MarTech Interview with Michael Jack, CRO and Co-Founder, Datadobi

Uncover the expertise of Michael Jack, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Datadobi, through this MarTech interview. Gain unique insights into data management strategies and the evolving landscape of technology.
MarTech Interview

Michael, what inspired you to co-found Datadobi, and what has been the most rewarding part of this journey so far?
We founded Datadobi because we saw that the sheer volume of unstructured data being generated had become overwhelming. However, unstructured data holds a wealth of potential value. If properly managed and analyzed, it can reveal patterns, trends, and insights that can help businesses make informed decisions, improve customer service, and gain a competitive edge. However, if an organization fails to effectively manage unstructured data, it can lead to a multitude of problems – ranging from the inability to leverage valuable business insights hidden within the data, missed opportunities, and ineffective business strategies, to exorbitant costs, to a host of very serious security, legal and regulatory risks. Given these challenges and opportunities, we saw that developing software to effectively manage unstructured data would be a game-changer.

The most rewarding aspect of this journey so far has been the creation of a company that not only develops high-quality software but also delivers genuine solutions for our customer’s most pressing business challenges. When we started the company, the founders, all engineers, agreed that delivering quality in everything we do, above everything else, would be critical to our success. Being a fake it till you make it kind of company was not part of our DNA. Our constant 98-100% customer satisfaction is a testament to that.

Drawing from three decades of software program management experience, I’ve learned how to inspire our talented engineers to produce superior products. As a co-founder and sales leader at Datadobi since 2010, I’ve had the invaluable experience of directly connecting with our customers, understanding their needs, and guiding our engineers to fulfill these requirements.

This direct interaction, this human connection, and seeing the real-world impact of our solutions have been profoundly fulfilling. Knowing that we are making a tangible difference in our partners and our end customers’ businesses and alleviating their pain points is, without a doubt, the most rewarding part of this journey.

How do you approach identifying potential clients and creating solutions that cater to their specific needs?
Staying close to both channel partners and end customers is pivotal for a sales leader.

Maintaining strong relationships with channel partners is critically important. Channel partners provide a wider perspective of the market, offering valuable insights into competitive dynamics and evolving customer preferences. Their feedback can be instrumental in improving products or services, fine-tuning marketing strategies, and addressing potential challenges before they escalate. Furthermore, strong partnerships ensure better collaboration, driving sales and growth for both parties.

Interacting directly with end customers equips a sales leader with firsthand knowledge of their needs, preferences, and pain points. This understanding can steer the direction of product development and sales strategies, ensuring they align with customer demands and market trends. It also fosters customer loyalty and satisfaction, which are key to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Can you tell us about a particularly challenging project you’ve worked on at Datadobi, and how you overcame any obstacles?
I would say that there hasn’t been one particular project that stands out. However, Datadobi confronts the typical challenges of any software company in this rapidly evolving tech landscape. To start, the rapid pace of technological change demands continuous innovation. We need to constantly evolve our offerings to stay relevant, or risk being outpaced by competitors. This necessitates significant investment in research and development and a workforce that’s skilled and adaptable to new technologies and change.

Next, there’s the challenge of customer acquisition and retention. The software market is fiercely competitive, with customers having a vast array of choices. This necessitates not only leading innovation, but also unique value propositions, exceptional customer service, and successful sales and marketing strategies.

Last but certainly not least, scaling effectively can be a challenge. As Datadobi has grown, we have had to manage increasing operational complexity, recruit and retain talent, maintain company culture, and ensure our infrastructure can support larger customer bases. p.s., This is a nice problem to have.

What sets Datadobi apart from other data management and migration solutions on the market?
When comparing Datadobi to other data management and migration solutions on the market, there are a number of factors that set Datadobi apart and make it the most compelling choice for organizations that care about reducing risk, reducing cost, reducing carbon footprint, and gaining the most possible value from their data:

