Unpacking Innovation: A Sit-Down with Panopto’s Tech and Product Leaders- Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

 

There’s a palpable buzz surrounding video learning and its potential to redefine both the educational and organizational landscape. Behind every groundbreaking shift in technology, there are pioneers guiding the way. Meet Chief Technology Officer Amit Mondal and Chief Product Officer Uday Ghorpade, the two key figures driving Panopto’s product and technology vision. Together, they’re redefining the way Panopto approaches video learning.

Lucia Ponader, a content writer at Panopto, joined Amit and Uday recently for a conversation. Read on to discover their unique perspectives, insights, and the innovative future they envision for Panopto.

Lucia: Amit and Uday, could you share a snapshot of your professional journeys leading up to your role at Panopto?

Amit: My background is rooted in technology. Before joining Panopto, I spent seven years in a dynamic environment where we experienced about 15 acquisitions. During this time, I developed learning management systems, assessment solutions, and various classroom technologies that enabled personalized learning for K12. Before this, I dedicated six to seven years to corporate LMS and had a 12-year tenure at Oracle. My career has primarily revolved around building EdTech products, managing integrations, scaling operations, and working extensively in the private equity space. My challenges in these roles align closely with those we face at Panopto.

Uday: Like Amit, my career has been in technology. I previously worked at Power School, focusing on product strategy, roadmap execution, GTM launches, and driving growth through cross-functional collaboration. During my time there, I led the launch and growth of analytics and ERP solutions driving double-digit growth.  Before PowerSchool, I worked at several mid-sized companies and startups, spearheading product growth. While I have experience working in large enterprises, I have always enjoyed driving product and go-to-market strategies for small and mid-sized businesses.

Lucia: What would you say drives both of you in your current role? Could you each try and encapsulate your mission here at Panopto in a few sentences?

Amit: My extensive background in tech and building learning systems, particularly in the evolution of these systems, fuels my passion. What excites me about Panopto is our use of video to facilitate learning in universities and commercial businesses. Video as a learning medium is gaining significant traction. I see a tremendous opportunity for videos to drive better knowledge acquisition and retention through engaging experiences. An integrated video platform can offer personalized and transformative learning experiences, leading to better outcomes. I’m enthusiastic about Panopto’s potential to make a substantial impact in the next three to five years.

Uday: I am driven by 2 things – 1. Transformative product innovations that drive topline growth and 2. Keeping customers at the center of the product universe to address their pain points and deliver value to them. What drew me to Panopto was our move towards the culture of innovation, a robust product and technology foundation that supercharges that transformation, and our strong customer focus. While innovations are critical for growth, enhancing existing products is pivotal to retaining and delighting existing customers. While Amit’s points about the power of video as a learning tool are spot on, my excitement extends to exploring beyond video. I see a significant opportunity for Panopto to offer comprehensive learning solutions, reaching new audiences and imparting knowledge in diverse ways.

Lucia: From your perspective, what do you think are some of the biggest challenges in driving innovation, and how should they be addressed?

Uday: Initially, our focus was on resolving immediate customer issues and delivering minor enhancements, which inadvertently led to a lack of innovation. We’re now shifting our focus to game-changing innovations and developing new value-added capabilities. This transition presents its own challenges, particularly in transforming our company culture to be more innovation-centric. Another challenge is market expansion, especially considering that most customers already have a lecture capture solution. Our strategy involves overcoming these challenges by crafting a product investment thesis, adhering to it, and broadening our use cases beyond lecture capture.

Amit: We’ve developed a robust video content management system, but the real potential lies in leveraging content to drive outcomes. The key to innovation for us is identifying and expanding upon opportunities that go beyond traditional video use. We aim to help our university and business clients understand and extract more value from their video content. Our focus is on uncovering customer challenges that open up these opportunities. Additionally, we’re balancing our efforts between servicing existing customers and exploring new markets and capabilities. This balance is crucial for driving innovation while maintaining customer satisfaction.

Lucia: Lastly, do you have any advice that you would give to those looking to lead tech innovation in their respective fields?

Amit: The key to tech innovation lies in understanding and anticipating the future needs of your customers and industry. It’s crucial to focus on immediate solutions and envision where the market will be in two years or more. Staying ahead of the competition means looking beyond current problems and finding ways to solve future challenges. The tech world evolves rapidly, and being proactive in this environment is essential for success.

Uday: My advice is always to prioritize delivering value to your customers. Innovation shouldn’t be pursued just for its own sake; it needs to have a tangible impact for customers, whether that’s in cost savings, enhancing revenue, or other benefits. It’s important to focus on how new features or technologies will actually benefit the customer. In AI, for instance, it’s not just about the technology itself but finding use cases where it can genuinely solve customer problems. I agree with Amit; it’s vital to look several years ahead and understand where the market is heading to stay competitive and avoid being left behind.

Looking Ahead

This article is the first in a three-part series with Panopto’s Tech and Product leaders, Amit Mondal and Uday Ghorpade. Read part 2 where we dive even deeper into the heart of Panopto’s innovative approach to video learning.

 

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Published: November 28, 2023