The Six Five On the Road at Cloudera SKO with Delio Amato, Geodis

By Patrick Moorhead - March 29, 2023

On this episode of The Six Five – On The Road, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Delio Amato, Group Chief Architect Officer at Geodis, a Cloudera customer.

Their discussion covers:

  • Navigating the complex IT landscape requires addressing big challenges
  • The ability for customers to process data, improving efficiency and accuracy
  • Cloudera’s platform provides customers with end-to-end visibility, simplifying data management even in complex scenarios
  • Global coverage and compliance with diverse data privacy and storage regulations with CDP
  • Acceleration of innovation, providing Geodis with a critical competitive edge

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You can watch the full video here:

You can listen to the conversation here:

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Patrick Moorhead: The Six Five is live, on the road, in Miami, at Cloudera’s Sales Kickoff for the fiscal year 2024. We are not on a beach, but I can tell you it is sunny and warm and awesome outside. But only second to that is sitting next to my bestie, Daniel Newman. How are you, my friend?

Daniel Newman: Hey, it’s always great to get on the road. Little different tenor here at the Sales Kickoff for Cloudera. We’ve done a few events in the past where it’s been Cloudera partner focused, where it’s been Cloudera customer focused. And we got one today where we’re kind of going to do the customer at the Sales Kickoff because I don’t know, all this energy, but it looks like Cloudera’s setting itself up for a big growth year. I heard rule of 50.

Patrick Moorhead: I know. And maybe rule of 60, I don’t know, into the future. It’s good stuff, but it is always nice to actually talk to a real, live customer. And with that, it’s our pleasure to introduce executive from – I want to make sure I say this – Geodis.

Delio Amato: Yes.

Patrick Moorhead: Right?

Delio Amato: Geodis.

Patrick Moorhead: And your name is Delio.

Delio Amato: Exactly.

Patrick Moorhead: Nice to meet you.

Delio Amato: Nice to meet you too.

Patrick Moorhead: There we go. We were debating, sometimes we get the names right, sometimes we don’t. Thank goodness for the lower thirds. But thank you for coming on. And like I said, customers are the purifier of vendors and analysts. We say some things, we hear from vendors and then here we are.

Delio Amato: And we are trying to do something with all this stuff.

Patrick Moorhead: I know. It’s great stuff. Welcome to the show.

Daniel Newman: So Delio, rumor has it, you were on stage yesterday and you gave a really solid presentation. I think for sellers, it’s always great validation to hear from customers, and for customers to kind of explain why are we picking a certain product, how is it successful, how it’s an enabler? Because it opens the doors for using those opportunities to sell to other companies like yours and, of course, deepening the partnership, Delio. But let’s start off with Geodis and just you a little bit. Give us the background. Tell us about your job. Tell us about Geodis.

Delio Amato: Yep, so Geodis is a French logistics company. We are worldwide. We are one of the leaders in Europe and in the world, in terms of logistics, with many different logistic businesses, different lines of businesses. The organization is quite complex. And I’m working there for a couple of years now, 20 almost.

Daniel Newman: So 20?

Delio Amato: Yes, 20.

Patrick Moorhead: Congratulations.

Delio Amato: Next month, it will be 20. And I’m working as a group chief architect officer for Geodis, working for the corporate IT, trying to organize all the IT landscape. And one of my biggest challenges was the data, when we started that three years ago. In logistics, one of the biggest challenges we have today is visibility, to be able to give our customer the knowledge, the understanding of what we are doing for them, where are the goods, and what will be the delivery time, et cetera? Therefore, data is key to give this visibility, to give the understanding of what’s behind logistics. In general, customers feel that logistics is quite simple, we are asking to move something from point A to point B and that’s it. All this complexity and all the activity we have behind relies, in general, on data. That’s why, for us, we had to change three years ago the way we were processing data in general in the group. And that’s why we selected Cloudera at that time to build this new platform, this new way to process data.

