Chris McNabb has spent the past nine years leading Boomi, a Chesterbrook-based software company that pioneered what IT people call IPaaS, “Integration Platform as a Service,” which facilitates the transfer of data between the applications of a company. Among other upgrades, the cloud company has helped company employees work remotely even before the pandemic. Demand increased as offices closed to comply with local rules.
A veteran of one of the Philadelphia area’s first successful national software companies, Systems and Computer Technologies, McNabb joined Boomi in 2010, the year it was acquired by Dell Technologies, and led him as CEO. since 2012, bringing staff to over 1,300 out of 45 when it started.
After the purchase of Boomi by private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG earlier this year for $ 4 billion, McNabb announced he would retire – but predicts that the new owners, instead of cutting the value , will speed up hiring to meet companies’ seemingly insatiable demand for automation. , and work from home, in the face of hackers, computer failures and other challenges. He is expected to step down next month. Boomi’s new CEO will be David Meredith, who has led Boston-based emergency software provider Everbridge. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Information technology has become so widely diffused and so disjointed. On your smartphone, you might have a lot of apps, but you don’t really think about them once they’re installed; you can reach them by pressing buttons on one screen.
Your employer also has a lot of apps (for sales, service, engineering, inventory, finance, payroll, travel, research) but unlike your phone, many of them were designed by different suppliers, who never really thought about working together.
So to have the kind of service that people expect, now that Apple, Amazon, and other tech companies have raised expectations, you need to bring together apps and their vendors and their access to data. And you can’t just create that by bolting one app onto another. You need a service that can tie your important applications into a suite, a dashboard. This is what we do at Boomi.
Name an industry. You are probably familiar with Moderna, a company that has come out of nowhere to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic with its vaccine. They developed very quickly. They faced many challenges, evolving their back-end [office] services to support their work clinically. We had to tie all business and financial activities together so that they could focus on deploying their drugs and quickly respond to demand.
At the University of Miami, they’re trying to engage students who grew up with Amazon-grade experiences. They don’t want to have to sign up and then repeat everything for tuition, financial aid, classes, meals, etc. Miami is therefore striving to automate all of this, via a mobile application. And we’re here to help make it clear and secure.
There is a country in Europe, they really don’t want us to identify them, that has a national health plan, but they still had a manual process of yearly renewal of the card. Everything was connected to those old IBM mainframe computers, nothing in the cloud. So it was like going to the DMV – you sit in a lot of lines.
Then the pandemic strikes and everyone who works in the health service building is sent home. This means that no one can renew their health insurance card. Their renewal and validation process went into crisis when they needed it most.
They called us and in four days we built a workflow so they could remotely produce a card and send it to your home. We made it 100% digital. Between March 15 and July 30, 2020, a third of their citizens renewed their health insurance card; that’s a few million people.
They should be. As a Pennsylvania citizen, I would love to have a fully automated app, where I wouldn’t have to go to one place and queue. I think it’s still in the future. County governments in the UK, at least, are starting to feel pressure to automate these services, and they are looking for ways to do it.
From Amazon Web Services and Google, all vendors and cloud and software as a service providers have enabled the hybrid work movement, migrating work to a remote environment. Our mobile apps have helped, allowing people to work remotely using the cloud.
Cloud providers need to build in more redundancy, more capacity. Suppliers like Amazon and us are still way beyond what businesses can do for themselves.
From the start, the decision was to run largely as an independent company, 100% owned by Dell, but legally separate. Lots of things we’ve outsourced – finance, tax, treasury, HR, benefits. That way, I could devote more time to sales and the business could accelerate. Dell provided the capital for this. And in the pandemic, they impose no constraints on our growth. Everyone benefited from it. It was a great ride.
They spent $ 4 billion as the purchase price. The answer here is growth. It is very doable. They have the capital to do it. And at Francisco Partners, that’s what they do. They bought another company from Dell in 2015 called Quest. They just sold it for a much higher price, because it got so much bigger when they owned it. A huge success for their customers and for the employees.
Listen, there are no guarantees in this world. But when you look at Francisco Partners and TPG, they’re very well-rated companies, with big portfolios. They know what they are doing.
We are in one of the hottest job markets I have seen. Being able to recruit from everywhere made complaints easier. One thing we still have is local: strong hiring relationships with Drexel, Temple, and other universities here. One thing I miss is when we could get interns and youngsters to sit next to seasoned developers. The pandemic has strained this muscle. It’s so much better if you can pick up a chair at a desk and ask questions.
I have no plans after Boomi. I will be 62 in January. I have served on non-profit boards. I want to spend time with my wife and my family. Play golf.