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Boomi’s new CEO on the SaaS company’s Philly roots and ‘super unique position’

After leading software companies iCIMS and Marketo, Steve Lucas is now head of the Chesterbrook-based company, with a focus on "radically simplifying" customers' technical debt.

Steve Lucas. (Courtesy photo)
Since its inception in the early 2000s, software company Boomi has been a mainstay in Philadelphia’s suburban tech scene.

The now-1,500-person, Chesterbrook-based company — which makes a cloud-based software to help customers manage and connect their data — has become increasingly global, especially with a pandemic-driven distributed workforce. But its Greater Philly roots are still important.

Those roots are a focus for new CEO Steve Lucas, who joined the organization at the start of 2023. He enters after years of big change for Boomi: Following a 2010 acquisition by Dell, the Rick Nucci-cofounded biz changed hands again to Francisco Partners and TPG Capital in 2021.

In an interview with Technical.ly, Lucas said he’d followed Boomi’s trajectory during his own tech career, most notably at Adobe, Salesforce and SAP in SaaS business development, enterprise platform and analytics. He’s also held the CEO title at Marketo and New Jersey-based iCIMS. Lucas watched Boomi through both of its acquisitions, and as he took the helm early this year, he noted the position it’s currently in.

“Now,” he said, “we’re in this super unique position as arguably — if not the largest — one of the largest independent integration software companies in the world.”

And in this phase of Boomi’s 23-year lifespan, the leadership team has clarified the company’s current foci, which include its product making simplified connections for its customers’ data systems, as well as simplifying customers’ “technical debt,” or the cost companies will amass when they chose an easy, but limited technical solution. Lucas said he’s hoping the customers who use Boomi can drastically cut down the tools they need to use.

“It’s the complex mess that we call enterprise software,” he said. “There is not a CIO anywhere on the planet that is not just exhausted, [but] back broken, from carrying the weight of all this technical debt.”

Boomi is currently working to make sure CIOs, who are charged with ensuring their companies’ data is protected and communicative, have a product that works efficiently and won’t add to the pile of tech solutions that only solve part of a company’s workflow problem. The company’s customer count as grown to about 20,000 in the last two decades, according to Lucas.

“They’ve all come to us saying, ‘Please help us radically simplify’ — get rid of some of this tech debt and just make connections with our systems,” he said. “That’s what they want.”

That reduction in complexity is how the company is angling to be a cost-saving measure amid a time where all tech leadership is looking to cut costs. Companies are cutting their workforce, but asking for the same objectives and productivity levels to be met, he said; thus, you must give people the ability to connect systems faster and get to answers more quickly.

Our intent is very much to continue to reinvest in our roots and build out our presence here.Steve Lucas Boomi

Within his own company, Lucas acknowledged there’s been a fair bit of change in the last few years, both in ownership and leadership. He said his experience, now as a three-time CEO, informs his strategy, which is to help bring people back to “the core of who we are and what we do.”

His values as a leader include being very transparent with his employees, and shaping the “who” of the organization. The company is rolling out a new value statement: “Be bold, be you, and be Boomi.”

“As this great Philly-based company, we’ve got to build our own identity,” Lucas said. “This is a new journey.”

“Love” ultimately drove him to join Boomi this year — that is, its 20,000 customers and its 1,500 employees who showed a passion for the product. Though the workforce is distributed, and Lucas will be performing his role from Denver, about 200 of the company’s employees are in the Philly area, and it just added a Philly-area president and CFO, Arlen Shenkman. The company is also looking for a new HQ in the region, as Lucas stressed in-person work and gatherings are important to the company’s work flow.

“Our intent is very much to continue to reinvest in our roots and build out our presence here,” the CEO said. “And you know it it obviously goes without saying that the world has changed with remote work, but I think we’re all starting to realize that culture cannot be built solely through this. And so we’re going to continue to invest and continue to build out our presence.”

Though he’s only a few months in, Lucas said the wisdom he’d impart would be similar for both startup founders and leaders of decades-old software companies.

“My advice is, ruthlessly understand what your customers need and want,” Lucas said. “And then fight to be relevant at all times because this landscape, it changes so quickly.”

Companies: Boomi

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