As you may have heard, Electric Cloud recently promoted Carmine Napolitano from CFO to be our new CEO. We’d like to take this opportunity to get to know Carmine, AKA ‘CJ,’ and to get his views on Electric Cloud and the future of DevOps.
Not everyone comes to the big chair via the CFO role. Tell us a little more about your background, please.
I joined Electric Cloud in 2016 as the CFO, but I’ve held senior leadership, including CEO, roles at a number of public and private companies in my career. Several of those companies were game-changers. For instance, Wavefront set the standard for 3D graphics and special effects that are still in use today, decades after it was acquired by SGI. Blekko redefined search results and web crawling – it’s now an integral part of IBM Watson. LaCroy fundamentally changed the serial data test and measurement equipment market and is now part of Teledyne. Now I’m ready to lead Electric Cloud through its next phase of changing the way organizations think about delivering valuable innovation via software.
You seem to have a history of leading companies that changed the shape of their industries. Is that what you plan to do at EC?
“Digital Transformation” and “Software is eating the world” aren’t just meaningless marketing phrases – they’re realities for just about every company across pretty much every vertical. Most companies are making a big bet on DevOps to help them overcome one of the biggest obstacles they face today, namely the ability to safely promote and deploy application updates. How are people going to solve that problem? Gartner believes that the Application Release Automation market, which they track in a Magic Quadrant each year, is the solution. Companies are betting big on it, it’s a huge market, and we are uniquely positioned to lead that transformation.
We earned our top scores in the Gartner MQ these past two years, and we believe our product to the best one available in the ARA market. Our thousands of loyal users agree – they have seen amazing transformational results: One household name customer accelerated their build process by 10 times and reduced their server and operating costs by millions of dollars every year. An international online gaming technology company (which handles more financial transactions per day than the New York Stock Exchange) now delivers releases to clients 40 times faster by using our products. And they are talking at our customer event, which happens to be a part of the completely SOLD OUT DevOps Enterprise Summit we co-founded with Gene Kim and the team at ITRevolution. How cool is that? This is why I get up in the morning.
What opportunities do you see for EC?
The next phase is all about scaling the company to claim our spot in the market. In other words, it’s about executing on the fundamentals. Our team has done a great job so far – I mean we find ourselves in a very enviable position – amazing product, great customers, analyst recognition.
But, this next phase is about delivering those benefits to more customers. To make it easier for smaller shops, with just as much complexity but maybe not so much expertise, to also take advantage of the benefits of a fully automated software delivery pipeline. In the relentless world of digital transformation, releasing product at the speed the business demands is THE killer app – and ElectricFlow is the platform that can enable that vision. We are going to take this product and make it the de facto standard for companies to orchestrate their releases at the pace they need.
It’s a crowded space with a lot of noise. What separates EC from the rest of the pack?
You mean aside from being a leader two years in a row in Gartner’s ARA Magic Quadrant? Sure, that’s easy. We’re focused on automating and accelerating the pipeline so we’re not distracted or diluted by trying to develop and sell a bunch of disparate products. We’ve been helping our customers achieve amazing business results for 15 years. We’re a single platform that automates the entire pipeline from code check-in all the way to release into production. Having a single platform means easier reuse and sharing, simpler integrations, and better cross-team visibility, security and top-down governance. These are the types of things that the business will always need. Having a solution that bakes that in – at the beginning – means you’re building on a solution that can grow and scale more easily.
How does ElectricFlow change the way companies approach software delivery?
We like to say we let companies release their applications when the business (not the process or the product) demands – with zero release anxiety. And it’s an easy thing to say, but let’s dig deeper. So how do we do that? Well, we do that by providing unprecedented insight into every aspect of any deployment or release, from every stage of the pipeline. We do that by not being prescriptive in our approach. We do that by making it easy to adapt to and onboard new technologies and techniques so you’re not locked into any particular way of doing things.
We help companies move from “dealing with change” to “embracing it.” We evolve as our customers’ businesses evolve. We call it Adaptive Release Automation. And it helps our customers do some pretty amazing things.
What’s your view of the industry overall? What challenges are in front of companies tackling digital transformation?
Changing fast is no longer an option, as I said earlier. We see just about every company looking to DevOps as their path to digital transformation. The biggest challenge is there are so many paths and definitions for “DevOps.” Scaling the status quo, either through more tools or more infrastructure doesn’t solve the problem. There are still silos of automation, especially for companies looking to leverage their investment in their mainframes. There are still massive gaps in automation, especially when it comes to that handoff between Development and Operations. Agile development with Waterfall Operations is not a recipe for success and that’s where we come in. We can be the uber-orchestrator of all those tools, all those processes, all those groups so companies can remain competitive. This future-proofs their DevOps journey. We can be there for whatever comes along.