Automation is one part of corporate technology budgets that is unlikely to see cuts as companies rein in spending amid an economic downturn, said Ali Ghodsi, chief executive of Databricks Inc.
Tools that chief information officers can provide to the company to find inefficient processes or simplify operations can only help companies weather a bad economy, said Mr. Ghodsi speaking at the WSJ CIO Network conference, which practically on Tuesday.
“When you’re under cost pressure, the last thing you want to do is limit automation,” he said. “You don’t want to cut back on the things you make more efficient. You can use data to find out.”
Mr. Ghodsi co-founded Databricks in 2013 with computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. The company provides open-source tools for storing and analyzing large amounts of data, with a focus on developing artificial intelligence applications.
CIOs in biotech, agriculture and a range of industries are looking for affordable ways to use AI without being locked into a specific technology platform, he said. Open-source data tools can help avoid lock-in, a scenario where a technology vendor often charges or slows innovation over time, he said.
For example, the agricultural and construction machinery manufacturer Deere & Co. relies on the open source tools from Databricks to set up a repository for data analysis.
Demand for AI and data analytics is high as tougher economic conditions prompt more companies to adopt software designed to drive better business decisions or identify ways to improve everything from supply chains to customer service.
Though Databricks has grown mostly organically to a private market valuation of $38 billion, Mr. Ghodsi said it is considering acquisitions in specific areas, including cybersecurity. Security tools would help customers protect data and maintain privacy, he said.
Databricks was one of the most anticipated IPOs in the startup market. Mr Ghodsi declined to set a date for an IPO other than saying it will be “in the not too distant future”.
write to Kim S. Nash at [email protected]
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