-offs and pros and cons. What’s your opinion, where
do you lean on this one?>>Yeah, I mean we, both Boomi and Guru, so two eras worth or whatever. You have to have some
level of tenancy isolation for some level of what you do. And, at Boomi, what we did is we separated the sensitive, private data. Boomi has customers processing
payroll through its product, so very, very sensitive stuff absolutely has to be protected
and isolated per tenant, and Boomi and Guru is signing up for that, and the clauses that we sign
to are security agreements. But what you can decouple from that is more of the metadata or the attributes about that data and that customer, so Boomi, you’re referring
to, launched way back when Boomi Suggest
which basically learned. As all the people were building data maps, connecting different things together, Boomi could learn from all that and go, oh, you’re trying to do this. Well, these however many other customers, let me suggest how these maps are drawn, and Guru, we’re following
a very similar pattern, so Guru, we store
knowledge which also tends to be IP for a company and so, yes, we absolutely
adhere to the fact that only a handful of our employees can ever see that stuff, and that’s ’cause they’re in devops, and they needed to keep things running, but all the tenants are
protected from one another. No one could ever leak to another one. But there are things about
organization and structure and tagging and learnings you can get that are not that sensitive stuff that does make the product
better from an AI perspective the more people that use it. And so, I don’t know that I’m
giving you one or another, but I think it does come down to how you intentionally design your data to it.>>John: Decoupling is the critical piece.>>Absolutely.>>This is the cloud architecture. Decouple, use API’s to connect
highly cohesive elements, and the platform can
be cohesive if shared.>>Absolutely, and you can
still get all the benefits of scalability and elastic
growth and, yeah, 100%.>>Along that uncoupling line, tell us a little bit
briefly about what Guru is and then I want to talk
about some of the use cases. I know I’m a big Slack user;
you probably are too, John. Talk to us about what you’re doing there, but just give our folks
a sense of what Guru is and all that good stuff.>>Sure, I mean Guru’s,
in some ways, like Boomi, rethinking a very old
problem, in this case, it’s knowledge management. That’s a concept we’ve
talked about for a long time and I think, these days,
it has really become something that does
impact a company’s ability to scale and grow reliably,
so very specifically, what we do is we bring the knowledge that employees need to do their job to them when they need it. So imagine if you’re a
customer support agent and you’re supporting Spotify, you’re an employee of Spotify. And I write in and I want to know about the new Hulu partnership. As an agent, you use Guru to look up and give me that answer and you don’t have to go to a portal, you don’t have to go to
some other place to do that. Guru’s sitting there
right next to your ticket or your chat as you’re
having it in real time, saying, hey, there’s asking about Hulu. This is the important things
you want to know and talk about. And then the other half of that is, we make sure that that doesn’t go still. The classic problem with
knowledge products is the information, when you’re talking about something like product
knowledge, changes all the time. And the world we live in is moving faster and faster and faster, so we used to ship product once a year, once every two years. Now we ship product every month, sometimes couple times a month.>>Can you get a Guru
bot for our journalism and our Cube hosts? We can be real time.
>>Hey!>>I would be happy to do that.>>That’d be great!
>>(laughs) Guru journalist.>>Actually, you’re able
to set it right in there where your ears are–
>>Lisa: I’ll take it.>>Just prompting you, exactly. So, and then you asked about Slack, that’s a really great partner for us. They were an early
investor in the company. They’re a customer, but together, if you think about where a lot of knowledge exchange happens in Slack, it’s, hey, I need to know something. I think I can go slack John ’cause I think he’ll know the answer. He knows about this. And you’re like the 87th person who’s asked me that same thing over again. Well, with Guru being
integrated into Slack, you can just say, “Guru,
give them the answer.” And you don’t have to repeat yourself. And that expert fatigue
problem is a real thing.>>John: That’s a huge issue.>>Absolutely.
>>And, as your company grows and more and more people are, oh, poor John’s getting buried
for being the expert, one of the reasons he got you there. Now he’s getting burned
out and buried from it. And so we seek to solve that
problem and then, post-Guru, a company will scale faster, they’ll onboard their employees faster, they’ll launch products better, ’cause everyone will
know what to talk about–>>It’s like a frequently asked
questions operating system.>>Rick: Exactly.>>At a moment’s notice.
>>Technology, right? And making it living
’cause all those FAQ’s change all the time.>>And that’s the important part too is keeping it relevant, 24 by 7.>>Rick: Absolutely.
>>Which is difficult.>>Contextual data
analysis is really hard. What’s the secret sauce?>>The secret sauce is that
we live where you work. The secret sauce is that
we focus very specifically on specific workflows like
that customer support agent and so, by knowing what you’re doing and what ticket you’re working on and what chat you’re
having with a customer, Guru can be anticipatory over time and start to say, “hey, you probably “want to talk to him about this,” and bring that answer to you. It’s because we live where you work. And that was frankly
accidental in a lot of ways. We were trying to solve
the problem of knowledge living where you work, and
then what we realized is, wow, there’s a lot of interesting stuff that we can learn and
give back to the customer about what problems they’re solving and when they’re using Guru and why, and that only makes the product better. So that’s really, I think, the thing that, if you ask our typical customers, really gets them excited. They’ll say, hey, because of Guru, I feel more confident
when I’m on the phone, that I’m always going to
give the right answer.>>That’s awesome.
>>I love hearing customers talk about or even have
business leaders talk about some of the accidental
discoveries or capabilities, but just how, over time,
more and more and more value gets unlocked if you can
actually, really extract value from that data. Last question, Rick, I need
to know what’s in a name? The name Boomi, the name Guru?>>Yes, well, I’ll start
with the less exciting answer which I always get asked
about, which is Boomi, which is a Hindi word that means “earth” or “from the earth”. And, sometimes, if you’re ordering at the Indian restaurant,
you’ll see B-H-O-M-I and that might be the
vegetables on the menu. That name came from an early
employee of the company. I wish I could say that it had a connection to business (laughs). It really doesn’t, it just
was like, it looks cool, and people tend to remember the name. And honestly, there have
been so many moments in the early, early
days where we were like, should we change the
name, it doesn’t really. And we’re like you know what? People tend to, it sticks with them, it’s kind of exciting, and we kept it. Guru, on the flip side,
one of our early employees came up with that name too, and I think she was listening to me talk about what we were
doing and she’s like, oh, that thing is like a guru to you. And so the brand promise is
that you feel like a guru in your area of expertise within a company and that our product plays
a relatively small role in you having that, feeling
confident about that expertise.>>I love that, awesome. Rick, thank you so much for joining John and me on theCUBE
today, we appreciate it.>>Thank you.
>>John: Thanks.>>For John Furrier, I’m Lisa Martin. You’re watching theCUBE
from Boomi World 2019. Thanks for watching. (upbeat electronic music)

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