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Debanjan Saha

Debanjan Saha, CEO, DataRobot

Describe your career to date   

I joined DataRobot as the COO in February of 2022, before becoming CEO in July 2022. Since I joined, DataRobot has launched the DataRobot Platform 9.0, DataRobot Notebooks and other product innovations. Before joining DataRobot, I was VP/GM of data analytics services, including BigQuery, Dataflow, PubSub, Dataproc etc in Google Cloud (GCP). In this role, I was responsible for engineering, operations and go-to-market, including overall P&L, of the analytics business in GCP. Prior to joining Google, I led database services at AWS. There, I led the development and launch of Amazon Aurora, a massively scalable relational database service re-imagined for the cloud, which became the fastest growing service in the history of AWS. I also led the development and launch of AWS Glue, a data integration and transformation service at the core of AWS Datalake. Prior to joining AWS, I held multiple executive and technical leadership positions in IBM, including a 2-year international assignment in Shanghai, China. Earlier in my career, I was a principal engineer at Tellium, an optical networking pioneer, that I helped grow from an early stage start-up to a public company ($3B+ IPO). I am a fellow of the IEEE and a distinguished member of the ACM. I have co-authored a book, 50+ US patent applications, 100+ technical articles including award winning papers and major internet standards. I received MS and PhD degrees from the University of Maryland and a BTech from IIT, all in computer science. 

What key skills or attributes do you consider have contributed to your success in your current role?   

Thinking big and taking risks. One of the core values of DataRobot is to ’dream big’, meaning we are always forward-looking. In my career, I have always striven to be resilient, no matter the situation. 

 

Curiosity and learning. Whether it has been in my educational pursuits or my career, I always have aspired to learn. I approach all problems with curiosity and a problem-solving mindset. 

 

Customer empathy and trust. Another core value at DataRobot is ’championing customers’. We aim to be humble, not complacent. This attitude of humbleness allowed me to ascend in my career and keep customers happy. 

 

Hiring and developing the best talent. A company can only shine when the people who represent it are motivated and happy. We aim to bring on the best talent possible, but also to develop them and allow them to grow and be happy in their careers. 

 

What level of data maturity do you typically encounter across your client base and what tends to hold this back?   

With the explosion of data sources and the complexity of modern data environments, organizations are struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of data they need to process and analyze. To address this challenge, we are seeing a growing demand for automated machine learning platforms that can handle large-scale data processing and analysis. Our clients are also looking for solutions that can automate the entire data science process, from data preparation to model deployment, to enable faster and more efficient decision-making. 

 

What trends are you seeing in terms of the data and analytics resources your clients are demanding from you?

AI is now at an inflection point that demands proof of measurable business value and impact. It’s a new era we call ’value-driven AI’ and it has long been our sweet spot. Since our founding, DataRobot has been committed to helping our customers derive measurable value from their AI investments that improve how they run, grow and optimize their business. We deliver the only open, complete AI lifecycle platform with deep technical integration, along with broad AI expertise that helps customers envision what’s possible with AI and achieve it.  

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your clients and on the industry as a whole?    

I think one thing impacting all industries today is AI and it’s also a major challenge all organizations will face over the next year. This is because AI is at an inflection point and all organizations are worried about how to best implement AI and derive the most value from AI with existing data. Especially with generative AI, there’s a spotlight on AI like never before and immense pressure for all organizations to show value from their AI investments. But, the current reality is that half of AI projects today fail and while many organizations are expecting AI to improve every aspect of societal, environmental, economic and business outcomes, many don’t know where to start and there are challenges to doing this at scale across broad applications. I expect this to continue to be a challenge throughout the year and it’s one that I’m excited to help solve.  

 

How are you tackling the challenge of attracting, nurturing and retaining talent?  

Our strategy for attracting and retaining talent is the following: 

  • Having authentic leaders who are trusted and have clear goals 

  • Providing purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling work 

  • Offering a flexible, inclusive and collaborative work environments 

  • Providing career and growth paths with development opportunities 

  • Focusing on the balance between performance and well-being 

Debanjan Saha
Debanjan Saha
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2023 (USA)