In this interview, Benjamin Henry, Customer Success Architect at Komprise, discusses how he works with customers, sales and engineers to improve enterprise results with unstructured data management.
Benjamin, tell me a bit about how you came to Komprise and what it’s like to be a customer success architect?
BH: I’ve spent the last 17-plus years working in life sciences in different functional areas—from application development to database to data protection and disaster recovery. I’ve even been through a few planned and unplanned situations—hurricanes and other natural disasters—putting those disaster recovery capabilities to good use. Then fast forward into today where my focus is on managing unstructured data. Migrations, archiving or tiering, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures provided me with a broad overview of how the world of life sciences moves and evolves at an extraordinary pace.
What do you do generally speaking in your role?
BH: It’s pretty cool because it’s not just one specific area where I get involved. I can move or pivot between engineering to support to customers to presales and post sales—you name it. It’s never a boring day. I enjoy the challenges and the complexities that come along with some of our enterprise customers. One of my goals in the customer success area is to ensure that customers are successful using our product in their environment.
In this short video, Benjamin shares on-the-job advice about the customer success architect role.
It sounds like a multi-disciplinary role where you must gather input from a lot of different people. How do you work with customers?
BH: There are different ways I typically get engaged. I like to be proactive where possible and determine what we can do to prevent speed bumps or hurdles during the deployment. Then, if we hit one of those hurdles, how do we overcome the situation or do we lean into an alternate route to achieve the goal? That’s where I get to leverage the expertise over many, many years prior and ultimately resolve what we’re facing.
When you’re troubleshooting issues, do customers give you feedback that you then can turn around and send to the product team?
BH: Absolutely, I enjoy tracking the trends and providing direct feedback to Engineering and Product Management. Sometimes it affects change almost instantly or ends up in a future release. We’re also able to identify use cases for something that maybe we hadn’t intended. I love connecting those dots. It improves our product and the customer experience.
What are the key skills or experiences from your career that have been important to you in this role?
BH: Networks are evolving at a rapid pace and they stitch the world together. I would say networking skills are the number-one. You don’t have to be the expert, but you should have the ability to interpret and understand the topology, how things are connected, how data gets from point A to point B, and every hop along the way. The second most important skill would be efficiently operating within your cloud provider(s). Knowing how to manage services and data, manage costs, and leveraging analytics and automation to manage both is a recipe for success.
Somebody who’s new to a storage architect role or an IT admin role, they may not know how to get that information. Do you think that there’s still some work to do in connecting these silos in large companies?
BH: Yes, and I’m seeing a trending resurgence in silos. Traditionally cloud accounts and their associated services were administered by one team. Today those teams are leveraging concepts such as tenants, subscriptions or child accounts to encourage self-service. They set the organizational standards and then enable you to manage your own services. It’s not uncommon to speak to different areas of the business where each has individualized access to create and manage their own cloud services. Just don’t be afraid to connect with your peers in other teams. Maybe they already have a process or are willing to partner with your team to achieve shared goals. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up saving money by splitting the associated costs or even negotiate a better rate for the additional resources or capacity.
What do customers express as their top concerns, challenges or goals in unstructured data management?
BH: Data migrations. That’s where I’m seeing the largest challenge. There’s been a lot of change in the industry within job roles themselves, from companies reducing or collapsing roles to resignations and retirements. Domain knowledge can be lost with each change. Data migrations are notorious for unearthing previously unknown or forgotten interdependencies, which can lead to a lively event. Communication and testing are critical to a successful migration event. The best recommendation I can provide is to always test before and after you move data: validate ports, firewalls, routes, bandwidth saturation and dependencies. Otherwise, there’s a high probability you’re going to run into challenges that will either force rollbacks, cause service reductions or worst-case scenario: outages. Finally, always communicate. Provide timely updates to everyone involved including leadership and celebrate the accomplishments.
Watch Benjamin’s webinar: Preparing for a File and Object Data Migration