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April 2, 2021

Meet Datanami 2021 Person to Watch Josh James

Alex Woodie

Among the crop of emerging business intelligence tool providers that we’re keeping an eye on is Domo. The startup from Silicon Slopes, Utah, is turning heads with its unified, cloud-based approach to analytics. We recently caught up with its founder and CEO, Josh James, who is a Datanami 2021 Person to Watch.

Datanami: Can you provide a quick description of Domo and why it’s different than other BI tools? What makes it unique?

Josh James: Domo is a modern BI platform that was designed to help organizations of all sizes drive more value from their business data and existing IT investments. Our cloud-native platform’s ability to integrate and transform massive amounts of data from any source, query and visualize it at breakneck speed, and share actionable insights in record time with anyone inside or outside an organization, are a few of the things that make us unique.

Datanami: How do you see data analytics evolving over the next five years? What can organizations do to get ahead of the game?

James: In the next five years, analytics will evolve to be even more integral to how businesses are run. Traditional BI has always been about serving the few with insight, whether that be through a report or a dashboard. I see Modern BI as being for everyone and that requires a fundamentally different approach.

To get ahead of the game, organizations need a different approach. All data needs to be unified, governed and democratized across the business. And it needs to be delivered in a way that makes it easy for anyone to understand, engage and take action on it – whether that be through data stories, business apps, or other forms of business-user friendly analytics.

Datanami: You co-founded Omniture, which was acquired by Adobe. What did you learn from that experience and how did you apply it to Domo?

James: As co-founder and CEO of Omniture, I learned that data is only valuable if you can do something with it. Back then, I’d see how marketers were using our web analytics to drive more ROI for their business. It was frustrating to me that I didn’t have that same access to the data I wanted about my own business. I founded Domo to solve that problem and give everyone from the CEO to the frontline worker real-time access to the data they need to make better decisions and take action to drive their business forward.

Datanami: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you share about yourself that your colleagues might be surprised to learn – any unique hobbies or stories?

James: The name of our company, Domo, was born out of the love I have for Japan. I lived there for two years as a young missionary and can still speak the language. It was the first place we opened a Domo office outside of the U.S. The culture – including the people, the food, the traditional customs contrasted with the country’s modernization, and of course, karaoke – is unlike any other place where I’ve traveled or lived. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to go back when it’s safe to do so.

James is one of 12 Datanami People to Watch for 2021. You can read the interviews with the other honorees at this link.

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