[TechSparks 2020] ‘Every business is a software whose success is defined by data;’ Boris Bialek of MongoDB dives deep into digital transformation

At Techsparks 2020, Boris Bialek, Head of Innovation, MongoDB talked about the importance of maintaining a database for any organisation to scale and transform.
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“The only certainty that we have today is the certainty of change,” said Boris Bialek as he kicked off his session with this thought-provoking statement.

During his keynote at YourStory’s 11th edition of its flagship startup-tech event Techsparks 2020, Boris Bialek, Head of Innovation, MongoDB talked about ‘how platforms built with modern applications are changing work economy and tech.’

Expanding on the topic of uncertainty, Boris discussed the International Monetary Fund’s World Uncertainty Index, stating that “the numbers are spiking higher by the day, and this year sees a larger amount of uncertainty owing to the pandemic.”

Boris delves into how transformations are built on data, saying that every business is software whose success is defined by data. He follows that thought with an important question, “How much is data implicating the way things function?”

Data for innovation

According to Boris, innovation hinges on agility and real-time access to the data.

Elaborating these aspects, he explains, “Developer velocity is the rate at which the organisation moves from just an insight into an idea of the solution or a market for the solution. Data is also all about the real-time access, and how you utilise everything in your repository to get the full grasp of your data.”

He then illustrates two examples to provide more clarity – 7-eleven and ADP.

During his keynote session on Day 3 of TechSparks 2020

The US-based supermarket chain, 7-eleven, introduced real-time sales and inventory sync so that every shop knows where they are in sales with accurate data.

“This connects about 20,000 devices, a small number, yet moving the needle by a big piece,” he says.

Similarly, ADP (Automatic Data Processing), a global HR management software provides real-time HR data to its users’ employees. In fact, this data solution led them to scale to more than one million actives in a very short period.

Digital transformation

“What is blocking us from focusing on this data aspect is the legacy upkeep, where the management retains its traditional methods, leaving no room for innovation,” says Boris adding, “In digital transformation, modernisation and innovation should go hand-in-hand, but the reality sees them competing for resources.”

Talking about digital transformation, Boris clarifies that moving to the cloud is not digital transformation, which many organisations presume to be. This kind of transformation does not drive any kind of innovation. Rebuilding with cloud services does not guarantee less sprawl or tech debt, but in fact, it is just a start to a bigger chain of things, adds Boris.

Paths to a data platform

Boris then goes on to talk about how we can innovate with modernisation. He mentions three paths one can take for building the legacy, characterised by knowledge limited to specialised teams.

“There’s a lot of costs involved because you need to manage the complexity of the existing solution before moving to the new one,” he says.

There are three ways to move to a future-ready data platform – prioritising data accessibility, exploring iteratively, and by prioritising simplification. You can figure out which one works best for your existing legacy, says Boris.

A screen grab from Boris' session

MongoDB’s platform for modern applications

Boris dives into how MongoDB solves many problems with their scalable high-performance core, real-time logging and analytics, among many other salient features.

The MongoDB cloud accelerates innovation for mission-critical apps with its data-platform enabled changes. This change is attributed to better team productivity, evolving critical workloads, accelerating the ‘pilot-learn-launch-scale’, and enhancing data protection.

He then details some of the organisations that have benefitted from this platform – Macquarie Bank transformed their payment services business domain; Crédit Agricole moved their client database off the mainframe; Coinbase has a fully-managed cloud database and has an improved speed at which they can scale; and Forbes can easily scale up during the pandemic thanks to its cloud migration with MongoDB.

“Altogether, MongoDB is truly a trusted database platform with enterprise-grade security and privacy features, and a 24x7x365 global support system of more than 200 highly-skilled engineers,” says Boris, adding, “We are your end-to-end partner, and give you time to concentrate on your business, while everything else is taken care of.”


TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.  

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Edited by Kanishk Singh

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