  1. Focus on Unstructured Data: Datadobi specializes in managing unstructured data, which is typically the most significant portion of data stored on corporate servers. Our solutions are tailored to handle the thousands of unique complexities associated with unstructured data, enabling the most efficient management, protection, and analysis of this critical information.
  2. Scalability and Performance: Datadobi’s solutions are designed to handle large-scale data environments with high performance and scalability. This ensures that organizations can effectively manage and analyze their data, even as their data volumes grow over time into hundreds of petabytes and billions of files.
  3. Flexibility and Compatibility: Datadobi is the only true vendor-neutral solution provider on the market today – supporting virtually every storage platform and cloud provider. This allows organizations to seamlessly integrate Datadobi solutions into their current data management ecosystem without disruption.
  4. Advanced-Data Visibility: StorageMAP provides unparalleled visibility into data across diverse environments, including local servers, remote locations, and cloud platforms. This comprehensive visibility allows organizations to gain insights into their data, understand its composition and characteristics, and make informed decisions regarding its management like never before.
  5. Comprehensive Solution: StorageMAP is the most comprehensive solution for assessing, organizing, and acting upon unstructured data.
    • Users can obtain complete visibility into their expanding unstructured data estate with StorageMAP. It provides comprehensive reports for all levels of the organization, enabling the C-Suite to understand data implications, business unit managers to make informed decisions, and the IT team to manage the data infrastructure efficiently and cost-effectively.
    • Users can effortlessly discover and categorize data based on their company’s specific business characteristics using StorageMAP. Leverage its pre-defined reports or the patented Datadobi Query Language (DQL) to identify data, and assign custom attributes such as ownership, risk, role, required action, or any other tailored attribute that aligns with your organization’s requirements.
    • Users can seamlessly execute actions directly within StorageMAP, empowering you to perform tasks such as data migration, archiving, pipelining, replication, and deletion. Leveraging Datadobi’s patented unstructured data mobility engine, StorageMAP ensures swift and efficient data operations. It’s worth noting that StorageMAP has obtained SOC2 Attestation from KPMG, further validating its security and compliance standards.
    • Once you accomplish your primary and crucial objective(s), you gain valuable insights, complete control, and the necessary flexibility to effectively manage the continuous growth of your unstructured data. With this level of visibility and capability, you can ensure that you maintain control over your growing data landscape.
  6. Industry Expertise: The Datadobi team offers the most extensive expertise and experience in data management, particularly in the realm of unstructured data. Our solutions are built on years of research, development, hands-on experience, and collaboration with enterprise clients, ensuring we are best suited to address the specific challenges faced by organizations in managing their data.

What are the potential threats associated with orphaned data and how can organizations leverage technology to address the issue?
I recently wrote a blog on this very subject, titled, “The Looming Threat of Orphaned Data: How Former Employees’ Abandoned Files Could Destroy Your Business.”

Employee turnover rates, whether voluntary or involuntary, have reached record numbers, creating significant challenges and potential risks for organizations. When employees leave their jobs, they often leave behind a substantial amount of unstructured data, including sensitive information, which poses security, compliance, operational, and reputational risks. This unclaimed and unmanaged data, known as orphaned data, lacks a clear owner or purpose within the organization, making it susceptible to misuse or exploitation.

Orphaned data presents a serious security threat as it can contain sensitive or confidential information that can be exploited by unauthorized individuals or cybercriminals, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, or corporate espionage. In addition, the accumulation of orphaned data over time can result in noncompliance with various regulations such as GDPR, SOX, HIPAA, and FISMA, exposing the organization to legal and financial penalties, lawsuits, and potential business closures.

The presence of orphaned data also has operational implications, as it takes up valuable storage space, degrades system performance, extends backup windows, and disrupts overall operations, leading to delays, lost productivity, and decreased customer satisfaction. Furthermore, the reputational risks associated with negligent orphaned data management are immense, with the potential for negative publicity, loss of customer trust, and long-term damage to the organization’s brand and image.

To effectively address the issue of orphaned data, organizations must establish robust data governance policies and procedures. This includes conducting regular data audits to identify and classify orphaned data, assigning clear ownership and responsibility for data assets, and establishing guidelines for data creation, storage, and retention. By implementing these measures, organizations can gain better control over their data estate, mitigate the risks associated with orphaned data, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Datadobi’s StorageMAP offers a comprehensive solution to manage orphaned data effectively. By providing visibility into unstructured data stored across the organization’s entire estate, StorageMAP enables organizations to identify and classify orphaned data, assess its associated risks, and take immediate and appropriate action. Whether it’s deleting the data, transferring ownership, or relocating it to a more suitable environment, StorageMAP empowers organizations to proactively address the challenges of orphaned data and minimize the potential risks it poses.

How do you see the data management and migration industry evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how is Datadobi positioned to meet these changes?
In the next 5-10 years, the data management and migration industry is expected to undergo significant transformations driven by technological advancements, evolving business needs, and regulatory requirements. These changes will shape the industry landscape and pose both challenges and opportunities for solution providers.

One of the key trends that will shape the industry is the exponential growth of unstructured data. As organizations generate and collect more data than ever before, efficient data management and migration solutions will become essential to handle the volume, variety, and velocity of data. The industry will witness a shift towards intelligent and automated data management solutions that can handle massive data sets, provide real-time insights, and optimize data workflows.

