Solutions Review recently had the chance to interview Unifi Software‘s VP Engineering Ayush Parashar to discuss the vendor’s entrance into the marketplace and how they’re thinking about data in the enterprise. Parashar also drives into some of the company’s strategic plays and how they are thinking about the future of data integration, preparation, and governance. Unifi Software has seen its star grow increasingly bright in recent months and has garnered impressive recognition from some of the leading analysts in the market, including its appearance in Gartner’s Market Guide for Data Preparation.
We covered a lot of ground in our conversation, so without further ado here’s our interview edited slightly for readability and length.
SR: How is Unifi Software positioning itself in the space, particularly regarding its AI and NLP technologies?
AP: Unifi was founded four years ago and the problem we’re focused on solving is to help enterprises be more agile in their use of data for analytics. Data is a driving force in all the decisions in the enterprise today and yet there is a tremendous need for agility around analytics. That’s where Unifi comes in. We are an AI-driven, self-service data platform that enables business users to discover the data they have, gain access to it, and understand the metadata around it for eventual data preparation use.
With Unifi, we’re helping business users to be self-sufficient in their use of data and to alleviate the burden on IT over access while still maintaining governance of enterprise data. That creates an end-to-end cycle of complete self-service. In order to generate more value out of data, you have to be agile, and that means you have to get more users involved, and that’s where we come in.
SR: For buyers of data integration software, how is Unifi marketing itself? Is Unifi a data integration or data preparation tool, or somewhere in the middle?
AP: This is where Unifi is unique. If you look at the market landscape, other vendors are either focused on providing a data catalog or a solution for data preparation. We have both of these pillars in one fully integrated platform. That is what we strongly feel is the value proposition to the end-user because you are seamlessly combining both of these things. Our AI-engine and our ability to use natural language to query data is also a key differentiator. We can generate more intelligent information and send that information back to the user in the form of recommendations using natural language processing.
SR: Unifi was a prominent vendor in Gartner’s new Market Guide for Data Preparation. How is Unifi reacting to the recognition, and how do you think it sets the company up for continued growth?
AP: Yes, in both years we have been ranked extremely well. The value creation is so much higher when you have both these pillars [data catalog and data preparation] and the ability for collaboration around data in an enterprise. To be recognized as a leader or providing all the capabilities for a modern data preparation platform – as Gartner has described certainly validates what we are doing and the need for our solution.
SR: Does Unifi have key verticals where most of its customers reside?
AP: We have customers across every vertical market, but there are definitely some which have more traction. First would be the media industry, and Disney is our flagship customer. Financial services is another area where we see a lot of use and interest, particularly for compliance use cases such as at MoneyGram, and we are at Visa too. There’s also healthcare, and definitely retail too. On the healthcare front we have doctors using our product. It’s amazing, a physician from Napa Valley in California uses a Tableau dashboard populated by Unifi when he meets his patients. It’s phenomenal how impactful it can be, or how it can be used to capture the demographic or historic information about the person and be predictive in healthcare maintenance rather than reactive.
The use cases are different in different places such as Customer 360, and as I said compliance as a use case, and they are across different company sizes from enterprises to SMBs.
Ayush is the VP of Engineering at Unifi Software. He has deep software engineering expertise around big data solutions and has strong domain knowledge around Hadoop, MPP database and Systems, Performance Engineering and Data Integration. Before Unifi he was part of founding engineering team at Greenplum. Connect with him on LinkedIn.