Every product team wants to deliver solutions that are going to leave customers delighted. Within that dynamic, though, there’s also the need to be pragmatic about what can be feasibly brought to fruition.
For Anchal Dube, a product manager at SailPoint, the ability to have a “really honest, open relationship” in the pursuit of meeting user needs helps define how she engages with the product discipline at the Austin-based company.
“We truly listen to our customers. We don’t commit to solutions that we know we cannot deliver,” Dube said. “We need to understand what their strategic security goals are to be aligned with them and really innovate with them.”
Dube is part of a product management team that also includes colleagues such as Lead Product Manager Erik Huckle and SVP of Product Management Ben Cody. Huckle is focused on helping automate the identity security process through machine learning and other technologies and optimizing a team he likened to an “internal startup” focused on how customers can leverage data to their benefit. Cody, meanwhile, helps set and guide the product roadmap as the organization puts together solutions that help companies ensure correct work-related access and permissions.
“A big part of our investment focus is on turning the whole model on its head so that people don’t have to go through the traditional drudgery of identity certifications,” Cody said. The idea is to “make this stuff an afterthought, if you will, because we provide such good data to customers that it’s easy for them to make intelligent decisions.”
For Cody, it’s also important to further knowledge within the discipline among team members. “We want to provide an environment where people feel like they’re going to be able to learn so that they want to stay and grow their career here,” he said.
Cody, Dube and Huckle recently chatted with Built In about the key items on their product roadmap, how they further their craft and how customer prioritization helps align mission with results.
To start, how do the hot topics or trends in the industry inform the work you do?
Dube: I think it’s all about the idea of zero trust right now, especially with the hybrid work environment that many are living in. The growing amount of applications and data that customers have to maintain brings in higher risk. It’s paramount for an organization to take an approach of trusting no one and continuously verifying. Whether you have applications in the cloud or on premises, SailPoint helps you manage the access identities and validate if something is access-appropriate.
Huckle: We’re starting to really see the promise of machine learning. In this next year, we expect to have a lot more usability interpreting AI. We’re working closely with the data science team to ensure that we’re delivering effective results that also make sense to the humans who are using them — our customers.
Cody: A lot of what we’re doing is all about the shift from identity governance to identity security: How we go from not just managing the lifecycle of identities, but also managing and helping reduce the risks associated with each of those identities?
What’s something impactful you’re currently tackling?
Dube: Some of the things that we’re doing right now involve automation and insights as we continue to move in a world with a desire to automate as much as possible for efficiency. As we look to solve our customers’ problems, we consider how we can automate processes and make solutions easier to use. We have to look at it from a customer user experience. So we work closely with our UX team during the design phase to make sure we take all of their feedback into consideration when we come up with solutions.
Huckle: I’ve been on this cutting-edge team pushing what we can do with technology. The initiative that I’ve been recently working on brings it all the way back to the basics, which is almost like the blocking and tackling of product management: looking at data and interviewing customers. I’ve been given the opportunity with this small team to take this project where we want to go and say, “What are the main pain points that our customers have throughout this product experience” and see where it goes. I’m lucky to have people helping me and this small team shape where we’re going, but really it’s like a chart-your-own path, which I love.
Cody: Innovation is really driven from the bottom up here. Anybody can have a good idea. We try to empower the teams to really get into the meat of the problem and work collectively with engineering and UX to come up with innovative solutions. This isn’t a company where somebody with a C title is dreaming something up and telling everybody what to do. I think we don’t only aspire to, but do a pretty good job of actually empowering teams to take an innovative approach.
What do you think is unique about product management at SailPoint?
Dube: SailPoint’s core values are the Four I’s: innovation, integrity, individuals and impact. I feel like this company lives that out internally and with our customers and partners. That’s why it’s especially different for me.
Huckle: With SailPoint, there’s a lot of complexity. I think the company does a good job of enabling expert professionals who have been around for a while to shape product management, but also being receptive to new methods and ways of thinking about it. It’s been a fun, professional challenge, understanding an interesting and nuanced space. There are tons of people here to help you through it.
Cody: What’s different about practicing my own craft here is the level of collaboration that I have with my peers in marketing and sales and customer success. Everybody here wants to work together. We work really hard to make sure each new hire is a good cultural fit. It allows us to really focus on the customers here and solve their problems.
“Innovation is really driven from the bottom up here. Anybody can have a good idea.”
Anchal and Erik, you’ve held a few positions at SailPoint. Can you share more about that growth?
Dube: I joined as a PM near the end of 2018 and was recently promoted to manage the product that I work on. My managers have always been super helpful and supportive, provided me with full autonomy and trust, and helped me out with challenges. Leadership in general is always available and approachable at SailPoint.
Huckle: I started here as a senior PM and at about the year mark was promoted to lead product manager. SailPoint does a really good job with autonomy and responsibility — owning the product that you’re working on and then being accountable for the results. Tackling interesting challenges but also having the structure to mentor you and teach you as you go through has been really beneficial for career growth.
What are you most looking forward to working on over the next year?
Dube: I’ve been doing product management for quite some time, but I truly enjoy learning from our customers. Keeping those conversations going with our customers via the different routes we have available is something I’m looking forward to.
Huckle: We’re in a good spot to continue to innovate. It’s always stimulating to have healthy competition — that keeps me energized to continue building great stuff and innovating. It’s that combination of not resting on our laurels and also having all these interesting people to work with that is helping me learn and advance my craft as well.
Cody: The thing I’m excited about the most about is the people and the culture. I’ve been in enterprise software products for 30 years and this is by far the best culture that I’ve been able to work in. I feel really honored to be here.