Another important aspect is the adoption of cloud computing. Organizations are continuing to embrace cloud technologies to gain scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency. This continued trend will drive the demand for data management and migration solutions that seamlessly facilitate cloud migrations, data integration across hybrid environments, and efficient data movement between on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to revolutionize the data management industry. Advanced machine learning (ML) algorithms will enhance data quality and accuracy while automating complex data processes. AI technologies will enable organizations to make better decisions based on comprehensive insights, improving efficiency, and ensuring data security and privacy.

Last but not least, data privacy and security regulations will continue to evolve, emphasizing the importance of data protection and compliance. The industry will see a greater focus on solutions that help to ensure data privacy, secure data transfers, and compliance with stringent regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and other industry-specific mandates. Data management solutions will need to incorporate robust security measures, encryption protocols, and auditing capabilities to meet these evolving requirements.

As for Datadobi, our unwavering commitment to relentless innovation and customer-centric solutions uniquely positions us as industry leaders in adapting to the rapidly evolving data management and migration landscape. With an unwavering focus on continuous product enhancement, integration of cutting-edge technologies, and proactive monitoring of regulatory changes, we stand ready to meet and exceed the ever-evolving needs of organizations in their quest for highly efficient, uncompromisingly secure, and fully compliant data management and migration solutions that drive their success in the years ahead.

What advice would you give to companies looking to streamline their data management processes?
First and foremost, it is crucial for organizations to embrace a comprehensive data management strategy. This involves developing a clear roadmap that aligns with their business goals and objectives. A well-defined data strategy should encompass aspects such as data governance, storage optimization, data lifecycle management, and security considerations.

To streamline data management, companies should conduct a thorough assessment of their data landscape. This assessment helps to gain a deep understanding of the types of data they have, where it resides, and its importance to the business. By identifying data redundancies, outdated information, and areas where data management can be optimized, organizations can make informed decisions to improve efficiency.

Implementing intelligent data management solutions is another key step. Leveraging advanced solutions like Datadobi’s StorageMAP provides comprehensive visibility into data, enabling organizations to identify data sprawl, orphaned data, and other inefficiencies. These solutions offer actionable insights to optimize storage, classify data, and enhance overall data management efficiency.

Of course, regularly evaluating and optimizing data management processes is essential. Organizations should continuously review their data management policies, storage infrastructure, and data retention practices to identify areas for improvement. By regularly assessing and optimizing their processes, with the help of a solution like StorageMAP and partner services, companies can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure that data management remains streamlined and effective.

What top three skills/qualities would you say are necessary for a CRO to possess?
As Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), there are several key skills and qualities that are crucial for success in the role. The top three skills/qualities necessary for a CRO are:

    1. Strategic Thinking: A CRO needs to have strong strategic thinking abilities to develop a clear vision and roadmap for revenue growth. This involves analyzing market trends, identifying opportunities, and aligning sales and marketing strategies to drive revenue generation. A CRO must be able to think strategically, set ambitious yet achievable goals, and devise innovative approaches to stay ahead in a competitive market.
    2. Leadership and Collaboration: Effective leadership is vital for a CRO to guide and motivate the revenue team toward achieving organizational objectives. CROs should possess exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build and nurture relationships with stakeholders, both internal and external. Collaboration is key as the CRO needs to work closely with other departments, such as sales, marketing, and finance, to ensure alignment and coordinated efforts toward revenue growth.
    3. Analytical and Data-Driven Decision-Making: In today’s data-rich environment, a CRO must possess strong analytical skills and be comfortable leveraging data to drive decision-making. This includes analyzing sales and revenue metrics, identifying patterns and trends, and using data to inform strategies and optimize revenue performance. A data-driven approach allows the CRO to make informed decisions, track progress, and course-correct as needed.

Additionally, a successful CRO should possess excellent communication skills, adaptability to navigate changing market dynamics, and a customer-centric mindset.

By combining these skills and qualities, a CRO can effectively lead revenue-generation efforts, drive growth, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.



Michael Jack, CRO and Co-Founder, Datadobi

Michael Jack has more than 30 years of experience delivering complex IT solutions to companies big and small, with the last 15 years in the data storage industry. During his tenure at EMC, Jack helped to develop Centera into one of the highest quality products in the EMC portfolio. Jack co-founded Datadobi and has helped build it to a highly respected company focusing on unstructured data management. LinkedIn.
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