Executive Conversations: Pradeep Seneviratne, President and CEO of Campfire Interactive
Campfire Interactive, Inc. (Campfire), the leading provider of portfolio profitability management in the automotive sector, announced a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company. Through the collaboration, Campfire will provide automotive businesses around the world with an end-to-end solution to unlock profit potential within a highly reliable, scalable, cost-effective, cloud-based infrastructure platform. Please click here to read the announcement.
In this blog, Thad Dungan, Head of Worldwide Automotive GTM at AWS and Pradeep Seneviratne, Founder, President, and CEO of Campfire Interactive, discuss the strategic relationship and the benefits it brings to the automotive industry.
Thad Dungan: The automotive industry is changing rapidly – how is Campfire involved?
Pradeep Seneviratne: Automotive suppliers are dealing with complex business problems while creating, managing, and executing profitability plans. Meanwhile, new and ongoing vehicle programs and supply chain production-related issues add to the growing list of challenges that need to be proactively managed. Campfire is providing capabilities that will allow automotive suppliers a data-driven foundation to face industry changes that are here and coming.
Some examples of this are getting the customer’s most important business lifecycle data into one database: cost, price, volume, capacity and timing. Getting an enterprise to handle these 5 data points utilizing one global process and one set of measures and metrics and then providing a set of tools within this one system allows users from across the enterprise – sales, marketing, finance, engineering, and supply chain – to analyze that data and get what they need from it.
Campfire is providing tools for automotive suppliers to mitigate risks and absorb the rapid changes that are coming their way. Campfire’s ML-based tools can go through vast amounts of data in the Campfire system to provide critical information quickly to increase operational agility.
So when you handle all the complexities of the automotive world today, you end up with a lot of data. You need the technologies and native cloud services to be highly optimized to provide results within a few seconds, especially if you are looking at a user base that can be many hundreds of individuals dispersed across the globe. Campfire provides this with a modern user interface that can be easily accessed through a browser from a computer or mobile device.
TD: What problem does Campfire’s solution with AWS solve for the automotive industry?
PS:Our relationship with AWS addresses three opportunities immediately. The first is having a reliable, secure, and cost effective cloud platform for our customer hosting needs. This allows us to invest our time and resources in innovations for our business. Secondly, AWS has the technology to improve Campfire’s reporting and dashboarding needs. And finally, having the technology to readily access the vast amount of data that Campfire stores providing critical and actionable insights to the users using machine learning technology.
TD: Taking a closer look at the industry, how is Campfire helping minimize today’s high material cost situation on supplier profitability? What are your customers doing today to address this industry situation?
PS:Well first, our lighthouse customers are already navigating through these conditions but for 95% of the supply base this kind of activity is nearly impossible to do who utilize MS Excel combined with some ETL processes and their enterprise systems. We see successful suppliers using our solution to conduct scenario analysis to better understand the effect on profitability due to material price hikes and flagging supply commitments where profitability erosion must be handled. I’ve also seen my customers take action by notifying plants to optimize scrap recovery (done outside of Campfire) and those who initiate commercial discussions with OEMs for price relief (done in Campfire). Longer term, automotive suppliers use our solutions to make sure that cost and price models are taking into account material indexed pricing for all new business.
TD: What kind of impact has the cloud, and more specifically AWS on your business?
PS: The Cloud has had a significant impact within the automotive supplier community in the past 5 years. An increasing number of suppliers are demanding solutions that can be hosted securely and provided without a drain on their IT resources. AWS is ideally suited to take advantage of this environment. There are not many reputable, cost effective solutions out there right now. Combining that with some of the services and features that AWS brings along with the platform, we see AWS having a significant penetration and ecosystem within the automotive industry considering recent announcements with Continental, Toyota, BlackBerry IVY, BMW, and Volkswagen AG among others. In the past three months alone, five of Campfire’s important customers have migrated to AWS.
TD: What makes you excited about the future of automotive? What should your customers be excited about?
PS:The autonomous car will deliver a huge productivity gain. You are talking about giving back employees 2 hours (or 25% of their work time) of their time every day. Electric vehicles will dramatically reduce the environmental pollution from the ICE (internal combustible engine) platform. All of us should be excited and tremendously grateful for that development. With the arrival of Tesla, Rivian etc. the US is taking the lead in the future of automotive after almost 50 years.
The industry is on the verge of accepting and deploying technologies such as Campfire and AWS to improve their margins, ability to easily ties technologies that give them sales value, reduce expensive mistakes/recalls, improve safety and provide a more enjoyable means of group transportation to the masses. And that last one means the days of the teenager dreaming about the first car she will buy (instead of the next iPhone she will buy) will come back. All these are exciting developments for me and my customers.
Pradeep is the co-founder, President and CEO of Campfire. He leads the company’s focus on customer satisfaction and employee culture, managing the areas of sales, customer success, implementations, and product planning. He has 30 years of experience building and selling software and establishing strategic business partnerships within a variety of industries including automotive, electronics, consumer products, aerospace and entertainment. He was a Founder and General Manager of Imageware, a leader in high end surface modeling, acquired in 1998 by SDRC (now Siemens Digital Industries Software), a Vice President of SDRC, and a Founder and Vice President of Virage, a leader in internet video image indexing, which completed an IPO in 2000. Pradeep earned an MSE from University of Michigan in Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence and a BSE from Princeton University.
Thad Dungan serves as worldwide head of Automotive at AWS based in Seattle, WA. He has a long background in automotive and tech working closely with big auto to help transform their businesses by leveraging AWS. Prior to his current role he was Head of Americas for HERE Technologies in the Automotive Group. A seasoned enterprise software executive, he has more than 20 years of product marketing, product management and general management experience. He has worked in various roles at SAP SE and Manugistics (BlueYonder) including head of operations, Vice President of Strategic Customer Engagement, Vice President of Product Management, and Vice President of Solution Consulting. Mr. Dungan also served in various supply chain leadership roles at General Motors and General Motors South America (Brazil) including vehicle logistics, program management and readiness, and strategic sourcing. He also currently serves as a board director for NovoDynamics, a Big Data and Advanced Analytics company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.