The intersection of innovation, technology and business is the core driver of growth, performance, and valuation of the organization. Possessing the sense of all the three elements, Josh Ziegler, CEO of Zumata is leading the company by combining artificial intelligence and machine learning to maximize the sales from hotel bookings through predictive technology. In an interview with Insights Success, Josh revealed his insights behind his role as a Tech Strategist.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Josh and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role as the Tech Strategist of the company?
Josh: For the past 5 years I have led a technology firm that has been regularly recognized for being at the forefront of tech innovation. Being at the bleeding edge isn’t the goal, however. We aim only to reduce complexity and solve real world problems for our customers. To succeed at this, my role is to listen to our customers, the market, potential partners, and ask questions about their needs, wants, and most importantly the problems they are facing. By connecting these dots, we often find that new technologies open up new solutions and better ways to solve long-standing challenges.
How do you diversify your product offerings to appeal to your target audience?
Josh: If you listen, customers will tell you what they need. We diversify purely to solve more pain points for our customers, rather than setting a roadmap based upon internal theories of what might appeal. We often pilot new ideas in a cooperative way with our clients to ensure solutions can deliver the desired result. Then, we look to productize the successes so we can roll them out to wider audiences.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every Tech Strategist should possess.
Josh: Curiosity and a desire to please others are critical. Curious people are always asking “what if?” and also seeking knowledge to answer that ever-burning question. This manifests in a continual effort to figure things out, find new solutions, understand why something does or does not work, and continually learn. Coupling this with a desire to please others leads to a strategy that is often unique, and to solutions that are embraced by customers.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey?
Josh: Having started several businesses, I have seen that great outcomes are derived from continual change and experimentation. Aside from having this evolutionary mindset, the most valuable lesson I have learned is that persistence, drive, optimism, and having your own opinion count more than anything else. I’m learning new lessons every day, so ask me again next week and you might get a different answer.
How do you think the role of a tech strategist has changed over the years?
Josh: While the speed of change may be increasing, I don’t think the role of a tech strategist really evolves. At the end of the day, the role is to find the right technology that will solve the pain points in the simplest way, at the lowest cost, and in a scalable and maintainable manner. Today, just as before, it all comes back to solving problems and listening to your customers.
Where does Zumata see itself in the near future and what are its future goals?
Josh: We’ve taken a lead in artificial intelligence that we continue to evolve. Our chatbots are getting smarter and smarter every day and performing more complex actions with each iteration. Additionally, like much of the technology world, we’ve been captured by blockchain. It took us two years to really hone in on the right use case, and I’m excited to announce that soon. Our motto is ‘Simplify the Complex’, and with an increasingly connected and complex world, this vision will keep us busy for a long time to come.
About the Company
Zumata is a data company that leverages advanced technologies to simplify complex problems for its corporate customers. It works across industries through its chatbot applications, but is heavily focused on the travel space. In particular, it is a B2B travel technology company that consolidates and organizes the universe of third party hotel supply and delivers hotel pricing, availability, and static content to travel retailers.
Zumata’s cutting edge travel technology and consolidated hotel inventory represents over 500,000 properties globally from a large number of suppliers. Accurate mapping and significant supplier overlap allows its partners to achieve lower cost prices, decrease reliance upon any single supplier, and optimize customer conversions.
About the Leader
Josh Ziegler brings over 17 years of diverse experience in the travel industry ranging from deep technical projects with Zumata to working for major hotel properties like Caesars Palace and MGM Grand. Prior to founding Zumata, Josh founded an ecommerce business and two travel related companies – Good Times, a discount and reward program catering to inbound travelers, as well as Handshake, a destination guide for convention attendees.
Josh is passionate about travel and exploration and is always seeking out adventure and what’s around the next corner. He believes technology is an enabler to help others experience the joys of travel. He holds a Master of International Management from Thunderbird, a MBA from Arizona State University, and undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.