CNME Editor Mark Forker managed to secure an exclusive interview with Mohamed Zouari, General Manager, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa at Snowflake, at their Data for Breakfast seminar that was held in Dubai last month – in an effort to learn more about their new Snowpark framework – and why the ease of use that Snowflake provides is why the company is loved so loyally by their end-users globally.
CNME were in attendance at Snowflake’s Data for Breakfast seminar that was held at the Arabian Court, One and Only Royal Mirage in Dubai Marina.
The event is designed to illustrate the power of Snowflake’s Data Cloud offering which is complemented by customer stories and testimonials.
Snowflake hosts these roadshows in over 100 cities globally, with four of them being conducted in Dubai, Riyadh, Johannesburg and Cape Town to cover the Middle East & Africa region.
CNME spoke to Snowflake’s General Manager for the Middle East, Turkey & Africa. Mohamed Zouari said the symposiums enabled the company to demonstrate their new innovations and highlight the key areas of focus they are looking at over the next 12 months.
“The main purpose and objective of the tour is for Snowflake to showcase and demonstrate the latest innovations that we have in our product portfolio. Customers are eager to participate in these roadshows, because it provides them with the opportunity to understand what are the key areas of focus that we are going to be looking at over the next 12 months. They want to know what Snowflake is bringing to the table in terms of the AI and data space,” said Zouari.
Zouari also added that a key element of the roadshows was the chance for their customers to share their journeys with Snowflake.
“Prospective customers that attend these events like to hear the success stories from our existing customers, as that gives them a better understanding and knowledge of the journey they have undertaken whilst leveraging our technology – whilst they can also engage in peer-to-peer discussion and networking,” said Zouari.
In terms of the latest innovations and products that Snowflake were showcasing, Zouari couldn’t contain his excitement about its new Snowpark framework.
“I’m really excited about our new Snowpark framework. The vision of Snowflake from its very inception has been focused on providing customers with access to easy-to-use solutions. It’s critical to provide users with all the components they need when it comes to ingesting, transforming and using data in one place, which allows the time-to-market to be almost immediate,” said Zouari.
Zouari added that Snowpark gives users autonomy and flexibility.
“What Snowpark allows us to do is enable developers, data engineers and data scientists to keep their language of choice, like python and Java and their development environments. However, we will run it under Snowflake. For them, it’s faster, cheaper and inside the same sets of data that the data analysts are already using. It’s a big market for us, and when we embark upon innovation we always focus on performance, so it has to be a minimum of 2x faster than any existing technology, and we reduce costs by 50-60%,” said Zouari.
Zouari said that their ability to understand their customers’ needs has given them a huge advantage in the marketplace.
“Obviously, we are a very data-driven company, but we can’t see the data of our customers, however, we are able to see their metadata, which enables us to know what the ecosystem of our customers are. Spark and Python are the No.1 workloads running on our platform when we analyse our 8,000 customers. There are a lot of players in the marketplace, but when you consider the challenges, such as separate layers, other technologies, moving the data outside your environment, a lack of governance and security, then that gives us a huge advantage because of our ability to bring all these workloads under Snowflake, and by doing that, we can solve all these challenges simultaneously,” said Zouari.
In terms of what differentiates Snowflake from its market rivals, Zouari pointed to three factors, which were its ease of use, which delivered unrivalled customer satisfaction. It’s multi-cloud offering and data collaboration.
“I think our ease of use is one of the fundamental reasons why our customers love Snowflake. For six years in-a-row Dresner’s Advisory Survey indicated 100% of our customers would recommend Snowflake to others. In addition to this, multi-cloud is key, because everyone, even if they are locked into one single cloud provider, they are convinced that in the short to medium term they will be in multi-cloud. Some of them are moving completely from one cloud provider to another, so instead of redoing everything on the data and AI space when you have those decisions to make, having a cloud agnostic platform allows you to simply move it to Snowflake, which is a huge benefit,” said Zouari.
Zouari said that Snowflake was the equivalent of Google when it came to searching for the datasets you need to consume to enhance your business operations
“All customers today want external data, and they want to share and consume data. Data collaboration is our bread and butter and this is how we build these data clouds. In the current climate, customers are looking for third-party data applications to make their data strategy more accurate. Those datasets are on the Snowflake Marketplace, if you want demographic data because it will have an influence on your strategy, if you want COVID data, if you want weather and transportation data it’s all on Snowflake. Our founders call us the internet of data. We have made the data space look like the search engine space. When you need something today you go to Google and you get search results, we do the same with datasets, if you need data on the retail sector, you search on Snowflake and consume the dataset that you need,” said Zouari.
Zouari said that Snowflake was no longer fully focused on the IT side of data as part of their efforts to unlock a potential $3 trillion addressable market.
“The total addressable market of data platforms is $250bn globally. According to a report by McKinsey on data collaboration, which highlighted the way we at Snowflake are approaching it, suggested that data collaboration can unlock up to $3 trillion of annual business value. We are no longer focusing on the IT side of data, instead we are focusing on how much business we can unlock for the customers,” said Zouari.
Zouari highlighted how the financial services sector is one of Snowflake’s largest industry verticals on a global scale.
“It’s all data-driven and there’s a huge consumption of data across all financial services. All their decision-making is driven by data. In addition to this, the healthcare sector is also critically important to us, and again, it is an industry that is being driven by data to drive better outcomes,” said Zouari.
Last month, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Snowflake launched and announced their new Data Cloud for the telecommunications sector.
“We want to leverage our technology to manage their data across all their lines of business. Telecom operators are always looking to expand, and are desperate to monetize their data. It helps them with their go-to market strategy, and the technology was not previously available for them to do it simply, but that’s where we come in,” concluded Zouari.