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The Databricks IT organization has grown rapidly over the last year, partnering closely with stakeholders across all functions to transform the business. Some may ask: Why would IT operate with a product-driven mindset? Isn’t that the role of R&D or Product function? In this blog post, you will hear from a few IT product specialists on what a product-driven IT organization means to them and how they put that approach into practice. Powering the company’s laser focus on customer needs, Databricks IT implements the same customer obsession in the pursuit of optimal business processes, technology solutions and outcomes. 

Nafeesa Ahmed

 Nafeesa Ahmed headshot

Hello! I am Nafeesa, and I joined Databricks just over a year ago as a Business Systems Analyst in the Information Technology org. Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to transition into Product Management, driving one of the most important transformation initiatives for the company: a consumption-based sales motion approach. The IT organization at Databricks is a Product-led org, and we take pride in designing and building tools and systems for our stakeholders that eliminate pain points and bring efficiency to everyday processes. We have established ourselves as valued partners for business stakeholders, defining the roadmap for every business function, not just sole executors of technology.

In my role, my key task is to design products and tools that would help scale our sales consumption motion. I am working to define a product that would make tracking, implementing, forecasting and reporting on the consumption for the Databricks product suite easier than ever before, driving deeper adoption of the consumption mindset across the company. As an example, I have conducted end-user UX interviews and surveys to understand how sales reps and solution architects interact with various tools to track consumption. The interviews have been purely observational and non-prescriptive. My goal was to gather information on how existing systems and tools are being used (or not used!).  With the help of a UX specialist, this data helped me design a user experience that is intuitive and addresses the pain points in current systems and tools. Some quick wins, like fewer clicks to navigate a demand capacity plan, have been well received. 

Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family and love knitting. I am a nature lover and have served on the editorial board of the local chapter of Sierra Club in the past and participated in beach cleanups.

Arpita Sharan 

Arpita Sharan


I joined the Databricks IT team in May 2022, as a product specialist handling the Quoting, CLM and Billing Systems used by our Sales, Finance, and Legal teams. 

You may be wondering: Why do we need a product specialist in IT?  A Product Specialist (just like a Product Manager in a Product Org) is the person who identifies the customer need or the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, articulates what success looks like for the product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality. The difference between an Engineering product manager and an IT product specialist is the Customer Group they cater to; we in IT serve the needs of internal customers, while the Engineering PMs handle the needs of external customers.

The goal of a product specialist is to build and/or implement world-class solutions that enable increased revenue and improved efficiency and effectiveness of our business teams (Sales, Operations, Finance, Customer Success, etc.) by streamlining processes, introducing end-to-end automation, and supporting our stakeholders through adoption. 

My work at Databricks involves building systems that our Sales teams use to negotiate contracts with prospective and current customers on new deals, upsells and renewals. In addition, once a customer places their order, we determine how the order gets provisioned and delivered and then gets subsequently billed.

At Databricks, I find my work as a product specialist incredibly fulfilling, as it gives me the opportunity to constantly strive toward solving Customer problems - big or small! Though I have been doing a similar role for quite some time at previous employers, Databricks threw up a unique challenge (or should I say opportunity) to build solutions from the ground up and help our customers and business scale to support our massive growth projections for an emerging Consumption based Billing & Revenue model. 

It has been an amazing learning experience, and I have enjoyed every moment over the last six months. The Databricks career website says that it gives folks an opportunity to do the best work of their careers, and I think the description is spot on. You get to work with the smartest people who are wonderfully welcoming and collaborative. Here, you get a chance to work on unique problems and get to make a difference in the process. 

In addition to my interest in being a product specialist, I love interacting with people, organizing events, cooking, entertaining and everything creative. My latest interest is interior design, and I used it to redesign my house last year during renovations.

Monika Korolczuk

Monika Korolczuk

Databricks is an incredible company, where thousands of Bricksters unite to enable a comprehensive platform for massive-scale data engineering, data warehouse, and collaborative data science. Bricksters are truth-seeking and customer-obsessed no matter which department they join, and I am happy to share how that looks in IT. 

I joined the Databricks IT department focusing on HR systems, tools and processes that enable smooth experiences for all Bricksters. As a Product Specialist in the HR space, I work closely with business partners across HR, as well as other functions, to identify pain points and brainstorm optimal solutions. Sometimes this means leveraging existing tools and building useful integrations, in which case I work with my partners on the People Systems team. Other times, this means building custom, homegrown solutions, where I get to work with a brilliant development team to create new applications from scratch.

One example of a custom solution I helped drive is a web application, built by our dev team, that enables performance calibration process for Engineering. Engineering leaders use the app to review and discuss proposed performance ratings for each employee and ensure they are assessed fairly across the department. It’s one of those “behind the scenes” aspects of running a business, where the process seems fairly standard, yet it always has its unique flavors across different industries and even business units. Our team designed a new tool obsessing over our internal customers (Engineering team) and continued tuning the application after its initial rollout. The product mindset we apply in IT is similar to that you may see in Product or R&D organizations; our main goal is to solve our (internal) customers’ problems, so their work is smoother and more enjoyable overall.

If I’m not busy with my stakeholders, product documentation or engaging with the dev team, then you will find me sipping “pretend tea” with my three-year-old daughter or experimenting in the kitchen with vegan pastry recipes.

If you would like to become a part of our product-driven culture at Databricks, and take a look at our Careers website.

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