CxO of the Week: Goutam Nadella, EVP of Client Solutions at Symphony

This week, we are celebrating Goutam Nadella, Executive Vice President (EVP) of Client Solutions at Symphony, a secure, cloud-based, communication and content sharing platform. Goutam has an impressive background and knowledge of technology and capital markets. We spoke to Goutam to find out more about his career in communications.

Goutam, your exciting background includes launching a number of business initiatives over the last 14 years. What did you learn from these endeavours?

We live a very interesting time where technology is transforming entire industries and disrupting business models. What I have learnt is that the only constant is change, and the rate of that change is unprecedented. With such rapid change, it is more critical than ever to be driven by your customers and end-users. Launching a successful business requires not just a strong vision (the why), but extreme discipline in understanding your customers (the what) and agility in your product development (the how). This remains my north star in every initiative I lead. 

Your background has led you to become the EVP of Client Solutions at Symphony, a communications company. What motivated you to move into communications?

For my entire career pre-Symphony, I worked in capital markets where information is your currency. Your edge is defined by your ability to process all of that information to derive valuable insights, and in how you leverage those insights to collaborate with your peers and customers in driving towards business outcomes. While the industry has seen an incredible amount of innovation in the last decade in specific areas such as data science and algorithmic-driven trading, collaboration tools haven’t really adapted to this change. Most communication tools, such as email, are not designed for efficient real-time communication, and ones that are real time were purpose-built for a small subset of use cases that ended up fragmenting user communities.

When Symphony was launched in 2014, I was incredibly excited to be part of an industry-led initiative that would bring all user communities together on a single horizontal platform. Symphony is built on a foundation of security and data privacy that democratises access to those communities, which would then drive an incredible amount of innovation around cross company workflows. Back in 2003, as a new analyst that collaborated all day with internal teams and with clients, I know I would have loved to have access to a platform like that. Eleven years later, I finally had a chance to drive that change. Four and a half years into my Symphony career, I am proud to see this vision start to come through, not only in finance, but in every industry where collaboration tools are becoming nerve centers and change agents. 

What inspires your passion to design, develop, and deliver innovative products to the market?

For most of my career, I have operated at the intersection of customers, product development, and engineering. I derive a lot of inspiration from deeply understanding customer needs and enjoy bringing a number of raw ingredients across the product development process and engineering to deliver innovation to those customers. It is for this reason that I have always consciously chosen roles that allow me to operate across all three functions, although, at heart, I would like to think I am a product guy that masquerades as a sales guy once in a while to get closer to customers. I am passionate about leveraging complex technology to deliver seemingly simple products for powerful business outcomes. 

What do you hope to see in the future of communications?

I strongly believe we are still in chapter one of this incredible story that has been playing out over the last 4-5 years, where communication and collaboration platforms such as Symphony are transforming entire industries. As more and more firms gravitate away from email to real-time communication, we will start to see this open a completely new dimension to how humans, BOTs, and applications work together to achieve business outcomes. We will start to see communication tools that are deployed broadly disrupt entire business models built around a narrow set of collaboration use cases. Those uses cases and workflows will shift to become simple apps and BOTs on communication platforms, saving costs and driving efficiencies. We are also living in an age where protection of user content and privacy is severely compromised due to prevailing business models, both in consumer platforms and enterprise tools. I believe we will see a strong shift towards collaboration platforms that enable high-value cross company workflows without compromising security and privacy of user-generated content. 

If you enjoyed this piece, make sure to check out our last CxO