Ashwin Bihari is Centage’s Director of Software Engineering and manages the data integration and Modeler components of Planning Maestro. Ashwin brings a strong background in computer science fundamentals and over 20 years of professional software engineering experience to the Centage product development team. This includes a variety of leadership roles at local SaaS companies such as athenahealth, LibertyX, ConConn and OpenMobile World Wide. Most recently at athenahealth, he led three engineering teams to modernize, stabilize and significantly improve client setup for the company’s revenue cycle management system.
In his spare time, Ashwin enjoys video games and has been playing a variety of them for over 20 years. He also recently got into CrossFit and really enjoys it.
In this continuing series, we bring you our interview with Ashwin so that you can Meet the Maestros.
Q. How is developing Centage products different from other product development that you’ve been a part of?
Centage products bundle a significant amount of complexity with an ease of use that is impressive. Other products that I’ve worked on have been complex, but the interface has been equally complex causing a lot of confusion on the clients’ part. This also meant more time was spent trying to make the product easier to use as opposed to focusing on providing increasing value to the customer.
Q: What are the advantages of developing Planning Maestro as cloud-native?
Developing Planning Maestro as a cloud-native application allows us to deliver value to our customers quickly and on an ongoing basis. It also allows us to scale to meet the growing demands of customers as their needs ebb and flow during the varying budgetary cycle.
Coupling sound Agile delivery methods with cloud-native allows us to quickly release functionality, gather feedback and iteratively make changes to suit the needs of our customers.
Q: What future features do you see Centage customers asking for that would be new and different from other budgeting applications?
While not something that customers are specifically asking for now, a big differentiator for Planning Maestro in the future would be use of machine learning to automatically learn what the customer does within the system and generate reports or configurations to best suit them.
Q: How does Centage approach innovation?
When we approach a perceived functionality, we go through a period of design or ‘thinking’ time to determine how the functionality will be used, what its constituent parts are and how best to implement it.
Once we have a clear idea of what we are going to build, we transition to thinking about the how and try to do so creatively by looking at all possible ways, methods, and technologies to build something that is right, scalable and something we can easily maintain and enhance in the future.
With the how defined at a high level, the responsible team members bring their proposed solution to an Architecture Forum led by our engineering leadership and attended by the entire engineering organization. Here, we discuss the merits of the solutions, build consensus and determine the best course of action.
Q: What is the most important thing your team does when rolling out new features?
The most important thing is to ensure that the feature allows the customer to do what they were intending to do and in the most intuitive manner.
To that end, the team does a lot of research work with a variety of individuals – both client and internally – to determine the needs, workflow and use cases for a given feature before starting implementation.
Centage Corporation’s Planning Maestro is a cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial intelligence. With Planning Maestro, Centage offers the sophisticated features needed by small and mid-market organizations to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and deep data analysis within one easy-to-use, scalable SaaS solution. For more information on how to modernize your office of finance with intelligent planning, view our product demonstration video, or call 800-366-5111.