Every product team wants to deliver solutions that will delight customers. In this dynamic, however, there is also a need to be pragmatic about what can be feasibly achieved.
For Anchal Dube, product manager at SailPoint, the ability to have a “truly honest and open relationship” with the goal of meeting user needs helps define how she engages with product discipline in the home-based business. Austin.
“We really listen to our customers. We don’t commit to solutions that we know we can’t provide,” Dube said. “We need to understand what their strategic security goals are to be aligned with them and really innovate with them.”
Dube is part of a product management team that also includes colleagues such as Lead Product Manager Erik Huckle and SVP of Product Management Ben Cody. Huckle is focused on helping automate the identity security process through machine learning and other technologies and optimizing a team he has likened to an “in-house startup” focused on how customers can leverage data to their advantage. Cody, meanwhile, helps define and guide the product roadmap as the organization puts in place solutions that help companies ensure the right work-related access and permissions.
“A big part of our investment goal is to flip the whole model around so people don’t have to go through the traditional drudgery of identity certifications,” Cody said. The idea is to “make these things an afterthought, if you will, because we’re giving customers such good data that it’s easy for them to make smart decisions.”
For Cody, it is also important to deepen knowledge within the discipline among team members. “We want to provide an environment where people feel like they’re going to be able to learn so they want to stay and grow their careers here,” he said.
Cody, Dube and Huckle recently spoke with Built In Austin about key elements of their product roadmap, how they are advancing their craft and how prioritizing customers helps align mission with results.
For starters, how do hot topics or industry trends influence the work you do?
Dube: I think it’s all about the idea of zero trust right now, especially with the hybrid work environment that many live in. The growing amount of applications and data that customers need to manage leads to higher risk. It is essential for an organization to adopt an approach of trusting no one and verifying constantly. Whether you have cloud or on-premises applications, SailPoint helps you manage access identities and validate if something is appropriate for access.
Huckle: We’re starting to really see the promise of machine learning. Over the next year, we expect to have a lot more user-friendliness in AI interpretation. We work closely with the data science team to ensure that we deliver effective results that also make sense to the humans who use them – our customers.
Cody: Much of what we do is about moving from identity governance to identity security: how to move from not just managing the lifecycle of identities, but also managing and mitigating the risks associated with each of these identities?
What are you currently tackling?
Dube: Some of the things we’re doing now involve automation and insights, as we continue to move into a world with the desire to automate as much as possible for efficiency. As we seek to solve our customers’ problems, we think about how we can automate processes and make solutions easier to use. We have to look at it from a customer user experience. So we work closely with our UX team during the design phase to make sure we take all their feedback into account when we come up with solutions.
Huckle: I’ve been part of this cutting-edge team pushing what we can do with technology. The initiative I recently worked on brings everything back to basics, which is almost like blocking and tackling product management: looking at data and asking customers. I’ve had the opportunity, with this small team, to take this project where we want to go and say, “What are the main issues our customers are having throughout this product experience” and see where that leads. I’m lucky to have people helping me and this little team shape where we’re going, but it’s really like charting your own path, which I love.
Cody: Innovation is really driven from the bottom up here. Anyone can have a good idea. We try to empower teams to really get to the heart of the matter and work collectively with engineering and UX to come up with innovative solutions. It’s not a business where someone with a C title dreams something up and tells everyone what to do. I think we not only aspire to, but do a pretty good job of empowering teams to take an innovative approach.
What do you think is unique about product management at SailPoint?
Dube: SailPoint’s core values are the four I’s: Innovation, Integrity, People and Impact. I feel like this company experiences this internally and with our customers and partners. That’s why it’s particularly different for me.
Huckle: OWith SailPoint, there is a lot of complexity. I think the company is doing a good job of allowing expert professionals that have been around for a while to shape product management, but also being receptive to new methods and ways of thinking about it. It was a fun and professional challenge, understanding an interesting and nuanced space. There are tons of people here to help you through this.
Cody: What’s different about practicing my own craft here is the level of collaboration I have with my peers in marketing and sales and customer success. Everyone here wants to work together. We work very hard to ensure that every new hire fits the culture. It allows us to really focus on the customers here and solve their problems.
Innovation is really driven from the bottom up here. Everyone can have a good idea.
Anchal and Erik, you have held several positions at SailPoint. Can you say more about this growth?
Dube: I joined as a PM towards the end of 2018 and was recently promoted to manage the product I’m working on. My managers have always been very helpful and supportive, provided me with full autonomy and confidence and helped me to meet challenges. Leadership in general is always available and accessible at SailPoint.
Huckle: I started here as a senior PM and towards the end of the year I was promoted to senior product manager. SailPoint does a very good job with autonomy and responsibility – owning the product you are working on and then being responsible for the results. Facing interesting challenges, but also having the structure to coach and teach you as you go, has been really beneficial for your career growth.
What are you most looking forward to working on in the next year?
Dube: I’ve been in product management for a while, but I really enjoy learning from our customers. I look forward to continuing these conversations with our customers through the various routes we have.
Huckle: We are well placed to continue to innovate. It’s always exciting to have healthy competition — it gives me the energy to keep creating great things and innovating. It’s this combination of not resting on our laurels and having all these interesting people to work with that also helps me learn and grow in my craft.
Cody: What excites me the most are the people and the culture. I’ve been in enterprise software products for 30 years and this is by far the best culture I’ve ever worked in. I feel truly honored to be here.