Adriaan van Wyk is the chief executive officer of K2, a company that helps business customers make sense of big data analytics in order to make business decisions. The company started off in South Africa and through the years managed to create a global footprint with partners in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. In this interview Adriaan talks about the interesting journey of K2 towards becoming a global company and gives young entrepreneurs valuable advice on building up and running their own company – not only in the big data space, but in general.
Sramana Mitra: Adriaan, let’s start with some background about K2 as well as about you.
Adriaan van Wyk: I grew up in South Africa, where we also started the company K2. Essentially we grew it as a product organization internationally with the head office currently in Bellevue, Seattle. We have a few thousand customers around the world in all major commercial regions. We are building an organization that loves innovation and our customers and wants to make sure they are successful. You don’t build a business like this over 10 years on your own, so we have a great team of people around the world that ultimately defines our culture and the success our customers have.
SM: What is the core value proposition of the company?
AW: We make it really easy for people who run businesses and who understand the challenges they are facing in turning their businesses into what they are. We empower them to work with the information they have to build business solutions that will help them be more efficient and effective and do this in a very short time, with turnaround times and an efficiency that were never possible before. If you look at some of our customers, they include some of the biggest organizations in the world – Kimberly-Clark, for example. They use our technology to build almost 400 of these business solutions on top of their Microsoft platform, integrating them into their SAP environments and essentially on top of the information that exists within the organization in order to run their businesses in a different way than they used to think about in the past.
They solve these problems with business people rather than having to go back to developers in order to solve them. That is one example. I love this example, because the magic number for us is 400. The fact that organizations within the space of months can build 400 business solutions on top of rich data and information that exists within their organization and empower people to be more effective was previously almost unheard of. That is what we strive for. We want to allow our customers to do that and achieve previously impossible levels of productivity.