An interview with Junta Nakai, Global Industry Leader, Financial Services at Databricks.
Financial IT: Can you tell us more about your background and the career path that brought you to join the Databricks?
Junta Nakai (JN): My path has always been focused on economics and financial services. I majored in Economics at Northwestern University and also spent a year studying at The London School of Economics and Political Science in the early 2000s. After my studies, I spent 14 years at Goldman Sachs, heading Asia Pacific sales. Prior to Databricks, I was heading business development globally for a fintech company. Now, I lead global Financial Services GTM at Databricks, and spend a lot of time thinking about and working with customers who are defining the future of finance.
Financial IT: What is unique about Databricks and how does it stand out among other solutions?
JN: There are several aspects of Databricks that make it unique. First, open source is at the core of the company. This is very important for our customers as they shy away from proprietary technologies. Second, we are closely aligned with our cloud partners (AWS and Azure). I believe the most successful software companies will complement and augment drive win-win outcomes along with cloud vendors. Third, we have a consumption based model. In other words, unless a customer is successful in the use-case they bring on to our platform, we don't get paid. Our incentives are extremely aligned with our customers and that's why we have such a strong 'customer obsessed' culture.
Financial IT: How does the acceleration of digital adoption and AI/ML by Consumers, SMEs and Financial Institutions due to COVID-19 change the competitive landscape?
JN: My view is that "crisis serves as catalyst to bring the future faster" and we are certainly seeing this during the current pandemic. The future of finance is going to be far more inclusive, instant and invisible. In order to get there, organizations must modernize their approach to Risk Management, Personalized Finance, and Fraud Detection by leveraging the power of the cloud, best of breed open source tools and a Unified Data Analytics Platform to enable collaboration and innovation. Simply put, Data and AI are at the heart of unlocking business value through these use-cases. The winners of tomorrow are going to be the Financial Service institutions that equip their employees with the tools to capitalize on the most important assets they have: data.
Financial IT: What is next for Databricks?
JN: I spent 14 years on Wall Street looking at companies but I have never seen anything like Databricks. Customer adoption, especially in Financial Services has been extremely strong. We count hundreds of Financial Service firms across the world as customers and they are running hundreds of advanced analytics and AI use-cases being run on our platform. The total addressable market for our solution is massive. Over the next few years, I think it's going to be more and more common for professionals to have an analytics environment on their computers to replace or augment spreadsheets. I believe Databricks will touch millions of end users every day that will rely on our Unified Data Analytics Platform to power their businesses.