Interview with Samir Mehra Vice President, Device42

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With automation and asset management quickly turning into a necessity, many organizations today want to take the big leap of automating their processes and gaining better control over them. However, many of them have to back out simply because they lack the requisite tools and infrastructure for making such a crucial move. While conventional automation companies can considerably help their cause, most of them lack the dexterity, finesse and flexibility required for the task. This is where DEVICE42 comes in. The company is known for providing customized automation solutions and to countless organizations over the world and optimizing their IT infrastructure in no time.

Today we are fortunate to have Mr. Samir Mehra, the Vice President of Products at DEVICE42, among us to tell us more about the company’s mission, vision and plans for the future.

In conversation with Mr. Samir Mehra, Vice President at DEVICE42.

How long have you been working with this product?

I joined Device42 about four months ago as VP of Products, but I have years of experience understanding why and how customers want their data. The opportunity at Device42 really appealed to me because they’re getting ready to move into the cloud discovery space in a big way and that’s one of my strengths. The company plans to do for cloud discovery what it has already done for on-premises discovery. Not just displaying discovered information, but also providing actionable insights and recommendations.

What is the most interesting thing about your job?

I really enjoy working on products and features that solve real customer use cases. Conversely, I also like the challenge of translating those use cases into features and then seeing customers use them. And in my situation with Device42, I get to interact with everyone from sales and marketing, to customer support, engineering and executive management. I get to build a product that combines the input from all the internal stakeholders, as well as the customers. The real exciting thing for me is that with the Device42 feature set, I find myself solving use cases that can’t be solved by our competitors.

Are there any ideological principles that your organization follows to maintain the brand value?

Our number one guiding principle is to keep our customers involved in the process of product development the whole time. Before, during and after. From wireframe to MVP to finished product. The payoff of keeping our customers involved in the process is that we avoid building features that nobody wants. We’re only building features that address their pain points. And because they feel a part of the process in influencing product requirements, they feel like it’s something they’ve helped develop.

Considering the pace at which the SaaS market is growing, how important is it to keep innovating to stay in the game?

It’s important that we ensure our rate of innovation is growing at a healthy pace. Of course, we balance it against making sure that we are producing a product with features that align with our strategic vision and customer needs. So, it’s a bit of a balancing act. One very important improvement is we just started incorporating ways to measure product usage analytics into the product. This lets us know which features we have to enhance and which ones aren’t being used. So, this will help us innovate even more intelligently going forward.

The other area in which we’ve focused our innovation is learning to leverage the data we collect. Device42 has collected a lot of data over the years, and it’s incumbent upon us to learn to turn that data into actionable insights. As an example, if I can see which servers or VMs I have that are zombies. I know they’re not being used so I can power them down. That discovery immediately produces an ROI by lowering energy costs and freeing up infrastructure which can be used for other purposes..

What is one thing that puts your product apart from the crowd?

Breadth and depth of discovery. We have the broadest and deepest discovery tool available. What makes us the broadest and deepest? For starters, the sheer number of devices, from an IT perspective, that we collect data on. Device42 doesn’t just collect information like VMware, Windows and Linux, we go beyond that. We collect data on all hypervisors, mainframes, containers, network devices, storage devices, power devices, and so on. And when we collect that data, we go deep. We get the basic inventory information, but then we augment that with OS type, IP/MAC addresses, software version and install date, services, connections, and most importantly, dependencies. If you have a device that we don’t collect data on, we want to make sure we remedy that and we do collect data on it. Our goal is to be the most comprehensive discovery tool available.

How would you define “a successful product”?

A successful product is one that a customer cannot do without to get either information or perform their tasks. It becomes an integral part of their toolset and mindset.

What exciting is coming up from your side in 2021?

The most exciting thing we have planned for 2021 is our transition to being a SaaS product. Our SaaS tool is right now in alpha and will go live sometime in 2021. Once our SaaS tool is available, users will no longer have to deploy Device42 main appliances in their own environment. Customers, who have previously been taking our data and using third party BI tools like Power BI to visualize their data, will no longer have to do that because that capability will be native in Device42. We’re making sure they can visualize their data without having to export it.

What helps you stay updated, interested, and inspired?

I enjoy learning about new technologies and building great products. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to take formal classes, so I’m always self-teaching myself the new skills I need by playing around in AWS and Azure cloud provider toolsets. I also belong to the Boston Product Managers Association and attend their webinars to stay up to date with best practices.

Originally published September 18, 2020 , Updated : September 18, 2020

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