Features

Abbas Faiq – Imperva

CIO takes consolidated approach to company growth

After acquiring companies over the past several years, Imperva has integrated dozens of new employees, assets and systems. In most ways, these additions have made the cybersecurity software company stronger. However, it became clear to executives that disparate systems were difficult for customers to navigate.

An internal effort was launched in late 2020 to begin eliminating legacy systems that had come from earlier acquisitions. In 2021, Abbas Faiq was hired to finish the job. As chief information officer, he helped consolidate four customer-facing support platforms into one Salesforce Service Cloud environment.

Abbas Faiq | Chief Information Officer | Imperva

Abbas Faiq | Chief Information Officer | Imperva

“Customers were engaging with the company in too many different ways, so it was often confusing and inefficient,” he says. “Consolidating platforms has created more consistency and a better customer experience.”

Based in San Mateo, California, Imperva is a cybersecurity company that helps organizations protect their data and all paths to it. Faiq’s goal for his first year with the company was what he calls “digital enablement,” which in addition to consolidating technology platforms, entailed better utilizing technology to help Imperva grow.

“The cybersecurity space is evolving rapidly and there is significant growth opportunity,” he says. “I like that there’s room for improvement because it’s allowed me to make a significant impact.”

Data-informed decisions

Now in his second year with Imperva, Faiq is focused on further leveraging customer information.

He’s currently leading a project to integrate the company’s software-as-a-service product platforms and internal business systems. The goal is to enable new revenue models and create more seamless interactions between the customer and Imperva’s sales and support teams. This, he says, will create consistency between what information customers see and what’s documented in internal business systems.

For example, it will show sales teams how customers use Imperva products. Sometimes, Faiq says, customers go over their contracted usage limits and are surprised when they get charged. The new platform enables customers to stay ahead of such surprises or to increase limits to support their needs.

Abbas Faiq | Chief Information Officer | Imperva

“Customer usage behaviors and patterns will inform the sales and support teams when to work with a customer,” he says. “Once we understand the customer, we can get ahead of any issues and reduce the risk of losing the customer.”

Faiq says the platform will also provide more information about product use patterns, which will allow the company to decide how to expand or enhance products.

A single point of view

Before systems were consolidated into Salesforce, customers had to interact with different platforms for the different Imperva products if they needed support. Faiq says this was disjointed and often left customers feeling frustrated.

Now, when customers need support or want to view their full account, they log into one portal to get support across all products. The portal also allows customers to track progress of a support request or use a self-help feature that shows how to troubleshoot common tasks.

Abbas Faiq | Chief Information Officer | Imperva

Also, a consolidated selling and quoting platform was implemented this year to help the company’s sales team interact more efficiently with customers. For example, it’s simplified the process for customers buying and renewing products.

Faiq is also focused on giving his IT staff what they need to be successful. In addition to growing his team with new hires, he’s also promoted people internally.

“Of course, I look for strong tech skills, but I also look for strong people and leadership skills,” he says. “I want to put leaders in the roles where they’ll be most successful and where they can best help the company.”

Staying nimble

With over 25 years of experience, Faiq has developed a knack for helping companies transform their approach to IT.

Prior to Imperva, he spent over five years at PTC, an industrial software company based in Boston, as corporate vice president and chief information officer. While there, he aligned IT processes with the needs of functional departments to improve overall business outcomes. He led initiatives such as moving systems and data to the cloud and using stronger sales tools to help grow the business.

Faiq has been a chief information officer in two previous roles, first at Celera Corporation and then at Cepheid. At each California-based biotechnology research company, he removed barriers around the IT department so it could better support the business’s goals and needs.

Abbas Faiq | Chief Information Officer | Imperva

Before moving to the U.S., Faiq earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi, India. After leaving his home country, he earned his MBA from the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Outside of work, Faiq enjoys backpacking and hiking and says it’s important to slow down and reset in nature. His goal is to visit as many national parks as he can—he’s been to three.

While he’s worked for large companies in the past, including CVS and Gillette, he says he likes that Imperva is not as big because it allows him to be nimble.

“The theme throughout my entire career has been to enable business growth and scale,” Faiq says. “I enjoy joining organizations and bringing in technology, not for tech’s sake, but to enable global change.”

View this feature in the Summer II 2022 Edition here.

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