Congratulations to Joel Faul, our Chief Technology Officer here at SMA Technologies! He has been accepted into the Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives.
Joel was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of his experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.
We sat down with Joel to find out more about what has inspired and influenced his career journey.
- Why did you fall in love with writing code – what is it about that process that is so interesting to you?
- My very first programming experience was plugging scientific formulas into a TI-58 in 1979. The idea that I could automate tedious work was absolutely fascinating to me.
- I have always been drawn to the problem-solving aspect of programming. As a programmer, and even now as a CTO, you continually encounter complex challenges, and being able to reduce an intricate problem to solvable pieces is rewarding in and of itself.
- What was your first software development project – how old were you? How did this experience influence your career?
- In high school on a TRS-80 writing in BASIC. Our school had purchased two of them, but didn’t offer any programming classes, so I decided to teach myself from a book.
- I wrote 3 programs that year, and the one I remember the most was a Tic-Tac-Toe game that the computer could never lose. I didn't know anything about game theory, so I coded every single possible decision branch. As you might guess, for me it was more fun to program the game than to play, knowing that as the human I could never win!
- How did you become involved in workload automation?
- One of the first commercial products I built was in the Business Process Automation space.
- Interestingly, the previous companies I worked at didn’t extensively deal with Workload Automation, so my official professional introduction to it came when I joined SMA Technologies. The principles for building great software don’t change just because the product does. My decades of professional experience and programming knowledge serve me well here at SMA.
- Do you have any examples of how customers have influenced product design and roadmap at SMA Technologies (maybe a certain feature, user interface, etc.)?
- OpCon’s Deploy add-on is a good example of a recent feature driven by a customer. Several of our larger accounts had been requesting a better change management tool. One of our clients (the second largest mutual insurer in the world) was key for Deploy because they contributed to the design of many features and worked closely with our technical staff. It was amazing for our client because it provided the agility to align with their business needs while keeping change management in-house.
- OpCon’s Vision add-on, a high-level visibility and analytics dashboard for handling multiple OpCon instances, was designed in collaboration with LODH, the oldest private Swiss Bank. The original idea grew between LODH and one of our on-site consultants during a review of specific needs for their business. After creating an early version of Vision for LODH, we expanded the product to address some common needs across our customer base.
- What are some areas of technology that interest you outside of workload automation?
- Understanding customer needs and pain points outside of the tech sphere, because it provides a more well-rounded view of the customer journey.
- The software development process itself, especially how to continually improve it and find more effective ways to avoid common pitfalls.
- AI/Machine Learning
- Voice enabled and voice first applications
- What do you hope to get out of being in the Forbes Technology Council?
- The Forbes Technology Council has attracted so many great technology leaders and my hope is to help build this fantastic resource by contributing the wisdom and insights I’ve developed from decades in the tech world. I’m also looking forward to connecting with my peers and continuing to build my awareness and understanding of the complex tech issues that challenge most organizations.