Cloudside Chat: Jun Gao on Creating Award-Winning Software, Part 1
Rip Gerber Welcomes Jun Gao, Vice President of Engineering, to a Cloudside Chat
Pursuing innovation that improves the customer experience lies at the core of Jun Gao’s core values and life mission. In a career that has spanned close to two decades, she has faced design challenges head-on, never wavering and always pushing ahead. As one of Vlocity’s top engineers, Jun and her team created a next-generation of technologies to help large companies adopt the cloud, including Vlocity’s award-winning OmniScript™.
Rip Gerber: Thank you, Jun, for joining us for a Vlocity Cloudside Chat.
Jun Gao: Happy to be here with you.
Rip: So Jun, what do you do here at Vlocity?
Jun: I lead our core engineering team here at Vlocity. We are responsible for the core Vlocity components, including OmniScript™, Dataraptor™, Vlocity DevOps, and a new offer we call “Vlocity Installation Assistant.”
Rip: OmniScript™ has been making quite an impact at customers lately, can you tell us how this software came about?
Jun: It all started with an idea from our head of products, Raja Singh. We got together and decided to create a dynamic form on Salesforce, but one like no other. Ours became a content-rich, interactive form deeply integrated with process-building technology. So I envisioned an online form that wasn’t a form at all. I think the most powerful thing about OmniScript™ is that the software talks to the entire process, including the back end stack and all the API layers.
Rip: A form that integrates with everything, hence the “omni.” And a form that is not a form but more like a scripting tool, hence the “script.”
Jun: Exactly. OmniScript™ is mix of the front end and back end, so you can use it to build any business process that you want.
Rip: That’s our “clicks not code” philosophy in action. And now it’s a major component of every industry cloud implementation. What did you do before Vlocity that turned you into the inventor of such cool cloud technology here?
Jun: Before Vlocity I was at Oracle, from the Siebel acquisition years ago. My job there was to focus on a small subset of products. When I joined Vlocity I was handed the opportunity to create new technologies and new approaches that drive innovation across all of our verticals. It was wide open space. Nobody was telling me, “Hey you can’t do that because we already have so and so here.” That’s what I love about Vlocity: here we have a culture of encouraging creative initiative.
Rip: Culture is very important. What is it like working in cloud company?
Jun: Everyone is so great to work with here. On creating OmniScript™, I was able to source and incorporate feedback from different people – Raja, our vertical General Managers, Dave Stone and our Product Development team, Fuad, our engineering teams, even our CEO David Schmaier. Everyone’s been very helpful. That's how we’ve gotten to where we are today.
Rip: You mentioned you worked at Siebel and Oracle, how did you get started in building CRM software?
Jun: With a Physics background.
Rip: Wow! I didn’t expect that...
Jun: That’s right, my Master was in Physics. It was only later that I found my interest in software development. I joined Siebel in 2000 and stayed there for 14 years through with Oracle, learning, growing, working on all sorts of projects. But then I felt a need to take the next step in my career, and that is when Ram reached out.
Rip: Ram Reddy, our head of Vlocity India?
Jun: Yes. Ram Reddy was my manager back at Siebel/Oracle. When he moved to Vlocity, he told me about the opportunity. So I came in for an interview and learned a lot about Salesforce and industry-specific applications in the cloud. I quickly realized this was a perfect fit for me – but also challenging.
Rip: How was it challenging?
Jun: I had never worked at such a small company before. I didn't know what to expect.
Rip: A bold adventurer and physicist! Has it been a good experience?
Jun: Oh Yes. It's been really great. Five years of rewarding challenges, five years of fun!