Patrick Moorhead: You don’t have to explain to anybody anymore the importance and power of logistics, particularly when we had a global supply chain nightmare that pretty much shut down and curbed the ability to get food, to get cars. We had auto manufacturers that were shipping radio lists or electronic lists, at least the sophisticated stuff, because a 12 cent chip couldn’t get there. And even today, on a global nature, we’re having challenges even in the food supply chain. So I think companies like yours have to be front and center in this. And I’m sure your customers appreciate the investments that you’re making. And I feel like you have a particular big challenge in that you have consumer expectations of how they should be able to track, what they should be able to do with it, but you’re doing it primarily for businesses, and that sounds like that would be a challenge.

But I’m going to actually get to the question here, which is, you talked a little bit about what you’re doing with data, but can you talk about some of the unique natures? I know you’ve been at the company for 20 years, but what is unique in logistics related to data? Is it a lot of data? Is it spread out data? Is it real time data?

Delio Amato: Yeah. Complex data because we have different businesses working not really together. And today, our customer wants integrated visibility, and end-to-end visibility. So that’s why we had to make a big bucket of our data and to be able to cross all the information we had in different businesses. That’s the complexity of the data we have today in logistics. And yes, of course, real time. Real time is needed. Real time is asked for by every business to be able to show and to understand what is going on in real time. That’s why Cloudera is bringing this new capability. We are not yet there in production to be able to process everything in real time, but we know that it’s key for the coming two years that we should, at the IT level, at the group level, be able to process everything in real time.

Daniel Newman: So we were talking to Cloudera’s president and CEO, Rob Bearden here before we chatted to you. And one of the things we talked a lot about is kind of having a true hybrid data ecosystem, and how really there are a lot of companies, sort of, proclaiming they can do that. Being a logistics company that works worldwide, your data resides all over the place. How big of a challenge was that? Was that what forced you to re-architect? I’m imagining governance, security, you’re under a lot of pressure to be able to handle all those things.

Delio Amato: Yeah, the first challenge was to be able to be everywhere. As you mentioned, we are a worldwide company, we are IT and IT data sources everywhere in the world. Well, almost everywhere in the world. So we had to find a solution able to be deployed in any cloud. It means public cloud to be quick, to be able to reach any region, as well as private cloud to be able to control some sensitive data. That’s why we’ve chosen this solution to have the two capabilities, the two levers to be able to deploy quickly everywhere and control. It’s true that putting a unique governance on top of that was a key point of the project. It’s not technical, it’s the way we are using our data platform.

And since the beginning, we tried to push everywhere. It was not the data mesh wording that we are using today. It was not present at that time, but it’s something quite similar. We tried to split clearly the responsibility between data producers and data consumers and engage the data producer in publishing their data for the whole group. Then the data consumers can come and consume the data. So in that way, the data is a real asset for anyone in the group. And we are not mixing the constraints of producing clean and proper data with the right velocity and the different use cases we have, or the different use cases we will have in the future that we don’t even think about now. So this governance principle is key to have success in such a kind of company, quite complex with several lines of businesses, several ITs working all together on some unique data platform.

Patrick Moorhead: That’s great. And you can imagine the nefarious use if people had access to some of that data. So having the right people, having the right access to the right data sounds super important. You don’t want everybody to know exactly what freight might be being transported or where exactly something is at the timeframe, that could be a truck full-

Daniel Newman: Well, they want to know. But they don’t want anyone else to know.

Patrick Moorhead: Right. A truck full of AP watches or something like that.

Delio Amato: They want as well other kinds of data. Operational data is something important for our businesses, but they need as well, at the same time and in the same place, data coming from the group like sales information from our CRM, master data in general, financial data which are not under the responsibility of the different kinds of businesses. They want all those data together at the same time with the same velocity to build their new use cases. In that way, having only one way to process data, only one place and one governance around data is key to deliver such kind of project. And it was one of the challenges we had even three years ago, it was almost not feasible to reach those datasets for anyone.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. Can you provide some specifics on the Cloudera technology? I think I heard you mention a data lakehouse. Can you talk a little bit in specifics about which pieces of the product and service line you’re using?

