Nicolas Buck (Seqvoia): Conquering the data challenge by stepping away.
“Conventional wisdom says companies have to adapt and survive by transforming into data-driven organisations, yet I believe that before any such journey it is crucial to establish a common understanding of (this) data means…” says Nicolas Buck, who is back as full-time CEO of Seqvoia with a mission to help companies increase the knowledge and meaning they can extract from their data.
Which solution is Seqvoia focusing on?
Having helped companies with their regulatory reporting for many years, we are fully aware of how much time people spend on preparing the information. Why does this take so long? In most cases, access to data is difficult. Companies have their data structured in silos, based on what function it needs to serve. Everywhere, you find data gatekeepers. For example, even if an insurance company can tell you, in one click, how many male clients they have between the ages of 30 and 40, they might struggle to immediately tell you how many of them drive a white car. We know that getting meaningful data to the right people at the right time can be done much more simply. Our mission is to break up the silos and ensure that data is readily available throughout the entire organisation. We make that possible by improving access to data and giving it real meaning that highlights the relationships between data points.
“You need to step away from specific business applications or projects”
Why do you think so many companies have difficulties with their digital transformation strategies?
You can’t just decree digital transformation! It ultimately pertains to a shift in mindset. Apart from requiring time and resources it necessitates a “desired-state vision.” You need to step away from specific business applications or projects. I love the concept of ontology, which studies our representation of reality and whose ideas can be leveraged in this specific setting. You need to examine your current ontology: examining all the elements that compose your current reality and how they all fit together, regardless of any business application. Only then can you start to digitalise.
What should we expect to see from Seqvoia in the near future?
I approach it as a journey. It is an ambitious new technology aimed at solving old, universal issues in a completely new way. We have been working on it for years. Some companies take the approach that most challenges can be solved quickly with a few lines of codes and a team based around the world. At Seqvoia, we don’t work like that. We understand that you need to invest an incredible amount of time to make a new technology meet your specific needs. I believe this is the basis of our success: we work relentlessly to get things right the first instance. I decided to come back full-time to Seqvoia in 2020 because I truly believe that we have developed a cutting-edge solution. It’s a very exciting period and I enjoy every minute of it.