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Gary Lyng of Aparavi: “Constantly be listening to needs and demands of your customer”

Some of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in my career have come from not truly understanding a problem. And when things go wrong, everyone tends to blame everyone else without knowing why it went wrong in the first place. I like to use the infamous “cow in a ditch” analogy to help explain this. The […]

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Some of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in my career have come from not truly understanding a problem. And when things go wrong, everyone tends to blame everyone else without knowing why it went wrong in the first place.

I like to use the infamous “cow in a ditch” analogy to help explain this. The shortened version of the story is a cow is in a ditch that needs to get removed but the people around the cow are arguing about everything besides the main issue — how to remove the cow from the ditch.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Lyng.

Gary Lyng is the CMO of Aparavi, a data intelligence and automation software and services company that helps companies find and unlock the value of data — no matter where it lives. Aparavi’s cloud-based SaaS platform finds, automates, governs, and consolidates distributed data. Aparavi ensures secure access for modern data demand of analytics, machine learning, and collaboration.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Gary Lyng is Chief Marketing Officer at Aparavi. He has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software and infrastructure, driving innovative, award-winning products, teams and programs. Lyng is well known in the industry as a trailblazer capable of developing new initiatives for leading technologies that transform into true business benefits for clients and partners. He’s regarded as a “rare species” with an uncanny ability to differentiate the business value and customer experience of a solution. 
 
Lyng built his career in enterprise software, storage and systems. Focusing on the ‘Big Picture’ to deploy appropriate strategies, passionate to disrupt the status quo, while communicating value to real-world impact is key to Lyng’s success. Prior to joining Aparavi, Lyng was CMO at Violin Systems, a leader in high-performance storage, where he helped boost revenue, perception and leadership and was named one of 2019’s Most Influential CMOs by CIO Review. Prior to Violin, he spearheaded products and solutions at SanDisk (acquired by Western Digital), EMC, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Veritas Software.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

I’ve always been involved with data in one form or another but the thing I found really attractive about data is that, at its core, it’s the lifeline of a business. Getting the right information, at the right time, and making sure it’s easy to access is essential for a business.

When I came across Aparavi, they were working in the traditional data and storage management environments. While that is very important to a business’ back office or data center, I thought they could do so much more. I thought to myself, “Why are you moving data from point A to point B when you don’t know anything about its value? How does that improve the business and its customers?” That was when I had my “aha” moment. I realized there were certain areas of the business that weren’t understanding the company’s big picture and put it upon myself to make sure the company’s overall message was clearly understood. I made sure each person understood their role within the organization and held them accountable for their responsibilities. Once people were able to understand their role and what they needed to achieve, the business was able to run like a well-oiled machine.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Some of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in my career have come from not truly understanding a problem. And when things go wrong, everyone tends to blame everyone else without knowing why it went wrong in the first place.

I like to use the infamous “cow in a ditch” analogy to help explain this. The shortened version of the story is a cow is in a ditch that needs to get removed but the people around the cow are arguing about everything besides the main issue — how to remove the cow from the ditch.

The first thing you need to do is agree that there is a problem. You then need to come up with a plan to solve the problem. Once you’ve come up with a plan, you must delegate responsibilities making sure everyone understands their role and how they are going to achieve their goal. After the action has been completed, take proactive steps to come up with a plan and best practices to make sure you don’t have to deal with the same problem again.

Once you are able understand problems fully, put forward basic problem-solving skills and can delegate responsibilities to solve an issue in the most transparent way possible, you can face any challenge. .

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

A quote I’ve taken to heart and has helped me in my career is the great line from Jack Welsch, “Lead more and manage less.” I understand that as a leader of an organization, the buck starts with me. So if I’m not doing the work that I need to do, employees that I am supposed to be leading will do the same and nothing gets accomplished or progresses.

In addition, I do my best to connect with my colleagues at an emotional level. I’ve found that if I can personally connect with that person, they become more loyal to the brand and will do anything to make sure the overall goal of the company is achieved.

I’ve also learned that it is impossible to accomplish something by yourself. I’ve put it upon myself to reach out to others within my organization to collaborate on everything from new business ideas to critical strategy documents.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

We’re all human so we’re all liable to make mistakes. That said, I’ve learned that after making a mistake, it’s important to not only own up to it but propose solutions to solve the mistake. I’ve found that if you do this, you can staunch the bleeding and come up with a solution in less time.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Aparavi is a company discovering the hidden jewels and golden nuggets withindata. A lot of times we can drown ourselves in ridiculous amounts of information without ever finding the most important piece.

For example, in the work we do in M&A’s, a company needs to be able to find certain levels of efficiencies and be able to remove duplicate sets of information. This obviously starts with the discovery of data — you need to understand where it lives and where the redundancies are. After this, a company can take the appropriate actions to move forward. That’s where I think Aparavi stands out. With Aparavi, a company can search and truly understand its system’s information. After the data has been consolidated, a trickle-down effect begins and you can start to consider things like IT and data center consolidation then move into best practices, strategy etc.

Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Aparavi is a young company whose product launched in July. We’ve acquired a handful of customers and have seen a tremendous amount of interest in the market. We’ve also been recognized in the media and have won awards such as, The 10 Hottest Cloud Computing Startups of 2018 (So Far), Eight data storage startup vendors to watch in 2018, 20 Data Storage Startups to Watch and 10 Hottest Storage Startups

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

We try to keep the monetization of Aparavi simple as possible across the board. We make it easy for leaders to estimate the file capacity needed and their expected file growth, making it easy for things like budget planning.

We start with a subscription-based, free version for our customers to utilize. This allows them to use Aparavi for up to 5TB of data which is equivalent to 5 million files. Once they’ve used all of their capacity in the free trial, a year-long subscription starts. We also charge for the intelligent policies that are built into various regulations already in place.

Based on your experience and success, what are the four most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

It comes down to understanding your customer’s touchpoints to ensure your app or SaaS’ differentiation is centered around the customer’s experience. You must:

  1. Constantly be listening to needs and demands of your customer
  2. Truly understand what your customer is trying to achieve
  3. Communicate that you are addressing the needs of your customer
  4. Work toward a specific customer/user experience objective

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a movement of news to produce facts, not opinion. We as humans are able to make our decisions and develop our own opinions — we don’t need the news to tell us that. The news should tell the truth in order for the public to form their own views. Trust comes when the truth is told, and with trust comes loyalty. That has been something that has been lost today. I would love to see people move forward with this mindset.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter 
LinkedIn
https://www.aparavi.com/about-us/

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