Delio Amato: Yeah. So we started three years ago greenfield basically. So we moved directly to CDP public cloud, building everything in the public cloud, keeping in mind that we can come back and we can deploy some instances on-prem. And we started to use as quickly as possible the new flavor of all the modules coming from Cloudera. We are using extensively CD for all our data engineering processes. We are using CDW. At the beginning it was only for data access, now we are using it as well for data engineering teams to be quicker than developing spar jobs, et cetera. So we have this way to process data, what we call data lab.

We are using, as well, CNL. It’s more for several POC. We are not industrializing this usage for the moment, but we are using, as well, CNL. And we have actually some teams in the US very interesting to process that and to solve problems they have on all data warehouse technology. We are basically using anything available in CDP. We are using Kudu database, NiFi extensively. Planning to move this year from NiFi data, up to CDF. We are using NiFi as well to expose data as API directly without developing anything in any code. So the only model that we are not using is the Kafka part in CDP. We are using other components to ease the Kafka management.

Daniel Newman: Are you doing any CDP private?

Delio Amato: Not yet. We don’t have the requirement today to have some on-premises instances. We know that we can move in that direction if needed.

Patrick Moorhead: Oh, wow. So you’re all public?

Delio Amato: All public for the moment only in Europe. But we are planning to deploy instances in APAC and on America’s region as well to be able to have more local instances for our developers in those regions.

Daniel Newman: Cool. So as we sort of wrap this up, and really appreciate you taking the time here with us, Delio. The speed is probably one of the most important things in your world. How quickly can you evolve? Compliance laws change, right? You mentioned you’re not private now, but a new law for data privacy could pop up tomorrow and you might have to-

Delio Amato: We have to deal with all the countries in the world and all those specific-

Daniel Newman: And of course, Europe tends to be very focused on data privacy, for instance. And so when you have something like logistics, there could start to become personal private data that… Long story short, with Cloudera and your overall approach to data, how are you finding the relationship is enabling you to innovate faster? Is that part of what the decision to work with Cloudera over other options was, the speed and support, because that has to be in your focus?

Delio Amato: Innovation is key for us, and the speed of innovation is key. That’s why I think Cloudera is a really good solution because, based on open source projects that are integrated and supported by Cloudera, I think it’s a key differentiator to be quick, to integrate quickly new technology coming from the ecosystem. But we don’t have internally in Geodis the capability to put all those projects together and integrate and build the interfaces between all those modules. That’s why having this solution integrated, quickly, easy to deploy in the public cloud is a real lever to bring new capability to our data teams to build new projects.

And I have to say that today, internally in Geodis, we have something called innovation awards. All the teams in Geodis can bring a project and have the opportunity to present that to the group. All the projects I have seen this year were data-based. We have to be able to give the business easily the data for any use case to give them the capability to innovate and bring something new in the logistics world.

Patrick Moorhead: Delio, I’ve loved your story here. And again, you bridge the gap between us analysts and pundits who think we know everything, and we have to, we got big egos, and the vendors who are telling us another story. So it’s really a great time. I love these times, probably most of all because it’s the grand purifier of what a vendor is saying and what their customers are actually doing. So I really appreciate you coming on the show, and I hope other enterprises watch this video and maybe get some inspiration on how to do it, because there are people literally wrangling with data, and it’s all over the place. And it’s not managed very well, the ability to go between public clouds is limited without having a giant team to be able to do that. So thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

Delio Amato: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

Daniel Newman: Thanks Delio. All right everybody, you heard it here at The Six Five, on the road, in Miami, at the Cloudera Sales Kickoff. You like what you heard? Hit that subscribe button and join us for all of our videos, all the interviews, several more here and, of course, all the different Six Five interviews that Patrick and I conduct every day around the world. But for now, we got to say goodbye. So thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you all later.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.