Founded in 2007, Neo4j Inc enables organisations to unlock the business value of connections, influences and relationships in data. The company’s flagship product is Neo4j, a popular graph database management system. Recently, it announced Neo4j Graph Data Science, a comprehensive graph analytics workspace built for data scientists.
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AIM: How does Neo4j plan to capture the database market?
Rahul Tenglikar: We are generating tons of data every day. Over the last decade, companies have invested a lot of money, time and technology in collecting this data. A lot of this data is connected. Graph database collects and stores this connected data. It turns out that storing data in this way has significant advantages. In the last three-four years, we have seen a convergence; a few winners are emerging. We are the category creators in this space, and we lead that entire category of graph databases today. Just by being the first player, we have a significant advantage in terms of technology which is more mature and also in terms of our customer base.
We are working on evangelising more and more customers about the entire concept of a graph database with which you can solve your problems using graphs rather than using traditional ways.
AIM: Since last year, Neo4j has been focused on increasing its presence in India. What has been the response like so far?
Rahul Tenglikar: The traction we see in India is quite fantastic. Even before having an exclusive presence here, we served our customers in India through the US and Singapore offices. We are in the process of setting up our office, and Bangalore will be our headquarters. My vision is to have at least 80 percent of everything we do in India based out of Bangalore except sales, where we need people across. Currently, we have people in sales, pre-sales and marketing in channels, services and support.
We have one of the largest developer communities in India. India is a very important market for us not only in terms of revenue, but we are here for use cases, for our community and partners.
AIM: What is your game plan for India?
Rahul Tenglikar: Revenue is one of the key KPIs for all of us in India, and the country offers us varied use cases. When we started in India, the interest was only from a couple of verticals – banking and financial services or manufacturing. Now, we are seeing interest from the government, retailers, gaming companies, and traction across segments – enterprise, mid-market etc. All this is because of the growing awareness around graph database technology.
AIM: How do you respond to the criticism around the higher price points for your managed cloud services and performance drop while dealing with large data?
Rahul Tenglikar: We have multiple options and offerings at different price points and different usage levels. We understand the importance of the cloud and the need to provide a fully managed database servic. Aura free, like our community edition, is a free version that small businesses and startups can use. We also have Aura professional, which is available at a competitive cost and can be used by mid-tier companies who want to get started with Neo4j and explore its offerings.
As businesses are dealing with large chunks of data and more complicated relationships, it becomes very crucial to offer high scalability and, at the same time, uncompromised security and accuracy. Neo4j is the only production-ready, scalable and strong product available for customers today to study their data and enhance their decision-making processes.
A performance downgrade will only happen if the graph data model is not correct or if one tries to run huge data on the community edition, which has limitations in terms of scalability since it’s meant for free projects and usage, especially if that version is run in the cloud or behind the company firewall.
On the enterprise edition level, huge amounts of data are not a problem with Neo4j. Last year, the company demonstrated its super-scaling technology to show real-time query performance against a graph with over 200 billion nodes and more than a trillion relationships, running on over one thousand machines.
AIM: How important is the developer ecosystem for Neo4j?
Rahul Tenglikar: In most organisations, developers are the first people who try and adopt our product. As our community version is free, anyone can use it. Developers and data scientists are at the heart of our products because they are the ones who help us evangelise use cases of our products within their organisations. Most of the product enhancements usually come as product feedback from our developers.
AIM: What’s Neo4j’s hiring strategy for India?
Rahul Tenglikar: With growth, you see a lot of roles opening up. Several roles are coming up, especially on the sales front, including inside sales and pre-sales. We will have roles in the partner space as well. Neo4j professional services roles and support roles will be high on the agenda.