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Instaclustr Insights: Meet Christophe Schmitz, VP of Consulting

Christophe Schmitz - Profile

NameChristophe Schmitz
RoleVP of Consulting
LocationCanberra, Australia

As Instaclustr’s VP of Consulting, what does your typical week look like?


A lot of my time is spent communicating and engaging with customers (and prospective customers). I’ll be on sales calls with businesses all over the world, listening to their data stack goals and requirements – and making sure that what they’re looking for is something that we can deliver. I’m also making sure that customers understand how we work and what our own requirements are to be able to capably serve them. Following these conversations, I’ll work with our expert staff to discuss the specific solution strategy we’d like to pursue with a given customer. After talking through conditions and agreeing to terms, it’s time to get to work: we’ll schedule a setup and kickoff session, either remotely or with our experts at the customer site.  


With all these customer conversations, what’s your perception of how enterprises are embracing open source technologies right now?


I definitely see a real shift, with organizations across industries increasingly looking to take advantage of mature, secure, and flexible open source solutions. It’s nice to see growing (and deserved) recognition and trust for data-layer solutions like Cassandra and Kafka. Enterprises are also better understanding the benefits of having a managed provider that frees up internal resources for product development.


Are companies typically using Cassandra and Kafka for the first time through Instaclustr, or have they tried it on their own and now want a managed service?


We see both. There are certainly those that have existing experience with these technologies, but that come to us because they want to focus elsewhere on their business – not managing their data layer. Others have heard good things about open source technologies like Cassandra and Kafka and want to know if their use case is a fit for those solutions. Part of my role is to determine that fit.


Where are companies with their digital transformation? On schedule, ahead, or behind?


It’s really a mix, but what all companies have in common right now is an acute competitive pressure to realize the efficiency and customer-facing advantages that come with completing their digital transformations. That said, different organizations have different maturities in this area. We’ve talked to some that are quite far behind and (by their own admission) lack the internal understanding required to complete this process, and we’re there to help them. Other companies are ahead and looking to stay ahead.


How long you been at Instaclustr, and what did you do previously?


I’ve been with Instaclustr for four years now. I started out as a software engineer, and then directed our consulting in Europe (and now do so worldwide). Before Instaclustr I was a software engineer at the data management company Actian, and prior to that I did research in computational biology.


It’s the start of 2019: what about Instaclustr are you most excited about this year?


I’m excited about how we can now put technologies together for customers. Until relatively recently, we’ve been providing Apache Cassandra, Kafka, Spark and other technologies as standalone managed solutions. Now with our singular Instaclustr Managed Platform, we can deliver them all together in a way that makes them more than the sum of their parts.


What’s your favorite part about being at Instaclustr?


I’ve really enjoyed seeing our growth from a small startup into the worldwide business it is today. It’s been cool, and inspiring, really, to see Instaclustr evolve – both in terms of headcount and by what we’ve achieved with our managed platform.