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Meet ATLATL's Newest Board Member

By Chris Beaudin | November 18, 2019

We are so excited to announce Rob Milks as the newest addition to our Board of Directors. Rob’s an experienced industry vet who knows the configuration space well. I sat down with him recently to learn more about the changes he’s seen in the market and how he views the future of Visualization. Check out the full interview below!

What are the most impactful changes in technology you’ve seen throughout your career?

When I started in the Computer business everything was a dumb client tied to a server. Then  along came the PC that allowed independent work to be done on the desktop. Then Networking of these systems became popular for distributed work. After that we had PC based servers that were able to service not only desktop clients, but web-based clients. Then, thanks to Salesforce.com, the rage of the 2000’s took over where you didn’t need servers or networks. Everything was delivered to your browser as a service. This SaaS world changed everything and is definitely the most impactful thing I’ve seen in my computing career and something that has changed the CPQ in a major way as well.

How have you seen platforms like CPQ evolve over time?

Yes, just like other markets has gone through cycles of evolution, so has CPQ. The first configurators were just glorified spreadsheets with some VB code on the front end. They weren’t web enabled at all and were used in very encapsulated environments. Then as browsers became more powerful, we saw On-premise servers with actual rule and/or constraint engines power these early front-ends. The benefit was that many users could configure at the same time and the user experience was a huge upgrade. Then technology evolved again and the SaaS world started taking hold, along with integration to better and faster data sources, ie; CRM, ERP, etc. This opened up the CPQ technology not only to wide scale rollouts, usage and price points, but also allowed the convergence of technologies to capture and serve true customer needs. The evolution cycle we are in now, is servicing the needs of the complex manufacturer that have a number of systems like CAD, PLM, CLM, Pricing, etc., and need to bring them together to out-pace their competitors in capturing customer market share.

View of Visualization market - what excites you about the future?

As we talked before about the present market cycle we are in, manufacturers are looking for that competitive advantage. The next major technology to help them do that is Visualization. We live in a visual world now more than ever, so customers demand the ability to research and self-serve in a visual way. Think about configuring a car online. Everything about it is visual. Industries like automotive have taught the masses to expect this from any manufacturer that wants to sell a complex product. The thing that excites me most about this latest visual evolution is that it we are only in its infancy. The market is wide open for world class Visualization to “front end” and power the CPQ process.

What interested you in joining ATLATL? 

When I looked at Atlatl, the very first thing that stood out was a passionate and focused ownership and leadership team. Marc has done an excellent job leading the company in a focused direction. Just as magical was when I dove into their world class Visualization product and how it could make the difference in front-ending other CPQ, PLM and eCommerce systems. Truly they were positioned for market leadership in Visual CPQ. My hunch was recently confirmed when Atlatl was the only company placed in G2 Crowds “Leadership Quadrant” for Visual CPQ…..  by their customers!!!! I knew I had to be a part of this revolution and am very pleased to now serve on the Atlatl Board.

Do you have any motto’s, beliefs, or insights that guide you? 

  • Customers don’t buy your product, they buy the end result
  • The pain of extreme effort is only temporary
  • Adapt or die
  • Always give back
  • Make time for the important things!

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